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.

Pages

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

'The Imposter': Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Frederic Bourdin, played here by Adam O'Brian in a reenactment, is the subject of The Imposter, a movie about how the French-born Bourdin pretended to be missing Texan Nicholas Barclay, a boy six years younger.
Indomina Releasing

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 2:38 pm

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

In 'Brave,' A Pixar Princess At Odds With Her Place

Merida, the heroine in Pixar's Brave, causes much family drama by refusing to get married β€” and acting more like her father, King Fergus, than a "proper princess."
Disney/Pixar

Not since Walt Disney's heyday has an animation company enjoyed a creative β€” and technically innovative β€” 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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

'That's My Boy' Explores The Far Reaches Of Vulgarity

Reunited with an uptight son (Andy Samberg, right), a beer-swilling ne'er-do-well (Adam Sandler) counsels more heedless hedonism in That's My Boy.
Tracy Bennett Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 2:49 pm

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 β€” and later impregnatingβ€” 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.)

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Paul Williams is 'Still Alive,' And Taking Every Gig

Paul Williams, subject of the documentary Paul Williams Still Alive, wrote some of the most enduring songs of the '70s β€” including "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie.
Abramorama

A diminutive giant of the 1970s, Paul Williams composed some of the decade's sweetest and most enduring songs β€” 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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

A 'Cat' Burglar, Stealing His Way Through Paris

Out Of The Bag: Dino the titular feline eyes the dark streets of Paris from a perch atop Notre Dame Cathedral.
GKids

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

'Men In Black 3': A Cartoonish Blast To The Past

Galaxy Defenders: Ten years after Men In Black 2, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reunite to play Agents J and K, partners in a covert organization dedicated to monitoring Earth's secret extraterrestrial population.
Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 2:30 pm

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:52 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Down In 'Virginia,' Where The Crazy Runs Deep

Single mother Virginina (Jennifer Connelly) reads with her son, Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson), who remains devoted to her even when her ill-advised affair with the married sheriff of their small Virginia town puts pressure on her family.
Entertainment One

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 4:43 pm

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Goodbye First Love': Heartbreak, Recovery, Relapse

Camille (Lola Creton) and Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) are caught in a complicated tangle of feelings in Mia Hansen-Love's Goodbye First Love.
Carole Bethuel IFC Films

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
10:58 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

'Hit So Hard': At The Center, But Still Out Of Focus

Seen here in a self-portrait, Patty Schemel, drummer for the '90s alternative rock band Hole, faced some of the same challenges of sudden fame and drug addiction as bandmate Courtney Love.
Courtesy of Well Go USA / Variance Films

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 β€” to quote the great Cameron Crowe rock odyssey Almost Famous β€” "the out-of-focus guys."

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:30 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

'Comic-Con': A Frothy Love Letter To Nerd Culture

Costume designer Holly Conrad (center) poses with some of her own creations inspired by the popular video game Mass Effect.
Wrekin Hill

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:00 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

'Goon': A Wrecking Ball With A Heart Of Gold

Smooth Move: Sean William Scott plays dimwitted but affable Doug Glatt, a small-town bouncer who happens upon an opportunity as a minor league hockey enforcer when managers discover his talent for delivering a beating.
Magnolia Pictures

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.

Read more

Pages