Dan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Before I review this (below), I just want to really quickly say that I’m still looking for a film-based job, be it as a runner on a set, as a reviewer for a website, or anything else in between. I’m based in the UK, have a degree in Film with Screenwriting, a valid driver’s license and a writing portfolio. I’m also available to write and direct, however my short films are all either in post-production or aren’t available for showing yet, so I don’t have much of a sizzle-reel at the moment. I’ve been trying to get a job in the film industry for 6 years now and today I had my dream job snatched away from me because I was in the shower and missed a phone call, then when I called back they said they’d hired someone else. Please, if you have anything for me, either message me on here, Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Alright, on with the review...
So it dawned on me that I’ve never actually reviewed Superbad; one of my favourite films of all time (I don’t have a set favourite so I can’t quite give it that, but it certainly comes very close).
In all honesty it’s hard for me to review this objectively and to focus on the technical aspects of it, because it’s one of those that I’ve seen so many times I can’t possibly separate myself from it. But what I can do is talk about why I love it so much.
First and foremost, this is a comedy, and in my opinion (I can already see the comments disagreeing) this is one of the funniest comedies ever made. It’s not just that the laughs are big, but they’re also constant. A lot of comedies have a couple of stand out scenes while the rest of the film gets by on semi-improvised humour that’s passable and will maybe make you chuckle, but that’s it. Pretty much every scene I can think of in Superbad has at least one joke that I find laugh-out-loud funny. It’s crass, which is honestly the only problem I can really see anyone having with this movie, but the crassness makes sense for the 17-year-old characters and also makes sense for the demographic. It makes brilliant use of not just verbal humour but visual humour too. Think about the scene with all the dick drawings, or the period blood scene. These are just 2 examples from a movie that’s filled to the brim with them.
More than all of that though, Superbad has an emotional core that resonates with me more than I care to admit. I first saw this movie when I was about 15, and a close friend of mine that I’d known since primary school had recently moved to New Zealand, so the whole notion of having to leave friends behind really hit me hard, and I latched onto these characters and to this day I think I probably project my own experiences onto it, in particular the scene in the sleeping bags and the scene in the shopping centre on the escalators. I think even if it weren’t for the heart, this would be one of my favourites, but the fact there’s an emotional connection there just solidifies it and gives it that edge over so many other comedies that are funny but hollow.
The cast and characters are also just the most ridiculous (in the best way) comedy ensemble. Not everyone in it is an A-list actor, but for a comedy, you can’t really beat a cast with Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Joe Lo Truglio, and that’s not even including cameos from Martin Starr, Dave Franco, Clark Duke, Danny McBride, and Kevin Corrigan (there’s probably more but they’re all the ones I can think of off the top of my head). Not to mention Emma Stone is my favourite actress and Seth Rogen is my joint favourite actor (with Bill Murray), so automatically I was going to love it. But that’s not to say the film doesn’t earn its place anyway on its own merits, because it absolutely does. The characters they play and the casting are all top-notch too. Can you think of a more iconic comedy character than McLovin? Maybe Ron Burgundy and one or two others, but that’s about it. There was a kid I did P.E with at school who looked like McLovin and every single week people would just start quoting Superbad at him/each other, and somehow it just never got old. Then of course you’ve got Rogen and Hader as the irresponsible cops, who are maybe my favourite supporting characters in any comedy ever? If anyone beats them I certainly can’t think of them right now. Cera plays a likeable but timid protagonist, Evan, and his dynamic with Hill’s angry portrayal of Seth just works so well. In fact, just about everyone’s chemistry in this movie is great.
The first time I watched it I got hopped up on cider with my buddies and we all crowded around a laptop to watch it, and it was so engaging and so funny that we actually watched the full thing, despite there being about 5 of us watching it on a tiny little screen. I also remember us pissing ourselves laughing and regularly having to pause the film to catch our breaths.
Also, if anyone owns the DVD/Blu-ray and hasn’t listened to the commentary track, I can’t urge you enough to do so. It probably single-handedly wins the award for best commentary track, as Judd Apatow and Jonah Hill fall out half way through and have a super inappropriate argument in front of Apatow’s then-9-year-old daughter, Maude. On top of all that it’s just hilarious and interesting anyway.
I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count, and it still makes me laugh and feel every time. One more notch on its belt for me is that it’s also my favourite genre and subgenre in film; a high school comedy. It reminds me of simpler times, relentlessly entertains me, gets me a lil choked up at the end, and even if I were to strip away all the personal bias I’d still conclude that it’s one of the best coming of age movies ever made. I think it was Timothee Chalamet who said “Girls born in the 90’s have Mean Girls, and boys born in the 90’s have Superbad.” He ain’t wrong.
In my opinion it’s in the holy grail of quintessential high school comedies, right alongside Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It even has a great soundtrack including Ace of Spades and Panama (rest in peace Eddie Van Halen).
I can understand why this might not be quite so high on a lot of other people’s lists, as I think a lot of it has to do with seeing it at the right time, being on the same (im)maturity level as the characters, and connections I personally have made with the film, but if I had to be stuck on a desert island with only one film, I’d have to at least consider Superbad. It just makes me feel good while also making me jealous that I’ll never write anything that funny or that resonant for an entire generation.
Truly one of my favourite films ever, I don’t really have any flaws with it, me and my friends quote it all the time to this day, and I hope if you haven’t seen it that you check it out some day (unless you don’t like swearing or dick jokes, then maybe avoid it).
I started setting up a Patreon recently and was considering picking say my fifty favourite films, and reviewing/talking about why I love them all in this kind of style, so let me know if you’d be down for that sort of thing because if enough people show support, I’ll start writing them and getting my account set up.
Watch My 10 Most Anticipated Movies -> HERE. Follow DanFelixHobson on here for shorter reviews and my more casual thoughts on a wider range of movies.