(Photo by Peter Iovino/©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

All Anna Kendrick Movies Ranked

Anna Kendrick’s first film was 2003’s Camp, a musical set at a camp for performing artists in upstate New York, a fitting extension of Kendrick’s childhood start in theater around her birthplace of Portland, Maine. The first of many Certified Fresh awards came with her next movie, Rocket Science; being cast as Jessica in the Twilight franchise meant Kendrick would have a high-profile job waiting for her for years to come.

Her career would soon become defined by steady versatility, appearing in a wide range of films like End of Watch, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and Cake. Kendrick is particularly adept in comedy hybrids, as seen in in The Voices, A Simple Favor, 50/50, and Up in the Air, the last of which garnered her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nom. Meanwhile, she’s been one of the 2010s most reliable musical stars – just look at Into the WoodsTrolls and, of course, the Pitch Perfect series.

Her latest films were Stowaway and the Trolls sequel, World Tour. And now, we’re ranking all Anna Kendrick movies by Tomatometer!

#38

Get a Job (2016)
9%

#38
Adjusted Score: 8529%
Critics Consensus: Inauthentic and unfunny, Get a Job is paltry to the point that its long-delayed release feels purely the result of its wasted cast having been promoted to greater fame all these years later.
Synopsis: A young man (Miles Teller) and his girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) struggle to find desirable employment after graduating from college.... [More]
Directed By: Dylan Kidd

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 9330%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A limousine driver (Jason Schwartzman) who once starred in high-school musicals hopes to cut an album, despite constant reminders of... [More]
Directed By: Todd Louiso

#36
Adjusted Score: 27400%
Critics Consensus: The cast is stocked with likable performers, but What to Expect When You're Expecting is too disjointed -- and too reliant on stock rom-com cliches -- to live up to its distinguished literary namesake.
Synopsis: Challenges of impending parenthood turn the lives of five couples upside down. Two celebrities are unprepared for the surprise demands... [More]
Directed By: Kirk Jones

#35

Rapture-Palooza (2013)
24%

#35
Adjusted Score: 21613%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Left behind after the Rapture, a young woman (Anna Kendrick) and her boyfriend (John Francis Daley) set out to prevent... [More]
Directed By: Paul Middleditch

#34

Table 19 (2017)
25%

#34
Adjusted Score: 33266%
Critics Consensus: Table 19 is marginally more entertaining than actually sitting with a table full of strangers at a wedding -- although most screenings won't come with an open bar, which makes it a wash.
Synopsis: Ex-maid of honor Eloise - having been relieved of her duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via... [More]
Directed By: Jeffrey Blitz

#33
Adjusted Score: 33133%
Critics Consensus: Slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part 1 may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it's strictly for fans of the franchise.
Synopsis: At last, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are getting married. When Jacob (Taylor Lautner) finds out that Bella... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#32
Adjusted Score: 37559%
Critics Consensus: The Twilight Saga's second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length.
Synopsis: After the abrupt departure of Edward (Robert Pattinson), her vampire love, Bella (Kristen Stewart) finds comfort in her deepening friendship... [More]
Directed By: Chris Weitz

#31

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
28%

#31
Adjusted Score: 38855%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect 3 strains to recapture the magic that helped the original spawn a franchise, but ends up sending this increasingly unnecessary trilogy out on a low note.
Synopsis: After the highs of winning the world championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects... [More]
Directed By: Trish Sie

#30
Adjusted Score: 47438%
Critics Consensus: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates benefits from the screwball premise and the efforts of a game cast, even if the sporadically hilarious results don't quite live up to either.
Synopsis: Mike and Dave Stangle are young, adventurous, fun-loving brothers who tend to get out of control at family gatherings. When... [More]
Directed By: Jake Szymanski

#29

Mr. Right (2015)
44%

#29
Adjusted Score: 46591%
Critics Consensus: Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick work well together, but Mr. Right is too much of a tonal jumble to take advantage of their chemistry.
Synopsis: A woman (Anna Kendrick) comes to a crossroad when she finds out that her new beau (Sam Rockwell) is a... [More]
Directed By: Paco Cabezas

#28

Life After Beth (2014)
45%

#28
Adjusted Score: 48557%
Critics Consensus: In spite of Aubrey Plaza's committed performance, Life After Beth remains a sketch-worthy idea that's been uncomfortably stretched to feature length.
Synopsis: A guy (Dane DeHaan) discovers that his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) has returned from the dead, but his joy turns to... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Baena

#27

The Hollars (2016)
47%

#27
Adjusted Score: 51117%
Critics Consensus: The Hollars gathers an impressive assortment of talented stars; unfortunately, it's all in service of a story that's been played out more effectively in countless other indie dramedies.
Synopsis: A man (John Krasinski) returns home to his dysfunctional family after learning that his mother (Margo Martindale) has a brain... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

#26

Cake (2014)
49%

#26
Adjusted Score: 53917%
Critics Consensus: Cake finds Jennifer Aniston making the most of an overdue opportunity to test her dramatic chops, but it lacks sufficient depth or warmth to recommend for all but her most ardent fans.
Synopsis: After having visions of a member of her support group who killed herself, a woman (Jennifer Aniston) who also suffers... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Barnz

#25
Adjusted Score: 56824%
Critics Consensus: Stuffed with characters and overly reliant on uninspired dialogue, Eclipse won't win The Twilight Saga many new converts, despite an improved blend of romance and action fantasy.
Synopsis: Danger once again surrounds Bella (Kristen Stewart), as a string of mysterious killings terrorizes Seattle and a malicious vampire continues... [More]
Directed By: David Slade

#24

Twilight (2008)
49%

#24
Adjusted Score: 57043%
Critics Consensus: Having lost much of its bite transitioning to the big screen, Twilight will please its devoted fans, but do little for the uninitiated.
Synopsis: High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn't expect life to change much when she... [More]
Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

#23

The Accountant (2016)
52%

#23
Adjusted Score: 68953%
Critics Consensus: The Accountant writes off a committed performance from Ben Affleck, leaving viewers with a scattershot action thriller beset by an array of ill-advised deductions.
Synopsis: Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Using a small-town CPA office... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#22

Noelle (2019)
54%

#22
Adjusted Score: 54691%
Critics Consensus: The always charming Anna Kendrick does her best, but Noelle's progressive take on a timeless tale is unfortunately subdued.
Synopsis: Kris Kringle's daughter is full of Christmas spirit but wishes she could do something important like her brother Nick, who... [More]
Directed By: Marc Lawrence

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 57507%
Critics Consensus: The Company You Keep is a (frustratingly) slow-burning thriller about very contemporary issues.
Synopsis: Decades after an ill-fated robbery, a former member (Susan Sarandon) of the Weather Underground turns herself in to authorities. While... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 63707%
Critics Consensus: The Last Five Years hits a few awkward notes in its transition from stage to screen, but its freshness and sincere charm -- and well-matched stars -- offer their own rewards.
Synopsis: In New York, a struggling actress (Anna Kendrick) and a successful writer (Jeremy Jordan) sing about their failed marriage from... [More]
Directed By: Richard LaGravenese

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 69039%
Critics Consensus: Absurd yet anchored in knotty real-world themes, The Day Shall Come adds another bleakly funny satire to director/co-writer Christopher Morris' filmography.
Synopsis: An impoverished preacher who brings hope to the Miami projects is offered cash to save his family from eviction. He... [More]
Directed By: Chris Morris

#18

Digging for Fire (2015)
64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 66137%
Critics Consensus: Digging for Fire finds director/co-writer Joe Swanberg working from a familiar palette, but in ways that suggest he's taking new and exciting strides as a filmmaker.
Synopsis: A house sitter (Jake Johnson) becomes an amateur sleuth after finding a bone and a gun on the property.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Swanberg

#17

Camp (2003)
64%

#17
Adjusted Score: 66241%
Critics Consensus: Campy comedy that squeaks by on its charms.
Synopsis: At Camp Ovation, kids of all ages spend their summer expressing themselves through dance, music and theater. Vlad (Daniel Letterle)... [More]
Directed By: Todd Graff

