One of the undoubted success stories of the Superbad cast, the rising star of Jonah Hill, continues to feel both impressive and wholeheartedly warranted. Having suffered at the hands of bullies within the industry, Hill quickly escaped any pre-determined career. Now, his filmography reads like one of the most impressive in Hollywood. As well as his work within comedy, nailing the 21 Jump Street franchise and enlightening War Dogs, Hill has also had turns with Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street and starred alongside Brad Pitt in Moneyball, to prove his growing credentials.
Not content to rest on his acting laurels, Hill made his directorial debut in 2018 with his excellent coming of age film Mid90s. He said that the film derived inspiration from his days as a teen skater. “[There’s] just a general recklessness which I related to. Even though this isn’t my story, I wanted to show someone going through deep pain and a real sense of hope through community.” He said how directing was a “dream”, and he had to thank the “amazing derailment” caused by all the negative comments and hate and criticism that made him take the initiative and reach for the stars. But what are his own favourite films?
As fans wait with bated breath for Adam McKay’s upcoming 2021 film Don’t Look Up starring Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and more, let us fill the time by looking at the films Hill claims to be his favourite of all time.
It must be said, the selections, collated by the Golden Globes, isn’t exactly a sprawling list of searing insight. Instead, they are three classic films backed up by simple quotes. For example, on picking the 1971 dark comedy from Hal Ashby, Harold and Maude, Hill simply labels it “one of the classics.” It’s hard to deny such a succinct summary, especially given the context.
Hill also pays tribute to 1997 smash Boogie Nights, arguably Paul Thomas Anderson’s finest work. Hill calls the film the “most fun.” Boogie Nights is a powerful evaluation of the hedonistic excess of the ’70s, taking us to the trashy world of the emerging adult industry of Southern California. A favourite film of iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, the film, is a staggering work of early brilliance. A passionate and painfully honest depiction of the American soul by a precocious filmmaker elicits something similar to a punk band’s first records — pure fiery brilliance. Echoing snappy energy similar to the films of Quentin Tarantino, it’s no wonder that the filmmaker found so much joy in Anderson’s film.
Then there is the final entry on Hill’s list, the 1990 gangster epic Goodfellas from none other than Martin Scorsese. The film, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta, has gone down as one of the finest from Scorsese’s brimming filmography. Hill is a gigantic fan and, as well as starring for the director in The Wolf of Wall Street will take on a new role for the maestro when Hill takes on the part of Jerry Garcia in Scorsese’s Grateful Dead biopic.
Hill once attempted to explain Scorsese’s genius through a chess analogy: “You like chess, right? Imagine if you can make the most complex chess move with no clock. You have four hours to make your move; you’re still a brilliant chess player. Now imagine that you make an even better chess move than that brilliant chess player, but you do it in 30 seconds with the clock going.”
Adding: “What it takes a brilliant director, who is not yet at that place possibly… I’m talking [about] someone who is a master chess player, a master director. He can fix that problem; it’s advanced problem-solving in 30 seconds. You literally watch him close his eyes and solve an insanely complex issue… directing is just solving issues constantly.”
Find Jonah Hill’s three favourite films of all time below.
Jonah Hill’s 3 favourite films of all time:
- Goodfellas – Martin Scorsese (1990)
- Boogie Nights – Paul Thomas Anderson (1997)
- Harold and Maude – Hal Ashby (1971)