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
2:26 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

'60s Japan, Aglow 'From Up On Poppy Hill'

In 1963 Japan, Shun (voiced by Anton Yelchin) and Umi (Sarah Bolger) unite to preserve a beloved old building that serves as a clubhouse for young intellectuals at their seaside community school.

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Of the many wonderful qualities associated with the films of Studio Ghibli — the Japanese animation house co-founded by Hiyao Miyazaki, the visionary director of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away — serenity may be the most key. Ghibli productions offer the stirring adventures and magical creatures of their American counterparts, and often operate by a wondrously mysterious internal logic, but they do so without feeling compelled to grab a young audience by the lapels.

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Movie Reviews
10:55 am
Sat March 9, 2013

'Everyman's Journey': Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Arnel Pineda's journey from obscurity to international fame as the new frontman for the rock band Journey is the narrative thread that drives Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.
Cinedigm Entertainment Group

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:00 pm

Some bands are born of passion and deep camaraderie, a collective desire to rebel against authority — or at least to look cool. Others are born because a major label threatens to drop them if they don't find a lead vocalist.

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Movie Reviews
12:13 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Evelyn and India Stoker (Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) slowly descend into icy paranoia after their family patriarch dies through suspicious circumstances in the horror thriller Stoker.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:12 pm

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

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Movie Reviews
12:06 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

'Snitch': Johnson And The Rock, At Odds In A Drug Drama

As hard-hitting father John, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, goes deep undercover to save his son from stern drug-crime laws.
Steve Dietl Summit Entertainment

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

"Inspired by true events" — a phrase that implies the greatest possible distance between something that actually happened and what's about to happen on screen — Snitch tries to be two movies at once.

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Movie Reviews
12:08 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

A '70s 'Playroom,' Without Much Room For Fun

Donna (Molly Parker) is the drunk, distracted matriarch to Maggie (Olivia Harris) and her nervous siblings in The Playroom.
Freestyle Releasing

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 4:04 pm

There's a sequence early in the laughable drama The Playroom that epitomizes everything wrong with it: With her parents out of the house, 16-year-old Maggie Cantwell (Olivia Harris), the eldest of four latchkey kids, sneaks into the garage with her boyfriend on a determined quest to lose her virginity. While the two fumble around clumsily on the floor, Maggie's youngest brother, Sam (Ian Veteto), sits outside the garage door, trying to sew a merit badge onto his shirt but struggling to thread the needle.

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Movie Reviews
10:33 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

'Stand Up Guys' Falls Terminally Flat

Doc (Christopher Walken) and Val (Al Pacino) are old friends and ex-cons who go on one last rampage in the crime comedy Stand Up Guys.

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:03 pm

Intended as a victory lap for three great stars of advancing age, Stand Up Guys is another entry in the "old folks doing stuff" subgenre, which offers comic affirmation that life is not strictly for the young.

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Movie Reviews
11:29 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Spoiler Alert: 'John Dies,' But The Rest? Who Can Tell?

Journalist Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) interprets the bizarro story at the heart of the too-twisty horror fantasy John Dies at the End.
Magnet Releasing

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 11:11 am

There's a fine line between a genre filmmaker with an offbeat sensibility and a maker of prefab cult movies — someone who appeals too aggressively to a cult audience that doesn't yet exist. Don Coscarelli's career has inched too far across that line.

The creator of the Phantasm series, which developed a dense and satisfying (if fan-oriented) mythology, and the prime fantasy cheese The Beastmaster, Coscarelli has lately been a cult alchemist, mixing up quirky elements aimed at winning a following that his previous films won effortlessly.

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Movie Reviews
11:28 am
Sat January 26, 2013

The Hard-Earned Liberty Of 'Happy People'

The simple, rough-edged lives of the Russian villagers in Werner Herzog's documentary Happy People: A Year in the Taiga make for a rhythmic study of ancient natural harmonies.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:03 pm

It's midway through Burden of Dreams, the superb documentary about the making of his glorious 1982 fiasco Fitzcarraldo, and iconoclastic director Werner Herzog has had enough.

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Movie Reviews
6:50 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

'Gangster Squad': Law? What Law?

Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) aim above and beyond the law in the noir tribute Gangster Squad.
Wilson Webb Warner Bros. Studios

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:03 pm

Decked out in impeccable suits and a fedora so crisply brimmed it could cut through drywall, Josh Brolin stars in Gangster Squad as a square-jawed policeman of the first order, an Eliot Ness type who would sooner burn a pile of dirty money than pocket a single dollar.

In 1949 Los Angeles, Brolin's Sgt. John O'Mara has been trusted with the task of rebuffing the threat posed by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), an East Coast gangster working quickly and ruthlessly to set up shop.

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Movie Reviews
2:49 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

'This Is 40': Ambling Into Midlife

With a 13-year-old (Maude Apatow) and an 8-year-old (Iris Apatow), Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have their hands full.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:03 pm

Consider the premises of writer-director Judd Apatow's first three comedies:

* A lonely tech salesman (Steve Carell) seeks to end a lifelong romantic drought in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
* A mismatched couple (Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl) gets pregnant after a regrettable one-night stand in Knocked Up.
* A popular but self-centered comedian (Adam Sandler) finds perspective after a grim cancer diagnosis in Funny People.

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