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Recap / Bob Chipman Film Reviews T To U

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  • Taken: "Ridiculous, but fun, I'll admit." Felt it to be shameless pandering and Wish-Fulfillment for conservative middle-aged dads, calling it "not just Father Knows Best, but Father Knows Everything." However, it was still a very well-made action flick that still holds up years later, most notably for how it didn't try to sugar-coat what Liam Neeson's character did to save his daughter, avoiding the hero worship and Black-and-White Morality that so frequently comes with such films. He also said that there are likely to be a lot more badass action movies coming out not just because of this film's success, but because the lucrative Baby Boomers are growing older. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his reviews of its two sequels …
    • Taken 2: "A great premise, but not even [Neeson] can save this one." It began with a great setup — Neeson's character's actions and behavior in the first film coming back to haunt him — but then fell apart by breaking Bob's Willing Suspension of Disbelief while losing the moral ambiguity that made the first film work so well. The action scenes weren't nearly as effective, and the "evil foreigner" implications, which came off as ironic in the first film (partly because it was made by French filmmakers), were cranked up to eleven and felt downright xenophobic here. Bottom line: you're better off rewatching the original. He opened the review with an imitation of Neeson's famous "I will kill you" speech from the first film, blasting this one.
    • Taken 3: A film so boring that he actually opened with a disclaimer stating that he may have outright fallen asleep partway through it, and that for all he knew (though he doubts it), the movie might have improved greatly in its second half. It might as well have had no connection at all to the first two movies, with a plot that's more a ripoff of The Fugitive than anything, and all returning cast members except Neeson looking like they were just too polite to say no to it. The paucity of outrage over Lenore getting killed off in the opening shows just how little anyone cares about the series by this point. He gave it one star, saying that the studio had the right idea consigning it to a January release.
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (the remake): Bob didn't enjoy it as much as many others did. Denzel Washington is great as usual, but John Travolta is gratingly hammy as the villain, and the action scenes, while quite nifty, sometimes feel shoehorned into the narrative. 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.
  • Tammy: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2014 he named it one of his twenty least favorite movies of the year. It's a waste of Melissa McCarthy's talent that feels like she made it just to tell her critics "I'll show them what 'she just makes gross fall-down movies' looks like!", and Bob hopes that she gets back to better movies very soon.
  • Tammy and the T-Rex: Devoted an episode of his 2020 Schlocktober special to the film. It was the brainchild of a Hollywood exotic animal trainer (and occasional director) and the owner of an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex theme park prop, and the result was about what one might expect for a movie made by people who came up with an idea for a Jurassic Park knockoff first and hashed out the plot later. He also noted how it was originally made as an R-rated Horror Comedy with some pretty elaborate and gory kills, only for it to be edited down into a family-friendly comedy that nobody really liked, not least of all the cast (Denise Richards still treats it as an invoked Old Shame), and how the original cut never saw the light of day until 2019. While the movie still wasn't necessarily good in its unedited form, it was certainly So Bad, It's Good, with the Team Rocket-esque villains in particular being a highlight.
  • Tank Girl: Felt that it didn't get the appreciation it deserved when it first came out, and likes how it's become a Cult Classic since. It's one of those movies that, between its Desert Punk aesthetic and its '90s Riot Grrrl attitude, needs to be seen to be believed. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "Don't Watch Dis-Topia, Watch Dat-Topia", a discussion of five dystopian films he felt were better than The Giver (which he reviewed that week).
  • Tár: invoked Called it the kind of film that David Mamet might have made in The '90s if "he'd been more of a snarky, aggrieved lesbian rather than just a whiny b***h." It was a satire of #MeToo-era sex scandals that imagined a woman in the role of the sex pest, and while it was formulaic and its politics were Reddit-grade shallow, it still worked. Cate Blanchett knocked it out of the park as the main character, such that Bob expected her to be up for a lot of awards that year, and it hit all the beats expected of this sort of "talented asshole gets brought down by their own hubris" movie, such that he gave it a 7 out of 10 and called it one of those Oscar Bait movies that "you were supposed to have seen" that was nonetheless still worth seeing.
  • Team America: World Police: Mentioned in the Big Picture episode "Monster's Movie". He regards its parodies of celebrity activism as shallow and rather dated, though its hammy portrayal of Kim Jong-il wasn't far off from what the man was like in Real Life.
  • Ted: The plot follows the Judd Apatow-style "bromance" formula almost to the point of self-parody, and your enjoyment of the film will depend on your tolerance for Seth MacFarlane's blue-collar, pop-culture-obsessed Yankee humor, but Bob found it hilarious, calling it the best mainstream comedy of the year and one of his top ten movies of 2012. Ted is a great character, the house party scene will likely go down as one of the great comedy moments, and it's nice to see a "girlfriend" character in a male-oriented buddy film who's an actual character rather than a plot device.

