"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the best animated film of the year                Snubs and surprises mark the Screen Actors Guild nominations as "A Star Is Born" leads the way                2018 Critics Choice nominations led by Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite"                Nicole Kidman: Boy Erased and Destroyer - Hollywood Film Tribute                “Beautiful Boy” – Timothée Chalamet: Hollywood Film Tribute                “First Man” by Damien Chazelle: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy - Hollywood Film Tribute                Natalie Portman shines in the otherwise confounding "Vox Lux"                Golden Globe nominations announced! "Vice" leads the charge!                “Green Book” - Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali: Hollywood Film Tribute                "Mary Queen of Scots" can't live up to its royal lineage                "Ben Is Back" sees father and filmmaker Peter Hedges direct his son Lucas Hedges to a brilliant performance                Hollywood Film Tribute: GLENN CLOSE for her excellent performances                A final crack at Golden Globe nominations before Thursday's announcement                “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Once Upon a Deadpool”: Films to see in December                Review Round-Up: "Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer" and "The Mercy"        

Spotlight on the Stars: Seth Rogen

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Here we go with another installment of my Spotlight on the Stars series (the return of it too after a few weeks spent looking at more under the radar folks). As a refresher, each week I’ll look at an A-list actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some kind of a way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend (like most weeks, honestly) or just because I feel they deserve to have a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.

For this week’s piece, I wanted to take a look at our first mainly comedic actor, and that would be Seth Rogen. Not only is he one of the biggest comedy stars on the planet, he’s also a multi-hyphenate, having co-written and co-directed This is the End (along with having co-written The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, and Superbad, to name a few). He’s probably the most successful of the Judd Apatow troop so far, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

By and large, his best films often are broad comedies (like his newest movie opening this week, the very funny flick Neighbors), with Rogen being a likable oaf. He’s a rare leading man who doesn’t look like a leading man. Sometimes, like in Knocked Up or Zack and Miri Make a Porno, that works for the narrative itself, increasing the effectiveness of the films. He’s like a big teddy bear, so you want to like his characters, plain and simple. He’s been able to subvert that here and there in more offbeat works like Observe and Report, but for the most part he’s the guy you want to love in his projects.

On the flip side though, Rogen has from time to time gone towards more dramatic parts, and he’s done quite well there too, I might add. The best example of that is Take this Waltz, where he’s amusing but very much a dramatic character, and a romantic one too, at that. He was Oscar nomination worthy there, as were many elements of that sadly ignored film. The same goes for his supporting turn in the dramedy 50/50, where he was ignored by the precursors as well. He was also quite good in another dramedy, Apatow’s Funny People, so he’s got more going on than some realize.

Overall, Rogen is a bit of an underrated actor, with more talent than he’s given credit credit for. With this week’s Neighbors showing him in a slightly different light than usual (he’s still an immature comedic character, but he’s also shown as a husband and a parent, hinting at some more responsibility than he usually has), it could be that Rogen is on his way to trying something new. I certainly hope he keeps trying his hand at dramedies, as he’s potentially going to get himself a Best Supporting Actor nomination one day if he continues on that path. At the same time though, he makes me and millions of other people laugh consistently, so I hope he doesn’t abandon that either. Basically, whatever he decides to do, he’ll likely succeed.

Stay tuned for a new spotlight next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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