Jonah Hill: His best performances so far

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I don’t think that Jonah Hill quite gets the appreciation that he deserves within the industry. Yes, he’s been cited by Oscar twice with Academy Award nominations in Best Supporting Actor (the first for Moneyball and the second for The Wolf of Wall Street) and has anchored a hugely successful comedy franchise, but still, he comes off as under-appreciated. Perhaps when he makes his directorial debut in a year or so that will change, but for now, he’s still underrated in my book. This week, he has a new film out in War Dogs, which could be another hit on his resume. He also has last week’s successful Sausage Party, an animated movie in which he is one of the voices. He certainly keeps busy, right?

For those of you who are curious, War Dogs is dramedy about two young men who became unlikely gun runners. It’s based on the true story of David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Hill), who inexplicably won a $300 million contract from the United States and the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. From there, chaos ensues. Todd Phillips directs and co-writes with Stephen Chin and Jason Smilovic, while the rest of the cast includes Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper (in what I suspect is just a cameo), Steve Lantz, Kevin Pollak, Shaun Toub, and many more. Cliff Martinez contributes the score, while the cinematography comes by way of Lawrence Sher.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote about him in a previous Spotlight on the Stars piece:

“Hill has worked with an impressive assortment of filmmakers so far in his career. That list includes the likes of Judd Apatow, David Gordon Green, Phil Lord/Christopher Miller, Bennett Miller, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino. You probably never would have guessed that the guy who got his start playing second fiddle in films like Accepted would become one of more in demand actors in Hollywood. It just goes to show where real dedication and hard work can get you.

If you actually look at his work, he’s show more range than he’s given credit for. The types of performances he gives in movies like 21 Jump Street (along with 22 Jump Street on Friday, which is just as good, trust me there), Funny People, Knocked Up, and Superbad are tremendous, but they’re very different than what he’s shown us in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. Especially with that latter performance, he was able to seamlessly blend comedy and drama, which is the way he’s going to one day win that statue, likely in the Best Supporting Actor category that he’s gotten a pair of citations in already.

Overall, Hill is a genius comic actor with some stunningly good dramatic chops as well. He’s got the very amusing 22 Jump Street opening in a few days and later this year he’ll make another play at awards with the drama True Story, co-starring James Franco. He’ll likely continue to mix and match between comedy and drama, which is perfectly fine in my book. I greatly look forward to watching Hill continue to grow as an actor and also as a writer. No matter what he does, he seems to be great at it…”

It’s been a year or two, but trust me when I say that it all still is completely apt and true…

Here now is what I would consider to be his top ten performances to date:

10. 22 Jump Street
9. This is the End
8. Funny People
7. Cyrus
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
5. True Story
4. 21 Jump Street
3. Superbad
2. Moneyball
1. The Wolf of Wall Street

Honorable Mention: Accepted, Get Him to the Greek, and Knocked Up

Be sure to check out War Dogs, in theaters this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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