Will Ferrell the Dramatist

Will Ferrell is one of my favorite comic actors, and his movies are regulars in my playlist at home. If you’ve never seen Zoolander, The Campaign, Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory, or his new 1970’s miniseries parody The Spoils of Babylon, then treat yourself and watch them. They’re laugh-out-loud funny.

That said, I like Ferrell best in his dramatic roles. Here are two that are not as well known as his comedies, but are as good as anything he’s done.

Stranger than Fiction is the story of an IRS auditor who suddenly finds himself a character in the story of a famous novelist played by Emma Thompson. He can hear her narration as he’s living his daily life. And, by the way, she’s going to kill him at the end of the book.

In Everything Must Go, Ferrell plays a salesman with a very serious drinking problem. In the first fifteen minutes he’s fired from his job and he comes home to find that his wife has left him and locked him out of his house with all his stuff scattered on the front yard.

The movie is loosely based on the short story “Why Don’t You Dance?” by Raymond Carver. Like the story, the movie is sparse and quiet, and the subtext conveys deep emotion. I went in expecting a comedy, and came out moved by the drama.





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