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All of Judd Apatow’s Movies, from ‘Funny People’ to ‘The Bubble,’ Ranked

Apatow is more than just a generous host and a generational eye for talent; he’s also a deceptively major filmmaker.

Judd Apatow has become so many different things in the comedy world — producer, showrunner, kingmaker, figurehead — that it can be easy to forget he used to be a filmmaker above all else. That isn’t meant to be a backhanded compliment or a swipe against his recent movies (when it’s time to pop “The Bubble,” you’ll know), it’s only to say that Apatow’s hand is felt in so many different projects on screens large and small that it now feels mildly unexpected whenever he decides to direct one himself.

Apatow probably likes it that way; he’s always seemed perfectly happy to be thought of as more of a facilitator than an auteur, and it could be argued that many of his movies belong less to him than they do to the actors they minted as stars. But the fact of the matter is that Apatow is more than just a generous host and a generational eye for talent. He’s also a deceptively major filmmaker, despite the casual, people standing around doing improv at each other nature of his approach.

If the bougie self-indulgence of “This Is 40” or the sheer Pete Davidson-ness of (the very good!) “The King of Staten Island” have made that slightly harder to appreciate than it used to be, even those movies illustrate how Apatow’s patience, his warts-and-all affection for stunted fuck-ups, and his palpable love for the people who bring them to life have allowed him to bridge the gap between Will Ferrell and James L. Brooks. Something as empty and algorithmic as “The Bubble” (we’re getting there!) only feels so far beneath him because Apatow was the guy who reminded modern Hollywood that funny people have feelings, too.

Here are all nine of the films that Judd Apatow has directed — including the two feature-length documentaries he’s made so far — ranked from worst to best.

Steve Greene and Zack Sharf also contributed to this article.

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