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Recap / Bob Chipman Film Reviews S

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  • Sahara: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. It may be a Strictly Formula action-adventure movie, much like the Dirk Pitt Adventures series it's based on, but if you're a fan of these sorts of films, you'll probably enjoy this one. He gave it a 7 out of 10 on the strength of its action scenes, Matthew McConaughey's performance as Dirk Pitt, and its refreshing honesty about what it was.
  • Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom: To this day, still a very difficult film to watch. Didn’t review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial “Test Your Might,” a discussion of ‘extreme’ movies.
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  • Salt: Casting Angelina Jolie in a role originally written for a male action star (namely, Tom Cruise, who was the first performer to sign up for the script) turned out to be a brilliant decision. Plus, the plot works far better than it should, and the action scenes are slickly done — and unlike the Bourne movies, you can actually tell what’s going on in said action scenes.
  • Samson: Didn't review it, but he named it his seventh least anticipated film of 2018. It was made by Pure Flix Entertainment, a studio that specializes in preachy Christploitation films like God's Not Dead (a series whose third installment also made the aforementioned list), and seeing them trying to make a Sword & Sandal action epic out of a Biblical story that doesn't have a whole lot of big action moments was probably going to be a spectacle in the worst way.
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  • The films of Adam Sandler: invoked He has done a Really That Good episode on him, specifically focusing on the five films he did in The '90s that made him a star: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy. While he admits that many of Sandler's films were disposable or outright bad, including some (most notably Pixels) that he unequivocally despised, he has stuck up for him as one of the most underrated comedy actors of his generation, one who critics never liked but who consistently produced box-office hits and has a genuinely good reputation as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood on top of it. He feels that Sandler laid the final nail in the coffin for the Lenny Bruce-inspired Baby Boomer comedy of the '60s and '70s, a mix of highbrow wit and raunchy "blue" humor with roots in improv and stand-up that went into decline in The '80s, when a much broader, more anarchic style that arose from Saturday Night Live and The Second City became dominant (a shift typified by the success of Animal House and especially Caddyshack). Sandler was of the generation who grew up watching National Lampoon films and others like them as a teenager without being old enough to understand the political satire, but certainly old enough to enjoy the broad, lowbrow, and juvenile parts, and as such, his comic stylings resembled a remixed version of such comprised of just those parts taken as broad, lowbrow, and juvenile as possible — a formula that young people at the time absolutely devoured, first on SNL and then in his own films. He called Sandler's style "adult jokes told in the style of kid jokes," especially with how the plots of his movies often felt like a child's fantasy of what it was like to be a grown-up. He also noted that Sandler's films often lampooned toxic masculinity in the form of their villains, usually aggressive, hyper-masculine, misogynistic men who treat Sandler's character as beneath them only to be made fools of.