#16

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
65%

#16
Adjusted Score: 73772%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect 2 sings in sweet comedic harmony, even if it doesn't hit quite as many high notes as its predecessor.
Synopsis: It's been three years since the Barden Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson) became the first all-female group to win a... [More]
Directed By: Elizabeth Banks

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 81872%
Critics Consensus: A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs.
Synopsis: Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also... [More]
Directed By: Walt Dohrn

#14

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 80570%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#13

The Voices (2014)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77393%
Critics Consensus: The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance -- and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies.
Synopsis: A mentally unhinged factory worker (Ryan Reynolds) must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a killer,... [More]
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi

#12

Trolls (2016)
75%

#12
Adjusted Score: 84907%
Critics Consensus: Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents.
Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

#11

Happy Christmas (2014)
75%

#11
Adjusted Score: 77758%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent, well-acted, and satisfyingly low-key, Happy Christmas marks another step in prolific filmmaker Joe Swanberg's creative evolution.
Synopsis: An immature party girl (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother's family to get over a breakup and throws their... [More]
Directed By: Joe Swanberg

#10

Stowaway (2021)
77%

#10
Adjusted Score: 82004%
Critics Consensus: Pacing problems prevent Stowaway from fully engaging, but it's distinguished by its thoughtful, well-acted approach to a story built on an excruciating moral dilemma.
Synopsis: A three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of... [More]
Directed By: Joe Penna

#9

Pitch Perfect (2012)
81%

#9
Adjusted Score: 86241%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.
Synopsis: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#8
Adjusted Score: 92588%
Critics Consensus: Its script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fast, funny, and inventive.
Synopsis: As bass guitarist for a garage-rock band, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has never had trouble getting a girlfriend; usually, the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#7

Rocket Science (2007)
84%

#7
Adjusted Score: 87022%
Critics Consensus: Though Rocket Science appears to be a typically quirky indie, the well-rounded performances and director Jeffrey Blitz's clear affection for his characters gives the film its proper human spark.
Synopsis: High-school student Hal Hefner's (Reece Daniel Thompson) life is falling down around him. His parents have split, his brother picks... [More]
Directed By: Jeffrey Blitz

#6

Drinking Buddies (2013)
84%

#6
Adjusted Score: 87462%
Critics Consensus: Smart, funny, and powered by fine performances from Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, Drinking Buddies offers a bittersweet slice of observational comedy.
Synopsis: Although they're both dating other people, two co-workers (Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson) hang out together in bars and try to... [More]
Directed By: Joe Swanberg

#5

A Simple Favor (2018)
84%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99511%
Critics Consensus: Twisty, twisted, and above all simply fun, A Simple Favor casts a stylish mommy noir spell strengthened by potent performances from Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
Synopsis: Stephanie is a widowed, single mother who works as a vlogger in Connecticut. Her best friend, Emily, seems to have... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#4

End of Watch (2012)
85%

#4
Adjusted Score: 92523%
Critics Consensus: End of Watch has the energy, devotion to characters, and charismatic performances to overcome the familiar pitfalls of its genre and handheld format.
Synopsis: Longtime LAPD partners and friends, Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) patrol one of the most dangerous... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#3

ParaNorman (2012)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 95758%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
Synopsis: Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has the ability to speak with the dead -- and he often prefers their company... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

#2

Up in the Air (2009)
90%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102108%
Critics Consensus: Led by charismatic performances by its three leads, director Jason Reitman delivers a smart blend of humor and emotion with just enough edge for mainstream audiences.
Synopsis: An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman

#1

50/50 (2011)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100616%
Critics Consensus: A good-hearted film about a difficult topic, 50/50 maneuvers between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Synopsis: Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has always tried to take good care of his health, so it comes as a cruel... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Pineapple Express

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Seth Rogen Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

One-season wonder Freaks and Geeks had a startling amount of its young alums go on to have successful Hollywood careers, Seth Rogen chief among them. He followed mentor Judd Apatow into the movie game with The 40 Year-Old Virgin, starring in a memorable supporting role. Rogen was then upgraded to lead status for Apatow’s follow-up Knocked Up, and the movie’s critical and box office success showed Virgin was no fluke, heralding a significant sea change in mainstream American comedy. Rogen has remained the face of this bong- and bro-tastic style of comedy, also featuring big rips of heartfelt emotion – like Animal House by way of James L. Brooks – in repeated movie hits like Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, Neighbors, and The Disaster Artist.

He’s been amassing an impressive résumé as producer (not just on his own starring films, but also the likes of Blockers and Good Boys) and director, helming This Is the End, The Interview, and episodes of Future Man and Preacher. His latest comedy was An American Pickle. And now we’re looking at all of Seth Rogen’s movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 14708%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Compson family struggles to adjust to the changes in society during the early 20th century in the Deep South.... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#31

Zeroville (2019)
23%

#31
Adjusted Score: 23035%
Critics Consensus: Potentially an ironic favorite for cult film fans, Zeroville is a fundamentally misguided -- and descriptively titled -- passion project for its director and star.
Synopsis: With two tattoos of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor on his shaved head, Vikar rides a bus into Hollywood and... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#30

The Guilt Trip (2012)
37%

#30
Adjusted Score: 41025%
Critics Consensus: Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand have enough chemistry to drive a solidly assembled comedy; unfortunately, The Guilt Trip has a lemon of a script and is perilously low on comedic fuel.
Synopsis: Before embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, Andy Brewster pays a visit to his overbearing mother, Joyce. That proves to... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fletcher

#29

The Green Hornet (2011)
44%

#29
Adjusted Score: 53339%
Critics Consensus: It's sporadically entertaining, but The Green Hornet never approaches the surreal heights suggested by a Michel Gondry/Seth Rogen collaboration.
Synopsis: Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), the heir to the largest newspaper fortune in Los Angeles, is a spoiled playboy who has... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#28

The Interview (2014)
51%

#28
Adjusted Score: 55946%
Critics Consensus: Unfortunately overshadowed by controversy (and under-screened as a result), The Interview's screenplay offers middling laughs bolstered by its two likable leads.
Synopsis: Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) are the team behind the popular tabloid-TV show "Skylark... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 59740%
Critics Consensus: Though it has a mean streak, and does not cater to all tastes, Observe and Report has gut-busting laughs and a fully committed Seth Rogen in irresistible form.
Synopsis: As head of security at the Forest Ridge Mall, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) takes his job very seriously, enforcing mall... [More]
Directed By: Jody Hill

#26

The Lion King (2019)
52%

#26
Adjusted Score: 78227%
Critics Consensus: While it can take pride in its visual achievements,The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved--though for some fans that may just be enough.
Synopsis: Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 60128%
Critics Consensus: Brisk, funny, and sweetly raunchy, For a Good Time, Call... adds to the recent string of R-rated female comedies while serving as an overdue coming out party for the charming Ari Graynor.
Synopsis: Reserved Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and bubbly Katie (Ari Graynor) are polar opposites and past enemies. However, when both gals... [More]
Directed By: Jamie Travis

#24
Adjusted Score: 75833%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#23
Adjusted Score: 73012%
Critics Consensus: Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a modest success for Kevin Smith, due in large part to the charm of Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.
Synopsis: Lifelong friends and now roommates, Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are buried under a mountain of debt. When... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#21

Funny People (2009)
69%

#21
Adjusted Score: 77832%
Critics Consensus: Funny People features the requisite humor, as well as considerable emotional depth, resulting in Judd Apatow's most mature film to date.
Synopsis: Recently learning that he has a fatal disease, comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler) spots a struggling performer named Ira (Seth... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#20

The Night Before (2015)
69%

#20
Adjusted Score: 74217%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#19

Paul (2011)
70%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77918%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't measure up to Pegg and Frost's best work, but Paul is an amiably entertaining -- albeit uneven -- road trip comedy with an intergalactic twist.
Synopsis: For the past 60 years, a wisecracking alien named Paul (Seth Rogen) has resided at a top-secret military base in... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 83249%
Critics Consensus: An American Pickle lacks the tart snap viewers might expect given its creative premise, but Seth Rogen's dual performance makes this a low-key comedy to relish.
Synopsis: Preserved in pickle brine for 100 years, an Orthodox Jewish factory worker wakes up in New York City and tracks... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Trost

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81922%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#16

Neighbors (2014)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 81526%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

