Beloved and revered, Judd Apatow gradually became one of the kings of comedy over his thirty-year career in film and television. Apatow initially started in stand-up before shifting his focus to writing and manufacturing in the 90s, which contributed to The Larry Sanders Show and both Ben Stiller’s Emmy-winning title series and his film Heavyweights. Before becoming an acclaimed film director, Apatow directed the beloved cult-classic shows Freaks and Geeks and Unexplained, both were canceled far too soon. It was the massive comedy hit of 2005 The 40-year-old virgin, well, which served as his directorial debut and effectively kicked off his film career.
It is important to acknowledge that Apatow is a major filmmaker, in addition to being a prominent director, who had a hand in making hits such as Super Bath, Pineapple Express, and Bridesmaids, among countless others. His next upcoming directing project, The bubble, will debut on Netflix sometime this year and will follow a group of actors trapped in a pandemic quarantine at a hotel while trying to complete their film. Focusing only on his extensive and lucrative filmography as a director, here is every Judd Apatow film, arranged.
8 The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling
Explore the life and legacy of comedian Garry Shandling, Judd Apatow’s documentary The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling contains a deep dive into the personal journals, home videos and television appearances of the deceased joker, combining interviews with family and close friends. The film was released on HBO and used actor Michael Cera to provide readings of various excerpts from Shandling’s diaries. Apatow was inspired to direct the documentary about Shandling because the two were good friends, with Shandling being idolized by Apatow and provided one of the first big performances for the young writer. NPR called the documentary, “a deeply striking TV show about the meaning of life.”
7 This is 40
A spin-off of Apatow’s colossal 2007 hit Pregnant, the comedy film This is 40 Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann play the couple Pete and Debbie, whose already stressful relationship is strengthened by the two four-legged friends. The director was able to work with his real wife Mann again on the hilarious but humanistic farce. With a supporting cast including John Lithgow, Jason Segel and Melissa McCarthy, This is 40 was applauded for his adult humor and star performances. Rudd and Mann’s fierce quarrel and entertaining relationship propelled the film despite a sometimes pointless script, and Apatow provided many humorous insights into the marriage.
6 May it last: A portrait of the Avett brothers
Chronicle of the famous and famous North Carolina group the Avett Brothers, Apatow’s 2017 Documentary May it last: A portrait of the Avett brothers is a gripping and intimate film that describes the famous group as they created their 2016 album True Sadness. Apatow co-directed the documentary with the documentary Michael Bonfiglio and released it on HBO in 2018. It would later win the SXSW Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival and highlighted Apatow’s tremendous gift for storytelling outside of the comedy world.
5 Funny people
Psychological drama Funny people centers around a well-known comedian who discovers he has a terminal illness and attempts to repair the broken relationships in his life while mentoring an aspiring comedian. With Adam Sandler as the retired comedian George Simmons and with a stacked cast that includes Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill, Funny people is a dramatic and emotionally driven story. The drama is full of dust and notable performances, and was a fascinating genre pivot for Apatow. Funny people has been favored by critics, with Roger Ebert proclaims that it is “a real movie. It means carefully written dialogue and carefully placed supportive actions — and it’s about something. ”
4 The King of Staten Island
Pete Davidson plays in the semi-biographical drama The King of Staten Island, which follows a young man who is forced to get his life together after his mother starts dating a new man. Davidson’s character Scott Carlin is an aspiring tattoo artist who has to deal with his unresolved trauma and issues regarding his deceased firefighter father. With supporting talent such as Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr and Steve Buscemi, The King of Staten Island is a gripping movie for adulthood. Buscemi plays veteran firefighter Papa in the film, and the actor was actually a firefighter in his 20s; on 9/11, he returned to his firehouse to sort through the rubble and look for survivors in the same place where Pete Davidson’s real father passed away. The Saturday Night Live star delivers a moving performance in this dark and tender drama, and Apatow was praised for his handling of the raw and mature subject.
3 Train wreck
Judd Apatow directed the 2015 rom-com hit Train wreck, which centers on a bold and hard-hitting party magazine writer experiencing her first serious relationship. Amy Schumer wrote the film and stars as Amy Townsend while committing herself to the acclaimed orthopedic surgeon Aaron Conners, portrayed by the endearing Bill Hader. Train wreck recruits a colorful group of supporting stars to compliment the story, with Brie Larson, John Cena, Tilda Swinton and LeBron James all rounding off the talent. Schumer’s sharp delivery coupled with Apatow’s aptitude for character-driven comedy is a dynamite combination that Train wreck a winning spectacle. The film was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, and was Apatow’s first film to do so.
The universally awarded Pregnant was written, produced and directed by Judd Apatow and centers on the repercussions of a drunken one-night stand between a career-minded reporter and a resident slacker, culminating in an unintended pregnancy. With Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen as the unlikely romantic duo, the movie also uses regular Apatow collaborators Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Jonah Hill. Pregnant was an unexpected financial success, brought in $ 219 million and was a knockout blow among critics. It also helped push Rogen and Heigl further up the Hollywood stars. The epic comedy continued drives Apatow to newfound mainstream triumph and won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie Comedy.
1 The 40-year-old Virgo
The masterpiece that started it all, 2005’s The 40-year-old Virgo was the directorial debut of Judd Apatow, which he co-wrote with lead star Steve Carell. Carell’s character, portraying the titular 40-year-old virgin Andy, is forced by his colleagues in the electronics store to lose his virginity. Apatow was inspired to work with the funny man after his amusing performance in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and the film’s premise is based on a sketch The office alum created with The Second City. Carell’s rendition was celebrated among moviegoers, with a deep appreciation for his comic and charming approach to the character. With a current Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 85%, The 40-year-old Virgo is probably Apatow’s most acclaimed and iconic movie and has served as a monumental stepping stone to his prominent directing resume.
Maria Bakalova, Pedro Pascal and Karen Gillan are among the cast named for Judd Apatow’s next comedy film.
About the author