Scott Tobias

Scott Tobias is the film editor of The A.V. Club, the arts and entertainment section of The Onion, where he's worked as a staff writer for over a decade. His reviews have also appeared in Time Out New York, City Pages, The Village Voice, The Nashville Scene, and The Hollywood Reporter. Along with other members of the A.V. Club staff, he co-authored the 2002 interview anthology The Tenacity Of the Cockroach and the new book Inventory, a collection of pop-culture lists.

Though Tobias received a formal education at the University Of Georgia and the University Of Miami, his film education was mostly extracurricular. As a child, he would draw pictures on strips of construction paper and run them through the slats on the saloon doors separating the dining room from the kitchen. As an undergraduate, he would rearrange his class schedule in order to spend long afternoons watching classic films on the 7th floor of the UGA library. He cut his teeth writing review for student newspapers (first review: a pan of the Burt Reynolds comedy Cop and a Half) and started freelancing for the A.V. Club in early 1999.

Tobias currently resides in Chicago, where he shares a too-small apartment with his wife, his daughter, two warring cats and the pug who agitates them.

A matinee idol for the age of HDTVs and "retina displays," Robert Pattinson has a face that seems to require a higher resolution — glossy and ghostly pale, all sleek lines and alabaster skin. As Edward Cullen, the emo vampire in the Twilight saga, Pattinson plays a creature so immaculately inhuman that he literally sparkles in the sunlight. Edward may be over a century old, but Pattinson has become a thoroughly modern, even futuristic teen heartthrob, looking at all times as airbrushed as his many Entertainment Weekly covers.

There's a devil-may-care recklessness to Will Ferrell that sets him apart from other screen comics — a willingness to commit to the moment without fear of embarrassment, even if the comedy goes right off the rails.

The savings are never passed on to the consumer, but a little product placement has become standard practice for Hollywood movies — a pizza box here or a conspicuously angled soda can there, and few take notice. But product integration is another matter: If a movie has been explicitly designed to accommodate a sponsor, it's worse than just a commercial movie. It's a movie commercial.

When director Lauren Greenfield started filming The Queen of Versailles, a documentary about 74-year-old David Siegel, a billionaire timeshare magnate from Orlando, and Jackie, a trophy wife 30 years his junior, they had outgrown their 26,000-square-foot home.

The Mira Sorvino who won an Oscar for her full-bodied twist on the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold type in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite resurfaces in Union Square, a micro-budget indie that calls for a similar brand of New York brassiness.

On June 13, 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay went missing from his home outside San Antonio, Texas.

Nearly four years later, his family received a phone call from Linares, Spain, informing them that their son had been found, scared and confused; the U.S. Embassy made arrangements for the Barclays to reunite with him and bring him back home.

And that's exactly what happened: Nicholas' sister hopped on a plane, drove to the orphanage and embraced a reticent teenager who'd been changed profoundly by age and some unknown, unspeakable trauma.

Not since Walt Disney's heyday has an animation company enjoyed a creative — and technically innovative — run like Pixar, now on a two-decade stretch that started with Toy Story in 1995 and continued with modern classics like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, WALL-E, Ratatouille and two Toy Story sequels that took on improbable depth and complexity. Over the years, the only persistent knock against Pixar is its lack of one thing Disney movies had in spades: female heroines.

Like the twisted love child of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" video and the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal, the Adam Sandler comedy That's My Boy opens with a middle-school Lothario bedding — and later impregnating— a sexually voracious instructor.

If their genders were reversed, That's My Boy would be cause for a congressional hearing. But in a film defined by juvenile fantasy, the kid becomes not only the class hero, but an '80s cultural icon on par with Vanilla Ice and Diff'rent Strokes' Todd Bridges (both of whom appear as themselves.)

A diminutive giant of the 1970s, Paul Williams composed some of the decade's sweetest and most enduring songs — including The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays," Helen Reddy's "You and Me Against the World," Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song," and "Rainbow Connection" for The Muppet Movie.

The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2001, and throughout its brief history, it's mostly been a mechanism through which to honor whatever Pixar does every year.

From the Department of Inessentiality, Summer Division, comes Men in Black 3, one of those franchises that lost all creative life in the first sequel but keep drawing breath anyway, thanks to an iron lung powered by a half-billion dollars in worldwide grosses.

Dustin Lance Black, the writer-director of the swampy Southern melodrama Virginia, won an Oscar for his script for Milk, but his new film has more in common with the three seasons he served as a writer, story editor and producer for the HBO series Big Love.

There's nothing like the intensity of young love, but that descriptor cuts in many ways at once. Feelings so pure and intoxicating can never be repeated, but they cannot be controlled, either, by the wisdom and maturity that enrich and sustain a relationship in the long term. Intensity can curdle just as quickly into jealousy, possessiveness and depression; when a heartsick teenager uses a phrase like "I'll die without him," adults may roll their eyes, but it's just barely a figure of speech.

Whenever a lead singer's star presence, whether through force of vision or excess of vanity, eclipses the collective unit of a rock band, the other members become — to quote the great Cameron Crowe rock odyssey Almost Famous — "the out-of-focus guys."

The inaugural San Diego Comic Book Convention, now more commonly known by the shorthand Comic-Con, drew around 300 comic enthusiasts for a weekend at a downtown hotel. More than 40 years later, the event now hosts upward of 120,000 attendees at the San Diego Convention Center, all gathered for a pop-cultural smorgasbord in which comic books are but a small, increasingly marginalized part.

A brief history of Sean William Scott characters: He was the sidekick to the guy who uttered the immortal phrase, "Dude, where's my car?"

As Stifler in American Pie, he suffered the twin humiliations of ingesting beer tainted with bodily fluids and witnessing his oversexed mother deflowering a teenage virgin.

Of the pair of energy drink salesmen in Role Models, he's the one tasked with dancing around in a furry minotaur outfit.

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