Netflix just got one of the funniest movies of all time — and it just hit No. 3

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Often, we primarily see Netflix as a place for a ton of originals. Stranger Things 4 is back. True crime and standup are two of the pillars of the service. But every so often, Netflix gets a great movie that it didn't make, that it didn't put its imprint on, that's a must-watch regardless.

And, today's news finds one such movie re-debut on Netflix's charts after just a single day on the service. Faster than I can say "unique New York," one of the best Will Ferrell movies is back on Netflix, as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (a likely incoming addition to our best Netflix movies list) just jumped to the No. 3 slot in Netflix's Top 10 Movies in the U.S. list.

Anchorman is beloved in part because it's a well-told but supremely over-the-top ensemble comedy. Will Ferrell may be in the lead role as the titular mustachioed doofus who anchors the action news hour at the fictional KVWN channel 4, but all of his co-stars have their shining moments as well.

Why people are watching Anchorman right now

Anchorman is a satire of the old news room, the boys-club mentality that is a toxic influence on the workplace and much more. Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy is also a dictionary definition of the oblivious, sexist and aloof men who ran (and still run) things. 

The story is simple: while Burgundy is currently the peacock of the walk, along with his crew of field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner) and dimwitted meteorologist Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell). But times are changing, and his charm is wearing thin, as he learns when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) denies his advances. Then, Burgundy learns that Ms. Corningstone's been hired, and she soon advances to co-anchor. Arguments galore ensue, a random inter-news station rivalry takes place, and Ron has even more troubles befell his life. 

It's hard to say which cast member gets the best lines, but Carrell's are arguably the most memorable of the bunch. Who doesn't remember how much Brick loves lamps?

Which is all to say this is a thankfully low-stakes story. It's not a stretch to say that the news right now is terrible. Honestly, we couldn't blame you if you don't turn on the news these days for the sake of your mental health. And so we look at Anchorman as a calming way to turn off your brain.

San Diego's obsessions in Anchorman revolve around a popular bear that's about to give birth, and Ron Burgundy's accidental profanity. 

The critics and public reaction to Anchorman

Back in 2002, when Anchorman came out, critics gave it mixed reviews, but that didn't stop anyone from loving it. The positive notes came from Desson Thomson of the Washington Post who wrote that Anchorman is "Wonderfully silly all the time." Rotten Tomatoes (which ranked the film with a 66% critics score) notes that Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said (in an unavailable review) that Anchorman "Slaps a goofy smile on your face."

The negative reviews came from Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times, who wrote "While the film is sporadically funny, it was done much better on the small screen, decades ago," and said it "plays like a small-screen rerun." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said Anchorman is "A comic idea that never finds the comic wellspring or anything resembling a sure source for laughs."

Meanwhile, at the box office, Anchorman did well despite tough competition. In its first weekend, it made $28,416,365 (according to Box Office Mojo) behind, only losing the weekend to Spider-Man 2 (one of the best comic book movies of all time). 

Audiences gave Anchorman an average grade of a B, when polled by CinemaScore.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.