    That said, it went without saying that there was a reason why Sandler had such a terrible reputation among critics and movie buffs. After his initial hot streak, the quality of his films went on a noticeable decline in the 2000s, with many of them turning out So Okay, It's Average with a few surprisingly good dramatic turns balanced out by some pure dreck, many of them feeling like make-work projects for his comedian friends. Even in his better '90s films, his flaws as a comedy actor were visible in their inconsistent tones, flat direction and visual design, shallow female love interests (outside The Wedding Singer, a Romantic Comedy where Drew Barrymore was co-lead with Sandler), some occasionally retrograde humor, and missed opportunities for jokes that would really dig in. Even so, however, there was a good reason why Sandler clicked with audiences in the '90s, especially young ones, and why the five films he starred in during that decade became known as comedy classics.
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  • Santa Claus: The Movie: Devoted an episode of Good Enough Movies to the film. He describes how the film was a Box Office Bomb at the time that was lambasted by critics for its rampant Product Placement, only to be Vindicated by Video and become a nostalgic holiday classic for many children of The '80s, Bob included. The first half is easily the standout part of the film, one that makes viewers believe in Santa Claus the same way that Superman: The Movie made viewers believe a man could fly (perhaps not surprisingly, the same producers made the two films), and which functions less as a conventional story and more as a step-by-step walkthrough of the whole mythology showing how its protagonist Claus became the jolly old figure we know. It loses steam in the second half, however, where it turns into a Darker and Edgier version of itself in which an evil toy company tries to take over Christmas. While John Lithgow makes for a great bad guy as B.Z., his Card Carrying Villainy is too cartoonish for anybody to take it seriously, while the fact that Santa isn’t a fighter, and that he and B.Z. never meet, means that the story meanders all over the place and never comes together. Regardless, while it’s a very weird Christmas movie, it’s still great for getting into the spirit of the season with your family.
  • Sausage Party: “Well! This is a lot better than anyone had any reason to expect.” Bob gave it three and a half stars, calling it the best parody of modern Pixar-esque animation ever made and probably the best spoof movie period since The Naked Gun, taking what should be a mindless, one-joke stoner comedy premise and turning it into one of the funniest films he’s ever seen. Its main genius is that it doesn’t merely make fun of the idea of anthropomorphized objects (fish, bugs, toys, et cetera) seen in so many such animated films, but takes it into the realm of full-on Deconstructive Parody that it then uses to satirize religion and atheism, all without feeling like it’s lazily “punching down” at easy targets. In this sense, he views Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as the Spiritual Antithesis of late-period Kevin Smith in how consistently they make seemingly dumb movies that often turn out to be far deeper and more intelligent than they imply, describing the film as a modern version of early South Park before it jumped the shark.
  • Savages: “Good, not great, in case you were wondering.” Didn’t review it, but he mentioned it at the end of his second video on The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • Saving Mr. Banks: In the Intermission editorial “Winter Is Coming,” he said he was intrigued by the premise of a film about the clash between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers on the set of Mary Poppins, and between this and Tomorrowland, wondered if “Disneystalgia” might become a new subgenre. Later, he reviewed it in another Intermission editorial, “Saving Ms. Poppins,” saying that, though good, it was hurt by the liberties it took with Travers’ story, liberties that Travers herself would likely have been as deeply offended by as the Adaptation Decay of Mary Poppins. He also talked about how the legend of the kindly “Uncle Walt” has been reversed by revisionist portrayals into one of the biggest jerkasses in The Golden Age of Hollywood, portrayal that he feels is just as inaccurate and unfair as the Disney myth.
  • Saw: The original film still holds up very well as a horror film, but even when you look at the sequels, it's a franchise with more good installments than one might expect. While it's best known for its ridiculously gory death traps, the filmmakers went out of their way to craft an engaging, if often bonkers, storyline that put care into continuity and call backs to events and characters in previous films. As such, while he doesn't love the series, he does respect it. Also, the realization that it's now old enough to be nostalgic made him wonder where all the time went. Discussed the series in his review of the eighth film...
    • Jigsaw: Despite its different title, it's basically Saw VIII with all that that entails. The traps were refreshingly back-to-basics after the last couple of films started pushing suspension of disbelief, the story was Saw boilerplate but handled well, and while the ending felt like a cheat, it's not enough to derail the film. Overall, it was a nice comeback for a long-dormant series that earned two-and-a-half stars from Bob.
  • Scary Movie 5: “Don’t. Even. Start.” It was Not Screened for Critics, so he didn't bother to review it, but he discussed it at the beginning of his review of 42, saying that the fact that 42 was the only other movie released against it, seemingly out of fear of its inevitable box office domination, shows how little faith Hollywood has in the intelligence of moviegoers.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019): As it turns out, what scared him as a kid was still really damn scary for him as an adult. The trick was in figuring out how to translate it to the screen, and while the route they took (a Darker and Edgier, non-comedic version of the Goosebumps movie set in a Stephen King-inspired '60s small town) was weighed down by a bit too much plot convolution and attempts at subtext and weight that didn't amount to much, those problems ultimately didn't weigh the film down. It was one of the best teen horror movies in recent memory; it was well-made on every level, it was gorgeous to look at thanks to the work of director André Øvredal, and it got away with some frightfully nasty stuff given the PG-13 rating, such that it was bound to shock younger audiences as much as the books did in Bob's childhood. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and said that it had something to like even for those who weren't horror fans.
  • Scooby-Doo: He discussed both the 2002 film and its sequel, Monsters Unleashed, in the In Bob We Trust episode "Let Me Tell You a Story", mainly about the circumstances under which he watched the latter. He hated the first movie at the time (though he admits that nowadays he'd just find it harmlessly dumb), and so Monsters Unleashed was the last movie he expected to find himself going to see. However, after going through a legitimately scary experience with a former employer who turned out to be a religious fanatic and quite possibly insane, and after hearing that it was better than the first movie, he went and saw it in order to take his mind off of things for ninety minutes. He wound up loving it for basically feeling like a modern-day episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! without any of the first film's half-baked pretensions towards Postmodernism or Deconstructive Parody, such that he left the theater feeling downright relieved. His own personal experience with Monsters Unleashed wound up figuring heavily into his fandom of the film's writer, James Gunn, such that he brought it up with Gunn when interviewing him around the time Super came out, and it was a big part of the reason why he was so furious over Gunn's firing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
  • SCOOB!: Called it "the best movie for 8-year-olds anyone has ever tried to make entirely out of pop culture references for 45-year-olds." It was pretty obvious about its hopes to start a Modular Franchise out of modern-day reimaginings of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the '60s and '70s, such that he wondered how many people who weren't raised with those shows would get the references, which tied into how he felt that the movie felt rather overstuffed and scattershot overall. That said, he admitted that his own nostalgia made him an easy mark for the film, and it accomplished what it set out to do: provide breezy, energetic entertainment for the whole family. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and a recommendation for any parents sick of having to watch the umpteenth episode of PAW Patrol.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: One of the best films of the year. He noted that, if you're seeing it just for the action, you'll probably be disappointed, but you'll appreciate it a lot more if you go in knowing that it’s also a Romantic Comedy — not unlike Edgar Wright's previous genre film, Shaun of the Dead. He also praised it for having a much better grasp on love, romance, and relationships that any number of formula rom-coms, particularly the concurrent Eat, Pray, Love. Years later, he came back to it in the In Bob We Trust episode "Solo: A Box-Office Story", comparing this film's initial Box Office Bomb to the disappointing earnings of Solo: A Star Wars Story and finding a similar narrative in both. He argues that the treatment of this film, a niche property based on an obscure comic book, as a potential blockbuster simply because of the success of Iron Man was a sign that focusing too much on the tastes of fan-culture tastemakers (himself included, admittedly) can isolate studios from what mainstream audiences actually want.
  • Scream: Bob has always hated the series, feeling that its "insightful satire" of slasher movies was nothing more than Jamie Kennedy making lazy wisecracks about the genre he was in, and that the suspense was undone by the winking, self-aware nature of the films. He says that the hip, trendy attitude that the series popularized has ruined mainstream American horror, viewing it as one more reason why "the '90s sucked", and believes that the only reason why '90s teenagers remember them as classics is because of Wes Craven's direction salvaging them from their awful writing and providing halfway-decent horror thrills in a decade that was sorely lacking in such. (To prove his point, he cites the fact that the Follow the Leader slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer was a similar hit, despite mostly lacking the self-referential humor of Scream.) He also has personal reasons for hating the series — namely, he feels that it turned his movie geekery from his "special skill" into "just another douchebag party trick".note  HE hated the films so much, he was actually proud that Drew Barrymore was the only star to have a successful career outside of it. He discussed the series in his reviews of Cursed'' and the franchise's fourth entry...
    • Scre4m: All the above criticisms apply, and it doesn't even have any good, original kills to smooth the ride. Bottom line: if you want a great, insightful horror-comedy, watch Shaun of the Dead instead. He also mocks the film's numerical title by referring to it as "Scre-Four-m" throughout the review.
  • Searching: "Go see it. Just go see it." The basic premise of "Taken, but as a cyber-thriller set entirely on a computer screen", while seemingly silly and gimmicky at first glance, wound up being his favorite film of 2018 at the time of his review. It made just about every other internet thriller look bad with how effortlessly it made its protagonist's use of contemporary technology feel engaging while still being both realistic in its portrayal of such and an incredibly good-looking film to watch, its portrayal of social media was remarkably even-handed and avoided falling into the preachy New Media Are Evil pitfalls of many such stories, and most importantly, it was powered by a core of rock-solid human drama, enough to more than make up for a fairly predictable central mystery. He gave it four stars and called it the most "original and game-changing" movie of the year, and his opinion that it was the best movie of 2018 held up at year's end.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Not impressed. While it's gorgeously shot (even comparing it to Spike Jonze's work in that regard), he found it to be a mess of Product Placement, bad Cutaway Gags, and Adam Sandler-grade shenanigans that misses the point of the original short story. Reviewed it in the Intermission editorial "Rhymes with Mitty".
  • Selma: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2014 he named it one of his top ten movies of the year. It takes the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and manages both to de-mythologize him and both demonstrate just how revolutionary and savvy he was (as opposed to the popular history of him being the 'safe' civil rights leader), painting him as a smooth political operator in crafting the image of the Civil Rights Movement in order to fight for justice.
  • Set It Up: Called it a workplace-focused, Romantic Comedy take on The Parent Trap that got a "B+ for effort" and two stars, making for a fine Genre Throwback on the part of Netflix to both '90s rom-coms and the sorts of mid-budget movies that used to make up the bulk of Hollywood's output. The plot was Strictly Formula to the point where it felt like it was written by Netflix's algorithm, and it felt like it was barely trying in the story department, but it was elevated by a solid cast (save for an underwhelming turn by Glen Powell), and it ultimately met the low ambitions it set for itself. Overall, he liked it, but he ended the movie hoping that Netflix puts in a bit more effort with its original movies going forward.
  • Serenity (2019): invoked It was one of those thrillers where merely talking about anything beyond the most basic plot description meant inviting spoilers, though he gave it three stars and a recommendation on a "you've gotta see it to believe it" level. It almost felt as though it was playing a practical joke on the audience, taking them for a ride in how it pulled the rug out from under them and turned into an almost completely different movie after The Reveal halfway in, and then it proceeded to actually follow through on the crazy ideas it presented. It was a movie that would probably wind up on many critics' "worst of 2019" lists and an Old Shame for everybody involved, but that was exactly why he enjoyed it as much as he did. He would later do a Big Picture episode, "Fisherman's Creed", on its twist and the near-immediate reputation it gained as a So Bad, It's Good film. He also opened his review with a joke about the 2005 film Serenity, asking whether he should specify which film he was talking about before saying that, Cult Classic status aside, people who aren't already fans of Firefly probably never even heard of that film. ("Hey, settle down, guys, settle down! I was a fan too. You know I'm right, though.")
  • Sex and the City: With quite a bit of "WTF?" He considered the plot incomprehensible and a tad misandrist, and thought it felt like several episodes of the series strung together and then labeled a movie, though he noted that he was as far from the film's target audience as one could get. He also wondered what kind of black magic Kim Cattrall was using to keep looking that good into her sixth decade.
  • Shadow: Called it "one of the most beautifully depressing worlds you're ever likely to see" for its Deliberately Monochrome Scenery Porn, and also appreciated how its plot played with his expectations by starting out as a somber Genre Deconstruction of wuxia tropes only to evolve into a lurid, over-the-top action thriller that played many of those tropes gleefully straight. As far as wuxia movies go, this was worth seeking out, and he gave it three stars.note 
  • The Shallows: "Holy shit! This was really fuckin' good! What a surprise!" He was in shock that this film, a B-grade shark movie starring an actress of whom he'd never thought all that highly before then, proved to be one of the best movies of summer 2016 while all the heavily hyped blockbusters were duds to varying degrees. It's no masterpiece, but it delivers exactly what it promises and works very well on a storytelling, logical, and basic technical level, which is all that matters at the end of the day, especially given how many of the bigger movies failed to accomplish even that. It's the sort of movie that would have become a Cult Classic in the days of home video and drive-in theaters, and Bob considers it a good thing that such films can still do well in this day and age.
  • The Shape of Water: It's pure Guillermo del Toro in the best possible way, taking the basic premise of an R-rated Spiritual Adaptation of Creature from the Black Lagoon and elevating what might've been a sleazy B-Movie into "something haunting, beautiful, heartbreaking, and rapturously entertaining" that still honors its inspirations. It's got a fairly predictable outcome, but it's a movie that's more about the journey than the destination, with outstanding performances from Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and a who's who of character actors, and Doug Jones' fish-man deftly balancing the job of being the romantic lead without declawing the genuine danger inherent in him being a literal monster. He gave it three-and-a-half stars and said that it's a testament to Del Toro's track record that this is only around the middle of his filmography in terms of the quality, the film otherwise being a much-needed antidote to the Oscar Bait and family films that show up in December. At the end of 2017, he named it his fourth-favorite movie of the year. In his 2018 Academy Awards preview, he said that the awards for Best Director and Best Picture would likely be split between this film and Get Out, with this his favorite to win Best Picture due to it being a safer, more "Academy-style" film in both its style and its messaging.note 
  • Sharknado: Hasn't reviewed any of the films, but in the Big Picture episode "#WalrusNo" he explained that the first movie worked fairly well for him on a So Bad, It's Good/"found art" level because all the performers played it completely straight, though they had to have known how ridiculous it was. Conversely, Sharknado 2: The Second One takes its winking irony too far to be that enjoyable.
  • SHAZAM! (2019): invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his fifteen most anticipated films of 2019, saying that it looked like a welcome course-correction for the DC Extended Universe and a fun Genre Throwback to '90s sci-fi/fantasy comedies like The Mask and The Meteor Man. When it came time to review it, he praised it as one of the best superhero movies he'd seen in a while, one that understood what made the character timeless without resting on the Nostalgia Filter while packing both the weight that was missing from many Marvel movies and the earnestness that its fellow DC movies also lacked. He described its grittiness as "mischevious" rather than dark, comparing it to Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Men in Black, and the middle Harry Potter films in that regard and informed chiefly by its working-class Philadelphia setting as a place where people just want to live, work, and get by, while praising its portrayal of the title character as a kid who's been forced to grow up way too fast, using the fact that he can transform into a grown adult superhero as a metaphor for such. The action scenes were also spectacular, leading him to praise Warner Bros. for its restraint in not spoiling everything in the trailers. The only thing he could criticize was the villain Dr. Sivana, though it wasn't for lack of trying on the film's part; he liked Mark Strong's performance and what they tried to do with him (especially given that the comics character, as one of the original pop-culture Mad Scientists, now falls into "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny territory), and if anything, he thought that the villain got too much focus compared to the hero. He gave it four stars and called it "a lot of movie for one ticket", giving it a full recommendation, and at the end of 2019 he named it his fifth-favorite film of the year and his favorite superhero film of the year.
  • The She-Creature: Said that the titular monster was way ahead of its time, looking more like something from a modern Kamen Rider series than a '50s B-Movie. He also made fun of how the film's plot mashed up then-contemporary pop ideas of hypnosis and Evolutionary Levels. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Moviebob's Forgotten Monsters".
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: "Really sucks." The plot rips off The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, the action scenes are awful, and Noomi Rapace is wasted. While Bob didn't do a video review of it, he did discuss it in his weekly Intermission editorial, where he compared it to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
  • The Shining: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its sequel, Doctor Sleep. Specifically, he discusses how his father was a huge fan of this movie, one of the few horror films that he regularly watched, and so Bob wound up seeing it at a much younger age than he probably should have. In hindsight, he believes that the reason why it hit so hard for the both of them (even if he only realized it once he grew up) was because his father saw a lot of himself in Jack Torrance, specifically his inability to overcome his personal demons.
  • Shirley: Discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Binge-a-Thon 2020: Complex Women", about films to watch during the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine; here, he discussed Based on a True Story films about women succeeding in hostile male-dominated fields. It was a highly fictionalized version of Shirley Jackson's experience writing Hangsaman that was interested less in historical accuracy than in exploring why her work caught on the way it did in The '50s, depicting her grisly stories as a form of rebellion against the constraints of the expectations of postwar femininity — a narrative thread accentuated by the casting of Elisabeth Moss of The Handmaid's Tale fame as Jackson, who made for an excellent lead who Bob described as reminiscent of Norma Desmond and Jack Torrance.
  • Shooter: "The boring version of Machete." Didn't review it, but he mentioned it in his Broken City review.
  • Shrek: The first movie was great, a refreshing, character-focused parody of the overblown, corporatized Disney Animated Canon with a great cast. Sadly, the sequels wound up turning the film into everything the original had mocked, while Disney itself managed to turn itself around from its Dork Age. Didn't review it, but he was compelled to mention it in his review of …
    • Shrek Forever After: A pointless retread of the last movie that proves that the series has completely run out of ideas, while highlighting all of the biggest problems with the DreamWorks Animation formula.
  • Shutter Island: You'll see the twist coming from a mile away, but Martin Scorsese still knew how to make it work, and work extremely well.
  • Sicario: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2015 he named it an honorable mention for the best films of the year.
    • Sicario: Day of the Soldado: invoked Gave it one and a half stars and called it a film "you might end up settling for if Ant-Man & the Wasp is sold out." Going by the marketing, he went in expecting an Actionized Sequel to the first film that pandered to the Lowest Common Denominator instead of continuing to explore its deconstruction of the War on Drugs (or as he called it, "my kind of stupid"), but what he got was a film that actually tried to be a proper sequel, except without anything close to the finesse that helped elevate the original above the sort of junky crime drama that this film wound up being. The story felt like the result of a paranoid Fox News bender with its questionable taste, made worse by a half-hearted third-act stab at nuance that felt more like the film was trying to cover its ass than anything. On top of that, it was simply boring, with lazy plotting, characters who were one-note cliches and stereotypes, and a lack of any visual flair, which, when taken together, he felt drew that much more attention to its ugliest qualities.
  • Signs: The film that, to Bob, proved that M. Night Shyamalan could make legitimately good movies when he wanted to, and didn't merely get lucky with The Sixth Sense. This film particularly shines on a technical level, with the cinematography looking downright beautiful and the whole cast turning in great performances, though it ultimately stumbles in the writing and is held back from greatness with a mess of third-act silliness. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Nightfall", a retrospective of Shyamalan's career.
  • Silence: He wishes he liked it a lot more than he did. It's exceptionally well-made on a technical level, far less kinetic than Martin Scorsese's usual work but still a gorgeous film to watch, one that makes some bold stylistic choices and gives plenty of room for its big ideas to breathe. However, it just felt too detached from its subject matter to really click with him, while Andrew Garfield was miscast as the lead and couldn't pull through with the film's dramatic weight. It gets two stars from Bob, and is only recommended for Scorsese completists. He also notes its Audience-Alienating Premise, in that secular viewers might not be inclined to watch a sympathetic take on Catholic missionaries in feudal Japan (Bob himself felt that the Japanese side of the story might have been more compelling), while Christian audiences might be turned off by its cynical, morally ambiguous take on the subject matter. He sees the fact that it got made at all, largely because it was a passion project for Scorsese, as a miracle.
  • Silent Hill: Didn't review it, but he named it the fifth-best video game adaptation ever made. While he admitted that it was invoked fairly divisive among fans of the games, for him it managed to successfully translate their atmosphere and their feeling of panic and desperation while also bringing some of their most famous monsters to life.
  • Silver Linings Playbook: Yet another Manic Pixie Dream Girl indie rom-com of the kind that's been done a hundred times before. He feels that it isn't anywhere close to deserving of the near-universal praise and Oscar buzz that it received, comparing it to a cheap sitcom and going so far as to say that most of his fellow critics had lost their minds. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of Life of Pi and in the Intermission editorial "Gold Bugged".
  • A Simple Plan: A dark, dramatic effort that is arguably Sam Raimi's strongest overall film, proving him as more than just a 'genre' director, but don't read about the plot before you see it. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Sam the Man - Part II", a retrospective of Raimi's career.
  • Sin City: He reviewed it in his early days as a blogger, where he gave it a 10 out of 10 and heaped praise upon it for both its gorgeous visual style and its inversion of conventional moral standards (the criminals are the good guys, the political and religious authorities are the villains), viewing its success as a rebuttal to the claims of conservative Christian Moral Guardians that audiences want more wholesome films. By the time its sequel came out, however, his opinion seems to have cooled. He still views it as a guilty pleasure, mainly for its style, but he thinks it's the sort of movie that, much like the comic it's based on, works best if you're just too young to be watching or reading that sort of thing. Overall, it's the sort of movie that's fun in the same way that a prank or a magic trick is fun, in that if you've seen it once, you've pretty much seen everything it has to offer.
    • Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: "Not bad, but it was better the first time around." The first of the film's three stories is easily the standout thanks to Eva Green's amazing, scene-stealing performance, which reminded Bob of hammy, larger-than-life Hollywood icons like Joan Crawford. However, the film goes downhill afterwards once she's out of the picture, as the other two stories feel repetitive and rote. At the end of 2014, he named it one of his twenty least favorite movies of the year, with Green being its only redeeming factor. He also did the review as a Noir Episode, putting on an affected Hardboiled Detective voice and making the background Deliberately Monochrome with constant rain.
  • Sing: It's a premise that Bob is surprised nobody in Hollywood thought of before — combine Reality TV with funny cartoon animals, two things that have arguably more global mass appeal than anything else in the 2010s — and the result is actually pretty good. The story is very much an Excuse Plot to get to the music, but the characters, all parodies of archetypal Talent Show contestants, are great, and it's surprisingly earnest and unironic in its appreciation of shows like American Idol and The Voice, embracing their goofiness while recognizing the inherent appeal of their "star for a day" setup. He sees it as the Looney Tunes version of something like Zootopia (the obvious point of comparison), an undoubtedly weaker film but one that's working on a very different level. He gives it three stars and calls it "the best movie of its kind since School of Rock", and rock-solid cinematic comfort food for the holidays.
  • The Sitter: Very well-written on the character and story side of things, but it was written and marketed as a comedy, and on that front it just falls flat.
  • The Sixth Sense: Even with the famous Twist Ending being common knowledge by now, this is still a legitimately great thriller, playing out like a really good, feature-length episode of The Twilight Zone. Its real genius is not the big twist, but how it hides the foreshadowing of said twist in time-worn conventions (such as the Satellite Love Interest) that a first-time viewer wouldn't think twice about, but which becomes noticeable upon repeat viewing. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Nightfall", a retrospective of M. Night Shyamalan's career.
  • Skyscraper: invoked He spent nearly half the review doing an intro joke detailing what he imagined the thought process behind the film must have been like at the studio, mainly because there really wasn't much he could say about the film otherwise. A key part of this joke was commenting on how many times the Die Hard formula has been recycled under different circumstances, e.g. Speed being Die Hard on a bus and Air Force One being Die Hard on a plane. It was a pretty good movie that, to use a comparison he heard elsewhere, was basically to Die Hard what Jurassic World was to Jurassic Park: same premise, but incredibly beefed up, in terms of both swapping out The Everyman Bruce Willis for the Hollywood Action Hero Dwayne Johnson and setting the action in a much bigger skyscraper that's also on fire, such that it felt like a parody of Die Hard that later had the jokes taken out and everything played seriously. The cast was solid, the action scenes were well-shot, and the set design in the titular skyscraper was breathtaking, but the film moved at such a breakneck pace that it left him no time to appreciate it and, more importantly, develop a lay of the land to follow for the action scenes. Overall, it was a quintessential two-and-a-half-star movie, a disposable action flick that's good, but which you'll likely forget about in a week.
  • Smokin' Aces: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of Proud Mary, referring to it as "Suicide Squad but, like, good." He specifically discussed Taraji P. Henson's role in the film, saying that, having seen her in this, he wasn't surprised by her ability to carry a legitimate action flick in Proud Mary.
  • The Smurfs: He didn't review it, but during the second half of his Knight and Day review, he talked about his opinion of it going by the trailer. He felt that moving the setting to New York sucked out the magic of the original cartoon and replaced it with Product Placement and the sort of Gen-X humor that's only funny in brief snippets, and also insulted the source material (which is Belgian) by Americanizing it.
    • The Smurfs 2: At the start of his review of 2 Guns, he pretended that he was actually going to review this instead, only to cut to a "hell no" explaining that there was no way he would even consider watching it, let alone reviewing it.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: "It only sort of makes sense if you force yourself to never, ever ask the question 'why?'" It's a cynical attempt by Hollywood to cash in on the fact that female-focused genre films have proven themselves to be box office titans just as grand as your average superhero movie. The script jumps all over the place and feels like it went through several rewrites, the main characters are underwritten and are often just "there", and the love triangle is especially jarring. Charlize Theron's Large Ham performance as the evil queen is the only thing that stands out — and she feels like she belongs in a much better movie. Overall: not worth your time. At the start of the review, he also discusses how the Snow White story can be read as a metaphor for female puberty and our culture's obsession with beauty, and how this may explain why the story has been so popular with women for such a long time.
  • Snowpiercer: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2014 he named it one of his top ten movies of the year, comparing it to The Hunger Games if they just jumped straight into the revolution and the violence instead of spending the first two movies ripping off Battle Royale and The Running Man. And it has Captain F***ing America in it — what's not to love?
  • The Social Network: One of the most exciting, watchable and well-made movies of the year even if, like Bob, you're not a fan of Facebook, and proof that you can make a great movie out of any subject matter.
  • Society: The graphic violence that the film is infamous for doesn't kick in until the end, but once it does, it goes completely crazy. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Test Your Might", a discussion of "extreme" movies.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his twelve least anticipated films of 2019, doing little more than recounting the plot description and providing a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer. He later devoted a Game Overthinker episode, "Sonic Gloom", to sharing his horrified reaction to the initial trailer, the problems with which he suspected came down largely to Executive Meddling as various producers each attempted to throw their own hare-brained ideas into a film that probably didn't have much more than an outline to begin with. He was left wondering just who, precisely, the film was made for, with everything from the use of "Gangsta's Paradise" as the trailer music to Jim Carrey playing Dr. Robotnik in full "classic Jim Carrey" mode coming off as desperate, ill-thought-out pandering to nostalgic '90s kids. The week before it came out, he also devoted a Big Picture episode, "Sonic Rewind", to past adaptations of Sonic the Hedgehog, along the way saying that the redesign of Sonic to make him look more accurate to the games and less invoked creepy didn't raise his hopes appreciably, as the rest of the film still looked pretty bad.

