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.


Movie Reviews
11:54 am
Fri May 24, 2013

'Fast 6': Silly, Speedy And Certain To Cash In

Hot Pursuits: Agents Hobbs and Riley (Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano) enlist Dom and his gear head crew to combat a something something terrorist something skidding explosions muscles.
Giles Keyte Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:34 am

For gearhead purists, the Fast and the Furious franchise is an ongoing heresy, the sins adding up with each new sequel. The appeal of the genre has always been its simplicity: Greasers racing for pink slips, their muscle cars grinding and screeching and speeding into the horizon.

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Movie Reviews
4:01 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South

Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in the sour social comedy Sightseers.
Ben Wheatley IFC Films

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 9:17 am

Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class — satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.

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10:33 am
Fri May 3, 2013

After Darkness, An Impressionistic Light

Post Tenebras Lux is both a restrained marital drama and an impressionistic montage of seemingly unrelated images. The mix is sometimes frustrating, but also powerful; a feeling of dislocation suffuses the film.
Ljubljana International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 10:02 am

After beginning his career with the art-damaged, sex-and-death duo of Japon and Battle in Heaven — two difficult, provocative and at times willfully obscure curiosities — the gifted Mexican director Carlos Reygadas had a breakthrough with 2007's Silent Light, a quietly astonishing domestic drama about a Mennonite family under duress.

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10:30 am
Fri May 3, 2013

'Greetings From Tim Buckley,' And From His Shadow

Jeff Buckley, played by Penn Badgley, and Allie, played by Imogen Poots, share a romantic moment in Greetings from Tim Buckley. Today, the younger Buckley is remembered as a brilliant musician who died a tragic, early death, but early in his life, he was overshadowed by his father, Tim — a musician who also died young.
Courtesy Tribeca Film

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 7:36 am

Pop-culture deaths, especially when they come at an early age, have a tendency to turn human beings into instant icons, embalming them in the mythology of lyrics, performances, photos, quotations — and suicide notes where applicable.

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Movie Reviews
12:55 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

'Pain & Gain': Michael Bay's Suffering Fools

Paul (Dwayne Johnson), Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) and Adrian (Anthony Mackie) are three Miami bodybuilders with big ambitions and not much in the way of smarts.
Mark Fellman Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:03 pm

For Michael Bay, the director of Armageddon and the Transformers movies, to comment on the excesses of American culture would be a little like — well, Michael Bay commenting on the excesses of American culture.

And yet that's exactly what he does with Pain & Gain, a stranger-than-fiction yarn about a South Florida crime spree that points and snickers in the direction of precisely the supersized grotesquerie that's long been Bay's stock-in-trade. He blankets the film in a tone of smug self-awareness that obscures everything but its bald hypocrisy.

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Movie Reviews
12:25 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Effects-Heavy 'Oblivion' Pines For An Analog Past

The enigmatic Julia (Olga Kurylenko) surfaces from the mysterious past of Victoria's husband, Jack (Tom Cruise), a repairman tending drones on a largely abandoned Earth.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 4:03 pm

The score for Oblivion was composed by M83, a superb French electronic outfit that derives its name from one of the spectral pinwheels known as spiral galaxies. I point this out because it's the best element of the movie — a cascade of dreamy synthesizers that registers as appropriately futuristic (at least the future as suggested by '80s pop) while allowing an undercurrent of romantic yearning.

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Movie Reviews
2:16 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Zany 'It's A Disaster': Anything But

Tracy (Julia Stiles) and Glen (David Cross) are only on their third date when reports of a dirty-bomb explosion prompt them to reconsider the kind of close they want to be.
Oscilloscope Pictures

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 4:03 pm

For all his success as a stand-up comic, as one half of the brilliant HBO sketch comedy Mr. Show With Bob & David and as the hapless Tobias on Arrested Development, David Cross has struggled to find his footing in the movies, remaining relegated mainly to forgettable character roles. (The controversy within the comedy world over his mercenary appearances in the Chipmunks movies has overshadowed the rest of his long cinematic resume.)

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9:18 am
Sat April 6, 2013

'Simon Killer': An American (Psycho) In Paris

When Victoria (Mati Diop) meets Simon (Brady Corbet) at a Paris club, it's the beginning of a mutually assured seduction.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 6:40 am

Antonio Campos' Simon Killer embarks on an inexorable journey toward its titular outcome, and the closer it gets, the worse it becomes. As a portrait of alienation and dislocation — its protagonist a free man in Paris, but far from unfettered and alive — the film is frequently masterful, suggesting the turbulent inner state of an American sociopath who believes himself to be a good guy.

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Movie Reviews
2:31 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

What Happened In The Overlook's 'Room 237'?

Documentarian Rodney Ascher remains skeptical about the Shining theories he entertains in Room 237. Still, he gives his nine Stanley Kubrick enthusiasts ample room to explore their ideas — however outlandish.
IFC Films

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:46 pm

Of all the great filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick may be the one most associated with control — there's nary an inflection, gesture, camera movement or prop out of place in his movies, and significance invested in every detail.

Tales of his perfectionism have become the stuff of legend: projects developed over years or even decades, open-ended shoots where actors were bullied into 100 takes if necessary, special lenses crafted just to achieve a certain lighting effect in Barry Lyndon, obsessive micromanagement of every aspect of a production.

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Movie Reviews
3:44 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

'Gimme The Loot': The Tagger's Life, Lightly

Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) are two hardworking graffiti artists with a romantic chemistry that only they don't notice in Gimme the Loot.
Sundance Selects

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 4:03 pm

For the Bronx graffiti artists of Gimme the Loot, Adam Leon's sweet, vibrant debut feature, "Bombing the Apple" is the holy grail of tagging achievements.

"The Apple" in question is the protuberance that emerges from behind the center-right wall in Shea Stadium — they refuse to acknowledge the corporate name Citi Field — every time a New York Mets player hits a home run.

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