#15

Take This Waltz (2011)
79%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83634%
Critics Consensus: Featuring excellent work from an outstanding cast, the bittersweet drama Waltz proves that in the right hands, a familiar tale can still ring true.
Synopsis: A young woman (Michelle Williams) is torn between the husband (Seth Rogen) that she loves and a new man (Luke... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

#14
Adjusted Score: 84142%
Critics Consensus: Horton Hears A Who! is both whimsical and heartwarming, and is the rare Dr. Seuss adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the source material.
Synopsis: Animated elephant Horton (Jim Carrey) finds a speck of dust floating in the Jungle of Nool. Upon investigation of the... [More]

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 85664%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#12

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#12
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#11

Long Shot (2019)
81%

#11
Adjusted Score: 99821%
Critics Consensus: A sharp and deceptively layered comedy that's further fueled by the odd couple chemistry of its leads, this Long Shot largely hits its marks.
Synopsis: Fred Flarsky is a gifted and free-spirited journalist who has a knack for getting into trouble. Charlotte Field is one... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#10

Sausage Party (2016)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95761%
Critics Consensus: Sausage Party is definitely offensive, but backs up its enthusiastic profanity with an impressively high laugh-to-gag ratio -- and a surprisingly thought-provoking storyline.
Synopsis: Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the... [More]

#9

This Is the End (2013)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 91209%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 92444%
Critics Consensus: Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences.
Synopsis: Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is an amiable single guy who works at a big-box store. Living alone, 40-year-old Andy spends... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#7

Steve Jobs (2015)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98210%
Critics Consensus: Like the tech giant co-founded by its subject, Steve Jobs gathers brilliant people to deliver a product whose elegance belies the intricate complexities at its core.
Synopsis: With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve "Woz" Wozniak get ready to unveil... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#6

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#5

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#4

Superbad (2007)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 96006%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#3

Knocked Up (2007)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Knocked Up is a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, yet savvy script that is ably acted and directed.
Synopsis: Rising journalist Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) hits a serious bump in the road after a one-night stand with irresponsible slacker... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 116562%
Critics Consensus: Oh, hai Mark. The Disaster Artist is a surprisingly poignant and charming movie-about-a-movie that explores the creative process with unexpected delicacy.
Synopsis: The incredible true story of aspiring filmmaker and Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau as he and his best friend defiantly pursue... [More]
Directed By: James Franco

#1

50/50 (2011)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100616%
Critics Consensus: A good-hearted film about a difficult topic, 50/50 maneuvers between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Synopsis: Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has always tried to take good care of his health, so it comes as a cruel... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures, Universal / courtesy Everett Collection 

At the ripe old age of 35, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is already a grizzled Hollywood veteran, having made his film debut nearly 25 years ago in the slobbery family comedy Beethoven. And he’s a busy guy, too — although this weekend’s Snowden marks his first trip to theaters in 2016, he also juggles a variety of responsibilities to his online collaborative HitRecord. Clearly, the time has come for us to take a fresh look at the critical highlights from Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s growing filmography, and you know what that means: It’s time for Total Recall!


10. Don Jon (2013) 80%

He’s a preening lunkhead and she’s obsessed with romantic comedies, but as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Barbara Sugarman and Jon Martello are far from the empty cinematic stereotypes they might seem like on paper — and their story (written and helmed by Gordon-Levitt in his feature-length directing debut) has much more on its mind than your average boy-meets-girl picture. In fact, as many critics saw it, Don Jon managed to impart some thought-provoking messages about addiction, technology, and the difficulties of modern relationships while also providing an effortlessly entertaining showcase for its appealing young stars; the Boston Globe’s Ty Burr, for one, believed it accomplished the former so well that “R rating aside, it should be required viewing for every 15-year-old boy on the planet.”

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9. Mysterious Skin (2004) 85%

mysterious-skin

Gordon-Levitt raised a lot of eyebrows with 2005’s Brick, but he started erasing memories of Third Rock from the Sun the year before, with this bleak drama from Doom Generation director Gregg Araki. A favorite on the festival circuit, Mysterious Skin delves into the harrowing aftermath of sexual abuse, following the struggles of two teen boys (Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet) to come to grips with the actions of an emotionally disturbed baseball coach (Bill Sage). Understandably not a huge box office draw, Skin was still appreciated by critics such as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, who applauded what he saw as a film that “manages to deal with its raw, awful subject matter in ways that are both challenging and illuminating.”

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8. The Walk (2015) 83%

the-walk

Real-life daredevil Philippe Petit’s death-defying tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers made headlines in 1974 — and astonished viewers all over again when documentarian James Marsh offered an inside look at the story with his 2008 release Man on Wire. Sensing untapped cinematic potential in the tale, director Robert Zemeckis decided to dramatize it with 2015’s The Walk, casting Gordon-Levitt as Petit and bringing the latest and greatest IMAX 3D technology to bear on dazzling scenes depicting the stunt. That technical wizardry rightly received a ton of attention, but some of the film’s charms are decidedly old-fashioned: “Gordon-Levitt beguilingly captures Petit’s irresistible charisma,” wrote Calvin Wilson for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “in a performance that completes his transition from indie-film favorite to big-budget star.”

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7. Inception (2010) 87%

inception

Yeah, you knew this one would be here. Gordon-Levitt was almost an afterthought in Inception, but that had everything to do with the fact that it was a Christopher Nolan joint, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and nothing to do with his own performance as Arthur, DiCaprio’s partner in high-tech corporate espionage. A rare opportunity for Gordon-Levitt to play with choreographed stunts, trippy special effects, and blockbuster expectations, Inception earned four Academy Awards against eight nominations — not to mention more than $825 million in box office receipts, as well as praise from critics like Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle, who called it “only the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today.”

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6. (500) Days of Summer (2009) 85%

500-days-of-summer

Indie boy meets indie girl at their quirky office (a greeting card company, for goodness’ sake) and they start an adorably star-crossed relationship. It’s the kind of thing, at least in its bare outline form, that we’ve seen countless times before — so why was (500) Days of Summer such a hit with critics and audiences? Well, partly because it boasts a smarter, more sensible script than your average Hollywood romance — and partly because Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel had enough soulful chemistry to inspire the New Republic’s Christopher Orr to write that it “Captures with such immediacy the elation and anxiety of new love, the tingle and the terror, the profound sense that you have never been more alive and the occasional wish that you could die on the spot.”

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5. The Lookout (2007) 87%

the-lookout

A little like Memento without a riddle sitting in the middle of the plot, writer/director Scott Frank’s The Lookout revolves around a brain-damaged protagonist (Gordon-Levitt) haunted by a troubled past — and whose friends and/or enemies might not be everything they seem. As a former homecoming king whose shattered life has led him into a dead-end job that makes him a natural target for a gang of unscrupulous ne’er-do-wells, Levitt brought a melancholy heart to what might have been a fairly ordinary heist flick; as Jack Mathews observed for the New York Daily News, “Though The Lookout is eventually a genre film, with a tense, bang-up ending, it is also a thoughtful study of a young man trying to make sense of a world that he is having to learn all over again.”

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4. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 87%

dark-knight-rises

Trilogy-concluding sequels don’t come much more highly anticipated than 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, which put Christian Bale’s gravel-voiced Batman on a backbreaking collision course with the nefarious Bane (Tom Hardy) while setting up the cataclysmic conflict that brought the story Christopher Nolan started with Batman Begins to an appropriately senses-shattering conclusion — and introducing audiences to the upstanding young cop (Gordon-Levitt) who just might become the next Dark Knight. Although Rises couldn’t quite match its predecessor’s critical standing, it still did pretty well for itself, racking up over a billion dollars in worldwide box office while amassing an impressive number of accolades from the likes of the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan, who called it “A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch” and added, “This dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.”

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3. Lincoln (2012) 89%

lincoln

He presided over the most tumultuous time in our nation’s history, accomplished great things while in office, and ended his administration — and his life — in violent tragedy. Needless to say, Abraham Lincoln’s life is the stuff that Oscar-winning films are made of — and with Steven Spielberg at the helm, directing a stellar cast that included Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, Sally Field, and an almost unrecognizable Daniel Day-Lewis as the man himself, Lincoln was a virtual shoo-in for a Best Picture nomination even before it arrived in theaters. Of course, it helped that the finished product was one of 2012’s best-reviewed films thanks to critics like Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, who wrote, “It blends cinematic Americana with something grubbier and more interesting than Americana, and it does not look, act or behave like the usual perception of a Spielberg epic.”