    When it came time to review it, he gave it a 2 out of 10 and called it "an even worse version of Howard the Duck", saying that he was not at all surprised by how bad it was. It was precisely the kind of forgettable live-action family comedy ripping off E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that he predicted from the trailers, the only thing separating it from other films like it being that it starred Sonic. The title character was The Scrappy in his own movie and had few redeeming qualities beyond cuteness to the point that the Eight Deadly Words came into play, the special effects and production values looked incredibly cheap given the amount of money spent on the film, the jokes felt ripped off from a hacky '80s Steve Guttenberg comedy, the story wasted some golden opportunities to land much bigger punches and funnier gags that felt like they were waiting right there in the text, and while Carrey gave a good effort as Robotnik, he still couldn't redeem the one-note Mad Scientist villain archetype he was playing. Shortly after, in the Big Picture episode "Say Something Nice", he named some things he did like about the movie, such as the Mythology Gags, Robotnik being an actually competent villain, and the portrayal of Sonic as an immature kid. That said, he stood by his opinion that the movie was quite bad even with invoked the blowback he'd received for it, arguing that the only reason why Sonic was well-received while similar family comedies weren't was because of lingering attachment to the licensed property it was based on.
  • Son of God: Bob hated the miniseries this film was adapting, finding it to be a mess of faux-300 visual aesthetics and TV-movie production values, and nothing about this film changed his opinion. He considered it a bland, cynical, disgraceful cash grab exploiting people's sincerely-held faith (he quoted Matthew 21:12note  to describe exactly what he thought of the producers), with nothing to distinguish it from other, far superior adaptations of the Gospels. That this film was edited down from five hours to two meant that a lot of the meat of the Gospels was lost, the film merely feeling like it was going through the motions of the most famous passages, and poor execution ruined the few aspects he liked (the actor playing Jesus, the period-appropriate ethnic diversity). He also started off with a Bait-and-Switch opening about Jesus being in Avengers: Age of Ultron and this film being the introduction to his character for wider audiences.
  • Sorry to Bother You: Gave it three and a half stars and called it "a brain-melting yet spirit-cleansing blast of righteous originality" that reminded him of the '90s Golden Age of indie filmmaking, and would likely wind up among his favorite films of 2018. It left him slack-jawed as to how it came out of nowhere to blow his mind, though he couldn't really go into further detail without getting into spoilers on its Genre-Busting outrageousness, such that he opened his review telling viewers to skip what he had to say and head out to see it immediately. It was a satire of the "gig economy" that started out energetic and over-the-top and only got more bizarre and audacious as it goes on, feeling as though it shouldn't exist and that Boots Riley and his cast and crew made it without the studio's knowledge like they'd never get such a chance again, and yet it always felt like a cohesive film that never came apart at the seams. Plus, while the marketing focused on the satire, the sheer density of geeky references and shout outs, in both quality and quantity, was another treat.
  • Soul: It was Pixar doing what it did best, and while the plot won't surprise anyone who's seen a comedy like this about a Celestial Bureaucracy, the manner in which it gets to where it's going probably will... though he couldn't really talk about why without getting into spoilers, beyond just saying that the scenes shown in the film's advertising came almost entirely from the first act. Beyond some minor quibbles about an overly-busy third act, he still found it to be one of the best films of the year, animated or otherwise, and a great follow-up to Inside Out that earned a 9 out of 10.
  • Source Code: Very good, though a bit too long. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the beginning of his Your Highness review.
  • Spaceballs: Devoted the first episode of Good Enough Movies, his "bite-sized version of Really That Good", to it. He discussed how polarizing it was among Mel Brooks fans at the time, mostly along generational lines — his older fans, used to the subtle sense of subversion of Young Frankenstein and the then-revolutionary Sophisticated as Hell style of Blazing Saddles, were disappointed that Brooks made something so much less 'mature' than those. Conversely, Gen-X/Y kids, who grew up with Star Wars (the subject of this film's parody) and home video, elevated this to 'classic' status. Bob thinks Both Sides Have a Point, but comes down as liking it more than not: it relies a bit too heavily on slapstick and sight gags, but it is well-made with hilarious performances across the board, and it was arguably where kids his age learned that one could make a Deconstructive Parody of a movie or genre. It also helps that Brooks, whose previous movies had lampooned popular culture contemporaneous with his youth and middle age, was now mocking a then-new Hollywood trend (Star Wars and the popular culture of The '80s, and how Merchandise-Driven they were, in the film's near-universally recognized Signature Scene) as a comic of the older generation going for insight rather than "get off my lawn" potshots.
  • Space Truckers: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode paying tribute to the recently-deceased filmmaker Stuart Gordon. It was a very entertaining sci-fi comedy that, unfortunately, invoked also lost a lot of money, which is a shame, because it made for a very good late-period Dennis Hopper role.
  • Spenser Confidential: Gave it a 3 out of 10 and called it "a brazenly generic private-eye programmer" that made him wonder who it was even for. It bore little resemblance to the Spenser novels it was invoked ostensibly based on, its use of the Boston setting was so on-the-nose as to feel like pandering, and Iliza Shlesinger's performance as the loud-mouthed girlfriend to Mark Wahlberg's protagonist was the only part that didn't feel like it was just going through the motions.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: Didn't review them, but he discussed them in the Intermission editorial "Sam the Man - Part II", a retrospective of Sam Raimi's career, and in a special Escape to the Movies episode after his review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which he hated), and he later devoted an episode of Really That Good to the first two films. He credits the films, together with Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with kick-starting the geek culture boom in Hollywood, arguing that Raimi's translations of the Spider-Man comic to the screen were the first superhero films that attempted to be truly faithful to the source material rather than adapting it to the action movie template of the time. For this reason, he calls it "the prehistory of the Marvel Cinematic Universe" despite standing separate from it continuity-wise, especially with how the two films (especially the second one) feel like the first and second half of a greater story. He loved Raimi's embrace of Peter Parker's dweebish nerdiness (which Tobey Maguire brought to life perfectly), the more dramatic and humorous sides of the comics that elevate the action and story, and the more fantastic and optimistic portions of the Spider-Man mythos, especially just coming out of The Dark Age of Comic Books, and laments the fact that they're now considered silly and campy for those very reasons. It's all brought together by astounding direction that bears an auteur fingerprint while still honoring the source material, an excellent cast that felt perfectly picked for their parts, and top-flight special effects that, in his words, made audiences believe in Spider-Man as much as 1978's Superman: The Movie made them believe a man could fly.

