Although you could make the argument that Old School was the first in the ancestry of the Frat Pack of movies (and if you want to be really technical, Zoolander was the first to have Stiller, Ferrell, and a Wilson brother together on-screen) Anchorman was really the one that Billy Joel would say started the fire. In Bible-speak, Anchorman begat Dodgeball, who begat Starsky & Hutch, who begat Wedding Crashers, who begat 40-Year-Old Virgin, who begat Grandma's Boy, who begat Talladega Nights, who begat Knocked Up, who begat Superbad, who begat Forgetting Sarah Marshall, who begat Stepbrothers, who begat Role Models, who begat The Hangover, and on and on it goes.
The "every scene is basically a new sketch, and an overall connecting plot is only a secondary consideration" style of comedies that we're entrenched in right now was basically started with Anchorman. It also signified the shift in the source of where laughs come from during comedies. Formerly it was from funny situations or ridiculous characters, and now it's almost entirely from dudes bullshitting and improvving with each other. And even though older generations who grew up laughing at Steve Martin and Chevy Chase usually cringe at our style of comedies** it's probably not going anywhere soon, as long as younger people continue to turn these one-liners into their only form of dialogue (guilty) and these movies continue to line the pockets of Hollywood executives in the form of kids' hard-earned allowances (also guilty.)
All this isn't to say that the Anchorman craze didn't have negative aspects, too. If I go the rest of my life without seeing another intramural team/fantasy football team/sand volleyball team named The Channel 4 News Team, that will be just fine with me. (Side note: a couple years ago, DVJS, Abentroth and I played in a Gus Macker tournament, and played a team with the aforementioned name. They took it a step further though, personalizing the jerseys with names on the back: Burgundy, Fantana, Kind, and Tamland. You know the scene in Crash, when Terrence Howard gets carjacked by Ludacris, then they have the standoff with the cops? After all the drama, when a morose Ludacris is about to get out of the car, Howard looks at him and says in a serious moment: "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself." And Luda just puts his tail between his legs and walks away. That's the exchange I had with one of their players after we eliminated them from the tournament. Except instead of just walking away like Ludacris did, this guy told me to "Shut the fuck up, bro. You guys are gonna get crushed next game anyway.")
In closing, me picking Anchorman as my movie of the decade is the most predictable thing you'll read all day (besides David Ortiz getting named in the steroid scandal. I've been prepared for this day for a little over a year now. Still hurts though. Still hurts.) The Question of the Day is: What is your movie of the decade?
***I know that taste in popular media is a basic generation gap, but you know what? The next time I hear some crusty, pretentious, old-balls movie critic hammer into a movie like Wedding Crashers, probably the funniest movie of the last 20 years, and say something to the effect of "I just can't believe what constitutes comedy these days! What happened to the good ol' days, when movies that were supposed to make me laugh actually did?" I am just gonna snap. I refuse to believe that Steve Martin represents the glory days of comedy. Oh my goodness! He's got twelve kids? TWELVE? That's certainly a larger-than-average family! And his daughter is marrying someone he doesn't approve of! And the new in-laws are full of idiosyncrisies that clash with Martin's family's beliefs? Awwwwk-ward! Hopefully somebody has a gross physical defect that Martin can make fun of, and fill a couple scenes in the process. And WHO is this wacky guy who keeps on driving Martin to the edge of insanity, even though he's an inconsequential character? Oh boy, I bet he flies off the handle and has a hilarious meltdown at a crucial moment in the movie, only to be reigned back in by his loving family, and ultimately to learn what it means to accept all different kinds of people, no matter how many shenanigans they cause in your everyday life!!!***