    The real genius of the film, though, is in how it takes the "slacker best friend" of many modern buddy comedies who is holding the protagonist back and turns him into a literal representation of immaturity — in this case, a walking, talking teddy bear who the main character has owned since childhood. The fact that this film, an R-rated comedy built around an original idea, was one of the big hits of that summer comes to Bob as a positive sign. And as a Massachusetts native, seeing the dinosaur statue at the mini-golf course in Saugus, MA in a movie "almost made [him] weep." A while after his review, he discussed it further in his Intermission editorial “The Tao of Ted.”
    • Ted 2: Found it to fall into the same trap that many comedy sequels fall into, putting too much focus on plot and the mechanics of how the titular Ted is supposed to 'work' while ignoring what made the first film such a success. It's funnier than MacFarlane's last live-action effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West, but it sports many of the same flaws, most notably an over-reliance on 'set-piece' gags that fall flat more often than not. The loss of Mila Kunis' character from the first film is also a big hole in the central cast, with her presence sorely missed, while the film's attempts both to have An Aesop and send up that style of 'message movie' descend into a Clueless Aesop.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Discussed how he might run the franchise in a "How to Fix" episode of In Bob We Trust. He sees it as one of the few films where going the Modular Franchise route might actually work, given the vast wealth of characters available; a Casey Jones movie could easily be a Lighter and Softer family-friendly version of Wolverine or Deadpool, a "Splinter vs. Shredder" movie would be good for a prequel, and even Shredder could support a film of his own.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the original live-action trilogy): The first film was very good, with Bob calling it the best version of the franchise in any form. It's a fun, family-friendly riff on 1980s vigilante films that combines the gritty urban feel and stories of the comics with the fun characters of the cartoon, avoids going too far in either direction like those versions did, and comes out all the better for it with a very unique aesthetic. While it's far from perfect (the low budget is very noticeable, and the subplot with the troubled kid didn't really work), the quality of the action, comedy, and writing elevates it into a very memorable kids' movie. The second film was decent too, but the third "MUST NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN." Didn't review them, but he discussed them in the Big Picture episodes "Shell Shock" and "Turtle Power," the latter the week after reviewing...
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) (the live-action reboot): Before he reviewed it, he devoted considerable time to discussing it, starting with two consecutive Big Picture episodes, "Mutants and Masses" and "Shell Shock". He thought it likely to suck by virtue of its production company Platinum Dunes' track record, though he thought that the backlash over the initial rumor about the turtles being aliens was overblown, noting that the animated series that most of Generation X remembers was itself very different from the dark, gritty, satirical comics that it was based on — but then again, to many fans, the cartoon was the defining version of the franchise, so they do have a right to demand it stay faithful.

      Later, after the project fell apart initially and after Bob had read the leaked script, he came back to it in the Intermission editorial "That (Also) Almost Happened" to state his thoughts on it. In short, he was happy to see that it fell into Development Hell (even if only temporarily), finding to to have failed as both a Ninja Turtles movie and as a Summer Blockbuster. After it was put back into production with a new script, he criticized the new version (in the Big Picture episode "Destined for Disappointment, Part 1") for what he felt to be attempts to copy The Amazing Spider-Man, particularly the story elements from that film that he disliked. He used this as a jumping-off point to discuss what he felt to be an overuse of 'destiny' themes in superhero movies.

      When it finally came time to review it, he greatly disliked it despite all efforts to find something redeeming about it, calling it the worst film he'd seen all year and the worst Ninja Turtles adaptation he'd ever seen. The plot was a mess of clichés, outrageous backstories, and all the elements that sank the Amazing Spider-Man films for him, frequently contradicting itself and feeling as though it was written by one hand that didn't know what the other was doing. Furthermore, the film's world felt cheap and lazy, the acting was terrible across the board (with Megan Fox being a particularly bad offender, grossly unsuited to carrying a big summer blockbuster), and the action and special effects aren't up to par with modern blockbuster films. Finally, the Turtles' Flanderized ‘dudebro’ personalities (particularly Michelangelo's horniness) are not only annoying, but when combined with the fact that they tower over Megan Fox's April, they make every scene where the Turtles and April share the screen feel incredibly uncomfortable. It's an awful film whatever your feelings regarding Ninja Turtles; Bob closed the review by saying that kids deserve better films than this and excoriating everybody who directed, wrote, or produced it. At the end of 2014, he named it one of his ten least favorite movies of the year.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: While it's better than its predecessor, that's damning it with faint praise, as "it's still pretty fucking bad." The plot and writing are nonsensical and treated as an afterthought, the subplot about the Turtles possibly being able to become human is stolen from the worst of the X-Men films, the action scenes are mediocre at best, the visual aesthetic (especially the Turtles' hulking appearance) is far too dark for a film whose plot and characters seem designed for a family audience, and Megan Fox is still not a good actor, though he gives her credit for at least trying a little harder than in the 2014 movie. He reiterates that kids deserve better films, arguing that the logic of using "it's just for kids" as an excuse to slack off is "how you end up with tainted baby food."