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2. Looper (2012) 93%

looper

Plenty of people would love to take the opportunity to travel back in time and see our younger selves, but Rian Johnson’s Looper takes this premise and adds a nasty twist. When a hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) realizes his latest quarry is his older self (Bruce Willis) — an event known among his peers as “closing the loop” — he muffs the job, allowing him(self) to escape and setting in motion a high-stakes pursuit that puts a widening circle of people in danger. Tense, funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, Looper may suffer from some of the same scientific story flaws as other time travel movies, but it also manages to turn its by-now-familiar basic ingredients into an uncommonly affecting and thought-provoking sci-fi drama. “Looper imagines a world just near enough to look familiar,” mused Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum, “and just futuristic enough to be chillingly askew.”

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1. 50/50 (2011) 93%

50-50

Cancer, generally speaking, isn’t all that funny. So kudos to screenwriter Will Reiser for finding the humor in his own diagnosis — and then using the experience as the grist for 50/50, a dramedy about a pair of best pals (played by Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen) whose relationship is irrevocably altered after one of them learns he has cancer. Director Jonathan Levine’s deft handling of the story’s tonal shifts keeps the movie from straining for laughs or straying into mawkish territory, while Rogen offers able support for Gordon-Levitt as the best friend of a guy who’s fighting for his life. “What ensues is Beaches meets Pineapple Express,” wrote Mary Elizabeth Williams for Salon. “Which, I’ve got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like.”

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This weekend’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates uses real-life events as the loose inspiration for some R-rated fun with a pair of clueless bros and the hard-partying women who hoodwink them into a date to their little sister’s nuptials. And since one of the young ladies in question is played by the ever-charming Anna Kendrick, we decided this would be a great time to take a fond look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from her career thus far. Hold on to your cups — it’s time for Total Recall!


Into the Woods (2014) 71%

Stephen Sondheim fans were concerned when word got out that Disney was bringing his Tony-winning musical Into the Woods to the big screen — chiefly because it seemed likely that the studio would lop off the less family-friendly elements of its twisted fairy tale story. Like any adaptation, the film version wasn’t exactly the same as its source material, but happily for Sondheim enthusiasts — and those who like a little dark fantasy mixed in with their musicals — Woods survived its journey to theaters largely intact. As Cinderella, Kendrick upped the superstar quotient of the robust ensemble assembled by director Rob Marshall, which also included Meryl Streep as a witch, Emily Blunt as a woman desperate to undo her curse, and Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf. “Some of the musical’s superfans will feel shortchanged by the movie no matter what, but you have to give credit where it’s due,” warned the Washington Post’s Stephanie Merry. “The adaptation is pretty faithful to the original — for better and worse.”

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The Voices (2014) 74%

For most films, making your main protagonist an employee at a bathtub factory would more than fulfill the weirdness quotient. But for 2015’s The Voices, that’s just the beginning of a surreal odyssey into bloody violence and black comedy — oh, and talking pets. Directed by acclaimed graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi by a script from Paranormal Activity 2 co-writer Michael R. Perry, The Voices stars Ryan Reynolds as an unhinged loner with some very dark secrets to hide — and Kendrick as a potential love interest who stands to make some disturbing discoveries. While its main character’s warped descent into a bleak, chaotic psychological abyss definitely isn’t for all viewers, those with a taste for the strange have found the end results intoxicating; as Sara Stewart wrote for the New York Post, it adds up to a “tonally wild indie, which is nearly too horrifying to be funny — but not quite.”

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 Happy Christmas (2014) 75%

Kendrick reunited with Drinking Buddies writer-director Joe Swanberg for 2014’s Happy Christmas, in which a young woman at an emotional crossroads decides to crash with her older brother — and her arrival triggers an uncomfortable upheaval in his life of domestic bliss. Like a lot of Swanberg pictures, Christmas coalesces around a series of low-key, largely improvised moments, but with enough of a dramatic throughline to elevate the proceedings beyond their familiar narrative underpinnings. “All in all,” wrote the Los Angeles Times’ Betsy Sharkey, “Happy Christmas is a good deal like cartoon Charlie Brown’s classic tree — scraggly, plenty of heart and much to enjoy, especially if you prefer your presents homemade.”

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Pitch Perfect (2012) 81%

Anna Kendrick can make a hundred movies, but for many filmgoers, she’ll probably always be most strongly identified with the Pitch Perfect series, and it’s easy to understand why. The fizzy charm of the 2012 original, starring Kendrick as a reluctant college freshman who stumbles into harmony with a campus a cappella group, exploded into a surprise $115 million hit — not only at the box office, but on the pop charts, where she scored a Top 10 single with “Cups,” her cover of the Carter Family classic “When I’m Gone.” The 2015 sequel (which added Hailee Steinfeld to an ace ensemble that already included Rebel Wilson) more than doubled its predecessor’s theatrical gross, and a third installment is already scheduled for 2017. Most critics have shared the audience’s evident enthusiasm for the franchise; as Connie Ogle wrote in her review of the original for the Miami Herald, “If you’re not grinning by the end of this light, funny crowd-pleaser, consider yourself tone deaf.”

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) 82%

After catching Hollywood’s eye in Up in the Air — and while she was still popping up in the Twilight franchise — Kendrick played the sister of the title character in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novels about a bass player (Michael Cera) who has to battle, video game style, past his new lady love’s exes in order to win her affection. Stuffed with fun pop culture nods and stacked with a cast that also included Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, and Aubrey Plaza, Pilgrim opened to surprising critical indifference, but it earned the affection of critics like Slate’s Dana Stevens, who called it “A package of cinematic Pop Rocks, a neon-hued, defiantly non-nutritive confection that nonetheless makes you laugh at its sheer bold novelty.”

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Drinking Buddies (2013) 84%

The first of several films Kendrick’s made with the incredibly prolific Joe Swanberg, Drinking Buddies centers on the professional and romantic travails of a young Chicago foursome (rounded out by Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, and Ron Livingston), two of whom are co-workers at a local brewery. It might sound like a slim nail on which to hang a rom-com, but most critics thought it added up to some pretty engaging stuff — particularly since, as per Swanberg custom, the actors improvised their dialogue around the outline of the story. Filmed in a real working brewery (by actors drinking real beer), Drinking Buddies won over critics who’d already seen enough rom-coms for several lifetimes; as Moira MacDonald wrote for the Seattle Times, it “Sneaks up on you…you think it’s going in one direction, and suddenly it goes somewhere much more interesting.”

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Rocket Science (2007) 84%

You’ve probably watched more coming-of-age stories than you can count, but in the right hands, it’s a formula that can pay powerful dividends. Case in point: 2007’s Rocket Science, a teen dramedy about a high school student (Reece Thompson) whose stuttering makes it difficult to feel like he fits in — until he meets the star of the school’s debate team (Kendrick), who convinces him to sign up. Kendrick earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her work, which offered an intriguing prelude to the bigger-budget work looming in her future; calling the results “Self-consciously quirky on the outside,” Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek wrote, “this gentle teenage fable has an affecting, openhearted core.”

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End of Watch (2012) 85%

Cops versus gangbangers on the mean city streets! It’s a story Hollywood’s told countless times, but with End of Watch, director David Ayer still found a way to make it feel somewhat new. His success is due in no small part to this 2012 crime drama’s terrific cast, led by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as LAPD partners working the South Central beat. Kendrick, as Gyllenhaal’s significant other, has more of a stock part, but — like her castmates — she infused what could have been a two-dimensional character with new life. “End of Watch is one thriller where the adrenaline rush, considerable as it is, is almost always put in the service of character,” observed NPR’s Bob Mondello. “Happily, the character on display turns out to be considerable, too.”

