Movies That Everyone Should See: “Superbad”

SuperBad

Fogell: Yo guys! Sup?
Seth: Fogell, where have you been, man? You almost gave me a goddamn heart attack. Let me see it. Did you pussy out or what?
Fogell: No noooo, man. I got it; it is flawless. Check it!
Evan: [examining the fake ID] Hawaii. All right, that’s good. That’s hard to trace, I guess. Wait… you changed your name to… McLovin?
Fogell: Yeah.
Evan: McLovin? What kind of a stupid name is that, Fogell? What, are you trying to be an Irish R&B singer?
Fogell: Naw, they let you pick any name you want when you get down there.
Seth: And you landed on McLovin…
Fogell: Yeah. It was between that or Muhammed.

Superbad_Rogen_Hill_Cera_Goldberg2

“We sat down, not knowing what we were gonna write, and the question was, well what do we know? That was all of it. Thats all we knew.” “Yeah, thats pretty much it. We knew we wanted to get laid, and we knew we liked getting drunk.”

-Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg began writing “Superbad” when they were just 13 years old. By the time they were 15, they had completed their first draft. It was loosely based on their own high school experiences, along with their friend Fogell. The two of them worked on polishing it throughout their time in high school.

Rogen, who had always wanted to be a comedian, dreamed of starring in the film himself when he was young. By age 12, he was performing comedy at bar mitzvahs and parties. He shifted to bars when he got a little older. At age 16, he won the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest. By that time he was doing stand up in a local comedy club called Yuk Yuks.

It was around then that he answered a local casting call for Judd Apatow’s upcoming television show “Freaks and Geeks”.

Freaks and Geeks

Undeclared_DVDIn spite of starring future stars James Franco and Jason Segel in addition to Rogen, “Freaks and Geeks” ran for just one season (1999-2000). In fact, NBC only aired 12 of the 18 episodes that were completed.

After its cancellation, however, Apatow was given another TV series opportunity, this time on the FOX network. “Undeclared” featured college exploits as opposed to High School, and Apatow brought Seth Rogen along again. It, too, only lasted one season (2001-2002), however.

forty_year_old_virginApatow found greater success on the big screen, though, and he became noted for giving opportunities for the young stars he had worked with on his TV projects. Rogen had landed a small part in “Donnie Darko” for his first big screen appearance, but Apatow gave him another small part in “Anchorman”. A larger part, a major one this time, awaited in Apatow’s The 40 Year Old Virgin” (which Rogen also co-produced).

Rogen had given Apatow the script to “Superbad” in 2000, and he never gave up on it. It wasn’t just that he was attached to it due to having written it in high school, his contention was that the film was edgy and true to real experiences, so he felt that audiences would respond. At that point in time, though, neither of them had the clout to bring the script to screen.

After the success of “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, however, the way was paved.

shot0001

HillBy this time, Rogen was too old to play Seth, so the role needed to be cast. Jonah Hill was already friends with both Rogen and Goldberg. He had roles in both “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”. Knowing him, Rogen and Goldberg never considered that he could be right for the role… He struck them both as too old (Hill was 23 at the time of filming). But Hill did an impromptu screen test on the set of “Knocked Up” that impressed Judd Apatow. He got the part.

CeraHill and Micheal Cera knew each other previously, as well. Cera had had extensive experience in television, most notably in “Arrested Development”, but his film experience was limited to a bit part as the young Chuck Barris in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”. Reportedly, it was Cera’s mother (who read the script before he did) who convinced him to try out for the role. When he auditioned, he was immediately chosen for the part.

Both were perfect casting, especially seeing as their styles compliment each other so well. Hill is fast talking, boorish, and brash, while Cera is quiet, hesitant and seemingly shy. The two of them play perfectly off each other in the film, with Hill’s abrasive, non-stop, bull in a china shop dialogue complimented perfectly by Cera’s reactionary, soft-spoken, nervous skepticism.

shot0016

The part of Fogell/McLovin, however, was difficult to cast. The production had a difficult search to fill the role. Christopher Mintz-Plasse impressed them immediately when he came in. What was surprising was, it was the first audition he had ever been on. “Superbad” would become his first role.

shot0008It was also the first movie for Emma Stone (although she had extensive TV experience), and the second for Martha MacIsaac (Becca). They added Bill Hader, who Goldberg and Rogen had worked with on “You Me and Dupree”, as the second Cop, and they were ready to roll. Greg Mottola was brought in to direct, as Apatow liked his work on the indie film “The Daytrippers”.