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies: invoked Found it to be "an almost perfect version of exactly what it wants to be", which is a kids' version of Deadpool that served as a gag-a-minute parody of the superhero genre in the vein of MAD magazine. The humor was neither all that original nor all that sophisticated, but the target audience was young enough that they were probably hearing these jokes for the first time, and it told them well enough that he found it to be quite hilarious. He gave it three-and-a-half stars and said that it was as good as The LEGO Batman Movie, saying that, had he been a kid watching this, he probably would've laughed for days afterwards. He also noted the enormous Periphery Hatedom that Teen Titans Go! had among now-adult fans of the original Teen Titans (2003) cartoon (to the point where a good chunk of the show's humor came to revolve around a meta parody of that fact), finding it quite ironic given his memory of how polarizing the original show was in its time for its animesque aesthetic rather than trying to translate the look of the comics directly to the screen. In that respect, he found it heartwarming to see children's media like this explicitly deconstructing and taking the piss out of itself, hoping that it might spare another generation from growing up into the sort of grumpy manchildren who treat children's cartoons as Serious Business.
  • Teen Wolf: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of Truth or Dare, which featured one of the stars of the TV adaptation, Tyler Posey. While wondering if any of that film's actors were recognizable, as he was pushing forty and was out of the loop on teen culture, he was surprised to learn that this film was remade for television, before telling viewers that it was a terrible movie and proof that his generation tends to overestimate the quality of '80s films.
  • Tenet: At the start of 2020, he declined to put it on his list of his most anticipated films of the year. He thinks that Christopher Nolan is a good director, but thinks that some of his fans go overboard in praising him, and sees him instead as a more highbrow version of Michael Bay. He later discussed it in the Big Picture episodes "Open Season" and "I'm Not Dying for Christopher Nolan", specifically the decision to release it theatrically during the summer of 2020 rather than push it back or send it Direct to Video due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Regarding the rumors that Nolan personally pushed to keep the film's theatrical release date out of his belief in ensuring that his film would be seen as it was meant to (i.e. on a massive IMAX screen) and "protecting" the traditional moviegoing experience from being dethroned by streaming, he initially believed them to be exaggerated, as while it would have been on brand for the self-conscious film geek Nolan, it was more likely that the rumors were made up by either a Warner Bros. executive trying to get the film released directly to streaming or a rival studio that wanted to knock Warner Bros. down a peg. He also stated that, whether it was Nolan or the studio pushing to release the film theatrically during the pandemic, it was a fundamentally misguided decision that would cost people their lives, and they should have been more worried about stopping the spread of COVID-19. He himself decided that he would not be seeing the film in theaters, half because he himself was partly immuno-compromised and half out of moral obligation, though he understood why others might wish for the theatrical experience. As for Nolan, once it became clear that he was indeed the one who pushed to open the film in theaters, he was sharply critical, calling him an egomaniac and his decision obscene.

    He finally reviewed it in 2021 after it hit home video, and said that he was glad that he waited, finding the film to be overly long, drab, and shallow despite its ambition. For better and for worse, it was the most stereotypically "Nolan-esque" film that Nolan had made, as though it had originally been written as a parody of his films only for him to actually direct it with a straight face (and even then, some of the finer details felt like him winking to the audience). Its unique Time Travel conceit was hard to make sense of, but it supplied some very cool action scenes that served as the film's best moments. Unfortunately, it failed where Nolan's Inception and Memento succeeded by failing to crafting an interesting story or characters around that conceit, which instead came off feeling like a gimmick. Also, while John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki all did great work in the cast, Kenneth Branagh made for a forgettable villain who felt like little more than a collection of "evil Russkie" cliches. He gave it a 4 out of 10 and called it an "empty style exercise" that clearly had a lot of effort and resources put into it, but where that work didn't really pay off.
  • Terminator: With the franchise now stuck in a ditch, Bob thinks it's time to reboot the whole thing, and that the series' use of Time Travel and alternate universes offers an easy way for them to do this. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode “The Boot, Part One.” A few years later, he revisited it in the In Bob We Trust episode “How to Fix the Terminator Franchise,” wherein he advocated another kind of reboot for the series: make another film that was a logical continuation of Terminator 2 and ignores the last three movies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. He lays out a plot for such a film: in a 20 Minutes into the Future techno-utopia built on the pioneering research of Miles Dyson's daughter Blythe, a Jaded Washout Jerk Jock travels back in time to kill her due to his skill-set being made obsolete by technology. In the present day, Blythe must program one of her experimental robots to serve as her bodyguard, which winds up serving as a proto-Terminator. To him, this is a Terminator movie with all the right pieces, and neatly inverts the franchise’s preexisting “technology will kill us all” premise to boot.