    Digging deeper, he also found that the villains of the films, the Green Goblin (in both his Norman and Harry Osborn incarnations) and Doctor Octopus, were excellent realizations of the themes that the films are built upon, particularly the famous motto of "with great power comes great responsibility". They're decent men whose circumstances drive them to villainy, not ingrained villains, and reflect how Peter Parker might have turned out if his moral compass was skewed. Furthermore, he argues that the reason for the films' great success was because they were the summer blockbusters that Americans needed after 9/11 — defiantly optimistic, and rooted in the virtues of people coming together that marked the best parts of the reactions to the attacks, something that is only made clear by the fact that the films take place in New York. What few flaws the films have (a design for the Green Goblin armor that doesn't really work well on screen, the subplot in the second film of Peter's powers starting to fade, and most substantively, Mary Jane's character development revolving around Peter but not the other way around) are only minor in the grand scheme of things given the quality of both films.
    • Spider-Man: Talks about the massive nerdgasm that occurred across the Internet when it was announced that Raimi would direct it, and how he and the Spider-Man films proved to be a match made in heaven. While it lags a bit in the second act, the rest of the film is "damn close" to perfect, bringing to life everything that was great about the comics. It features a fully fleshed-out world that begged to be explored by sequels, yet it still remembered to tell an interesting, self-contained story that ends on a perfect note.
    • Spider-Man 2: Calls it the greatest superhero film of all time and a textbook example of a great sequel. Having gotten the origin story out of the way, this film was free to take on a bigger and better story and special effects that built on the foundation its predecessor laid. Raimi felt more assured directing blockbuster action, the returning cast members felt more at home in their roles, and Doctor Octopus is the best villain the series has had, a great reinvention of the comic book villain that actually made him more interesting.
    • Spider-Man 3: It's a very flawed and disjointed film, the obvious result of a Troubled Production and easily the worst film in the original trilogy. In particular, he found the reveal that the Sandman had killed Uncle Ben to be an incredibly dumb retcon. That said, he doesn't think it's a truly bad film, let alone as bad as its reputation suggests. He found the film's version of Venom to be a more interesting character than the one in the comics, and he was one of the few people who liked the "emo Peter Parker", feeling that to have been a better decision than the Cliché of having the symbiote turn him into a badass Anti-Hero. After all, it's Peter Parker; having him act like what he imagines a cool badass to be like (and failing miserably) is far more in-character than making him genuinely cool. He also thought it was well-acted all around, with special credit given to Bryce Dallas Howard and Thomas Haden Church for taking the film's poorly-written versions of Gwen Stacy and the Sandman and making them interesting and watchable on screen.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Before he reviewed it, he named it his most anticipated film of 2017 and discussed it in a handful of In Bob We Trust episodes, one of them discussing the casting of Zendaya as (what was assumed at the time to be) Mary-Jane Watson, and the others being a two-part episode discussing how he'd have hypothetically done this film. He didn't think it would be the best film of 2017, but he was just happy to have something to make him forget the Amazing Spider-Man films. Furthermore, he was interested in seeing how Marvel would fare in a situation where, for the first time, they were working with a character who already had an iconic film adaptation in the form of the first two Sam Raimi films, which he saw as an extremely Tough Act to Follow. In fact, Bob's version of this film would have dodged the question via Canon Welding with the Raimi films and bringing back Tobey Maguire as a thirtysomething, semi-retired Peter Parker, banking heavily on nostalgia for the Raimi films while rebuking the Amazing Spider-Man reboots. He thought they were doing right by the character, giving him a great introduction in Captain America: Civil War and playing up his youth and inexperience in a big way, while everything he'd seen from the film looked good. As for the controversy over the casting of a mixed-race actress as Peter Parker's Love Interest, he found it to be ridiculous, especially since there was no such outcry over the casting of Marisa Tomei as a much younger version of Aunt May instead of the old woman she was portrayed as in the comics and previous films. He found Zendaya's casting to be perfectly in line with not only the more modern take on the story that Homecoming seemed to be going for, but also with how the character of Mary-Jane was conceived; for much of her run, Mary-Jane's main defining character trait was being Ms. Fanservice, a description that Zendaya fits to a tee.

    When he reviewed it, he gave it two and a half stars and a qualified recommendation, admitting that much of his disappointment had to do with the film being in the shadow of Raimi's trilogy. As he expected, it was far better than the Amazing movies but not up to the standard of Raimi's first two films, while within the MCU, it was the most disposable-feeling film since Thor: The Dark World and like a less-involving version of Ant-Man; he would later say that it was his third least-favorite film in the MCU, ahead of only The Dark World and Iron Man 2. He liked the Teen Drama better than the superhero parts, though Robert Downey Jr. clearly came to play and Michael Keaton played Vulture well given the thinness of the character's writing (until it deepened towards the end). The diverse casting worked well, as did the comedy and character work, but while he commended it for not rehashing the death of Uncle Ben, the movie didn't find an adequate substitute locus point for emotional investment. Overall, this was "The Good Enough Spider-Man" (which also served as the title of an In Bob We Trust episode on the film a few days later), and Bob left the theater looking forward to how the character would be handled later on in the MCU, since it left many opportunities open. He expanded on his thoughts in the aforementioned In Bob We Trust episode, where he said that, while he hopes the next Spider-Man film is more substantial, disposable-but-fun popcorn blockbusters like this have an important place in the MCU and the superhero movie genre in general, serving as breathers between the weightier films while preventing their franchises from getting too self-serious for their own good.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home: Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his twelve least anticipated films of 2019. Having been disappointed by Homecoming, he feels that, despite a somewhat more visually stylish look, this would once more be "the Good Enough Spider-Man", especially given how Into the Spider-Verse so greatly surprised him with a far more interesting take on the character and his mythos. He later devoted a Big Picture episode, "Spider-Man: Far From Clarity", to it. He discussed how the trailers for it contained major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame (implicitly with the first one and explicitly with the second), and how, by introducing the multiverse to the MCU right in the trailer, he felt that it seemed to be trying to crib some of the audience goodwill that existed for Into the Spider-Verse and how it handled such — and provide red meat for the geek media machine, which would give them a slew of free marketing just by speculating over how the multiverse might link the MCU to various other Marvel movie and TV adaptations. On that front, he thought that the film might be setting out to pull a fast one given how Mysterio, the film's villain, is known in the comics as a trickster who uses illusions to fool people, as well as how the people running the MCU have never been as concerned about continuity as the diehard fans have been.

