It sounds strange to say, but Jonah Hill has justifiably earned himself a pair of Oscar Nominations throughout his rather short acting career, a feat that many actors and actresses aspire to accomplish. Hill emerged as a chubby comedy persona in comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Grandma's Boy, only to prove that he's immensely capable of transitioning to a dramatic actor. Although he's never strayed too far away from his laugh-inducing roots, regularly tapping back into his comedy comfort zone, Hill has solidified himself as a rare youthful talent in Hollywood. And with his critically approved Sundance drama, True Story, finding a limited release this weekend, I've devoted April's Movie List of the Month to the best films starring Jonah Hill (click here for March's list).
Honorable Mention: 22 Jump Street, Accepted and Knocked Up
#5. Money Ball
As a huge outspoken fan of America's favorite pastime, I found plenty of home runs as well as swings and misses with Bennett Miller's Best Picture contender, Moneyball. One of its "home runs" came in the form of a fantastic and career defining performance from Hill. The role landed him his first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Acting category and opened the world's eyes to his dramatic capabilities. As a sabermetrics stat-geek who helps modernize the sport of baseball under Billy Beane's determined guidance, Jonah Hill indisputably helped elevate Moneyball to an Oscar powerhouse.
#4. 21 Jump Street
Unavoidably so, when we think of Jonah Hill, we think comedy. And right near the top of that list comes Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's 80s television series-turned-big-screen-revival, 21 Jump Street. Alongside his meat-headed sidekick Jenko (Channing Tatum), Hill stars as the cerebral half of the duo whose antics prove immeasurably comical as they attempt to bring down a high school drug dealer selling a deadly synthetic drug. While I admittedly had my reservations as the first trailers for 21 Jump Street premiered, a strong and hysterical script helped the film gross north of $125 million dollars domestically and spawned an entire franchise with no ending in sight.
#3. This Is the End
Jonah Hill's career goes hand in hand with other familiar faces such as Michael Cera, Seth Rogen and James Franco. Therefore, the hysterical 2013 comedy, This Is the End, is a no-brainer for this list. As these Hollywood party animals take center stage in mocking roles of their real identities, we watch as these softies try to survive the apocalypse at James Franco's house. The hilarity is off the charts and Jonah Hill definitely gets the raw end of the deal after a (SPOILER ALERT) big black evil entity penetrates his body and leads to a possession that ultimately requires a sad attempt at an exorcism from his fearful companions. This Is the End is spectacular comedic effort from Hill's close-knit group of friends.
#2. The Wolf of Wall Street
A Martin Scorsese and Leo collaboration is never anything new, but the addition of Jonah Hill not too far removed from his first Oscar nomination definitely caught moviegoers' attention. And not only did Jonah Hill shine in his drug-addled and over-the-top role, he was recognized by the Academy Awards a second time as Leo's money-printing sidekick in The Wolf of Wall Street. As an over-extended and polarizing feature that divided audiences, Hill's irrefutably dynamic work was both hysterical and convincing in every way imaginable. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed Scorsese's lavish satirical work and believe that the success surrounding The Wolf of Wall Street partially hinged on the work of Jonah Hill.
After a stint as a B-list comedy actor, Jonah Hill's career was propelled by the outrageous 2007 instant classic, Superbad. Alongside his onscreen best bud, Michael Cera, and their annoying third wheel McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), this trio of high school losers do whatever it takes to cap off their senior year by supplying alcohol for a popular girl's party. At this point we weren't even aware of Hill's capabilities as a dramatic actor, but Superbad confirmed his dominating presence as a comedic force. This iconic feature will always stand as the catalyst for Johan Hill's already impressive career. And at such a young age, we can expect many more years of greatness for an extremely talented individual.