Rogen and Goldberg couldn’t believe the film was actually getting made, all the way through production.

shot0013

For good reason, too. “Superbad” is a teen comedy full of crass, crude dialogue, and full of drinking and adolescent sex talk. There are 186 F Bombs in the film (1.54 per minute). According to the counter included as a special feature on the Blu ray, there are also 257 instances of “Genital, Sexual references and innuendo”.

One of the most famous scenes, of course, is when Seth reveals he was obsessed with drawing penises as a child. Close to 1,000 penis drawings were produced for the movie, but only a fraction of them were actually included in the film. They were drawn by David Goldberg, brother of screenwriter Evan Goldberg. No word could be found as to whether he actually received psychiatric counseling afterwards, as in the film.

The drawings were actually an issue for the MPAA, especially the fact that a young girl would be shown holding one (The actress playing young Becky was actually given a different picture to hold before the film cuts to the drawing). Producer Judd Apatow is quoted as saying the scene was the subject of much legal wrangling, including how erect they could be, if veins could be shown, etc.

shot0021

The context of all the raunch is a single day in the life of three high schoolers. Two events converge to cause for a wild night for them: they get invited to a party hosted by an attractive, popular girl (Emma Stone’s Jules), and their friend gets a fake ID. This leads to them offering to buy alcohol in order to impress the girls, and also in hopes of getting them drunk in order to put the moves on them.

shot0027When the purchase attempt is interrupted by a robbery, however, the plan breaks down and the trio scatters. Seth and Evan are forced to try to steal alcohol from a party being thrown by dangerous, older strangers, while McLovin gets escorted around town by a couple of Cops who are more interested in partying than they are in apprehending the robber.

Whether separately or together, the three still need to find a way to get alcohol to the party, and to get with their girls once they get there.

shot0032

shot0035The raunchy humor is mainly delivered through the film’s dialogue. The three boys cuss like sailors, or, actually, like high schoolers. They also espouse their views and ideas about sex through their uninformed, youthful worldview.

shot0037Which is part of “Superbad”‘s strength. Aside from the Cops in the film, who are obviously a straight up comedic addition, everything feels genuine. These are things that kids that age would say and do. Getting booze underage is a big adventure.

shot0038Young men that age will talk big about girls and then act like chickens when they’re actually around them. Even if they do get lucky enough to hook up, they don’t know what to do once they get there. For all their bravado, they are only just boys.

shot0039

Underlying it all is a story about two friends being broken apart by college, which is an experience many of us can relate to. There’s bound to be varying degrees of bitterness and or resentment involved, and the movie shows that nicely. As Evan prepares to head off to Dartmouth with Fogell, Seth secretly harbors a resentment; one that manifests itself over the course of the movie. Of course, as good friends do, Seth and Evan work it out. Growing up doesn’t have to mean growing apart.

It all adds up to a film that’s funny as hell, yet feels authentic to the high school experience. The awkwardness, the craziness, the pretense of being a tough guy when you don’t really know what the hell you’re doing. That genuineness goes a long way towards giving the movie a heart beneath all of the crass humor.

“Superbad” is a quotable, ridiculously funny film that honestly replicates important facets of the high school experience. It’s got memorable characters and a story full of hysterical encounters and incidents. It’s a movie that’s worthy of joining the ranks of the greatest teen comedies of all time.

It’s definitely a “Movie That Everyone Should See“.

shot0029

Superbad

Daniel Fogarty

About these ads

59 thoughts on “Movies That Everyone Should See: “Superbad”

  1. It’s hard commenting on this when we talked about it for a good half an hour last night lol. You covered all of the bases and I truly agree that it is a film everyone needs to see. Great write-up Fogs, once I get my stuff moved and unpacked, this (super) bad boy may be sitting in my DVD player all the time as well ;).

      • I actually walked out on this film… after paying full freight to see it. There was nothing even remotely redeeming, amusing, or entertaining about it.

        It wasn’t SUPERBAD… it was just… bad. All lowercase bad.

      • I’m probably going to make a bunch of enemies and sound like a stick in the mud, but I agree with Andrew. I hated this movie. I thought the dick drawing sequence was hilarious… and also the only thing that I laughed at for the entire film.