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Up in the Air (2009) 90%

Kendrick earned an Academy Award nomination for her work in this Jason Reitman dramedy, which put its finger on the pulse of the Great Recession with a story about a corporate downsizer (George Clooney) whose unencumbered, jet-setting lifestyle is thrown off its axis by the arrival of a new HR consultant (Kendrick) whose plans for the company threaten to make him obsolete. Its themes cut uncomfortably close for a number of viewers in uncertain economic times, but Up in the Air leavened the gloom with intelligent observations on modern culture — and even a bit of hope. “Timeliness can be tricky to pull off convincingly in movies,” wrote Claudia Puig for USA Today. “It’s tough to capture an era while it’s still happening, yet Up in the Air does so brilliantly, with wit and humanity.”

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50/50 (2011) 93%

Although Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were unquestionably the leads in 50/50, this 2011 “cancer comedy” — starring Gordon-Levitt as a guy who gets through his cancer diagnosis with a lot of help from his best buddy Rogen — was really rounded out by a pretty stellar ensemble. Kendrick joined the cast as Katherine, a medical therapist who develops a deeply personal relationship with Gordon-Levitt’s character, winsomely lowering the bro quotient in a deceptively thoughtful look at disease that earned nearly universal critical acclaim. “What ensues is Beaches meets Pineapple Express,” wrote Mary Elizabeth Williams for Salon. “Which, I’ve got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like.”

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With this weekend’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Seth Rogen continues a busy year that started with Kung Fu Panda 3 and will find him returning to theaters in just a few short weeks with the animated Sausage Party. In honor of all that activity — and a filmography that’s grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade — we decided to dedicate this week to taking a fond look back at some of the hardworking Mr. Rogen’s best-loved efforts. It’s time for Total Recall!


Freaks and Geeks 100%

Unlike a lot of actors who end up starring in films or TV shows about high school students, Rogen was still just a teenager when he responded to the casting call for Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks. It turned out to be a fateful decision: landing the role of Ken Miller on the sadly short-lived series led to a productive friendship with Apatow, who offered Rogen a role in his follow-up show, Undeclared, and then absorbed him into his so-called comedic “frat pack” after that series also met an untimely end. For Rogen fans who want an early look at the future star in his formative years, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared offer a glimpse of what was to come — and for the rest of us, it’s just really entertaining television.

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) 85%

The R-rated comedy went through some lean years in the 1990s and early 2000s, but by the middle of the decade, studios were willing to bet on grown-ups wanting to laugh again, and Judd Apatow — and, in turn, Seth Rogen — gave them plenty to laugh at, starting with 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Rogen plays second fiddle here, appearing as a pot-smoking friend and co-worker to Steve Carell’s titular paragon of chastity, but this is no ordinary supporting role — not only does he get some of the movie’s most memorable lines (including a particularly quote-friendly exchange with Paul Rudd’s character), but he earned a production credit on the film, showing some of the behind-the-scenes acumen that has helped make him more of a budding mogul than your average 26-year-old movie star. Whether or not people went to see it for Rogen, The 40-Year-Old Virgin was a huge hit, making more than $175 million at the box office, and critics enjoyed it too: The Globe and Mail’s Jason Anderson spoke for many of his peers when he wrote, “If only losing it was so good for everybody.”

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Knocked Up (2007) 89%

Two years after helping Steve Carell break a 40-year streak of sexual inactivity, Seth Rogen played a character on the verge of a different sort of threshold — namely, fatherhood — in Knocked Up. The movie also presented a career Rubicon of sorts for Rogen; after playing a secondary character in Virgin, he moved into the ranks of unconventional comedic leading men with Knocked Up, starring opposite Katherine Heigl as the ambition-deficient half of a couple thrown together by the unplanned results of a one-night stand. It was Rogen’s fourth project with Judd Apatow, and the basic, seemingly effortless likability that the director had seen in his star since their Freaks and Geeks days resonated with audiences — to the tune of nearly $220 million in box office receipts — and helped earn Knocked Up some of the best reviews of the year. Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was one of the many critics who found it Fresh, praising what she saw as “a picture that refuses to fetishize either the ability to conceive or the significance of our place in the universe once we’ve done so.”

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Superbad (2007) 88%

It isn’t at all uncommon for high school buddies to daydream about growing up and making it big together — or for aspiring screenwriters to pen their first scripts before they’re old enough to vote. Most of them don’t have the patience to nurture an idea for over a decade, or the luck necessary to take your idea to the box office — but that’s exactly what Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg did with Superbad. Of course, it didn’t hurt having a pair of leads as buzz-friendly as Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, or being able to introduce Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the one and only McLovin — but Superbad‘s real strength lies in the way Rogen and Goldberg’s sweetly funny script blends honest moments with gross-out gags and absurdist humor (including a surreal extended cameo from Rogen and Bill Hader as a pair of spectacularly incompetent police officers). At 87 percent on the Tomatometer, Superbad received no shortage of love from critics like Roger Ebert, who pronounced it “A four-letter raunch-a-rama with a heart.”

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Pineapple Express (2008) 68%

After channeling the spirit of the 1980s teen comedy for Superbad, Rogen and his screenwriting partner revisited another of the decade’s favorite genres for Pineapple Express: the action buddy comedy. It was marketed as a stoner comedy, and while it certainly contained a fair amount of weed-themed humor, Express was essentially an homage to such squabbling-friends-in-peril classics as Stir Crazy and Running Scared — although it bears pointing out that none of those movies had the benefit of a brief, spectacularly profane appearance by Ed Begley, Jr. Critics weren’t unanimous in their support of the $101 million hit, which starred Rogen and James Franco as a ganja-loving process server and his dealer on the run from a lunatic crimelord — and the theme song, sadly, did not result in a “Back in Time”-sized hit for Huey Lewis — but most scribes agreed with TIME’s Richard Corliss, who deemed Express “A comedy that brings a nicely deflating note of realism to action-film mayhem, as well as being one of the few drug movies you don’t have to be high to enjoy.”

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50/50 (2011) 93%

Cancer, generally speaking, isn’t all that funny. So kudos to screenwriter Will Reiser for finding the humor in his own diagnosis — and then using the experience as the grist for 50/50, a dramedy about a pair of best pals (played by Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose relationship is irrevocably altered after one of them learns he has cancer. Director Jonathan Levine’s deft handling of the story’s tonal shifts keeps the movie from straining for laughs or straying into mawkish territory, while Rogen offers able support for Gordon-Levitt as the best friend of a guy who’s fighting for his life. “What ensues is Beaches meets Pineapple Express,” wrote Mary Elizabeth Williams for Salon. “Which, I’ve got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like.”

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Take This Waltz (2011) 79%

Although he’ll probably always be best known for his comedic roles, Rogen’s a fine dramatic actor when given the opportunity. Case in point: 2012’s Take This Waltz, a quiet look at domestic ennui from director Sarah Polley. Here, Rogen stars as Lou Rubin, a guy whose seemingly idyllic marriage to freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) is knocked off its axis after she finds herself drawn to their neighbor (Luke Kirby). “In the end,” wrote Michael O’Sullivan for the Washington Post, “it’s a story of misplaced faith. In what? Not love exactly, but in the rush of infatuation, and the illusion that this feeling can be maintained, indefinitely, without crashing.”

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This Is the End (2013) 83%

We’ve seen plenty of movies about the end of civilization, but they’ve all focused on the apocalyptic problems of ordinary people while neglecting to imagine what those last few days on earth might be like for celebrities. Enter This Is the End, which imagines what it might be like if disaster struck Los Angeles while James Franco was hosting a house party. Featuring Franco, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride — among plenty of others — playing fictionalized (and generally obnoxious) versions of themselves, it combines a fresh take on the apocalyptic comedy with the fun of watching movie stars make fun of themselves. As J.R. Jones argued for the Chicago Reader, “Their big joke is to literalize the Book of Revelations, but snaking around this is a biting contempt for the entertainment business, their own bad movies, and the social privilege these confer.”

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Neighbors (2014) 73%

Neighbors is built from an assortment of parts that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a snobs-vs.-slobs R-rated comedy — yet the sum total works anyway, thanks to the efforts of director Nicholas Stoller and an overall charming cast. Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner, homeowners who decide to fight back after their lives are made miserable by the occupants of the frat house next door (led by Zac Efron), setting off a suburbanite battle that manages to gleefully offend while remembering to keep its characters somewhat identifiably human. As Betsy Sharkey put it for the Los Angeles Times, “This raunchy unrooting of a settled suburban idyll exposes the considerable angst of emerging adulthood with a kind of scatological fervor designed to elicit oodles of inappropriate laughs.”

