In August of this year, it will officially have been fifteen years since Greg Mottola graced us with his 2007 masterpiece, Superbad—a story with tangible character development, a keen eye for story structure, and nonstop, classic knee-slappers.
Seriously: each and every scene will have you chuckling, wiping away tears, or repeating lines of dialogue under your breath. But while Superbad stands taller than its comedic contemporaries, some individual scenes stick out more than others, too, and today, we’re counting down the top ten.
10. Seth Gets Hit by a Car
I’ll speak frankly, here: however silly it may be, we all know that the single funniest frame in this scene is the initial impact of Seth getting bulldozed by a hyperactive man backing out of the parking lot. There’s a simple yet profound and innate hilarity to the fashion with which Jonah Hill tumbles to the pavement. However, his exclamation on the ground after getting struck remains the true standout of the scene. Just lend an ear to his delivery, his intonations.
The plot, the dialogue, even the character development—all of that stuff is spot on thanks to a well-woven script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (while they were still in high school, no less) but Jonah Hill and Michael Cera brought the script to new heights with pitch-perfect portrayals of Seth and Evan.
Analyze the actors’ rapport, their delivery in scenes like this. It’ll really change your views. Not on life, but the movie. Maybe on life, too. Who knows?
9. Seth Gets Hit by a Car… Again
After smacking Seth with his car, Officer Slater (played hilariously by Bill Hader) made Evan and him get on the ground, spread their limbs and hold hands. Why? I’m not sure, and neither was Officer Slater. He’d likely never arrested someone before and entered a state of panic upon doing so, but boy are we glad he did.
The scene escalates when Fogel exits the car and triggers a quick chase, if anyone wants to call it that. Everything culminates with Seth getting hit by a baseball bat and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen) vomiting from his short-lived sprint.
The sight of Michael Cera running is enough to warrant a spot on this list alone. Throw in Jonah Hill getting hurt around every corner and Seth Rogan firing warning shots at a teenager within the confines of a residential neighborhood, and it honestly could be higher than number nine. However, it doesn’t quite edge out our next pick.
8. Dirty Magazines
While discussing naked ladies on the cover of dirty magazines, this sequence expertly establishes the expectations of the movie and sets up the goal of the characters: get laid before graduation. It’s essentially American Pie, except, you know. Better.
As they banter about some rather indecent topics in a rather enclosed and entirely public location, Seth utters the movie’s most underrated line bar none, with reference to the standards set by his crush’s impressive dating record: “Have you ever stared into his eyes?” Seth asks Evan about one of her exes. “It was like the first time I heard The Beatles.”
7. Robbing the Grocery Store
When trying to get booze for the upcoming party, the boys debate nabbing some from Fogel’s place of work: a local grocery store. Eventually, Seth builds up the courage, dons his toga-inspired cape and sets off to steal the booze.
The security guard daydream is the best, without question. The old lady bit is funny, don’t get me wrong, but the cinematography with the former always gets me—from a low angle, slowly up to a high when the security guard reveals himself to Seth. Superbad actually features some truly awesome shots, building tension with slow motion and intense music only to punctuate the situation with comedy right when the audience is pining for a laugh.
Like, when these imaginary scenarios finally leave Seth’s head and we immediately cut to his walk of shame to the parking lot—dejected, embarrassed, and entirely bereft of booze.
6. Target Practice
In the early phases of the film, Fogel spends some quality time with Michaels and Slater as the officers riddle bullets into a nearby stop sign.
Eventually, the group detects police sirens in the distance and their shenanigans are cut short, with Slater yelling, “It’s the cops!” and Michaels calling shotgun before throwing themselves into the car and peeling off into the night… oh yeah, and there’s a drunken hobo in the backseat.
You really can’t make this stuff up—unless you’re Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg.
5. Buying Booze
When the officers analyze Fogel’s fake ID, they marvel that he only has one name (McLovin), which is just awesome, but the impetus for this entry is the tense setup of the final joke. The policeman shifted intent focus between Fogel and his ID while whispering unintelligibly, leading the audience to believe they’re onto him, when in reality they’re just discussing the prospect of organ donors.
Dramatic irony at its finest, folks.
4. Kick it Over to Me
In this brief-yet-overlooked scene, Seth interrupts a class-wide soccer game to inform Evan about the inciting incident: his crush, Jules—played to wonderful effect by Emma Stone—giving him money to buy booze for her party. Seth’s enthusiasm re: Jules’s potential interest gave us some laugh-out-loud dialogue that also moves the story along.
Seth punting the ball—just to spite the system, I guess—adeptly showcased the writers’ knack for slapstick, but Seth and Evan’s quick roasting of Dave Franco’s character is what really stole the show.
“Would you calm down, Greg? It’s soccer. It’s soccer.”
3. The Fake ID
This is undoubtedly the most famous scene of the list—from roughly 2007 to 2010, people quoted the dialogue ad nauseam and carried collectable copies of McLovin’s ID in their wallets.
You guys know how the story goes. When the group needs a fake ID, a boy once known as Fogel emerges as a man called McLovin, ready to purchase alcohol despite his immaturity. Seth and Evan give him a lot of grief for going with such a strange name—and only one name at that—to which Fogel retorts: “It was between that, or Muhammed.” In a vitriolic manner, Seth can’t help but question this… and Fogel’s response?
“It’s the most commonly used name on earth, read a book for once.”
Man. That’s good stuff.
2. The Classroom—Fogel’s Introduction
This one has a montage, a flashback, a few different cuts that facilitate tremendous pacing for a scene replete with humorous gestures, memorable one-liners… the whole nine, really. Fogel’s introduction here is one for the record books as he recounts telling his crush what time it was in the hallway just moments before his arrival.
Even still, his performance was eclipsed by Jonah Hill, whose rant to the teacher, his rant to Fogel, and particularly his joke at the end all hit home on multiple levels. I won’t detail this scene too much, but you’ll see the light if you give it a watch.
1. Seth’s Art
Another well-known interaction, this time between Seth and Evan in their high school cafeteria as the former details his qualms with the latter’s crush—a girl named Becca, who once in elementary school stumbled upon Seth’s collection of, ahem… you know. Male genitalia. In drawing form. Or “illustrations,” as Seth so gracefully refers to them.
I feel no urge to mention the obscure and hysterical nature of the drawings themselves, as the scene has more value than ostensibly juvenile humor—go back and observe their facial expressions, prick up your ears to their controlled intonations. Their respective deliveries are true sights to behold.
I know I wouldn’t have been able to deliver such absurd lines—referring to his obsession as his “d**k operation”—with the grace, dignity, and courage of Jonah Hill, even if we do share a first name.
Which Scene Brought the Most Laughs?
If you happened to miss this upon release or if you simply haven’t seen it in a while, you should undoubtedly put it on. It’s entertaining from start to finish no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
To be frank, that number one pick is my personal funniest scene ever put to film. I could turn it on right now and be subsequently brought to tears. Also, I would be remiss not to mention the amazing Coen Brothers reference at the start of the flick. You can almost see a teen-aged Seth Rogen sitting in his parents’ house and writing that line. Unfortunately, the scene itself wasn’t quite worth a spot on the list.
What’s your favorite scene from Superbad? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!