        To each their own and all that- I don’t care if others enjoy it, it’s not my place to say what people should and shouldn’t watch or enjoy, and there’s no such thing as a wrong way to laugh about movies. But my two cents? I couldn’t stand Superbad. It’s not even close to a movie I’d refer to as one that everyone should see.

      • Alright, well at least you guys are grouping your comments together. LOL. We can have a hater’s section… rope you guys off. :D

        Sorry to hear you guys didnt connect with it, obviously you’re both probably aware that a lot of people did.

    • McLovin was incredible, wasn’t he? Instant enshrinee to the great comedy characters Hall of Fame. :D

      I think I even like this one better than “Mary”. Though probably not as much as “Anchorman”, which was another recent neo-classic. ;)

      • Uh, you know? As with any property that gets revisited after a layoff, I’m more nervous than I am excited. I’ve seen way too many properties that I love come back for another helping and wind up embarrassing themselves… :(

        Nothing against the sequel, I certainly hope its as great as the first, but right now I’m just hoping they dont %#$& things up!

  2. Saw this with my mom, my sister, and her friend on opening-night, and laughed my ass off until the cows came home. Never, ever gets old either and I still watch it till this day. However, it’s usually on FX and that’s never as fun of a watch. Good post man!

    • [Big Slow Nod]

      You know it Dan, you know it.

      Thanks for having my back on this one buddy, I do appreciate it. I find this movie hysterical, too. Great flick, and I lose count of how many times I’ve seen it. :lol:

    • hahaha holy hell, how did that go over??

      and I couldn’t agree more. Fogs this is a classic film, one for the ages (the more under-age, the better.)

      • Gotcha. Yeah, I think I might have been a little uncomfortable seeing it with my Mom and sister! :D You know, though, maybe for Dan, it works ;)

        I appreciate your approval on this one Tom. Couldnt agree more. We had a couple of vocal dissidents to this selection, but there’s a lot of support, too, thanks for backing me up!! :D

      • I saw those haha. Everyone’s def entitled to their own opinion, even as much as it surprised me that people said they hated it. I would also disagree completely but whatevers. Maybe there were a few too many penis jokes? No. Not really. It was all good. Haha great film.

      • Bah. Dont worry about them. I knew this pick would raise some eyebrows from folks who just want this series focus on the crusty dusties, you know? LOL :lol:

        We know whats up! Thanks again for your suppport!

  3. Awesome review Fogs! I friggen love this movie. I laugh just as hard watching it now, as I did when I first saw it back in the theatre. I wish they had nerds like McLovin back when I was in high school.

    • Thanks Smash!! :D

      I know, right? These nerds were crazy, trying to party like… brave kind of nerds. The nerds I remember wanted to fade into the scenery if they could, LOL!

      I think this movie is hysterical too. And quotable. My friends and I learned many a line from this one to use on each other. It’s some funny stuff! :D

  4. Gotta love MPAA – drawings of the dicks, oh God, the horror!

    Awesome write up, Superbad is one of my all time favorite comedies – I always laugh like a maniac when the car hits Hill in his ass :P And McLovin is just legendary.

    • Hill gets hit twice!! LOL. I think they’re both funny, but I still laugh at the fact they kept having his character get hit by cars! :lol:

      McLovin is a legend, isnt he? I love the way Mintz-Plasse delivers the “I am McLovin” line, LOL! :D

  5. This is a great and funny film. Great job on all the back history I learned a lot I didn’t know about. I’m surprised they didn’t do a sequel, though I prefer they don’t but you know how Hollywood is.

    • Yeah, we were actually talking about that last night. Especially since a college visit would make perfect sense. I could picture things like McLovin still trying to use his fake ID. Getting busted by cops and finding out what real cops are like. LOL. Evan and Becca still dating, that sort of thing.

      I hope they dont go back to it NOW though, too much time has passed!!

      And thank you, as always! I agree, it is a great one!

  6. I’m going to have to see this again – I can’t remember what I thought of it when it came out.
    I was planning on seeing it again anyway because of Emma Stone, but you putting it as a MTESS will shift it considerably closer to the top of the pile :)

    • Nice. My work here is done.

      If you like High School party movies, this is right at the top of that sub genre James! I think you’ll love it… I know I had a blast talking about it last night with the guys on the As You Watch podcast!