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Steve Jobs (2015) 85%

During the years following Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, the market was flooded with all manner of product devoted to analyzing the life and career of the Apple co-founder — to the point that, when Steve Jobs arrived in 2015, it might have seemed to many filmgoers like just another rehash of an already overfamiliar story. Which is unfortunate, because aside from its bad timing, this Danny Boyle-directed biopic has a lot going for it — including a script by Aaron Sorkin and an ace ensemble cast led by Michael Fassbender and supported by Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, and (as Jobs’ fellow Apple founder Steve Wozniak) Seth Rogen. “The dialogue crackles with wit, anger, and passion,” wrote James Berardinelli for ReelViews. “By matching Sorkin’s words with Boyle’s style and Fassbender’s talent, Steve Jobs has hit the trifecta.”

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This week at the movies, we’ve got Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore), some party-hearty bros (The Night Before, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen), and a dogged detective (Secret in their Eyes, starring Chiwetel Ejioforand Julia Roberts). What do the critics have to say?


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (2015) 70%

The Hunger Games franchise has helped make Jennifer Lawrence a household name, and critics say her assured performance as Katniss Everdeen is the best thing about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, a satisfying — if occasionally overly grim — conclusion to the series. This time, Katniss leads a guerilla army to eliminate the despotic President Snow (Donald Sutherland) — and discovers that some within the rebellion may have agendas of their own. The pundits say Mockingjay – Part 2 is bleak and a little too long, but it’s also rousing, jolting, and intelligent, which befits a saga that has done much to alter the action movie landscape.


The Night Before (2015) 69%

When Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and director Jonathan Levine last joined forces, the result was 2011’s 50/50, a funny, heartfelt dramedy that was as moving as it was funny. Anthony Mackie joins them in their latest collaboration, The Night Before, and critics say the result is a surprisingly warm holiday bromance, even if its drug-fueled humor sometimes misses the mark. Boyhood buddies Isaac (Rogen), Ethan (Gordon-Levitt), and Chris (Mackie) have traditionally celebrated Christmas Eve with hedonistic yuletide festivities; now faced with looming adult responsibilities, the trio reunite to seek out one last, legendary party. The pundits say The Night Before is suitably raucous and unexpectedly sweet, though it might not tickle your funny bone as often as you might want.


Secret in Their Eyes (2015) 39%

Not every American remake of a foreign language film is doomed to failure; some, like Best Picture winner The Departed, have equaled or surpassed the originals. Unfortunately, critics say Secret in their Eyes (based upon the Oscar-winning 2009 Argentinian film of the same name) never justifies its own existence, despite the best effort of an A-list cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman. Ejiofor stars as a former FBI agent who has resumed his investigation into the murder of a colleague’s daughter after discovering new information — but solving this mystery may uncover even darker secrets. The pundits say Secret in their Eyes lacks the specific political context that made the original so chilling, and what’s left is little more than a decent police procedural.


What’s Hot on TV

The Man in the High Castle: Season 1 (2015) 95%

The Man in the High Castle is unlike anything else on TV, with an immediately engrossing plot driven by quickly developed characters in a fully realized post-World War II dystopia.


Marvel's Jessica Jones: Season 1 (2015) 94%

Jessica Jones builds a multifaceted drama around its engaging antihero, delivering what might be Marvel’s strongest TV franchise to date.


Into the Badlands: Season 1 (2015) 64%

Into the Badlands is loaded with off-kilter potential that’s left largely unfulfilled — although its well-choreographed action sequences should satisfy martial arts fans.


Donny!: Season 1 (2015) 23%

While adding nothing new to the established medical procedural formula, Dick Wolf‘s Chicago Med hits its familiar beats forcefully enough to satisfy a few genre enthusiasts.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Democrats (2014) , a documentary about the fragile state of coalition government in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, is at 100 percent.
  • Kingdom of Shadows (2015) , a documentary about the U.S.-Mexican drug war from several different perspectives, is at 100 percent.
  • Carol (2015) , starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a period drama about an illicit affair between a lonely housewife and a younger woman, is Certified Fresh at 96 percent.
  • Mustang (2015) , a drama about five sisters whose free-spiritedness get them into trouble with their parents, is at 95 percent.
  • Censored Voices (2015) , a documentary featuring audio interviews recorded with Israeli soldiers shortly after the Six Day War, is at 92 percent.
  • The Summer of Sangaile (2015) , a coming-of-age drama about a risk-averse teenager who falls in love with a more brazen peer, is at 86 percent.
  • Mediterranea (2015) , a drama about two friends from Burkina Faso seeking a better life in Italy, is at 100 percent.
  • Very Semi-Serious (2015) , an inside look into the creation of the New Yorker’s cartoons, is at 82 percent.
  • Flutter (2011) , a thriller about and indebted gambler who makes a Faustian bargain with a mysterious bookie, is at 60 percent.
  • Legend (2015) , starring Tom Hardy in a dual role as both the notorious Kray brothers, is at 59 percent.
  • Criminal Activities (2015) , starring John Travolta and Dan Stevens in a thriller about a group of friends who run afoul of a ruthless mob boss, is at 56 percent.

The 27th Independent Spirit Awards announced its winners on Saturday, February 25, and we’ve got the complete list. See below to find out who took home the honors!


Best Film

50/50

93%
Winner!
The Artist

95%
Beginners

85%

The Descendants

87%
Drive

93%
Take Shelter

92%


Best Male Lead

Demian Bichir

A Better Life
Winner!
Jean Dujardin

The Artist
Ryan Gosling

Drive
Woody Harrelson

Rampart
Michael Shannon

Take Shelter


Best Female Lead

Lauren Ambrose

Think of Me
Rachael Harris

Natural Selection
Adepero Oduye

Pariah
Elizabeth Olsen

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Winner!
Michelle Williams

My Week with Marilyn


Best Supporting Male

Albert Brooks

Drive
John Hawkes

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Winner!
Christopher Plummer

Beginners
John C. Reilly

Cedar Rapids
Corey Stoll

Midnight in Paris


Best Supporting Female

Jessica Chastain

Take Shelter
Anjelica Huston

50/50
Janet McTeer

Albert Nobbs
Harmony Santana

Gun Hill Road
Winner!
Shailene Woodley

The Descendants


Best Director

Winner!
Michel Hazanavicius

The Artist
Mike Mills

Beginners
Jeff Nichols

Take Shelter
Alexander Payne

The Descendants
Nicolas Winding Refn

Drive


Best First Feature

Another Earth

In the Family

Margin CallWinner!

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Natural Selection

John Cassavetes Award

Bellflower

Circumstance

Hello Lonesome

PariahWinner!

The Dynamiter

Best Screenplay

Beginners: Mike Mills

The Descendants: Alexander Payner, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash – Winner!

Footnote: Joseph Cedar

The Artist: Michel Hazanavicius

Win Win: Tom McCarthy

Best First Screenplay

Another Earth: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling

Terri: Patrick deWitt

Cedar Rapids: Phil Johnston

50/50: Will Reiser – Winner!

Margin Call: J.C. Chandor

Best Cinematography

The ArtistWinner!

Bellflower

The Dynamiter

Midnight in Paris

The Off Hours

Best Documentary

An African Election

Bill Cunningham New York

The InterruptersWinner!

The Redemption of General Butt Naked

We Were Here

Best Foreign Film

The Kid With a Bike: Belgium

Melancholia: Denmark

A Separation: Iran – Winner!

Shame: United Kingdom

Tyrannosaur: United Kingdom

Robert Altman Award

Margin Call

Piaget Producers Award

Mosquita y Mari: Chad Burris

Martha Marcy May Marlene: Josh Bond

Take Shelter: Sophia Lynn – Winner!

Someone to Watch Award

Silver Tongues: Simon Arthur

Without: Mark Jackson – Winner!

Mamitas: Nicholas Ozeki

Truer Than Fiction Award

Where Soldiers Come FromWinner!

