“Elf” is a really fantastic Christmas movie and probably the only one in our lifetime thus far that’s destined to be a classic. The writing is funny, and it coined a lot of Christmasy slogans (“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”) — but the movie would not be even a fraction of its actual triumph without the comedic genius of Will Ferrell.
I know that for some reason, Will Ferrell is a bit of a touchy subject for some people.
While I know of a lot of people who love him, I also know of a lot of people who absolutely loathe the guy. I don’t personally understand it, but a lot of people consider him insufferably annoying.
Maybe it’s certain roles of his that he’s played— my dad can only stand to watch “Elf” once a year and he doesn’t seem to enjoy it all too much when he does.
But whether or not you think Will Ferrell is irritating or hilarious, you have to admit that he is really, really good at what he does.
I don’t actively worship him or anything, but I watched “Elf” on Thanksgiving night and I had just recently seen “Anchorman” for only the second time and I was even more impressed than I was amused. Will Ferrell has created so many classic characters in his career in comedy. The characters he’s portrayed and brought to life have, in some instances, been so incredibly dynamic and interesting that all he has to do is adopt the correct facial expression and he can send audiences into hysterics.
Craig Buchanan, for example, is the legendary cheerleader on the hunt for “the perfect cheer!” that was popular during his time on Saturday Night Live.
Watching a grown man be completely consumed by this innocent, enthusiastic who jumps around and cheers adorably and dutifully is both creepy and hilarious.
Harry Caray, the insane scientist also from his time on Saturday Night Live — and possibly my favorite Will Ferrell character — was delightfully twitchy and really good at making guests feel confused and desperately uncomfortable. He rationalizes his bizarre questions by saying that he’s “curious like a cat, that’s why my friends call me whiskers!”
His George W. Bush impression is a political impersonation rivaled only by Tina Fey’s unforgettable and historically significant Sarah Palin.
His casual crooning of “The Thong Song” as Robert Goulet is simultaneously hilarious and nonchalantly disturbing.
Ron Burgundy, of course, is an unbelievable feat. Not only is the character entirely original and not completely based on any real person, he is also fully developed enough to be not only laughable but likeable.
His complete lack of understanding of social norms manifests itself in ways that aren’t too outlandish to be funny but rather are just horrifying enough to be hysterical.
Will Ferrell is as impressive as he is because he doesn’t get stuck in one role or typecast.
He tries everything and he pushes the limits of comedy and because of his willingness to experiment he has created all these personas that are equally memorable but vastly different.
So when we all inevitably watch “Elf” a thousand times in this coming month, I think it’s important we give credit where credit is due. That movie would not be half as good without Will Ferrell’s impeccable skills as a comedian. He’s an actor to carry us through the ages and he’s an actor that still knows the power of a good joke, a snarky comment and a subtle jab.
Sarah Moesta is a junior majoring in English and is the Daily Collegian’s Friday columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org