    • The Terminator: Called it a "scrappy, nasty, hardcore eighties bone-cruncher" of a film, and his favorite movie in the Terminator series, as well as the only one that was genuinely great. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of Terminator Genisys, along with its sequel …
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: He loved this film as a kid, and while he thinks the action, the special effects, and Linda Hamilton's performance as Sarah Connor still hold up very well, he also found it to have a number of problems that kept it from being a classic in his mind. Most notably, he found Edward Furlong annoying as hell as the adolescent John Connor, with his interactions with the Terminator ruining that character's mystique. Overall, he thinks that it's a solid blockbuster, but one that doesn't hold a candle to the original film, and that the franchise's attempts to recapture this film's glory (or rather, the nostalgic memories people have of this film) rather than the original ever since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has sent it spiraling downhill into irrelevance. That said, he still feels it followed on logically from the first film, being an Actionized Sequel that was structured similarly to its predecessor but turned everything up a few notches, and he especially applauds it for providing what could have easily been a definitive, clear-cut ending to the series.
    • Terminator Salvation: For some reason, his review of it fell off The Escapist’s website, so a lot of people (including on this site) think he didn't actually review it at all. He started the review by discussing the "Hail Mary" attempt the filmmakers took by casting Christian Bale (who he described as "a full-fledged geek god" in the aftermath of his first two Batman movies) as John Connor, and is surprised to admit that the plan works. "Kinda. Sorta. Almost." He described the movie as "painfully average" and criticised the amount of stuff it cribbed from other sources and the awful script, but praised Sam Worthington's turn as Marcus and Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, as well as describing the visuals as being "fantastic" and the action as "genuinely well-executed". His final verdict was that, despite myriad flaws, it was not bad and worth checking out.

      Later, in the Intermission editorial “That Almost Happened,” he discussed the original ending that was planned for the film, how it would have radically altered the foundation of the series, and how it was changed (to the film's detriment, in Bob's opinion) after it was leaked and caused a fan outcry. He's much harsher to the film whenever he refers to it later than his original review implied, describing the climactic scene where a 1984-perfect version of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a brand new Terminator shows up as the only good thing about it.
    • Terminator Genisys: Before it came out, he discussed his thoughts on the trailer in the special Escape to the Movies episode “Trailer Park.” He doesn't much like Jai Courtney, finding him to be yet another bland, forgettable Action Hero wannabe, but the twists the film seemed to be serving up briefly had him excited. When it did come out, however, his review was scathing, calling it "not so much a bad movie as it is barely a movie at all" and the culmination of all the misplaced nostalgia the series and its fans have for Terminator 2. He disparages it as “Terminator Fansirvys” for all its attempts to reboot the series with only the stuff that fans liked, the result being a convoluted mess that he compares to a comic-book Crisis Crossover; he had to put multiple "Not Making This Up" Disclaimers on his spoiler-filled plot recap. Furthermore, Jai Courtney's wooden performance confirmed Bob's skepticism of him, the rest of the characters were empty, the film's Take That! at Apple and Steve Jobs has been done to death by this point, and the tepid attempts at feminist commentary with Sarah Connor's character fell flat (and were done much better by Mad Max: Fury Road). He opened the review telling Hollywood to stop making Terminator movies, and he closed it by telling Terminator fans to stop seeing them and supporting Hollywood's continued abuse of their beloved franchise.
    • Terminator: Dark Fate: invoked It was the best film in the series since the second, even if Bob admits that that's an awfully low bar to clear. It was weighed down by the fanservice shout outs to its predecessors, which might've had more impact if this really had been the first new Terminator film since 1991 instead of the latest partial Continuity Reboot of a franchise that never went anywhere, but everything else made for a solid action blockbuster. He found himself wishing it had taken more risks and that its internal logic was more sound, especially given that it seemed to back away from a lot of the problems with the Timey-Wimey Ball that plagued previous sequels, but it was still a standout action movie, with the Mexico/South Texas setting making for a great contrast with the second film's Los Angeles, director Tim Miller did great work fusing the first two films' old-school "big guns" action style with modern CGI spectacle, and Linda Hamilton and Mackenzie Davis were standouts as action heroines while Gabriel Luna made a great villain. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and said that, while he wished it was better than just "pretty good", he admired how it shook up the series' status quo.
  • That Awkward Moment: The trailer alone made him cringe, as did the fact that the film's title was based on a Twitter meme (which made him feel old), and he reviewed it only because nothing else came out that weekend. There's only one funny joke in the whole movie, which is otherwise another stupid and contrived "bro-mantic comedy" that thinks it's far more original and insightful than it is.
  • That's My Boy: "It's a vile, puerile, lowbrow, totally disposable junk movie, but I can't deny that it works as one." If nothing else, the film's R rating was great for Adam Sandler's brand of humor, allowing him to take it to its darkest extremes. On the other hand, Bob's always felt that Sandler does better as a Straight Man than as ‘wacky’ characters, and he often comes off as grating. He doesn't recommend it, but you can do far worse. He discussed it in his Intermission editorial “What It Is.”
  • The Thing (1982): Finds it to be one of the best monster movies ever made. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his review of its remake/prequel …
    • The Thing (2011): On the other hand, he felt the remake to be boring and dull, with obvious CGI and bland characters and directing. He ended the review by telling people to watch the original instead. He first mentioned both films in his "The Look Ahead" special on Escape to the Movies.