Hell and Back Again

Bombay Beach

We’ve got a lot going on this week in the home video department, and thankfully, most of it is relatively good. First up, though we won’t be mentioning them outside of this intro, there are a handful of nifty Blu-ray reissues hitting shelves: a few Alfred Hitchcock films (Notorious, Rebecca, and Spellbound) are getting the hi-def treatment, as well as a couple of Woody Allen classics (Annie Hall and Manhattan). Oh, and if you’re into fad workout programs, you might be interested to know that the Insanity line of training videos are also being released. Otherwise, we’ve got one of the best-reviewed wide releases of the year, a robotic underdog story, and the latest in Paranormal Activity. Then there’s the sex trade thriller starring Rachel Weisz, the indie horror film with the crazy third act, and a quirky teen romance by… Gus Van Sant? Lastly, there are two new Criterions hitting shelves, so we’ll be covering those as well. See below for the full list!



50/50

93%

If you saw 50/50 when it hit theaters last September, chances are you probably enjoyed it; it did, after all, win the user rating-based Golden Tomato Award at a whopping 92%. That’s not all, though, as critics fond the film equally enjoyable, awarding it a Certified Fresh 93% and making it one of the best-reviewed wide releases of the year. Based on the real-life story of its screenwriter, Will Reiser, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam Lerner, a 27-year-old radio journalist who quite suddenly learns from his doctor that he’s contracted a rare form of cancer. Understandably shell-shocked by the news, Adam slowly learns to cope with his situation with the help of his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his mother (Anjelica Huston), and his fledgling therapist (Anna Kendrick). With help from an outstanding cast, director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) manages to find a successful balance between humor and drama, resulting in one of the few dramedies that actually does its genre proud.



Real Steel

60%

Though its Tomatometer has since dipped into Rotten territory, the film that many dubbed Rock’em Sock’em Robots: The Movie initially surprised quite a few folks by being much better than a movie with that premise had any right to be. Set in 2020, when giant robots have overtaken the boxing circuit, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlien Kenton, a former boxer-turned-robot trainer who is saddled with caring for his estranged young son Max (Dakota Goyo) when Max’s mother dies. When the pair discover an obsolete sparring bot called Atom in a junkyard, they decide to rebuild him together, and an unlikely bond develops. Critics concede that the premise is silly, the dialogue a little cheesy, the plot — like its mechanical protagonist — a bit recycled, but they also say if you’re looking for a relatively straightforward underdog story with a smattering of father-son bonding, you could certainly do worse.



Paranormal Activity 3

66%

The insanely successful (read: profitable) horror series that is the Paranormal Activity franchise saw its third installment in as many years hit theaters last October, and after a dip in quality with the second film, Paranormal Activity 3 turned out to be a bit of an improvement. This time around, viewers are taken back to the beginning of the haunting central to the series, specifically the late ’80s childhood experiences of sisters Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Sprague Grayden, respectively). Around the same time young Kristi begins having regular conversations with an “imaginary friend” named Toby, her mother Julie and Julie’s boyrfriend Dennis begin experiencing unexplained phenomena in their house. As things steadily grow out of control, dark family secrets are revealed until, finally, all hell breaks loose. Critics found PA3 to be a modest improvement over its predecessor; though it’s tough for any horror sequel not to run out of steam with each new installment, this one still manages to provide some suitably chilling moments. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but if you enjoyed the first two, you’ll likely have a good time with this one, too.



The Whistleblower

75%

An impassioned performance from Rachel Weisz helps to elevate The Whistleblower above standard issue movie trappings. Based upon actual events, it’s the tale of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska policewoman working as an aid worker in Bosnia when she uncovers a brutal human trafficking ring. However, her efforts to report her discoveries are stymied by some of her fellow UN Peacekeepers, and Bolkovac wages a dangerous one-woman campaign to bring the truth to light. Though some critics found The Whistleblower to be a bit too heavy-handed, most found the film to be a solid throwback to the paranoid political thrillers of the 1970s, as well as a decent primer on an undeniably important issue.



The Woman

73%

Imagine if Quentin Tarantino decided to remake the 1987 comedy Walk Like a Man as a modern grindhouse thriller; you’d basically have the recipe for The Woman. One of the best-reviewed horror films of the year, The Woman centers around a lawyer named Christopher Cleek (Sean Bridgers), who discovers a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) living in the woods, captures her, and brings her home to his family in order to civilize her for modern society. Of course, the woman turns out to be more than Christopher bargained for, and before long, the family is forced to defend themselves against an unfamiliar enemy with the upper hand. Most critics agreed that, despite its familiar explorations of gender and human nature, The Woman is an ambitious, unabashedly strange, and ultimately effective thriller that builds tension toward a brutal, no-holds-barred climax. It’s just shy of Certified Fresh status at 74% on the Tomatometer and might make for good rainy night viewing.



Restless

38%

Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) has seen his share of success over the years, but every once in a while, as with most all directors, he misfires. Such was the case with his latest film, Restless, a tale of unlikely teen romance that quietly breezed through theaters back in September. Based on a play by the film’s screenwriter, Jason Lew, Restless continues the tradition of twee indie romances, complete with quirky affectations and random plot elements. Mia Wasikowska is Annabel Cotton, a terminal cancer patient with a fascination for nature and Charles Darwin. Henry Hopper plays Annabel’s love interest, Enoch, who’s lost his parents in a car accident and entertains visits from the ghost of a Kamikaze pilot named Hiroshi (Ryo Kase). Together, Annabel and Enoch learn to cope with the hands they’ve been dealt, all the while with Annabel’s imminent passing looming over their heads. Unfortunately, Waskikowska’s performance was about the only thing critics found to like about the film, which garnered just a 36% on the Tomatometer, so unless alternately cutesy and melancholy love stories are your thing, you won’t get much out of Restless.



The Moment of Truth – Criterion Collection

78%

Looking for a good bullfighting movie? Of course you are — who isn’t? Seriously, though, The Moment of Truth is to matadors what Raging Bull is to pugilists — namely, it’s a gritty, visually resplendent examination of the dark side of the sporting life. Real life bullfighting champ Miguel Mateo stars as a peasant who wins great fame in the arena before hitting the skids; along the way, he finds the business of bullfighting to be nearly as brutal as the action in the ring. Criterion has a spiffy new transfer of this thrilling, beautifully photographed film; special features include an interview with director Francesco Rosi.



Godzilla (Gojira) – Criterion Collection

93%

The Criterion Collection has gone to great lengths to restore and preserve some of cinema’s most important, most beautiful, most influential films, and in that vein, this week marks the release of their edition of Ishiro Honda’s monster movie classic Godzilla (aka Gojira). Honda touched upon his country’s fears of nuclear devastation by personifying them in the form of this now famous giant lizard, and Japan responded in kind with adoration, spawning nearly thirty sequels (not to mention a certain Roland Emmerich project) since the film’s debut in 1954. Criterion’s release includes an HD transfer, new interviews with stars Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima (Godzilla himself), a special effects featurette, and as a special bonus, the full American version of the film, Godzilla, King of the Monsters. A great pickup for anyone who’s become a part of the growing cult fandom of this legendary Japanese creation.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a survivor story (50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen), ex excitement (What’s Your Number?, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans), a demonic dwelling (Dream House, starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz), and some conflicted cops (Courageous, starring Alex Kendrick and Ken Bevel). What do the critics have to say?



50/50

93%

In a comedy, no subject is completely off limits if the jokes make us laugh – and have the ring of truth. Such is the case with 50/50, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man whose cancer diagnosis forces him to reevaluate his life. Along the way, he leans on his friends for support, and finds that often he’s helping others work through their feelings as much as he’s tending to his own. The critics say you’ll laugh and you’ll cry through this Certified Fresh comedy, which is touching, heartfelt, occasionally naughty, and often very funny. (Check out Gordon-Levitt’s best-reviewed movies here.)



What’s Your Number?

23%

Anna Farris is a very funny woman, but critics have long hoped she’d get the lead in a comedy worthy of her talents. The wait continues with What’s Your Number?, the story of a single gal who decides to reunite with all her exes to see if any of them are marriage material. The pundits say the film has moments of comic inspiration and some decent performances, but mostly, its script is a middling grab bag of romantic comedy clichés and raunchiness that squanders the offbeat charm of its star.



