Peter Segel writes and stars in the comedy of heartbreak, humiliation, and recovery for producer Judd Apatow

‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ -the humor of heartbreak on Peacock

Peter Segel joined the ranks of Freaks and Geeks alumni who went on to successful writing and/or directing careers (the list includes James Franco, Seth Rogan, and John Francis Daley) with Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), which he wrote and starred in for producer Judd Apatow. It’s a plot you can recount in a sentence—a guy […]

James Franco and Seth Rogen ride the ‘Pineapple Express’

The Judd Apatow factory refreshed the coming-of-age comedy (for all ages of adolescent men) in comedies like Knocked Up, Superbad, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before stretching itself thin (that’s my best explanation for Drillbit Taylor and Step Brothers). One of the smartest things he did was to seek out directors not normally associated with his […]

Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse star in the raunchy comedy

‘Superbad’ – teenage kicks on Netflix

The raucous and raunchy comedy Superbad (2007) is the love child of American Pie and Dazed and Confused. Behind its floridly foul streams of profanity and adolescent preoccupation with sex and alcohol is a savvy evocation of teenage insecurity and the confused ideas and feelings about the opposite sex. It’s produced by Judd Apatow and […]

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ on Netflix and Hulu

A town gets a buffet line for a weather system in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009), a colorful animated feature based on a children’s storybook tale. Director/writer team Phil Lord and Chris Miller cobble a story around the storybook’s premise but it’s the whimsical imagery of raining hamburgers, a Jell-O mold castle, an […]

Ellen DeGeneres voices Dory in Pixar's animated adventure 'Finding Dory'

Pixar’s ‘Finding Dory’ on Disney+

Finding Dory (2016), Pixar’s sequel to its gorgeous animated aquatic masterpiece, can’t shake off its sequel-ness—it plays like a variation on the theme rather than an original take on the familiar tale—but it’s a Pixar picture with all the care and love and storytelling magic that the studio brings to every project. Which makes this […]

Pixar's animated feature 'Inside Out,' directed by Pete Docter

‘Inside Out’ – An emotional Pixar adventure on Disney+

In Inside Out (2015), the 15th feature from Pixar, feelings are not just the focus of the story. They are the main characters. The primary emotions of preteen girl Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) get a workout when she’s uprooted from friends and activities in Minnesota, where she’s a devoted member of a hockey team, and […]

Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig are ‘The Skeleton Twins’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The Skeleton Twins (2014) stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as estranged siblings who are brought together after the failed suicide of one interrupts the attempted suicide of the other. This is a damaged family and Maggie (Wiig) and Milo (Hader) are self-destructive in their depression, almost willfully making choices doomed to ruin whatever equilibrium […]

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in Greg Mottola's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film 'Adventureland.' Photo credit: Miramax

‘Adventureland’ on Netflix and Hulu

Adventureland (2009, R) is more than just a chintzy theme park outside of Pittsburgh, where college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) spends a summer trying to save money for graduate school. It’s the real world adventures of life in the space between college and independence, that place where you think that you’re an adult but […]