  • The Thin Man: Devoted an episode of Good Enough Movies to the film. Bob felt that it worked as well as it did mostly by focusing on the two relentlessly likable leads, their lavish lifestyle of Conspicuous Consumption, the manner in which it's invoked implied that Nora is getting off on watching her husband Nick kick ass and take names, and the way they played off each other, with their Snark-to-Snark Combat coming from being happy with each other rather than bitter and argumentative being a refreshing take. Its tone also felt ahead of its time in many ways, especially compared to similar, more restrained films from the '50s and '60s. However, he was somewhat uncomfortable with its glorification of binge drinking and unrealistic, idealized vision of alcoholism — both of which he admitted were products of their time, with people rejecting the social science exposing the harsh realities of drink as nonsense designed to justify the US' unpopular, unsuccessful, and recently-repealed Prohibition laws, but were still tough pills to swallow, especially given his own history of dealing with alcoholics in his life. He would later recommend it and its sequels for a binge-watching session in the Big Picture episode "Binge-a-Thon 2020", a list of recommendations for what to watch while staying inside due to the coronavirus, praising at least the first three as funny comedies that shatter the stereotype of films from The Golden Age of Hollywood as stuffy and slow-paced.
  • This Is the End: Said it will likely end up on his "best of 2013" list at the end of the year. This should have been one of the worst, most self-indulgent vanity projects ever to come to theaters, but instead, it's both hilarious and brilliant, constantly taking its setup and cranking it up to the next logical conclusion every fifteen minutes. Whether it's from shock value, celebrity cameos, references to the stars' past films, or the interplay of the main characters, the gags come a mile a minute, and your gut will hurt from laughing even if only some of the jokes hit their mark. Reviewed it in the Intermission editorial "Apocalaughs."
  • This Means War (2012): "Not cute. Not funny. Not worth it." Yet another steaming turd trying to copy the success of Mr. & Mrs. Smith's action/rom-com hybrid, with a misogynistic premise, no chemistry between the leads, and protagonists that act like stalkers. Bob wishes that it hadn't been screened for critics just so he wouldn't have had to suffer through it. At the end of 2012, he listed it as one of his ten worst movies of the year.
  • Thor: Very positive review. He appreciates the subtler nods to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and notes that it's the most kid-friendly superhero movie since the first Spider-Man film. In the Big Picture episode "Ranking the Marvel Movies", he named it his fifth-favorite Marvel movie (out of nine at the time), finding it to be a "more confident and self-assured" film than its sequel …
    • Thor: The Dark World: In the Intermission editorials "Winter Is Coming" and his analysis of the film's trailer, he said he was worried by reports of a Troubled Production, but he was excited to return to the first film's world, as well as by the return of Loki. When it came time to review it, he said that, while it was a good film that was arguably better than the first (particularly in terms of visual design and ambition), it was the first MCU movie since The Incredible Hulk that disappointed him. He felt that Malekith didn't work as a villain and that good chunks of the film felt missing, particularly when it came to the slower, more nuanced scenes that built up the characters (such as with the thin Thor/Jane/Sif Love Triangle); he'd love to see a director's cut of the film. In the Big Picture episode "Ranking the Marvel Movies", he named it his third least-favorite Marvel movie, below the original, and a reevaluation in 2018 saw him rank it as his least favorite film in the entire franchise for how disposable it felt. That said, it's simply too much fun for him to be seriously upset with it, especially when Loki is involved, comparing it to the '80s Flash Gordon movie in the best way. Oh, and if you can help it, do not see it in 3-D, as the conversion looks utterly terrible.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: Before he reviewed it, he named it his eighth most anticipated film of 2017. He was intrigued mainly by director Taika Waititi and the promise of some major changes to the MCU status quo, and he's always liked the Thor films' offbeat take on the universe even if the films themselves generally aren't as important as the lore they provide to it. When it came time to review it, he said that it felt like a response to the main criticisms of its predecessor being too serious and boring, of Thor himself being the least interesting Avenger, and of the "apocalypse fatigue" that comes with constantly having to raise the stakes with each new sequel, the result being the best of the Thor movies and a return to form after the merely "pretty good" Spider-Man: Homecoming that earned three-and-a-half stars. It's an intensely entertaining film with an offbeat pacing that feels both fast-moving and easygoing, favoring Character Development over world-building while offering up action scenes that are packed with highlights over empty spectacle. The story manages to find stakes in Thor trying to figure out what the stakes actually are, Cate Blanchett was having the time of her life as a campy villainess lifted straight from a Black Metal album cover, and Mark Ruffalo and Tessa Thompson are both outstanding. At the end of 2017, he named it an honorable mention for his favorite films of the year.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder: invoked Enjoyed it, praising Christian Bale as the villain, Natalie Portman having a ton of fun in her return to the franchise, Russell Crowe's epic Large Ham performance as Zeus, Taika Waititi's manic energy behind the camera, and the way the film lulled him into a false sense of security with the first act's lighthearted tone before drastically upping the stakes (even if it initially made him wonder if the film was gonna be too frivolous for its own good). He admitted that the things he liked about it were probably gonna make it divisive among fans, but otherwise, he gave it an 8 out of 10 and called it a "hard rock movie that rocks hard."
