Seth Rogen has a reputation for making vulgar comedy films, funny or not (I think they are for the most part) we know they are hits among the masses. Today, in honor of his upcoming release (Sausage Party) I present to you a brief look through some of his filmography, specifically the ones he had a lot of involvement in and the ones I feel define his career the most. Before we start, yes there will be some minor spoilers throughout, maybe even major ones for the films we'll run through, keep that in mind.
Let's start with the film where most people got introduced to Rogen as a leading funny man, Knocked Up. While I know quite a few people find this movie to be sexist, I feel there's some realism to it that isn't found in most comedies where slackers end up with women out of their league. Rogen is delightful in this film, which makes the success no surprise, but what made him stand out for me, was that he actually seems to grow up by the end of this movie, sure he's still kind of a screw up, but we do see him grow, unlike other slacker characters who remain unchanged by the end, yet still get the girl because they... proved they weren't losers somehow? Bottom line, funny movie, Rogen was great in it and the movie still works because it doesn't pretend Rogen is a misunderstood screw-up, he's just a screw up who needs to change and does mature by the end.
We've all heard about the history behind this movie right? Written by a young Rogen (and Evan Goldberg), this movie is a fictionalized take of his teen years, with Jonah Hill playing him essentially, while Michael Cera plays a young Evan Goldberg, essentially. Once again we find ourselves in a movie about growing up, though this time the "growing up" is teens being faced with growing apart after high school. I'm not the biggest fan of movies that are specifically about teens growing up, sure there are some classics in the genre (look up John Hughes) but most tend to be poorly made films that seem to be made by people who think they know how teens talk (but don't), so to me, Superbad is strong because it feels real, in fact when it came out I was just getting into high school, this sounded almost exactly like me and everyone I knew, was it homophobic? Sadly yes, in parts, but that helps make it feel real, even if it's wrong. While I feel this movie is a bit overshadowed now compared to some of Rogen's later work, I still believe it's smart, presents one of the best teen movies of the century so far, and McLovin is still one of the best supporting characters in any of his films.
And here's one of the most beloved stoner duos in recent memory, for many people this was the introduction to the Seth Rogen and James Franco team that has brought so many laughs. I'll be the first to admit I believe this film goes on too long, but that doesn't mean Pineapple Express lacks charm, regardless of how you feel about Franco, he's perfect in this movie. Then there's Rogen, he plays a good straight man to Franco's insanity, but honestly to me, his best moment in the film is his response to marriage, trust me it's a funny bit that feels like the movie stopped, started acknowledging the stupidity of the characters involved, and began calling out the immaturity through Rogen. Outside of the bromance, the main reason to watch this as far as I'm concerned is a three-way fight between Rogen, Franco, and Danny McBride, it's hilarious because of how real and over the top it gets.
THE GREEN HORNET
I could've chosen any one of his other failures, instead I went with this, largely because this is the one I think most people remember. The Green Hornet, is honestly one of the weirder movies Rogen has been in, one part standard superhero movie, while the other is standard Rogen comedy, it's an odd mix, but I kinda dug it, yeah it's one of his weaker ones, but there's a charm to it, especially with Christoph Waltz, who plays a villain with a bit of an identity complex. Admittedly the action is pretty cool whenever you see "Kato-vision", but the whole movie is just odd and never perfectly gels, still I think it's decent, so if you haven't watched it yet, give it a shot and see if you agree with others as this being his worst.
THIS IS THE END
My personal favorite Rogen film, a movie so insane you just have to see to believe, religion, friendship, the apocalypse and celebrity culture all come together for this absurd comedy about the end of the world. While you'd think This Is The End would be an easily dated film, it manages to bring so many jokes that one could laugh regardless of knowing the actors (though of course it is funnier with knowledge of them), it's themes of friendship resonate well, while the celebrities playing themselves adds to the humor. As the first film Seth directed, this seems to be the beginning of a new chapter in his career, after all his most recent films seem to rarely mention anything before this for the marketing, not bad for a first time director. Also worth noting, fans of Pineapple Express should definitely check out the faux-sequel this movie presents, it's funny and factors into the film in a big way. Rogen's discussed ideas for a sequel, I'm not sure it'd be worth it, but hey, if there's a good idea I'm onboard, this is my favorite of his films after all.
The movie that beat The Amazing Spider-Man 2, no seriously. While this is for the most part a pretty standard comedy, I will admit it stands out a bit more given how the film uses the age-difference between the leads to its advantage, Rogen is just young enough to want to prank in retaliation, while Zac Efron (who is amazingly funny here) is just old enough to feel threaten by his possible future being like Rogen, it's a neat way to explain the emotion over logic approach of the plot. Sure a 911 call could end this (though the film sets up an excuse why it doesn't), but emotionally this doesn't work for either character, which sometimes is more important than the logic. Another major highlight for the film is Rose Byrne, she's funny and presents a good dynamic for Rogen, if Franco is perfect as Rogen's bromance "partner", Byrne is perfect as Rogen's romantic partner... On films of course.
We really can't go over Seth's career without bringing this one up, the movie that got Sony hacked by North Korea, The Interview. We get some more fun between Franco and Rogen, a silly plot involving assassination and the best use of Katy Perry's "Firework". Was this movie worth the damage it brought? Not really it's a fun movie sure, but the satire is barely there, so North Korea was really just overreacting on this one. The main appeal this film has is Randall Park as Kim Jong-Un, which is surprisingly harmless as far as parodies go, still it's a good performance delivered by a talented man, one that surprisingly makes a dictator seem likable, even after we realize he's messing with our leads. The movie plays it safe, but it's fun regardless, outside of the assassination there's no reason for the outrage this recieved, but if my love for a stupid comedy makes me patriotic, then sure why not, I'm patriotic for watching this.
NEIGHBORS 2:SORORITY RISING
A funny sequel, and one of the year's most feminist movies? Yeah, this managed to do both. I've reviewed this one, so if you're curious for more just look it up, but here's why this is here, sequels, especially comedy sequels rarely succeed. I actually prefer this over the original as there's a bit more to enjoy, sure Rogen and Byrne feel like secondary characters this time, but their chemistry is great so we still get big laughs from them, but it's Chloe Grace Moretz who owns the film with her sorority. I do not joke when I say this is one of the years most feminist films, while it's important to see women being professionals, doing things that some assume are more suited for men, the opposite is true, women should be allowed to be slackers and party as they wish, after all some assume that those as well are men traits. The feminism is too much for you? Well this film is still incredibly funny, Efron returns and he's funnier this time as he tries to find his worth, while also realizing how sexist he and his frat were, it's hilarious.
Finally, we arrive at his latest film, I'll avoid saying much as this has yet to be released (there is a script online if you're as impatient as me) but trust me it's insane. There's just so much laughs that occur in this, which feels like the biggest screw you to Pixar and religion (though not in an offending way, just in an observational way acknowledging their flaws) I've ever seen in a film. I'll talk more about this film once it's out, but trust me you'll want to check it out.
With a line-up like this it's no surprise that Rogen is one of the biggest comedians today, are all his films perfect? Obviously not, but aside from some clever jokes, his movies do carry smart twists on classic comedy set-ups that make them feel that much more unique and mature compared to the standard comedy fare. Check these and some others out if you want to get the appeal on the man, I'll be revisiting some before Sausage Party, and I know I won't regret it.
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Written By Octaviano Macias