      He was pleasantly surprised when it came time to review the film, calling it far better than Homecoming and giving it a clear-cut recommendation and a 7 out of 10, while lamenting how Hollywood has exploited "spoiler culture" to create an environment where critics seemingly can't discuss the plots of films in depth without risking the wrath of a good chunk of the fanbase — especially given how the film's big twist is one that he had called even before entering the theater. The fact that he was enthralled with the movie regardless was, to him, a sign that it was something special. While the direction was still pretty flat, Tom Holland had a lot more to do as a Spider-Man facing the pressure of being "the new Iron Man", he and Zendaya had great chemistry, the supporting cast shined, the story and action expanded the Washington, D.C. scene from Homecoming (one of the best parts of that film) to feature length, and its smaller, more intimate scope served the characters (especially the villain) very well.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Before he reviewed it, he named it his fifth most anticipated film of 2018. He still thought Miles Morales should have been the MCU's Spider-Man and the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire version acknowledged as the definitive live-action interpretation of Peter Parker, but he was still excited to see Miles get his own movie (even a non-canon animated film) made by Phil Lord & Chris Miller. He was rewarded with the best animated movie (and perhaps the best-looking movie) of 2018, the first good Spider-Man-centric movie since Raimi's second, Sony's first actively good Spider-Man spinoff movie, and his fourth-best movie of 2018. It merited a full four stars, not least because it used the freedom conferred by animation to be a more direct adaptation of a Spider-Man comic. Its incredible lookinvoked combined with a strong story that upheld the Comes Great Responsibility and "personal choice" themes superbly and a fascinating meta-gimmick rather like Lord and Miller's own The LEGO Movie, while the other Spider-characters were great treats for fans that transcended what might have been obnoxious Product Placement and Pandering to the Base very well. A couple of months after his review, he gave "10 Reasons Why Into the Spider-Verse Is the Best Spider-Man Movie Ever Made." At the start of 2020, he named it one of the ten defining films of The New '10s, one that was built on a lot of what many people felt was rotten about cinema during that decade (superhero saturation, overreliance on recognizable franchises, fixation on World Building and continuity, overuse of meta humor in family films) and yet still managed to be a near-perfect gem of a movie that showed that great art could be unapologetically commercial without sacrificing an ounce of integrity, and vice versa.
  • Splice: Loved it on all levels, comparing it to The Fly (1986) and District 9 as both an intelligent sci-fi film and a character-focused drama, and appreciating how it didn't sink into the anti-intellectualism so common to movies of its ilk. He also noted that Dren was "likely to keep DeviantArt busy for the rest of the year."
  • Split: Called it M. Night Shyamalan's first good film since Signs (merely noting that it's his best movie since then would be damning it with faint praise). This followed in the tradition of a "very distinguished" string of B-Movie Psychological Thrillers, which really played to Shyamalan's strengths in terms of getting great performances out of actors (in this case, James McAvoy playing nine personalities) and diving headfirst into some grimy, lurid subject matter. However, Shyamalan's Achilles' Heel of inappropriate tonal shifts also appeared, mainly in a subplot explaining why Anya Taylor-Joy's character was tougher than her fellow captives, and its portrayal of dissociative identity disorder dips into Unfortunate Implications territory, though Bob understood the appeal of connecting the straight-up sci-fi the movie ended up becoming to a real condition. He gave it three stars for being "seriously entertaining suspense-thriller junk food" and encouraged people to see it (especially for the Twist Ending) for themselves before the Internet spoiled it for them (and also discussed it himself in a supplemental article).
  • Spotlight: Named it his tenth-favorite movie of 2015, comparing it to All the President's Men and Zodiac as one of the great newsroom dramas. As somebody who grew up around Boston and was an altar boy in his youth, the Catholic sex abuse scandals that burst open at the Turn of the Millennium hit especially close to home for him, though he doesn't feel that this lends him much in the way of insight or a personal connection to the film. He feels that this is mainly because of its refusal to sensationalize its subject matter and descend into lurid details, instead operating more like a procedural and focusing most of its moral righteousness on the reporters and the community itself for ignoring what was happening for so long even with all the clues laying right there. As such, the sordid events that the film is detailing hit that much harder, and the Boston Globe reporters' crusade carries personal weight. And while Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo are the standouts in the cast, everybody here is amazing. It's a film that he feels is slightly overrated by his fellow critics, but still deserving of the Oscar buzz it received.
  • Spring Breakers: Compares it to "Disney meets Natural Born Killers", and calls it one of the all-time great pop crime dramas and one of the best films of 2013. It's far more than just another teensploitation flick, a tale not of innocence lost, but of "existential emptiness found", and will likely go down as one of Generation Y's great cultural cinematic touchstones.
  • Spy: "Finally, I can feel 100% good about 'defending' Melissa McCarthy." It's the best film of both her career and that of writer/director Paul Feig, and easily one of the best comedies of the year. McCarthy finally gets the opportunity to play an actual character rather than her usual persona, with a story about her character being underestimated that not only serves as a nice metaphor for her own career up to that point (as well as for "invisible working women" in general), but also helps build a very interesting and well-rounded heroine who's easy to root for. That's before getting into the fact that the film was just really damn funny, especially with Jason Statham's turn as a buffoonish parody of his Action Hero persona, helping to easily make up for a shaky plot and merely passable action scenes.
  • Spy Game: It's good, but it's easy to see why it disappointed at the box office — it's a spy movie with a worldview rooted in the Cold War released just two months after 9/11 made that worldview obsolete. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Remembering Tony Scott, Part 2", a retrospective of the late Tony Scott's career.
  • Ssssssss: Didn't review it, but in the In Bob We Trust episode "Keep Circulating the Tapes" (a list of ten movies he'd most like to see riffed on a hypothetical twelfth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000), he named it at number two. He had to point out that that was truly the movie's title, and said that any riffers worth their salt should be able to get at least a half-hour of good jokes from such low-hanging fruit.
  • A Star Is Born: invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it his third least anticipated film of 2018, primarily citing the cast (particularly Bradley Cooper, who was also writing and directing, which required him to add a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer) and the massive shoes it had to fill in comparison to earlier adaptations. His ultimate review was somewhat more charitable, calling it a decently-made piece of Oscar Bait and giving it two and a half stars and a "nominally approving but hardly bowled-over shrug". He said that the first act was a genuinely great short film and that Cooper, Lady Gaga, and (surprisingly) Andrew "Dice" Clay were all outstanding in their roles, but while the writing for Cooper's aging rock star was great, it gave short shrift to Gaga's character, treating her supposed once-in-a-generation talent as an Informed Ability and relying more on Gaga's pop culture persona and singing ability to convey such than anything else.
  • Starship Troopers: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the third part of his Really That Bad episode on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, specifically when talking about deconstruction in film. He described it as one of his favorite movies, not only because it's an incredible action film, but also because of how Paul Verhoeven took Robert A. Heinlein's original novel and, in the process of adapting it to the screen, made a Deconstructive Parody of it that deliberately tore apart everything that the source material stood for, in a textbook example of satire as adaptation. It is probably "one of the most staggeringly mean-spirited things that an artist has ever done to another artist or their work", but it was all done with a very clear artistic purpose, one that is consistent with the broader themes of Verhoeven's filmography (particularly RoboCop and Total Recall).
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek (2009): Bob went in with the lowest of expectations, since the film had been written by the writers of Transformers (which he hated) and seemed to be marketed towards the Lowest Common Denominator, almost to the point of insulting fans of the franchise. While the end result didn't suck like he had feared, it never rises above strictly average either, with Chris Pine giving a wooden performance as Kirk and the screenplay being too reliant on coincidences moving the plot forward. He never understood why so many other critics gushed over the film, and he came back to it in his review of District 9 to argue that that was the kind of movie that this one should have been like. He was a lot harsher on it in his review of Star Trek Beyond, saying that the supporting cast and the score were the only good things about it.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness: Commented during his review of Killing Them Softly on how similar the film's marketing seemed to be to that of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight films. Later, in the Big Picture episode “Mystery Bonks,” he expressed concern over what he felt was the reason why Paramount was holding out on screening the film for certain critics even though it had already been released in some other countries and gotten mixed-to-positive reviews: that J. J. Abrams was once again employing his "mystery box" marketing strategy, putting a big twist into the movie to build hype over while making it difficult for critics to have a spoiler-free discussion of any problems the film might have.

      In his eventual review, he felt that his fears about Abrams' mystery-heavy marketing were confirmed, though obviously, he couldn't say why without spoiling the film. Then he did just that anyway because he didn't want to keep playing the filmmakers' "mystery box" game. He found this film to be inarguably worse than the 2009 film, ironically because it tried to be deeper than the mere “big dumb action flick” that that film was, and failed miserably. Its big twist, besides coming off as winking, pandering, and ultimately meaningless Fanservice, also invites many unfavorable comparisons to one of the greatest Star Trek movies ever made, making it look that much worse in comparison. He also felt the "magic blood" and the allusions to 9/11 conspiracy theories to be extremely obnoxious plot turns. At the end of 2013, he named it one of his ten least favorite movies of the year and suggested that forgetting the alternate timeline and resuming the existing Trek movies with a followup to Nemesis might be a better idea.
    • Star Trek Beyond: In the months before it came out, he devoted the Intermission editorial "The Fast and the Trekkiest" to approving of the announcement that Justin Lin had been tapped to direct the film, albeit with reservations. He's not a fan of the Fast and the Furious series (even if he likes some individual films), and the idea of a director best known for action movies helming the next Star Trek film bodes poorly for a return to the "thinking man's space adventure" for which the series used to be known. However, he still thinks that Lin is a legitimately great cinematic stylist (and not just with action scenes), and the F&F films, even at their worst, still have a better sense of camaraderie among the main characters than either of the last two Star Trek films had. Furthermore, despite their (admittedly deserved) reputation as Lowest Common Denominator action flicks, Bob finds the F&F films to be remarkably progressive and diverse with their casts, the sort of thing that meshes almost perfectly with the Star Trek vision of a better world in the future.

      When it came time to review it, he had six words: "This movie is so. Fucking. GOOD!" He went into this expecting to hate it just like he did the first two films in the reboot series, only for it to blow him away right off the bat. He called it the closest thing that there's ever been to a big-budget version of Star Trek: The Original Seriesnote  in terms of its aesthetic, storytelling, and themes, avoiding the mistakes of its predecessors (which it ignores as much as possible outside of Broad Strokes, to his gratification) and delivering a back-to-basics adventure story that uses big action set pieces to drive character dynamics and the story — a feat to which, as he predicted, Justin Lin proved remarkably well-suited. The only things he didn't like were Chris Pine's performance (the weak link in the cast in his opinion, which is why he loved that this film gave equal focus to the entire ensemble), a few shots that felt like they were too stylish for their own good, the movie as a whole feeling a bit too short, and the fact that it took them three movies to get it right. Overall, he gave it three and a-half stars and a full recommendation. He later listed it as the third-best film of summer 2016, calling it "the best Star Trek since The Voyage Home."
  • Star Wars: A big fan, but that's to be expected, and he's gone in depth on it a few times. In his Intermission editorial "Consequences", he discussed how chaste and masculine the movies were compared to prior bodice-ripping Space Opera stories. The Big Picture episode "That's No Moon" also discussed Disney's buyout of Lucasfilm, and what Bob felt that meant for the future of Star Wars — namely, re-releases of the original trilogy without George Lucas' later edits, a lack of recognition of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (since Disney spent big money for Lucasfilm, they will probably take a far more mass-market direction than that), and the hopeful possibility that they'll take similar risks with the new Star Wars films that they did with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: In another Intermission editorial with a self-explanatory title, he made the blasphemous case for remaking the film, stating that everybody now knows the plot of the series and what had worked in the other films, meaning that they could go back and fix the things that needed fixing. In addition, it might well protect the original trilogy from further tampering by George Lucas, giving him a whole new sandbox for him to realize his ideas in (… or not). In the process, he argued that the plot of the film was, essentially, what World War II would have looked like if it had been fought by the Baby Boomer generation in a sci-fi world.

      He later devoted an episode of Really That Good to the film, one that notably fixated on A New Hope alone and mostly ignored the rest of the franchise in order to analyze why it, as a standalone film without any sequels or spinoffs, resonated so strongly with audiences in 1977. At its core, it was just a grandiose sci-fi action movie made with the kind of love and attention that sci-fi movies rarely, if ever, got before then, one that was of a kind with the films of many of George Lucas' New Hollywood contemporaries in how they brought seemingly disreputable film genres (gangster flicks, Westerns, thrillers, horror, monster movies) Out of the Ghetto. In anchoring its esoteric concepts and truly weird pacing and structure in things that were familiar to mainstream audiences at the time (Luke's home on Tattooine as a Western-style homestead, his lightsaber as Excalibur, the Jedi as medieval-style knights, the Galactic Empire as every evil empire in history, Han Solo as a smuggler, the Mos Eisley cantina as a Mexican-esque Bad-Guy Bar), it allowed them to easily keep up with it all. He described Han as the 'key' to the entire film, a character who looked and acted like the sort of everyman Action Hero that the film's late 1970s audience would've normally expected from a contemporary action film (he used Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, incidentally the second-highest grossing film of 1977, as an example), one whose mannerisms helped that audience identify with him as the guy who shared their reactions to, and helped them get invested in, the film's weird mix of Heroic Fantasy and Space Opera tropes and contemporary New Age mysticism.

