Four Transcendent Adam McKay Audio Commentaries

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Featuring Darnell McKay, Will Ferrell, Senator David Koechner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Captain John C. Reilly, and Jack McBrayer)

Why Listen: 25 years later after the film’s release, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s son, Darnell, reflect on changing the “cultural course of American history,” discovering Molly Shannon was a robot, the misery caused by Jack McBrayer (who shows up to defend himself), and the popular religion founded by the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Captain John C. Reilly, who recently finished up defeating musician Ted Nugent’s militia on the last piece of Detroit above sea level, calls in to add his two cents regarding everything unrelated to the movie. Adam McKay, on the other hand, couldn’t attend because he died of a four-hour long hammerhead shark attack off the coast of Catalina. With stories that good, who actually would want real production details and anecdotes from the shoot? That quickly becomes the last thing you’d want from McKay’s commentaries.

What’s Said: We’ve yet to see a single sequel to Talladega Nights, but there are eight sequels awaiting us in the future. McKay’s son wonders if they were a mistake due to their quality. Ferrell and Captain Reilly mostly disagree with him:

Reilly: [Sighs] If you said six, I would say no. The last two with the puppets and all that was…

Ferrell: The one with the puppets and the one, Talladega Nights Goes Bananas, the one where the monkeys drove the cars, those two were mistakes.

Reilly: You can’t teach an ape to drive.

Ferrell: No. The first six were fantastic.

McKay: Can you name them? Talladega Nights was the first one, then it was Talladega Days, Talladega Dusk

Ferrell: Then Talladega Midafternoon.

Reilly: Talladega Afternoon Delights. Number six was Guess What? Another Talladega, Shut the Hell Up. That was mine. I pushed to get the title through.

A Day on the Job: Again, no days from the set are ever discussed seriously. One of the few days from principal photography that actually is brought up covers Jean Girard’s (Sacha Baron Cohen) introduction, which involved PCP and a broken arm:

Ferrell: We’re at the point in the movie where Sacha breaks my arm. No one knew I actually broke my arm for the filming of the movie. That was not a prosthetic.

Reilly: Take that, Robert De Niro.

McKay: My father actually had Will smoke a bunch of PCP before this scene, so he could not be injured or feel any pain.

Ferrell: I was definitely in a heightened state.

Reilly: We were all hopped up.

Trivia: In 2031, Waterworld continues to climb the AFI Top 100 list. It went from ranking in the 90s to the 70s to number 52.

Bonus Trivia: Against Sony’s wishes, the disgraced former candidate for Senate, Captain John C. Reilly, opened up a chain of restaurants called “Shake and Bake.”

Step Brothers (Featuring McKay, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Jon Brion, and Baron Davis) 

Why Listen: If there’s such a thing as a classic audio commentary, the one for Step Brothers is among them. It’s performed as a musical and scored by a tremendous musician, composer Jon Brion (who everyone should see perform at Largo in Los Angeles if they can or haven’t yet). McKay, Ferrell, and Reilly often sing about what’s happening on screen, in an assortment of styles. Nowhere else will you ever hear songs about actress Marry Steenburgen, Apocalypse Now‘s test screening scores, a lonely choreographer, nobody shedding tears for the George Clooneys of the world, and Ferrell’s $25,000 prosthetic balls and their overworked maker. It’s unfortunate there’s no soundtrack for the Step Brothers audio commentary. They’re all consistently funny, creative, and seemingly improvised songs, backed by some playful tunes from Brion.

Towards the end and, after calling out and naming all the cruel child actors in the industry, McKay and company are joined by all-star basketball player Baron Davis. The former Los Angeles Clippers player opens up about his time in the NBA, asks genuine questions about the movie, and brings his stamp to the musical numbers. Like McKay’s finest film, in the end this commentary has it all.

What’s Said: McKay shot 70% too much footage for the fight over the drum set, but it was worth it. A true story influenced this particular fight between Brennan Huff and Dale Doback:

Reilly: This is based on a real part of my life. One of my brothers had a drum set and was real sensitive about people touching it. [Pauses] I still haven’t talked to him about this yet. He doesn’t know.

Ferrell: He doesn’t know it’s going to be on 3,000 screens?

Reilly: I better make that call before the movie comes out. It wouldn’t be so bad except he still has a drum set in the basement of his home now.

McKay: Is he still touchy about someone messing with it?

Reilly: I gotta think so.

A Day on the Job: Davis wonders about the differences between making Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. After Reilly responds Step Brothers is “Talladega Nights and Ordinary People mixed together,” his co-star and director talk about how their sports comedy inspired their masterwork:

Ferrell: On Talladega Nights, we had to worry about all the car stuff and had to work with NASCAR. We had a little more structure, and this one was more of a free-for-all. We got to go crazy more.

McKay: It was a reaction to Talladega Nights. We had to do a lot of green screen, stunts, and cars. We thought, “God, screw it. The funniest stuff is these guys hanging out in a room messing around,” so we tried to write the simplest idea that we could. It’s pretty insane.

Originally, McKay, Ferrell, and Reilly came up with ten different ideas over dinner. The next day, McKay came up with a new idea, Step Brothers. They all immediately agreed it was the story to tell.

Trivia: The first draft of the script was 180 pages long, and a million and a half feet of film was shot for the movie.

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