November examined The Greatest Comedy Sequels and, in some ways, December's Movie List of the Month boasts a similar theme. Despite the middling reaction from early reviews, Seth Rogen and James Franco's controversy-stirring comedy, The Interview, is a must-see on my year-end checklist. Therefore, this month I'm ranking the best Seth Rogen and James Franco top-billed films.
Honorable Mention: This Is the End, Neighbors and Rise of the Planet of the Apes
James Franco wasn't a driving force behind Gus Van Sant's 2008 biopic, Milk, but he offered a compelling side character that helped bring some authenticity to his skills. All in all, though, a fantastic ensemble headed by an Oscar-winning performance from Sean Penn helped earn the film 8 Academy Award Nominations.
While Jonah Hill and Michael Cera were clearly the main attractions in the 2007 comedy hit, Superbad, some of the film's funniest moments were delivered by the wacky cop duo featuring Seth Rogen. Enjoying a wild night on the town with their nerdy sidekick, McLovin, Rogen's beer chugging and gun-firing officer supported Greg Mottola's instant comedy classic.
#3. 127 Hours
When I first started brainstorming the idea for this list, I immediately expected Danny Boyle's emotional true story of survival, 127 Hours, to finish at the top. Surprisingly, James Franco's unforgettable Oscar-nominated turn as an outdoor enthusiast who goes to unspeakable lengths to survive a canyoneering accident in the mountains of Utah somehow finds itself in third place. That's a true testament to quality of films on this list.
#2. The 40 Year-Old Virgin
For as much as I loved 127 Hours, I must admit that Judd Apatow's undisputed funniest feature, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, is one of my favorite comedies ever. Steve Carell stars as Andy, an aging virgin who's coerced into getting back in the game by a trio of oddball co-workers. All of the supporting characters are great but Seth Rogen gets entangled with Paul Rudd in the hilarious "You know how I know you're gay?" joke, and it's still quotable to this day.
Seth Rogen takes back to back #1 and #2 spots with the amazing cancer drama, 50/50. Featuring a perfect balance of both humor and earnest sentiment, Jonathan Levine's emotional tale also headlined my Best Films of 2011 list as well. And although its most outspoken fans demanded Oscar recognition for a brilliant lead performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I clamored for Seth Rogen's supporting role as the hysterical lighter side of 50/50.