      Beyond the film itself, he also argued that its success was driven by war weariness among post-Vietnam baby boomers who wanted to enjoy exciting action movies, but couldn't connect with films about gallant heroism in real-life wars given that the scars of the US' experience in Vietnam were still too raw. A film like Star Wars that applied a Hollywood war narrative to a fictional sci-fi setting could avoid those pitfalls, allowing people to have fun watching a war movie without getting bogged down in the issues that surround real wars. He argued that the most enduring legacy of Star Wars beyond just its brand was that, culturally speaking, it marked the beginning of the end for the "malaise era" after Vietnam, its mix of optimism and nostalgia allowing America to feel good about itself again. It helped that the groundwork for it had been laid by the emerging geek culture of the '60s and '70s. He disputed the popular narrative that Star Wars was an out-of-the-blue Sleeper Hit that nobody, not even George Lucas himself, saw coming, arguing that, between the Planet of the Apes films, Star Trek, the boom in High Fantasy, Heavy Metal magazine, The Bronze Age of Comic Books, the birth of video games, and the rise of a grittier sci-fi aesthetic in film, pop culture in 1977 had already been well primed for a movie like Star Wars. And for as much as Star Wars has been blamed since for the rise of a more reactionary-minded pop culture in the '80s and for bringing the worst excesses of geek culture into the mainstream, he feels that the film itself is not to blame. On the former argument, he notes that the film had roots firmly planted in the '70s counterculture with its heroes being a band of scrappy rebels battling a fascist space empire, and that it subverted the Hero's Journey narrative as often as it played it straight, with the more explicit conformance to those archetypes only truly coming in with the expanded universe. The latter argument, meanwhile, he compared to "blaming molecular oxygen for a house fire", saying that, if not Star Wars, some other hit geek property would've come to be associated with toxic fandom and perpetual adolescence.

      As an aside, he also took a brief moment to sharply criticize the idea that Star Wars is fantasy instead of science fiction due to its supernatural elements like the Force and its 'mythic' structure, citing The Space Trilogy, A Wrinkle in Time, and Dune as unambiguous sci-fi stories whose settings were imbued with supernatural forces and some form of religious truth or allegory. It's an idea that he argued was largely propagated by a clique of writers and fans rooted in the "hard" science fiction of the 1940s and '50s, a clique that he feels did move the genre forward in a lot of ways but also narrowed its scope in others. As far as he was concerned, the story contained spaceships, robots, and lasers powered by fuel and electricity instead of magic, the various unusual creatures were all aliens instead of demons or cryptids, and by any measure that finds that Star Wars isn't science fiction, one would also have to exclude a great deal of the old Space Opera and Planetary Romance stories that inspired it, from Buck Rogers to Lensman.
    • Star Wars prequel trilogy: He feels that they're flawed films, but he doesn't hate them as much as he used to. He feels that so many people hate the prequels only because (A) they weren't jam-packed with fanservice and shout outs to the original trilogy, and (B) they had the weight of sixteen years of anticipation on their shoulders, which turned a pair of mediocre films (the first and third) into awful experiences for many old-school fans. He regards his realization that the Star Wars prequel trilogy was less bad than it's commonly made out to be (though still undeniably sub-par) to be a major turning point in his evolution as a film critic. In the Big Picture episode "Destined for Disappointment, Part 2", he used the prequel trilogy as an example of a series of films that deconstructed the idea of Because Destiny Says So, namely with how Anakin Skywalker's belief that he is the prophesied Chosen One, combined with his own personality flaws and Palpatine exploiting the prophecy, leading him on the path to becoming Darth Vader. He finds the idea that the infamously flawed prequel trilogy managed to handle a 'destiny' plot better than many contemporaneous summer tentpole movies (name-dropping The Amazing Spider-Man, Man of Steel, and the Star Trek reboot) to be an indictment of how hackneyed he feels Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking has become.
    • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Did a retrospective review of The Phantom Menace for its 3-D rerelease in 2012. For a very long time, Bob counted himself among the Star Wars fanboys who felt that The Phantom Menace had contaminated their childhood memories, though he's since changed his mind, coming to regard it as So Okay, It's Average — just another technically excellent big-budget Hollywood genre film let down by comparatively thin writing, like any number of others — rather than the total disaster the more vocal parts of the fandom proclaim it to be (and yes, he's seen the famous Plinkett review). In fact, he doesn't even think it's the worst Star Wars movie, that dubious distinction belonging to Attack of the Clones, the only film in the prequel trilogy he felt to be genuinely terrible.
    • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Reviewed it in his early days as a blogger. He called it the best of the Star Wars prequels, though that was damning it with faint praise, as it had all of what worked about its predecessors (effects, action scenes, art design) in greater quantities and all of what didn't work about them (dialogue, characters, plot) in smaller quantities. He was rarely bored by it, though, and gave it a 6 out of 10 while saying that, even if the series went astray long ago and this film ended the prequel trilogy with a whimper, this was still a fun ride.
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the movie): "It keeps coming back; corrupted, evil, and out to harm us." That said, the Big Picture episode "Here We (Long Time Ago) Again", he said that he found the animated series that followed on from the film to be a invoked Surprisingly Improved Sequel, and discussed the possibility of the fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano showing up on The Mandalorian.
    • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Before it came out, he discussed his thoughts on it in the Big Picture episodes "A Disturbance in the Force" and "Stars, Worn", as well as the special Escape to the Movies episode "Trailer Park". He felt that J. J. Abrams was a horrible choice to direct a Star Wars movie, one of the few people he could think of more ill-suited than late-period George Lucas. Going through his filmography, Bob feels that Abrams, while a hard-working filmmaker who will probably make a pretty good movie, lacks the kind of vision needed to elevate a movie from "pretty good" to truly great. He attributes some of this choice to fandom for demanding slavish, superficial dedication to the source material, saying that this is preventing potential visionaries from applying their own touch to the material and resulting in safe films that are constrained by fear of Adaptation Decay. Likewise, he felt that the announcement that Lawrence Kasdan would help write the screenplay for Episode VII was little more than Pandering to the Base. That said, the film's first trailer got him interested again; he felt that it highlighted everything that it should have and made the film look really good, and he admitted that the film might actually be in good hands.

      As for the oft-reported production troubles surrounding the film, he wasn't surprised, again criticizing the old-school Star Wars geeks (Abrams included) for demanding "a $200 million original trilogy fan film" rather than something with new characters and ideas that would advance the Star Wars 'verse. While he got why Abrams' vision for the film would be appealing at first glance, and admitted that it might work well as the film's B-plot, he pointed to films like Blues Brothers 2000 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to assert that these sorts of films rarely turn out well.

      When it came time to review it, he breathed a sigh of relief, his first words being "It's fine. Relax." He called it "a pretty damn good movie" and much better than he was expecting, and while his hypothesis that it would turn out to be a big-budget fan film ultimately proved correct, it was still a movie that he had enough fun with to forgive. Abrams did a good job both in understanding what was great about the original trilogy and in managing the subtext of the film being fundamentally about living up to it, and while the dialogue was imperfect and he rested a bit too much on what Lucas had done before him, he remembered the importance of engaging characters and a good sense of humor in getting the audience invested in the material. In the end, Bob admitted that his fandom probably prevented any real objectivity, but it still earned his full recommendation. He still said he enjoyed it when it came time to review The Last Jedi, even acknowledging the backlash it had received for being too similar to its predecessors, stating that he doesn't find this to be a flaw in and of itself given the film's meta-narrative about the legacy of Star Wars.
    • Rogue One: "'s good! But I do have concerns." While he finds that making Star Wars into a Modular Franchise that they can release annual installments of is a pretty cynical move on Disney's part, he finds that this film's attempts to make something different from the usual Star Wars formula, namely a gritty military/spy story set in that universe, works like a charm. It offers the franchise a breath of fresh air: it's the first film that's not just copying A New Hope's style, editing, and story beats, and it puts a spotlight on the more morally gray side of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire and the 'boots on the ground' folks instead of the Jedi, the generals, and other leaders. It's in these moments that the film approaches The Empire Strikes Back in terms of quality, and fortunately, they make up most of the movie, especially as it roars to an awe-inspiring finale. The only weak parts were the bits that felt like they were thrown in just to remind viewers that they were watching a Star Wars movie, most notably a fairly derivative score and a pair of cameos that were a bit overly reliant on CG in order to de-age the actors. Overall, though, it's a damn good movie that demonstrates a ton of potential for the franchise going forward, earning three-and-a-half stars.
    • The Last Jedi: invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it his ninth most anticipated film of 2017. He hadn't planned to include it because little was known about it and it didn't have the hype that The Force Awakens had, but the sudden and tragic passing of Carrie Fisher would likely lend it Reality Subtext as her swan song. When it came time to review it, he said "thank fuck it's good!" and gave it three-and-a-half stars. Whereas The Force Awakens, while good, had him worried that later films would coast on nostalgia, this film answered that concern right away with an opening scene that was "refreshingly different" from virtually anything that Star Wars had done before, a tone it kept up for its entire runtime. It's still unmistakably Star Wars, taking the barest plot structure from The Empire Strikes Back, but its themes here were almost a Spiritual Antithesis to The Force Awakens, focusing on how the First Order and the Resistance needed to grow past being expies of, respectively, the Empire and the Rebellion, and how Rey and Kylo Ren needed to get over their own hero worship of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader — something that he discussed in greater detail in a spoiler-filled In Bob We Trust episode, where he defended the film from some of the more common criticisms of it. The focus was clearly placed on the characters, producing a feeling reminiscent of a war movie with characters having to respond to events unfolding around them frantically, and save for an overly-long second act it worked remarkably well. Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver were the MVPs in the cast, with Fisher a standout final performance and Driver making Kylo Ren far more menacing than he was in the last film. He felt that, as long as Star Wars movies keep coming, he can only hope they're all this good. At the end of 2017, he named it his fifth-favorite film of the year, calling it the first Star Wars film since Empire to feel like a genuine classic. At the start of 2020, he named it one of the ten defining films of The New '10s not only for the chances it took reinventing the series, but also for how the bitterly polarized reaction to it exposed deep fault lines within geek culture.
    • Solo: Even with its Troubled Production and being an ultimately unnecessary origin story to Han Solo — a character whose charm came from being a minor character — he felt it was "almost the perfect in-betweener Star Wars movie." Alden Ehrenreich didn't just do an impression of Harrison Ford's original portrayal, the rest of the cast was as great, and it was a really rollicking Space Western for its first two acts to great effect. All Bob really felt was 'wrong' with the movie was act three, when it reverted to being a conventional Star Wars good-versus-evil story and a recurring plot detail he refused to spoil but regarded as insufferably unsubtle foreshadowing, though even with these quibbles, it still merited three stars and got him excited to see more from this franchise. A week later, in the In Bob We Trust episode "Solo: A Box-Office Story", he discussed the film's disappointing box-office returns, saying that they were perfectly in line with what he expected from a movie that was just "pretty good" and aimed squarely at nostalgic, diehard Star Wars fans. He felt that Disney was wrong to expect another box-office smash on the level of The Force Awakens, and that the expectations placed upon it to be such a monster hit were a sign of how the relationship between Hollywood and fan culture had turned into a closed feedback loop.
    • The Rise of Skywalker: Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his fifteen most anticipated films of 2019. As an unapologetic fan of The Last Jedi who strongly rejected the hatred displayed towards it in some corners of the fandom, he was interested in seeing how Abrams' return to the franchise reconciled his and Rian Johnson's often radically different visions for it. He devoted a Big Picture episode, "Force Majeure", to speculating about various things hinted at in a trailer shown at Disney's D23 expo, particularly the possibility of Rey turning Sith and wielding a lightsaber reminiscent of Darth Maul's.