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead: Gave it a 6 out of 10 and called it a "handsomely-produced future TNT weekend mainstay" that felt like the kinds of mid-budget action programmers that were common in the late '90s and early '00s before the modern mega-blockbuster era. Angelina Jolie did great in a Distaff Counterpart version of the kind of role that Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis once specialized in, demonstrating that she still had her action chops many years after Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and while its combination of a wildfire Disaster Movie and a chase thriller could get convoluted plot-wise, it was otherwise remarkably straightforward and lean when it came to delivering action thrills thanks to writer/director Taylor Sheridan having a strong handle on exactly this sort of material.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: It meant well and had a great cast (even if they were all very much playing to type), such that, in his 2018 Academy Awards preview, he pegged Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell as likely winners for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively (and turned out to be right about both). However, he also found it to be invokedoverrated Oscar Bait that tried to be nuanced, authentic, and righteously pissed but instead felt manipulative, dishonest, and insufferably twee, comparing it to an 'ironic' hipster cover of a '90s Gangsta Rap track that still thinks it's conveying the same power in its message. Not even the work of veteran Black Comedy writer Martin McDonagh could save it. He gave it two stars.
  • Thunder of Gigantic Serpent: Did an episode of 2021's Schlocktober special for The Big Picture about it. He discussed how its producer Godfrey Ho has been called Asia's Ed Wood for how his movies were invoked So Bad, It's Good camp classics that relied heavily on Stock Footage. This film was a bit outside Ho's normal wheelhouse, instead having been largely a reedited version of a Taiwanese film called King of Snakes, and it was filled with Hong Kong Dubbing and stilted dialogue that hammered home its kaiju movie Excuse Plot, reminded him of Ollie Williams from Family Guy, and served up a truly nihilistic Downer Ending. It was the definition of fun schlock, a film that wasn't trying to be weird yet became so anyway thanks to its mix of creativity and lack of filmmaking talent.
  • Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie: Bob's a huge fan of Tim & Eric, mainly due to the way that their parodying of corporatized middle America actually understands what it's like to grow up there (unlike Hollywood's frequent condescension), though he acknowledges that their humor is definitely an acquired taste.note  Regarding their first feature film, it's quite funny, particularly with the huge supporting cast, and is recommended for fans of both Tim and Eric and of surreal comedy in general, though it falls into much the same trap that many TV comics turned first-time filmmakers fall into — namely, switching from a 15-minute TV show to a 90-minute, R-rated feature film causes them to rely too much on Vulgar Humor and lose the rapid-fire comedy that made them famous.
  • Titane: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2021 he named it his sixth-favorite movie of the year, telling people to go in blind without looking up anything about what it's actually about. "Even if you think you know what's coming, I bet you don't."
  • Titanic (1997): invoked Devoted an episode of Really That Good to the film. He approached it as something of a Self-Imposed Challenge, as it was a film that he liked but wasn't one of his personal favorites. It's also a film that, despite its jaw-dropping success with both critics and moviegoers, has become a fiercely polarizing one in the years since, with a large contingent of critics viewing it as a crime against cinema even while others view it as one of the greatest romances of The '90s. As far as he's concerned, it should be obvious why this movie was so successful: it's just a well-made Epic Movie that's not particularly deep, but is straightforward, well-shot, well-directed, and yes, well-acted (Bob singles out Kate Winslet as giving the film's best performance). In particular, he praised the Framing Device of an elderly Rose telling the story of her experience with the RMS Titanic disaster to the modern oceanographers, which he felt justified the film's deliberately melodramatic flourishes and went very well with them. He feels that the film's Misaimed Marketing, combined with pop culture's dismissal of female-oriented entertainment as fluff, were major contributing factors to the Hype Backlash that it endured. The posters and trailers played up the Disaster Movie side of the story rather than the romance out of a desire to avoid the Chick Flick stigma, so quite a few moviegoers felt ripped off when they got a very different movie than the high-octane thrill ride that had been promised — and when that movie went on to become the biggest box-office hit of all time, furious critics began attacking not only the film itself, but also its fans, who were roundly dismissed (often in a highly gendered manner) as a horde of immature, Tiger Beat-reading teenage girls who wouldn't know quality if they saw it.

