Jonathan Crocker

Editorial Director | Journalist

Talking Movies… Judd Apatow

Posted by Jonathan On December - 17 - 2009

judd-apatow-movies1. The Cable Guy (1996)

“The Cable Guy is still one of my favourite films that I’ve worked on and it never ceases to make me laugh. I must say, however, the rough critical reaction made me doubt my instincts and sense of humour. If you email me, I will send you a list of every good review that movie got. Almost 20 percent of the reviews were good, not that I’m counting. I didn’t make another movie for eight years. I spent those years making well-regarded television shows that were cancelled instantly. Not that I didn’t realise that a Jim Carrey movie that ends with his suicide attempt was a bit of a risk.”

2. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)

“Will Ferrell appeared on my show Undeclared right when he was leaving Saturday Night Live. And around that time, he showed me a script that he’d written with Adam McKay called Anchorman. During the last days of Undeclared, Will and Adam would come to the office every once in a while and kick around how to get someone to allow us to make Anchorman. When we were doing the movie, Steve Carrell was clearly stealing a ton of scenes. After the results of Anchorman, I think studios are a little more open to giving someone like Steve a shot.”

3. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

I’m proud that the chest-waxing scene works so well, because it is so hard to get very big laughs in a movie and come up with something memorable. It was Steve’s idea. He says, ‘This is only funny if you really wax me.’ We put four or five cameras on him and just did it. That worked better than I could have ever imagined. But the scene I’m most proud of is the one where Catherine Keener and Steve break up. What I noticed was that people laughed really loud at some of the more brutal moments. When Catherine Keener yelled at Steve Carell, ‘Einstein had a wife, who he fucked,’ the crowd really laughed. It’s funny and heartbreaking.”

4. Knocked Up (2007)

“’Seth gets a girl pregnant.’ That’s enough for the movie. How deep and rich can we go with a simple idea? We actually improvised for five hours, where Seth and his idiotic stoner friends debate abortion. It’s very, very funny, but really shocking and disturbing. It may have killed Jerry Falwell! In terms of what I’ll show or what I won’t show, I just want the comedy to feel reaI. So the reason why I show a crowning shot is if I don’t show it, it just looks like an episode of Friends. The MPAA called me and said, ‘We love it!’ No, they said it’s fine. I think you’re allowed to show that…”

5. Superbad (2007)

We’d watch the movie and go, ‘How many these ‘fuck’s can we remove?’ We literally removed every single one in the movie that isn’t connected to something that gets a laugh and it’s still hundreds. The thing, when you can be R-rated, it allows you to be honest. You can show how people actually behave and so I feel like it’s taken the handcuffs off of a lot of people. Most of what I do during the day would be R-rated. I showed my wife the trailer and it says, ‘From the guy who brought you THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP…’ And she just said, ‘Great, you’ve become that guy.’”

6. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

“It’s a goof on movies like Ray and Walk The Line, so we started watching every single biopic we could get our hands on. We even watched the Marilyn Monroe HBO biography. Dewey Cox has been addicted to a lot of drugs. He’s gone through a lot of wives and, when he was a kid, he accidentally cut his brother in half with a machete. He works out these problems in this movie and we were very sure it was going to win an Oscar. We were pretty sure that it was a shoe-in. Not to give anything away, there is a penis in this movie.”

7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Jason Siegel and I had worked together before, but you can only do so much on TV. We couldn’t show his penis on Freaks And Geeks. Not that we didn’t write it into the script, day after day. Well, the only reason why it’s not shocking is the member’s not shocking. It’s inviting. You know, I asked to see it when we handed in the first draft. We all tried to come up with as many funny lines for the posters as we could. A lot of them they wouldn’t allow us to do. One of them, to put on the side of a bus, was: ‘I hope this bus hits Sarah Marshall’.”

8. Drillbit Taylor (2008)

A friend of mine at Paramount told me he had this treatment that John Hughes was never able to finish a script on. I asked Seth Rogen to take a look at it and we went about trying to make a movie in the tradition of the great John Hughes movies. He is obviously a giant influence on me. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a movie more than I enjoyed Sixteen Candles when it came out. In my mind, I always considered myself an Anthony Michael Hall type of guy. A lot of my later work is about the same type of outcast that John Hughes often wrote about.”

9. Step Brothers (2008)

“I think everyone noticed that John C Reilly and Will Ferrell had a special chemistry in Talladega Nights and so they came up with this idea together that they would be step brothers later in life. And there are no cars, so I didn’t have to worry about cars. That makes things easier. I think they said, ‘Let’s do something again. But without dangerous scary cars.’ When you’re editing a movie, you have watch it about 200 times. Me and Adam McKay would laugh every single at something Will have doing. That’s what’s fun about these movies. You can watch them over and over again. That’s right. I’m telling people to buy the DVD.”

10. Pineapple Express (2008)

“Years and years ago I watched True Romance and I thought Brad Pitt was so funny as a character who was on crack or meth. I thought, ‘I wish this movie followed him out the door.’ I thought it would be great to do one of those pot movies, but with the action of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, that looked really good and was also filled with people who were stoned. You know, this movie is kind of like Superbad with a high body-count. Seth Rogen was so enthusiastic about making an action movie, like a little kid, so excited about blowing things up and figuring out ways to shoot people.”

11. Funny People (2009)

“Adam Sander is one of my oldest friends. He and I were roommates back in 1990. I did some polishes on The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore. The only movie about comedians that anyone speaks of positively is Lenny. Other than that, it’s a washout. I’m excited about Funny People because the movie isn’t about comedians in clubs trying to get ahead and people trying to make it. What gives the movie a weird texture is it’s about what comedians do, they try to be funny at their job. It makes more of the life or death issues in the movie much more interesting because it’s this wounded, funny creative person dealing with all of it.”

Publication: Total Film

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About Me

Jonathan is a London-based journalist, critic and editor. He currently works for data visualisation agency Beyond Words.



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