      In his review, he gave it an 8 out of 10 and repeated what he said about The Force Awakens: "Relax. It's fine." He couldn't say much without getting into spoilers, aside from feeling that the 'new' trilogy felt like it had been made as a game of telephone between Abrams and Johnson, with Abrams' attempts to reconcile his vision with Johnson's producing "two films worth of plot compressed into a single film worth of narrative." The ensuing Reality Subtext lent a lot of added texture to the proceedings, even if he felt it to be the least film in the new trilogy. It was an extremely fast-moving film that was packed with action, such that its long runtime didn't feel particularly long, and the cast was great, with Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver as the standouts once more and the new characters leaving something to offer too. Even when it was most bluntly pandering to nostalgia, it still hit the mark, a sign in his opinion that it did something right. The following day, he devoted a Big Picture episode, "Still Pizza", to analyzing the polarized critical reception it received. He compared the Star Wars franchise to pizza, in that "even when it's not the best version of itself, it still is Star Wars", and said that, while he understood the points that the critics raised, the film still met the baseline requirement of what it meant to be a good Star Wars movie: exciting sci-fi action set in a cool, fantastical Space Opera universe. He felt that mainstream critics, who normally tried to be above such things, had allowed themselves to get sucked into the fandom war surrounding The Last Jedi, and had missed this film for the good, but not great, movie that it was. At the end of 2019, he named it an honorable mention for his list of the year's best films, saying that it was well-made even if it didn't quite suck him in the way his top ten did.

      In the spoiler-filled Big Picture episode "Spoilwars" the following week, he went into detail on the various plot turns in the film and what he liked and didn't like. He wished that they'd kept The Last Jedi's twist of Rey having no important lineage to speak of rather than having her really be Palpatine's granddaughter all along, as he preferred that film's theme of having heroism emerge from unlikely places, but that theme still resonated here in other places, especially with how Rey rejects Palpatine's legacy. Overall, if he could find an overarching theme to the sequel trilogy, it was that your legacy and who you are told you are doesn't define who you are. On the other hand, bringing back Palpatine offscreen felt like an invoked Ass Pull, there was clearly supposed to be a greater focus on Leia that Carrie Fisher's death negated, and the plot felt simultaneously rushed and overly long, a consequence of Abrams trying to squeeze every idea he had into one movie, him focusing on his own creative contributions over Johnson's, and his own strengths and weaknesses as a filmmaker. He felt that the fan discourse surrounding the film, focusing on largely unsubstantiated rumors about arguments between Abrams, Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy, and even George Lucas instead of the very real and well-documented production difficulties caused by Fisher's death and original director Colin Trevorrow's departure, was incredibly misguided, and showcased a fandom that was swallowing its own tail.
  • The Stepford Wives (the 2004 remake): Didn't review it, but in the In Bob We Trust episode "Top 10 Worst Remakes Ever", he ranked it at number four. While the original is a classic sci-fi horror film, this version trades that for awful humor and ultimately chickens out on its predecessor's message. He also likened it to the next year's Bewitched movie, citing their mutual problem that their screenwriters apparently forgot to write plots because they thought, erroneously, that casting Nicole Kidman as an idealized 1950s housewife archetype was inherently clever enough that they could coast on that.
  • Steve Jobs: He thinks it's ridiculous how many biopics and documentaries about Steve Jobs are being made, mainly because he doesn't find the man himself to be that interesting a figure for a biopic, viewing his popular image as a tech genius more as media hype built on the strength of his showmanship than anything. However, he actually liked this one, chiefly because, unlike the similar Jobs from a few years back, it doesn't buy into the image that Jobs promoted of himself during his life and that the media picked up after he died, instead exploring his personality flaws and the backstage details of his famous product presentations. Aaron Sorkin's writing is a natural fit for the Silicon Valley setting, one of the few places where people actually talk like that in real life, while Kate Winslet is the film's unsung hero as Jobs' assistant. He does wish, however, that the film spent more time focusing on the disputes between Jobs and Steve Wozniak, as he felt that that was where most of the film's dramatic heft really laid (especially with Seth Rogen's great performance as Woz) as opposed to his relationship with his daughter (which forms the core of the story). Even so, he still enjoyed this film, closing the review by saying that it was good enough to get him to find Jobs almost interesting.
  • Stoker: Called it "pretty nuts" and said it played out like a "really good Brian De Palma movie." Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the beginning of his review of Jack the Giant Slayer, telling people to go see it instead of that film.
  • Stonewall: Before it came out, Bob discussed his thoughts on the trailer and the controversy surrounding the film. On one hand, he saw the point of the people raising complaints about the film and its portrayal of history, particularly its insertion of a White Male Lead into an event that in real life was characterized as much by transgender activism (especially among trans women of color) as by gay activism, and he used this as a jumping-off point to discuss the fractures in the LGBT community between its more media-friendly elements (read: the clean-cut, "straight-acting" people) and its more radical members. On the other hand, at the time (having not yet seen the film) he viewed it as a case of using fictional characters to tell a Broad Strokes version of a real historical event that's more conductive to a traditional narrative arc, something that he doesn't find fault in as long as the actual history isn't mangled in the process.

    He changed his tune, however, when it actually came time to watch and review the film. He called it a misfire, saying that, while many critics may have been too quick to jump to conclusions just from the trailer, as it turned out their complaints were pretty well warranted. While he gets the idea of using a clean-cut, all-American boy from the Midwest as an Audience Surrogate, the filmmakers badly botched the execution by making him the focus of the story at the expense of the real figures in the Stonewall riot. Furthermore, he felt that it simply didn't work at all as a movie, its sprawling, "epic" storyline and Loads and Loads of Characters quickly degenerating into a Kudzu Plot that leaves more loose ends than resolved storylines. Most importantly, the protagonist's Coming-Out Story and the events leading up to the Stonewall riot feel like two different films that never come together, the transitions between them feeling jarring and the attempts to link them feeling artificial and mechanical. He doesn't doubt the sincerity of Roland Emmerich's intentions in making this film, but he still believes that it should have been so much better than it was.
  • Straight Outta Compton: Calls it an "almost-classic" that fires on all cylinders in its first half but sinks to just decent in its back half. He felt that its main flaw was that it played everything too straight, giving a sanitized, "greatest hits" version of the history of N.W.A even though they were a group that reveled in controversy — and that the film missed a lot of the more interesting stories in the band's rise and fall as a result. However, the good parts are still more than good enough to elevate the whole — the soundtrack is electrifying, director F. Gary Gray makes the film come alive, it almost perfectly captures the lightning-in-a-bottle moment in which Gangsta Rap arrived on the scene, and it's simply a very entertaining film that will likely be remembered and discussed for years to come. At the end of 2015, he named it an honorable mention for the best films of the year.
  • Straw Dogs (2011): Totally missed the point of the original film, turning a bleak, nihilistic thriller about the breakdown of morality into a preachy, redneck-baiting, values-affirming Wish Fulfillment Power Fantasy. Without spoiling anything, the manner in which it handled a pivotal moment from the original not only removed the moral ambiguity that made that film such a classic, but left a ton of Fridge Logic in its wake. He admitted that the ending was awesomely cathartic, but it wasn't worth sitting through the rest of the film to get to.
  • Street Fighter: He discussed a new adaptation in a "How to Fix" episode of In Bob We Trust. He wonders why past film adaptations of a fighting game series haven't just used a fighting tournament as the premise like so many Martial Arts Movies before it, as the setup of the games is practically tailor-made for such; all that is necessary is getting the characters right.
  • Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie: Didn't review it, but he named it the eighth-best video game adaptation ever made, praising its mix of "timeless arcade cheese and crunchy '90s anime grit" that still held up years later and calling it the best attempt at adapting Street Fighter to date.
  • Stuck: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode paying tribute to the recently-deceased filmmaker Stuart Gordon, noting that it was his last feature film.
  • The Stuff: "It's pretty awesome." It's a mishmash of the monster from The Blob (1958) and the anti-consumerist satire of They Live, and he's surprised that it hasn't been remade yet. Didn't review it, but he discussed it at the end of his review of Branded, a film that he felt to be a pale imitator of this film, and in the Big Picture episode "Moviebob's Forgotten Monsters".
  • Sucker Punch: It may look like fanboy-bait and a fanservice vehicle on the surface, and it's often cluttered, unfocused and more ambitious than what its directed Zack Snyder could execute, but Bob found it to be a lot deeper than his fellow critics did. In his opinion, a lot of people missed the fact that the film is condemning the fetishism and objectification (particularly of women) that runs rampant through male geek culture, not celebrating it; they somehow overlooked or ignored that the film seems to scream out its intentions to the viewer at every turn. He compares it to both burlesque and Starship Troopers, another film that was mistaken for exactly the opposite of what it was.note 

    He also views the film as a criticism of third-wave or "sex-positive" feminism, in the sense that women like Baby Doll who allow themselves to be objectified for their own empowerment are portrayed as childish and fail to escape the confines of the male-dominated asylum (i.e. patriarchy), while Sweet Pea, who is the least sexualized of the main characters and is often the voice of "traditional" feminism throughout the film, is portrayed as the most mature of the group and is the only one who escapes. Ultimately, its main failing was that it tried to say something about some delicate subject matter and failed to successfully pull it off, meaning that its intended message got lost and mistaken for exactly the opposite. He discussed his thoughts on the film both within the review and, a year and a half later, in a two-part Big Picture episode.
  • Suddenly: A pretty good movie, but better known now for how it became a "lost film"invoked after the John F. Kennedy assassination due to its unfortunate subject matter and, possibly, the demand of its star Frank Sinatra.note  He also discounted the Urban Legend that Lee Harvey Oswald had been watching this film before he shot JFK. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Space Invaders".
  • Suicide Squad (2016): "Will [this film] save the struggling DC Extended Universe? No." Bob considered this a major letdown from Villain Protagonist specialist writer-director David Ayer, a minor improvement on Batman v Superman (because it seemed to be trying less hard and therefore had less far to fall), and a Rule-Abiding Rebel of a film. It's clear watching it just how much of a Troubled Production this film endured, though what he saw of the original story looked little better. Decent performances from Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis are offset by poor ones from Jai Courtney and Jared Leto (the latter playing the worst Joker in a movie yet), the tone is all over the place, the story relies on a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! moment by the Squad, and its CG makes the film look like it came from The '90s. As such, he says "Aesthetically, tonally, structurally, and quality-wise, the film Suicide Squad resembles more than anything is Mortal Kombat: Annihilation." He gave it one and a half stars and later named it the worst film of summer 2016, and among the worst of the year, he placed it at number three.
  • Sully: Before he reviewed it, he discussed it, together with Hacksaw Ridge and the 2016 The Birth of a Nation, in the In Bob We Trust episode "The Artist and the Art", about three 2016 fall-season prestige films that found themselves Overshadowed by Controversy due to the real-life circumstances of their creators (in this case, director Clint Eastwood's outspoken conservative politics and public statements). He uses this to go into a discussion about the idea of separating the artist from the art when it comes to judging a work on its own merits, arguing that, while seemingly noble, this is a terrible way to review a film, as it not only ignores how a film fits into a creator's wider body of work, it can also cause critics to miss the point the creator intended to make as well as any Reality Subtext that may be lurking beneath the surface. In this case, deconstructions of traditionally masculine archetypes (such as this film's hero airline pilot protagonist) have been Eastwood's stock in trade throughout the later phase of his career, and one would be remiss to ignore that and how it fits into his filmography.

