Five Must-Watch Movies For Anyone New To Adam McKay

Filmmaker and comedian Adam McKay has received several accolades for his movies, including several nominations for Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and winning Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, the BAFTA Film Awards, and the WGA Awards. He began his career as a head writer for Saturday Night Live. In his filmmaking career, he has often collaborated with comedian Will Ferrell who co-wrote a lot of his films such as Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys. Aside from his comedy films, Mckay has also tackled political themes in his films. In an article by Vanity Fair, they wrote, “McKay is the rare director who’s been able to make political films that (mostly) avoid coming off as self-righteous. An old friend of his from the Second City theater in Chicago, Kelly Leonard, says he’s taken Michael Moore’s place in the conversation.” His most recent project is the star-studded science fiction comedy film Don’t Look Up. Here are five of Adam McKay’s movies that are worth watching if you’re into humor, satire, and political themes.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is Adam McKay’s directorial debut, produced by Judd Apatow, starring Will Ferrell, and written by McKay and Ferrell. The film is a satirical comedy set in the 1970s which follows news anchor Ron Burgundy who leads the male-dominated San Diego television station and his clash with a newly hired female anchor. In a review published by New York Times, they wrote how Anchorman “transports us back to a familiar, silly world of embarrassing facial hair and ugly polyester clothes — a mythic land that even schoolchildren will identify as the 1970’s. If it were not for that benighted decade and its wayward pop culture, there might not be anything for movies like this one to make inoffensive fun of.”

Don’t Look Up

Adam McKay’s most recent movie Don’t Look Up is a science fiction film that stars big names such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep. It follows the story of astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence), a Michigan State University astronomy Ph.D. candidate, and professor Dr. Randall Mindy who try their best to warn society about an approaching comet that will lead to the end of humanity. In an article published by The Guardian about the film, climate scientist Nina Lakhani shared, “There was a lot I liked about Don’t Look Up – it’s a broadly smart satire with some zinger one-liners and in my view the film pretty successfully used the impending doom of a scientifically indisputable planet-killing comet to draw parallels to the impending doom of the climate emergency, which we’re watching play out in real time.”

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is Adam McKay’s sports comedy film written by both McKay and Ferrell, who also stars in the movie. The cast also features John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan, Leslie Bibb, Jane Lynch, and Amy Adams. Several cameos from prominent figures include NASCAR drivers Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr., broadcasting teams from NASCAR Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip, Bill Weber, Wally Dallenbach Jr., and Benny Parsons, and SNL alums. The film follows NASCAR superstar Ricky Bobby, played by Will Ferrell, who is at the top of his game until he faces the challenge of his new opponent French Formula One champion Jean Girard, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. In a film review published by New York Times, they wrote, “As a cultural artifact, “Talladega Nights” is both completely phony and, therefore, utterly authentic.” The Independent Critic also wrote about the film saying, “Talladega Nights is the perfect summer movie, a light-hearted, occasionally heart-warming and frequently funny film about Ricky Bobby…a man so great he’s got his own ballad!”


Adam McKay’s film Vice may have a more serious tone but is definitely worth watching. The film is an American biographical political black comedy that centers on Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co, on his path as George W. Bush’s Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election. The film stars Christian Bale as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney with supporting roles by Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Justin Kirk, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, and Jesse Plemons. The film received eight nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture, winning Best Make-Up and Hairstyling, and received six nominations each including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy from the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. Christan Bale also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his portrayal of Cheney in the film. In a film review by Time, they wrote about McKay’s storytelling of Cheney’s political journey. “He covers Cheney’s checkerboard life story with quicksilver hops and leaps that defy strict chronology and could, if you’re in a generous mood, be considered a kind of vivaciousness.”

The Big Short

The Big Short is another biographical comedy-drama film by Adam McKay based on the 2010 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, centering on the financial crisis of 2007–2008 in the United States. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, with Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Finn Wittrock, and Marisa Tomei in supporting roles. The film follows the concurrent stories of Wall Street guru Michael Burry (Christian Bale), bank executive Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Steve Carell), and retired former trader Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt), who were able to predict the housing bubble collapse in the mid-2000s and took advantage of the financial crisis. The film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in addition to nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), and Best Film Editing. Empire reviewed the film and wrote, “Witty, absurd and far more entertaining than it has any right to be, this could finally shed light on the financial crisis for those of us who found it all too boring to contemplate.”

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