Dream House

6%

We can’t tell you whether Dream House is a prime piece of real estate or a fixer-upper, since it wasn’t screened for critics. Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz star as a couple who have just moved into a charming new home; little do they know it was once the site of a harrowing murder, and soon they’re bedeviled by spooky goings-on. Put down that copy of Architectural Digest and guess the Tomatometer! (And check out our list of Certified Fresh psychological thrillers here.)



Courageous

36%

Director Alex Kendrick, who also made Fireproof, has a thing for stories about spiritual awakenings among public servants. His latest, Courageous, tells the tale of four police officers who struggle with faith and fatherhood while trying to clean up the streets. Unfortunately, only a few critics have seen it, so you can feel free to guess the Tomatometer for this one too.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

At the ripe old age of 30, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is already a grizzled Hollywood veteran, having made his film debut nearly 20 years ago in the slobbery family comedy Beethoven. And he’s a busy guy, too — when 50/50 debuts this weekend, it’ll mark his ninth trip to theaters in the last two years, with a whopping four more films on tap for 2012. Clearly, the time has come for us to take a look at the critical highlights from Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s growing filmography, and you know what that means: It’s time for Total Recall!


55%

10. Hesher

How far has Joseph Gordon-Levitt come since he found fame as a fresh-faced youth in Third Rock from the Sun? Far enough that in 2011, he was the bearded, chain-smoking lead in Hesher, Spencer Susser’s pitch-black drama about a shiftless lout who develops an unlikely friendship, sort of, with a lonely suburban teen (Devin Brochu) who’s trying to cope with the death of his mother and the torments of a school bully (Brendan Hill). Far from the sort of uplifting, My Bodyguard-type fare that audiences may have expected, Hesher didn’t make much of an impression at the box office — but its resolute refusal to veer into Hollywood feel-good territory impressed critics like NPR’s Bob Mondello, who wrote, “Susser doesn’t try to make Hesher anything other than a sociopath — a walking, profanity-spewing id — and to his credit, neither does Gordon-Levitt.”


70%

9. 10 Things I Hate About You

With an assist from William Shakespeare, and a pair of breakout performances from Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, Gil Junger’s 10 Things I Hate About You put a glossy late 1990s spin on The Taming of the Shrew by switching the location to a modern high school, where the Stratford sisters (Stiles and Larisa Oleynik) are the unwitting pawns in a prom date plot set in motion by a lovestruck young knucklehead (Gordon-Levitt) and his scheming classmate (Andrew Keegan). It’s pretty fluffy stuff, and as broad as a barn door, but its snappy pace and charming cast left some critics feeling charitable — Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it “as satirical as it is romantic” and “one teen film that is wise enough to span generations in its appeal.”


65%

8. Stop Loss

American audiences are well aware of the fact that their soldiers often have a hard time adjusting to life on the home front after war — and they’re not shy about avoiding movies that tell those soldiers’ stories. Kimberly Peirce’s Stop-Loss was no exception during its theatrical run, falling victim to the same commercial indifference that felled Rendition, Body of Lies, Green Zone, and others — in spite of a hot young cast that included Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Ryan Phillippe, and Gordon-Levitt. It was the audience’s loss as far as the New Yorker’s David Denby was concerned; he called Stop-Loss “forceful, effective, and alive, with the raw, mixed-up emotions produced by an endless war — a time when the patriotism of military families is in danger of being exploited beyond endurance.”


67%

7. Manic

Before they played lovebirds in (500) Days of Summer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel co-starred in an altogether different sort of film: Manic, a grim drama about emotionally damaged teens and the psych ward doctor (Don Cheadle) who tries to shepherd them back to health. While certainly not without its problems — Peter Keough of the Boston Phoenix dismissed it as “earnest” and “tastefully exploitative,” and a number of critics disliked its handheld cinematography — Manic‘s solid cast helped elevate it above many of the “kids in an institution” clichés. “Gordon-Levitt explodes any expectations about him,” applauded Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald. “The rage he projects is so real it becomes its own character.”


69%

6. Treasure Planet

Gordon-Levitt made his animated debut as the star of this big-budget Disney extravaganza, which shot Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island into space and took an eclectic voice cast along for the ride, including Martin Short, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, and Laurie Metcalfe. The idea of intergalactic pirates plundering animated booty added an interesting twist to the well-worn tale, but with a budget of $140 million, Treasure Planet had its work cut out at the box office, and its $109 million worldwide gross was ultimately regarded as something of a disappointment — particularly in the US, where it failed to make even half that much. Still, it proved an enjoyable spectacle for critics like Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press, who wrote, “retaining the swashbuckling spirit of Stevenson’s novel but adding megabytes of computer-age cool, Treasure Planet is the one holiday thrill ride the whole family can enjoy.”

80%

5. Brick

An old-school gumshoe noir that takes place in a high school setting — with none of the self-conscious irony that the setup implies — Brick heralded the arrival of writer/director Rian Johnson as a force to be reckoned with, and proved that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was ready to take on serious dramatic roles. As Brendan Frye, the heartbroken teen determined to solve his ex-girlfriend’s murder no matter the cost, Gordon-Levitt anchored what could have been a very silly film with a quietly impressive performance — and it wasn’t lost on critics like the New York Post’s Lou Lumenick, who argued, “It’s Gordon-Levitt’s pitch-perfect work that makes Brick a hardboiled treat.”


85%

4. Mysterious Skin

Gordon-Levitt raised a lot of eyebrows with Brick, but he started erasing memories of Third Rock from the Sun the year before, with this bleak drama from Doom Generation director Gregg Araki. A favorite on the festival circuit, Mysterious Skin delves into the harrowing aftermath of sexual abuse, following the struggles of two teen boys (Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet) to come to grips with the actions of an emotionally disturbed baseball coach (Bill Sage). Understandably not a huge box office draw, Skin was still appreciated by critics such as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, who applauded what he saw as a film that “manages to deal with its raw, awful subject matter in ways that are both challenging and illuminating.”


87%

3. Inception

Yeah, you knew this one would be here. Gordon-Levitt was almost an afterthought in Inception, but that had everything to do with the fact that it was a Christopher Nolan joint, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and nothing to do with his own performance as Arthur, DiCaprio’s partner in high-tech corporate espionage. A rare opportunity for Gordon-Levitt to play with choreographed stunts, trippy special effects, and blockbuster expectations, Inception earned four Academy Awards against eight nominations — not to mention more than $825 million in box office receipts, as well as praise from critics like Amy Biancolli of the Houston Chronicle, who called it “only the latest indication that Christopher Nolan might be the slyest narrative tactician making movies today.”


87%

2. The Lookout

A little like Memento without a riddle sitting in the middle of the plot, writer/director Scott Frank’s The Lookout revolves around a brain-damaged protagonist (Gordon-Levitt) haunted by a troubled past — and whose friends and/or enemies might not be everything they seem. As a former homecoming king whose shattered life has led him into a dead-end job that makes him a natural target for a gang of unscrupulous ne’er-do-wells, Levitt brought a melancholy heart to what might have been a fairly ordinary heist flick; as Jack Mathews observed for the New York Daily News, “Though The Lookout is eventually a genre film, with a tense, bang-up ending, it is also a thoughtful study of a young man trying to make sense of a world that he is having to learn all over again.”


85%

1. (500) Days of Summer

Indie boy meets indie girl at their quirky office (a greeting card company, for goodness’ sake) and they start an adorably star-crossed relationship. It’s the kind of thing, at least in its bare outline form, that we’ve seen countless times before — so why was (500) Days of Summer such a hit with critics and audiences? Well, partly because it boasts a smarter, more sensible script than your average Hollywood romance — and partly because Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel had enough soulful chemistry to inspire the New Republic’s Christopher Orr to write that it “Captures with such immediacy the elation and anxiety of new love, the tingle and the terror, the profound sense that you have never been more alive and the occasional wish that you could die on the spot.”


In case you were wondering, here are Gordon-Levitt’s top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:

1. Inception — 93%
2. Mysterious Skin — 89%
3. Brick — 82%
4. (500) Days of Summer — 81%
5. Latter Days — 81%
6. Manic — 81%
7. The Lookout — 72%
8. 10 Things I Hate About You — 69%
9. Hesher — 65%
10. Treasure Planet — 64%


Take a look through Gordon-Levitt’s complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for 50/50.

 

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