    Going beyond that, he also looked at how this film was one of the only works of mainstream popular culture at the time that was even discussing issues of class conflict, which, by the late '90s, had essentially vanished from mainstream debate and were only popping up in fringe, underground genres like Gangsta Rap. It may not have been a very deep exploration of such themes, but the fact that it was saying anything at all about them made it resonate with many people. As for real criticisms, he didn't appreciate the film's portrayal of First Officer William Murdoch as a killer rather than a hero, and he felt that it was underwritten and that many of the characters could have been less arch and more fleshed-out all without spoiling the focus on Rose, but beyond that, he felt that most of the complaints were more nitpicking than anything. It's odd to consider a film that won eleven Academy Awards to be underrated, but that's exactly what he feels about this. It set out to do one job, and a perfect storm of factors coming together ensured that it did it very well.
  • Tomb Raider (2018): It borrowed only the surface elements of the 2013 video game's "female John McClane" take on Lara Croft and none of the actual characterization or storyline, producing a film that looked like the game but felt more like an adaptation of its launch trailer than anything. Alicia Vikander is a good actor and her Lara looked the part, but she had no character to latch onto in what amounted to an empty origin story, such that Bob found Karen Gillan's Lara Croft parody from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle more compelling, and the plot was so generic and lifeless that it made him nostalgic for the similar, more bizarre version of that story found in The Amazing Spider-Man Series. The subplot featuring Daniel Wu and a host of other Chinese actors also felt shoehorned in, a blatantly pandering attempt to get the film into Chinese theaters. It also looks cheaper than its budget suggests, and in a weird American version of the Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting trope, everybody seems to know how to fight MMA/CQC-style even when their character background doesn't suggest that they're skilled fighters. He gave it one and a half stars and said that it felt more like a demo reel for Vikander as an Action Hero in a better film than anything, and that the older films with Angelina Jolie, for all their faults, at least had a personality and ambition that this lacked.
  • Tomorrowland: Before it came out, he discussed his thoughts on it in the blog article "Atlas, Hugged?" Going by the trailer and the Viral Marketing, he thought it was something of a reconstruction and literal Disneyfication of the basic premise of Atlas Shrugged (i.e. society's best and brightest withdrawing from a society they feel doesn't respect them), replacing its militantly capitalist ideology and arguably sociopathic morality with nostalgia for the Space Age and disappointment at the state of science in society today. He also briefly discussed how Ayn Rand's philosophy of independence tends to hold an innate appeal to creative types, even those who would disagree with the politics that espoused.

    When it came time to review it, he said that, despite the film being seemingly tailor-made to appeal to his mindset, preferences, and biases with its embrace of retro-futurism and defense of scientific progress, he still found it to be a patronizing, anvilicious mess that completely failed on a storytelling level. The narrative was dominated by the annoying "mystery box lore-building" that Bob loathes in the work of co-writer Damon Lindelof, focusing on the least interesting parts of the world it's created, and by the end the story degenerated into dumbing down most of its big ideas for the sake of a generic "stop the bad guy and his doomsday machine" plot that felt shoehorned in. The only worthwhile part of the film came at the end, when the characters literally turn to the audience and lay out the whole point of the movie in a "truncated TED talk" that conveys that point far better than the film's narrative does.
  • Top Gun: Didn't really like it, but he got why so many people did, saying that it was pretty much an Excuse Plot designed for the sole purpose of putting tons of fancy fighter jets up on the screen. The fact that director Tony Scott made it into a good movie was a testament to his skill. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Remembering Tony Scott - Part 1", a retrospective of the late Tony Scott's career.
    • Top Gun: Maverick: Before he reviewed it, he named it an honorable mention for his most anticipated films of 2020note  largely on the strength of nostalgia, even if he admitted that it was fairly hypocritical for him to do so for this and not Ghostbusters: Afterlife. When he reviewed it, he gave it a 7 out of 10 and called it "exactly the right remix of fresh and nostalgia", comparing it to The Force Awakens and Creed in that regard, especially for older men who likely saw the original with their dads when it first came out. (He jokingly called it "The Air Force Awakens", even while acknowledging that it was technically about Navy pilots.) The narrative was as thin and predictable as the first film's, but the rest of the movie hit all the right notes that a 40-year-old Bob would've wanted, such that it felt beside the point trying to justify his enjoyment any further.
  • Total Recall (the original): Either the last great action movie of The '80s or the first great one of The '90s, and a must-watch for any fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger or science fiction, though Bob does admit that his generation probably overstates how good it actually was. He regards it as a "bridge" of sorts between the machismo-heavy action flicks of The '80s and the sort of "big idea" sci-fi/action blockbusters that The Matrix popularized. Didn't review it, but he was compelled to discuss it in his review of its remake …
    • Total Recall (the remake): "A few good ideas, but not as good as the original." It's a boring movie whose action scenes, while very well-shot and slickly made, are uninvolving due to how thin the characters and story are. Its attempts to recapture the original's mind-bending, "is it real or just part of the simulation?" feeling likewise fall flat due to how dour and serious the entire affair is. In addition, while Kate Beckinsale is a standout as the Dark Action Girl villain, Colin Farrell can't really carry the film, making a much better character actor than a leading man.