  7. I said it last night and I’ll say it again, I’ve watched this practically once a month for the last 5 years and it’s just as funny now as it was the first time I saw it. The characters are great and easy to relate to, the dialogue is hysterical and easily quotable and the dick drawings are incredibly detailed :D

    There’s been a number of high school comedies to come throughout the years that I’ve come to grow and love. Superbad has come to rest atop such classics as Porky’s, American Pie, and Can’t Hardly Wait.

    It was great discussing the film with you Fogs and as always great job on the research.

    • Yup. Rewatchability on this one is literally off the charts. I dont think it came out of my player for 3 months when it first hit the home market… I must have watched it 20 times. :D

      Definitely a classic high school comedy, Joe. Absolutely! Totally belongs in amongst that crowd!

      And thank you, I appreciate the kind words!! ;)

  8. Eh, it was OK. Certainly not a movie everyone should see. You could live a full, happy life having never seen this movie. It was all right. Not that funny, but certainly watchable. The biggest problem is that it takes a couple of fairly thin jokes and stretches them out way too long. The movie is probably 20-30 minutes longer than it needs to be.

    • “Not that funny”? Damnnnn… I dont think we saw the same movie, Brik!

      I keep every scene, but maybe some of the cop stuff could have been whittled down… of course, then the payoff at the end isnt as good.

      Nah, I dont change anything. LOL :D

  9. So much love for Superbad. It gets funnier every time. I knew so many guys like this when I was growing up. Definite must see!

  10. March 11… for a moment I thought I’d missed three weeks… nah. I haven’t seen this, so I can’t bash it… but I will say that not only is not on “the list”, it’s also not one I’ve ever considered adding to it. I mean, at least with Scott Pilgrim, I’ve considered watching it on occasion. This… I haven’t. I gotta say every single bit of promotional material for it has left me expecting it to live up to its name.

    I did like your review, though. The behind-the-scenes background on it was pretty cool, and I have to admire Rogen’s tenacity. But I’m not convinced this is a movie I should see, let alone one everyone should see.

      • I think it’s more that a party movie has to have a little more substance to it than just “woo, party, yay, drugs.” I mean, Animal House could be considered a “party movie”, and that’s a fine movie. And lots of movies have it as one element of many; Teen Wolf was a middling movie, but it wasn’t because of the party scenes. Hell, even Weird Science, Real Genius and Wayne’s World have elements of it.

        I guess maybe the issue is, can a movie sustain itself entirely on what is usually a C-plot in other films? I think it can be done, but a lot more work has to go into it… didn’t see that in Nice Dreams, don’t see it in most films that focus exclusively on getting stoned.

      • Well, I’m not out to defend “Nice Dreams”, LOL, I wasn’t even motivated to do that on your post…

        Superbad’s a great movie, though, regardless of your prejudgement. Obviously you realize that’s not a wise practice… you kind of said that before trying to disparage the film based on what you could anyways. LOL ;)

        I dont care. There’s plenty of enthusiasm out there for this movie, without a doubt. Definitely a great, great comedy.

      • Hey, we all prejudge films, that’s what the promotional material is for. ;) All I’m saying is that so far nobody’s convinced me this is better than it looks.

  11. Holy hell man, you have made me want to watch this again. Loved the shit out of it when I saw it years ago but haven’t gotten back to it since. Probably my favorite comedy from the last decade or so though.

  12. Love this, you really captured everything and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! As superbad is one of my favorite films this was amazing! Keep up the great work and if you have chance… check out what ive got going on thanks :)

    • Thank you Joe! I appreciate that. Love this movie… it was easy to say nice things, you know?

      I’m happy you enjoyed it, and glad you commented, but I wanted to quickly let you know, I dont allow people linking to their own stuff in my comments anymore. It gets out of hand… I removed the link and let the rest of the comment stand, I hope you understand.

  13. I like Superbad a lot, but MTESS? I don’t know, that seems a bit much. Don’t get me wrong it is a very good comedy with lots of laughs and it’s very true to High School experiences, but it never struck me as a great film. A very good film, but I couldn’t go further that.

    That said, it is very interesting to read about the behind the scenes and as always you’ve done a great job.

    • The readership is divided on this one, but that’s fine. There are enough enthusiastic supporters for me to feel the call was justified. I think its going to be one of this last decades top comedies, without a doubt.

      I appreciate the fact that you enjoyed the read at least PG. ;)

      • And hey, I like the film a lot. It is pretty funny. “Prepare to be fucked by the long dick of the law” is one of the best comedic lines in years.

Join in the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s