    When he reviewed it, he gave it three stars, calling it a welcome return to form for Eastwood after the "depressing misfire" of American Sniper and especially admirable in its refusal to sensationalize the material. The acting is excellent, as per usual from its cast, and the film plows through its story with utter professionalism and not an ounce of fat, even holding off on the inevitable comparison to 9/11 until the last few minutes. The only problems he had were that he felt the film leaned too far in make the National Transportation Safety Board a Designated Villain for doubting Sullenberger's heroism when the entire film up to that point was adamant that he was just a guy doing his job, and that Eastwood's trademark lack of flourish was a double-edged sword that brings the film within a hair of greatness but just misses clearing the bar. Considering how well the film does what it does do, though, Bob has no problem forgiving that and recommending it.
  • Super: "As awesome as you've heard." It's dark and brutal, but also hilarious and strangely uplifting, with Rainn Wilson and Elliot Page knocking it out of the park. Didn't review it, but he mentioned it at the beginning of his Your Highness review, and at the end of 2011 he listed it as one of his top ten movies of the year.
  • Super 8: Bob went in viewing the film as a test of his integrity as a film critic: it had been tailored to appeal to the twenty-to-thirty-something geek audience that he counted himself as part of (he called it "weaponized nostalgia"), so he worried that he might let the geeky sci-fi references and Shout Outs to classic Amblin films overwhelm him to the point where he couldn't judge the film objectively. In the end, he said that the film was "not bad", but didn't really work all the way through, with the handful of great moments making the bad ones look that much worse. The narrative is overly complicated and doesn't come together in a cohesive whole; while the main story focusing on the kids making their movie is outstanding, the B-plot about the alien and the related Government Conspiracy falls flat, especially once it takes over the film in the second half. While it's clear that the makers of this film are huge fans of films like The Goonies and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, they don't quite get what made those films work. Bob also found the Lens Flare to be so annoying that he filled a good stretch of the review with lens flare in order to riff on it.
  • Superman: The Movie: One of the three films that he counts in his "canon" of the greatest superhero movies of all time, the other two being Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight, and he discussed the film in the Big Picture episode "Superman Revisited" and in an episode of Really That Good. He talked about the massive uphill battle the makers of the film had in getting people to embrace it, given that Superman was, by 1978, an icon of American culture, and that to pull this off, they had to strip Superman down to his core essentials, figure out what those were to begin with along the way, and then update them for contemporary expectations. As such, a huge undercurrent to the film concerned it directly tackling the doubts many people had as to whether or not a character as seemingly corny and old-fashioned as Superman could work in modern times, similar to how much of The Avengers was about how they could possibly pull off this sort of superhero crossover. By extension, the film often felt like it was also tackling the growing cynicism that had emerged in American society by the late 1970s, a time when fifteen years' worth of rapid social change had overturned everything people had taken for granted; in this world, Superman emerged as a beacon of hope to provide people with something to believe in, much like he did in the similarly troubled 1930s.

    As for the cast, Christopher Reeve was a perfect Superman in both his appearance and his mannerisms, one who will probably remain the greatest take on the character for the foreseeable future. He defined the image of the character for decades to come — no small feat, given how Superman was already a pop culture icon when this film came out — hence why Man of Steel tried so hard (too hard, Bob thought) to change various aspects of Superman's origin to distinguish itself from this film. His relationship with Margot Kidder's Lois Lane was also beautifully realized, barring how it ruined what could have been a classic scene by inserting Lois' distracting internal monologue. Meanwhile, Gene Hackman's stylish and charismatic Lex Luthor was a Super Villain on par with some of the best of the James Bond films (the obvious influence for him), and also an excellent thematic foil for Superman in many ways. It also still held up amazingly well as an actual movie, largely due to Richard Donner's conscious effort to make a superhero film that respected the source material rather than indulging in camp, while drawing on the tropes of Hollywood movies rather than those of comic books or trying to make the film "realistic". That said, the ending where Superman went back in time to save Lois kind of undid the consequences of what had happened and raised a whole bunch of questions, even if it was a great scene on its own both visually and thematically. Beyond that and other minor faults, however, it was close to the best possible version of the movie that its makers set out to make, and a classic superhero film on its own merits that helped kick down the door for the explosion of geek culture in the mainstream. He also gave his thoughts on three of the films that were conceived as direct sequels to this one:
    • Superman II: Both the theatrical cut and the 2006 DVD Re-Cut are good, but not great.
    • Superman III: Called it the most accurate adaptation of the majority of Superman comics: "a big, weird, gangly comedy with vaguely defined stakes that doesn't really make any goddamned sense, but is kind of charming anyway because it's just an excuse to take a crazy yet awesome scenario and just run with it." He thought the junkyard fight between Superman's Literal Split Personality (Evil!Superman versus Good!Clark Kent) was worth it, but admitted that the movie overall was not good.
    • Superman Returns: It tries too hard to live up to the 1978 film, and it's definitely not great, but Bob thought it was underappreciated.
  • Superman (planned reboot): invoked Discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Man of Today". He believes that the Superman film franchise may well be cursed at this point given how, since the ill-fated J. J. Abrams pitch in the 2000s, everybody involved in it has consistently managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, to the point of being regularly outshined by the Arrowverse despite its network TV budget. He believes that the problem is that the people in charge keep trying to overthink Superman, especially the fact that he represents a set of old-fashioned, early-mid-20th century American values that even the 1978 film lampshaded, arguing that the success of the Captain America films, which played a very similar archetype completely straight, demonstrated that deconstruction wasn't necessary to make Superman relevant in the 21st century.
  • Super Mario Bros. (rough cut of the reboot): A great way for Nintendo to kick off its new film studio project, with a hip, gritty sense of realism to its story, as well as some surprisingly inspired casting. Only none of it was real. The entire review was an April Fools' Day joke parodying just about every trend in contemporary (late '00s/early '10s) Hollywood moviemaking, such as overuse of green-screen and computer animation, exorbitant budgets and ticket prices, 3-D post-conversion, Stunt Casting, the focus on sequels and franchises, and the attempt to shoehorn properties into the Darker and Edgier template popularized by The Dark Knight.
    • Super Mario Bros. (upcoming film): He has released a blog article and an In Bob We Trust episode detailing how he would go about making it. For starters, he'd do it as a Live-Action Adaptation, despite both the legacy of the 1993 film and the fact that everybody involved with the new movie seems to be leaning towards making it animated, as outside of a handful of studios, he feels that modern Hollywood animated films are in something of a creative rut and that an animated Mario film would wind up trying to copy the success of films like Despicable Me and Ice Age in the worst way. (He would revisit this subject when it was announced that Illumination Entertainment had ultimately gotten the rights to make the film, saying that their involvement did not give him hope for a great movie.) As for the plot, he describes it as "The Lord of the Rings meets 21 Jump Street". His pitch largely keeps the "classic" backstory of Mario and Luigi being two plumbers from Brooklyn, as not only does it provide plenty of room for characterization while solving a lot of the Fridge Logic that would otherwise be inherent in the setting, he loves the idea of a fantasy parody in which two average, blue-collar Joes are sucked into an epic fantasy world; he specifically name-drops The Wizard of Oz and the Road to ... films as a great way to handle this sort of story. Princess Peach is still the Damsel in Distress (at least for the first film), as the Save the Princess plot is an iconic part of the series, but she'd have more layers beyond that, getting plenty of quieter dramatic moments with Bowser to develop both characters as she tries to escape.
  • Super Troopers: Liked it, though he finds it to be one of those stoner comedies that gets way too hyped up by its fanbase. Its genius lay in its hook, a comedy about a bunch of slacker highway patrolmen on a rural stretch of Vermont road where nothing happens, which allowed the Broken Lizard crew to make, basically, a feature-length Sketch Comedy about them being assholes to each other and the people they pull over without much need for a real plot. He thinks that a lot of its Sleeper Hit popularity, beyond just its endorsements from prominent early '00s film geek websites, came down to nostalgia among college-aged kids around that time for the raunchy comedies of The '80s. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its sequel...
    • Super Troopers 2: Found it to be a "twenty-year high school reunion" for Broken Lizard that didn't really work, largely because it abandoned the Excuse Plot of the first movie in favor of focusing way too much on its story while recycling its best jokes from the original. It's still a funny movie with a number of good moments, but it never really comes together, with Bob describing the feeling of watching it as like meeting an old friend again only to find out that he hasn't moved on with his life (knowing that, in real life, the Broken Lizard guys had grown as comedians and made better movies since 2001 only made it more puzzling). He gave it two stars and called it an "inoffensive nothing of a movie" while wishing he'd liked it more.
  • Surrogates: "Pretty damn good." A bit more than So Okay, It's Average. Sets out some reasonably ambitious goals and hits them; Bruce Willis carries the emotional core of the movie; an interesting exploration of its premise … and there's not much more to say. "Pretty damn good." He ended the review by mentioning Ginger Snaps and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (he liked both of them).
  • Suspiria (1977): Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its 2018 remake, calling it an exemplar of Italian horror in the '70s and '80s and how it fused high art with low art. He's always been a big fan of it, calling it a "trip" and admiring how its style, vivid violence, and metaphorical themes made up for its Excuse Plot.
    • Suspiria (2018): Whoever decided to remake Suspiria picked a good time to do so given the proliferation of arthouse horror films in the late '10s, and this one very much felt like its contemporaries, taking the absurdity of Dario Argento's original film and playing it completely straight as a serious, artistic take on the same story that leaned heavily on the historical and political context of its '70s West Berlin setting. For most of its runtime, it felt fairly portentous, almost like a parody of "post-horror" films, until a spectacular ending made it all pay off in a big way. It was an extremely well-made film, too, with Tilda Swinton in her dual roles and Dakota Johnson (hereby forgiven by Bob for the Fifty Shades films) being the standouts. It was a very weird and confusing movie, one where he couldn't really tell if it was schlock or True Art and which of those things it was pretending to be, but it was a hell of a movie that he gave three stars.


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