From schlubby side-character to rom-com leading man, Seth Rogen has had quite the journey through Hollywood. Though most people think of Rogen as the funny guy with the crazy laugh, Rogen has become one of the most versatile talents working today. Not only is he a terrific actor, he’s a great writer, director, and producer, dabbling in all different genres and mediums. Rogen is always a joy to see on screen and these are the films that he’s been the best in. These are my picks for the best Seth Rogen movies.
The films listed below are based on Rogen’s performance and the film’s quality.
5 – DALE DENTON in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS (David Gordon Green, 2008)
- The Pineapple Express is a modern stoner classic. A wild, insane crime comedy that is filled with violence, laughs, and tons of smoking. Like any great stone comedy, the film focuses on the adventures of a pair of stoners, Rogen’s Dale Denton and James Franco’s Saul. Franco got a lot of the accolades for the film, but Rogen is equally as good, playing the straight man to Franco’s extremely chill drug dealer as they try to survive getting killed by a drug dealer. Watching Dale and Saul’s friendship grow over the movie is lovely and is the emotional arc of the movie. Rogen and Franco have worked together on a number of movies, but Pineapple Express is their best film together.
4 – ZACK in ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO (Kevin Smith, 2008)
- Most people wouldn’t put Zack and Miri Make a Porno as one of Seth Rogen’s best films, but it was a no-brainer for me. Rogen plays Zack, who, along with life-long friend Miri (a delightful Elizabeth Banks), realize that they might be able to solve their financial woes by making a low-budget adult film, though they soon realize that they might have feelings for each other. Rogen and Banks are a great team and the supporting cast, featuring the likes of Craig Robinson, Jeff Anderson, Traci Lords, and a scene-stealing Justin Long is great. This is one of Smith’s wilder movies, but that isn’t a bad thing. His dialog pops and he gets tons of laughs while also giving the film a lot of heart. Zach and Miri Make a Porno is one of Smith’s most underrated movies and one of Rogen’s most underrated performances.
3 – KYLE in 50/50 (Jonathon Levine, 2011)
- Rogen’s performance in 50/50 was the first time we saw him truly dive into a dramatic role and it was an impressive feat. Playing the best friend to a man (Joseph Gordon Levitt) diagnosed with cancer, Rogen balances a number of emotions he had yet to crack as an actor. Kyle doesn’t know what do when his best friend is diagnosed with cancer. He doesn’t know how to act and he doesn’t know what to do to help, even though he wants to do nothing more. Rogen portrays Kyle as confused, angry, sad, amusing, and real, never going over the top with any emotion and really making us understand what is going on in Kyle’s head. 50/50 was a big stepping stone for Rogen’s acting career.
2 – STEVE WOZNIAK in STEVE JOBS (Danny Boyle, 2015)
- When I first heard that Seth Rogen was cast in the Aaron Sorkin-written Steve Jobs, I had my doubts. Sorkin is known for his dizzying, rapid-fire dialog and I didn’t think that Rogen’s slower, deep voice wouldn’t match well with Sorkin’s words. Boy, was I wrong. Playing Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Rogen does a brilliant job of conveying Wozniak’s frustrations with Steve Jobs (a masterful Michael Fassbender) while also giving off a sweetness and sadness that makes you really sympathize with him. This is the performance that solidified Rogen as a real-deal actor for me. He had given great performances before it, but this proved that Rogen was capable of far more than just comedies. Rogen’s performance in Steve Jobs could be argued as the best of his career.
1 – BEN STONE in KNOCKED UP (Judd Apatow, 2007)
- Usually when making these lists, I struggle with the top spot. That was not the case with this one. When I think of Seth Rogen movies and performances, Knocked Up is the first movie that comes to mind. It’s a simple premise: unmotivated stoner Ben (Rogen) gets successful, career-focused Alison (Katherine Heigl) pregnant and the two try to tackle it together. This is a movie about their relationship and it is a wonderful watch. We see this unlikely duo grow closer together while also hitting a number of speed bumps along the way, all for the purpose of the future baby. Rogen and Heigl are sensational and this is Judd Apatow’s best film to date. Knocked Up is one of the great romantic comedies of the 21st century and easily the best Seth Rogen movie.
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