Every summer, when the temperatures reach unbearable levels, I get a little too obsessed over a nine-word phrase that has, in certain fan circles, become one of the past decade’s most quotable movie lines: “It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice.”
That’s from “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” In case you missed it, the scene finds Ron at the end of his rope, alone, dejected, wandering the streets of A Whale’s Vagina San Diego. It’s hot, he’s thirsty, and, well, that’s pretty much it.
What hooks me every time is Will Ferrell’s line read. The expected take would be to put the accent on the last word, emphasizing “choice” as the punchline. But Ferrell instead accents “bad,” which gives the line an off-balance rhythm. The words sound weirder, less expected – which naturally makes it funnier. Better still, it presents the absurd notion that before the scene, Ron maybe took great pride in deciding milk was a good choice, and he’s now realizing his grave mistake.
A weird object for obsession? Sure. It’s nothing more than a throwaway joke, just another in the large pile of random silliness that fills “Anchorman.” It’s also my favorite, partly because of how well Ferrell handles such a moment.
Besides, Ron does have a point.
Milk was a bad choice.