Only an actor of Jonah Hill’s stature can successfully thrive in both serious roles and raunchy comedies. While the actor will soon be seen in Adam MacKay’s upcoming politically charged disaster satire Don’t Look Up — alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Timothee Chalamet and more — there are quite a few films of Hill’s on Netflix that reflect his brilliant acting chops, perfect comic timing and honest portrayal.
With two Academy Award nominations and Golden Globe nominations, Hollywood has been quite unfair to him and typecast him in roles that are slightly on the heavier side. Incessant fat-shaming and body jokes have been a staple in his introductions, crippling his self-esteem. Even in an interview, Hill admitted that these negative comments made him feel “gross and unattractive”, a shame given his extraordinary talent.
The public perception of Hill also led to a lot of serious damages, including a really low pay on The Wolf of Wall Street. A brilliant writer and director, he also made his directorial debut with Mid90s, a 2018 film, that received immense love and acclaim.
On his birthday, let us take a look at his five best films streaming on Netflix that show how his humour and authentic self add a dimension of happiness and positivity to the fake and plastic world of Hollywood:
The 5 best Jonah Hill films on Netflix [MON]
5. 21 Jump Street (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, 2012)
In this brilliant buddy-cop comedy film, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have an incredible bromance that makes it a seriously funny and entertaining watch. Hill, who was also the screenwriter on this film, described this “R-rated, insane film” as a “Bad Boys-met-Jon Hughes-type” of the flick, which is perhaps the aptest definition of this joyride.
Cops Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko are polar opposites, with Schmidt being awkward and witty while Jenko is the brawny yet stupid one. They bond over missed proms, their struggles at the police academy and trying to catch motorcycle gang leaders. They are compelled to disguise themselves as high school students and infiltrate a school to stop the spread of a dangerous drug known as HFS (Holy Fucking Shit), leading to unimaginable chaos.
“Sir, I know we come off as a couple of lady killers, but I promise you we’ll be super professional at the job.”
4. War Dogs (Todd Phillips, 2016)
Two opportunistic and shrewd friends who are residents of Miami Beach during the Iraq War, Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, indulge in small businesses that bid on military contracts. Suddenly, they chance upon a massive $300 million deal that makes them meet twisted people, and chaos ensues.
Jonah Hill does a phenomenal job as the ambitious sleaze Efraim who finds himself in an unavoidable mess after trying to dabble in dangerous waters. This heavily-fictionalised tale that deals with shocking, real-life events get a dash of entertainment and fresh air with Hill’s compelling presence that also won him another Golden Globes nomination.
“The U.S military, motherfucker!… Wanna do a bong hit?”
3. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2014)
Scorsese’s hedonistic saga of sex, crime, money and drugs chronicles the true story of a stockbroker named Jordan Belfort, his life and career trajectory as he journeys from rags to riches by duping wealthy investors in billions before ultimately succumbing to his misdeeds.
At the 86th Academy Awards, with five nominations, including one for Jonah Hill, the Academy surprised many, given how neglectful they had been of the actor’s talent previously. Hill played Belfort’s best friend, Donnie Azoff and shared brilliant chemistry with Leonardo DiCaprio. As his business associate well-versed in corruption, Hill was apparently paid the lowest possible amount an actor can be paid for a role like his but still went ahead with the deal since he desperately wanted to be a part of the film.
“Jordan, it’s fucking good, right? It’s fucked up.”
2. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)
Starring Jonah Hill and Michael Sera as the lead protagonists Seth and Evan, the film sees these awkward high school misfits desperately aiming to get invited to a cool party and finally lose their virginities before going off to college. However, their plans are disrupted by menstruating fiancees, irresponsibly drunk cops, messy brawls that lead to black eyes and a general aura of innocence and naivete.
Hill and Cera’s characters were inspired by the real-life experiences of screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. As the funny and charming Seth, Hill was effortless in his portrayal of his awkwardness and shy nature that made him stupid and endearing. Steeped in honest and charming vulgarity, the film touches upon the general awkwardness of the teenage phase and the constant need to be popular and wanted while upholding the wonderful friendship between the duo, especially in the scenes where they express their love for one another and boop each other.
“So I gotta sit here and eat my dessert alone like I’m Fucking Steven Glansberg.”
1. Moneyball (Bennett Miller, 2017)
Based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book, the film follows Billy Beane, the general manager of Oakland Athletics, as he joins forces with Peter Brand to reinvent and restructure the team and win the championship by employing a strategy to defeat the wealthier teams, despite certain setbacks.
Jonah Hill is seen in the film as the smart and funny Yale graduate and mathematics genius who birthed the system of creating statistics to pick out the flawed players who had potential nevertheless. After becoming Brad Pitt’s manager in the film, Hill’s character helps strategise for a sure win. Hill’s compelling performance won him his first Oscar and Golden Globes nominations for the Best Supporting Actor.
“Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.”