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Film

Six Definitive Films: The ultimate beginner's guide to Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill has built his career on the back of his unique brand of comedy, using his hilarious on-screen persona of being a goofy nerd in many teen comedies such as Superbad and 21 Jump Street. However, the image he projected through his films resulted in many people harassing him due to his weight and producers even dismissed him for serious roles.

After starring in those early comedies, Hill has diligently worked towards reshaping his persona in order to be considered for more powerful parts as well as to stop the bullying. Despite his best efforts, Hill has been constantly written off by some of his colleagues as well as fans who can’t seem to recognise that he has matured and reached new artistic heights.

In addition to his excellent performances, Hill has also redirected his creative focus towards writing and directing. Having made one of the most exciting and original films in recent memory, he has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with and that it is time to take him as well as his acting and directorial work seriously.

Check out a list of definitive films from Jonah Hill’s career below.

Jonah Hill’s six definitive films:

Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)

This is the film that crystallised Hill’s image in the early half of his career, featuring his fantastic comedic work. Starring alongside Micheal Cera, Hill played the role of a horny teenager who embarks on a night of debauchery with his best friend before they part ways for college.

Mottola’s film is actually based on a script written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who finished up the first draft when they were just 13 years old. The director commented: “One of the first things they wrote was the name McLuvin. It’s perfect that that joke was written by a 13- or 14-year-old.”

Moneyball (Bennett Miller, 2011)

One of the most riveting sports dramas of the decade, Moneyball starred Pitt as a revolutionary manager of a baseball team who works with financial constraints but devises an extremely innovative plan to transcend all limitations and deliver the team to success.

Hill is brilliant as his assistant manager, maintaining the film’s undercurrent of anxiety and foreboding. For his tremendous performance, Hill received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in addition to many other sought after accolades.

21 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2012)

A beloved addition to the buddy cop genre, 21 Jump Street’s comedy works off of the contrasting characters played by Hill and Channing Tatum. The pair feature as undercover cops who are sent to infiltrate a high school where designer drugs are leading to deaths.

However, they end up enrolling in classes that are not suited for them which leads them to discover revelations about their own identities and the stereotypes they faced during their own school years. The success of the first film led to a sequel as well which continued the franchise’s legacy.

The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)

Definitely the most high-profile role of Hill’s career, this modern masterpiece by Martin Scorsese launched a scathing indictment of American capitalism by exploring the absurd life of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) who rose to the very top through countless scams.

Hill is absolutely brilliant as Donnie Azoff, Belfort’s maniacal minion who treats him as the chosen one and follows his lead on the pursuit of fame, money and happiness. Hill’s dedicated acting makes him fit right into this crazy microcosm of Wall Street banking.

War Dogs (Todd Phillips, 2016)

Based on a true story, Todd Phillips’ 2016 darkly comical interpretation of real events stars Hill and Miles Teller as two young entrepreneurs who engage in small-time ventures until they suddenly get their hands on a $300 million contract from the Pentagon for a weapons supply gig.

A competent critique of the monstrosity that is the military industrial complex as well as human greed, War Dogs is a deeply engaging story about young men who get in too deep. Hill’s performance as the uncompromising businessman earned him a well-deserved Golden Globe bid.

Mid90s (Jonah Hill, 2018)

The most important work of Hill’s career does not even contain his acting. Instead, it is his 2018 debut feature Mid90s which showed the world that the actor had an incredibly gifted artistic vision when it came to making dramatically powerful films despite his background in comedy.

Mid90s is a beautifully nostalgic story about a 13-year-old boy who tries really hard to fit in while hanging out with older skateboarders during the ’90s in Los Angeles. Chronicling the bursts of happiness as well as the plunges of pain, Hill managed to conduct a remarkably sensitive treatment of youth.