Judd Apatow Movies are sometimes deep, frequently goofy, often ironic, and always hilarious. It's hard to pick the very best Judd Apatow movies, because so many of them are just so good, to the point where they become cult films almost instantly. He's a great director and an awesome writer, in addition to being a very savvy producer – in fact, that seems to be the role he chooses most often. In the spirit of that, I've tried to stick to Judd Apatow movies where he's featured as the producer, but in many of these fine films he's also been the writer or director as well – or both!
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Of all the Judd Apatow movies ever made, of all the ones that will be made, this is hands down my favorite. In many films, he gathers a core group of actors together – edgy, funny, brilliant men and women who just rock my socks. I love it best, however, when Jason Segel and Paul Rudd star together. Mostly, I love Jason Segel's character – and is it just me, or should he and Mila Kunis for real get married?
2. Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby
I grew up in the south. I spent many a weekend sitting beside my father and assorted uncles, watching a bunch of cars race around and around and around. I had to see Ricky Bobby – and I recognized something in Ricky Bobby that makes me a little nostalgic for all of those weekends, when I wanted to be watching something else entirely but it didn't matter anyway because it was a Sunday and there was nothing on except Davey and Goliath. Judd Apatow has single handedly made me like Will Ferrell though, so that's awesome. I preferred this one to Ron Burgundy, but the Anchorman's definitely worth the watch as well.
A lot of Judd Apatow movies revolve around underdogs – the nerds, the geeks, the guys from high school who got no play. Of that genre, Superbad is probably my favorite. The film has its flaws, but the core trio of stars make it a gym. Michael Cera proves that he's a little beta male force to be reckoned with, you get to see Jonah Hill before he got as cool as he is now, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is just ridiculously adorable. I mean, who doesn't love some McLovin'?
4. Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story
Fictional biopics like this are right up Apatow's alley. I love this one because I am just mad for the awkward, awesome ball of hair and talent that is John. C. Reilly. He's just – I mean, where did he even come from? One minute he's this obscure character actor, and the next he's everywhere. This parody is full of win, especially with that Beatles cameo.
5. Pineapple Express
Of course, you can't talk about Judd Apatow movies without discussing Pineapple Express. It was an instant classic, partly because it's definitely not the typical stoner movie. It pretty much launched public infatuation with Seth Rogen and cemented James Franco's popularity, especially as a comedic actor. It lags a little during the action bits, but the funny parts help to make up for the lack.
A lot of people don't realize that Bridesmaids is an Apatow flick, maybe because it stars girls. The inherent vulgarity – which appeals to me; I've just got that kind of humor – is pretty signature of the man, though. This was a runaway hit, but for a different reason that the actual trailers suggested. It was marketed as a kind of Hangover for girls, but well, that's not quite what it is. However, Melissa McCarthy did pull a Zach Galifianakis by capturing the hearts and funny bones of the viewing audience.
7. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
You also can't talk about Judd Apatow movies at all without giving due props to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which was just amazing. It helped launch the whole bromance phenomenon, and it was just … it was awesome. Steve Carell is just awkward and weird and uncomfortable throughout the whole movie – an Apatow signature, I think. In most movies of which he's a part, there will either be a character or a scene that will make the audience itself feel uncomfortable. Additions like Jane Lynch, Paul Rudd, and Catherine Keener made this film a comedic masterpiece.
What, you didn't know this was an Apatow production? Actually, I didn't either, until I was doing my research for this piece. I could have put Knocked Up, Anchorman, Step-Brothers, or Funny People here, but I have to be honest, I frigging LOVE Heavyweights. I will watch this movie over and over again. When you consider later works, like Drillbit Taylor or Get Him to the Greek, which weren't runaway hits, or complete flops like – dare I even say it? – The Cable Guy, you realize just how great Heavyweights is in comparison. I mean, Ben Stiller – Ben Stiller and his parents!
Honestly, picking only eight Judd Apatow movies was hard. I mean, I love most of them, but obviously I like some more than others. Like, I love Step Brothers, but not quite as much as the ones I mentioned here – although I never miss it when I catch it on one of the movie channels. Ditto Year One, because Michael Cera is just so cute. Not network TV, though. Network TV is not a good place for Judd Apatow movies. But enough about me! Do you like Judd Apatow movies, too? Let me know why – or why not!