  • Tower Heist: Bob found it to be utterly forgettable, lifeless and a symbol of all of the worst features of the studio system, with the only thing memorable about it being its role in the controversy that surrounded Universal's on-demand release plans. Making it worse was that there was a lot in it that he felt could have made for a great movie if it had a competent writer and director.
  • Toy Story:
    • Toy Story 3: Couldn't have been made at a better time (the kids who grew up with the first two movies are now high school- and college-age, much like Andy), and an emotional rollercoaster that's both hilarious and heartbreaking. Part of the strength of the whole series, in Bob's opinion, is that it has never shied away from themes of mortality and obsolescence the way that other kids' movies do, and now, it's hitting those themes head-on. At the very least, the discomfort caused by the 3-D glasses will make a handy excuse for why you're crying crocodile tears during the last fifteen minutes.
    • Toy Story 4: Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his twelve least anticipated films of 2019. He thinks that the first three Toy Story films make up a near-perfect trilogy in their own right, and that keeping the franchise going after the third film's definitive ending risked running into sequelitis, especially given how the story now seemed to revolve around the mechanisms of how the living toys actually work, which he thought sounded like a terrible idea. He breathed a sigh of relief when it came out, calling it "pretty darn good" and giving it an 8 out of 10, saying that, while it didn't live up to its predecessors, it didn't tarnish their legacy either. It avoided falling into the trap of overexplaining things that he had feared, instead remembering the series' metaphor for growing up, parenthood, the passage of time, and how people project their identities onto the things they own (in this case toys). He called it "a minor epilogue to a major work" that was more relaxed and low-key than the other films, one that wasn't without its flaws but was still worth his time.
  • The Toxic Avenger: More relevant now than ever, and just as enormously entertaining as it was back in 1984. He also found it funny how they made a Merchandise-Driven Saturday Morning Cartoon (Toxic Crusaders) out of a movie so violent that he couldn't even show that much of it for the episode. Didn't review it for Escape to the Movies, but he covered it in his "Schlocktober" special for The Big Picture, one day after Halloween.note 
  • Trainwreck: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2015 he named it an honorable mention for the best films of the year.
  • Transcendence: "…a movie that's trying really, really hard to be smart, but ultimately comes across more insulting instead." He described it as the worst kind of dumb movie, one that thinks it's making a profound statement about something (in this case, about artificial intelligence and transhumanism) but which proves itself to be grossly out of its depth on such topics. It feels more like a B-Movie than anything; Bob compares it to the '90s sci-fi thriller Virtuosity, whose makers at least realized that it was a dumb B-Movie. Worse than that, though, it has an anvilicious Science Is Bad message that he found genuinely offensive, and that's before he got into the Unfortunate Implications regarding its portrayal of women in science. Its stupidity extends to the rest of the plot, which is full of massive holes, wishy-washy character motivations, science so poorly researched it's laughable even if you're not a tech geek, and a second act in which virtually nothing happens. He was so annoyed by this film that he devoted his Intermission editorial that week to detailing “The 5 Dumbest Things in Transcendence,” and at the end of 2014 he named it one of his ten least favorite movies of the year.
  • Transformers: He was a fan of the original cartoon as a kid and stands by it, even devoting an episode of Really That Good to The Transformers: The Movie, though as an adult he's acknowledged how cheesy it is. Of the Live-Action Adaptation films made in the 21st century, however, he has been consistently condemnatory. They're films that always inexplicably do well at the box office even though he can never seem to find anybody who actually likes them, given that they always feel overly long, uninterested in the source material, way too interested in their own Ancient Astronauts mythology that feels like it's made up as they go along, and loaded with racial and sexual humor that wouldn't have flown even in 'simpler' times. In a "How to Fix" episode of In Bob We Trust, his best recommendation for how to get the franchise back on track was to go "back to basics" with designs and stories inspired by the original cartoon and comics, while using the robot forms sparingly so as to make them more awe-inspiring when they do show up. The old cartoon What on Earth! also give him a cheeky idea for why the Transformers might choose to disguise themselves as cars, while also commenting on American society's love affair with them (and in Megatron's case, guns as well).
    • The Transformers: The Movie: It's not a good movie by any objective measure. The pacing is all over the place, the story is convoluted and can only really be appreciated by Transformers fans, the animation whips between Visual Effects of Awesome and horribly Off-Model, the sense that half the voice cast was just there for Money, Dear Boy is palatable, Hot Rod sucks, and it wears its Merchandise-Driven nature on its sleeve, such that Bob skipped the traditional "On the Other Hand..." section of the episode because the film's flaws were so obvious and self-evident. However, it has held up as a Cult Classic for a generation of '80s kids in a way that none of its contemporaries ever did. He attributes part of its continuing legacy to the incredibly inventive visual design of the Transformers themselves. Every character was immediately recognizable, and the fact that they could transform allowed the film to tap into many genres for its action scenes, from car chases to gunfights to Good Old Fisticuffs to more esoteric sci-fi/fantasy action, while the fact that they were robots meant that the film could show more in the action while remaining family-friendly. It's also a very well-directed movie, filled with great shots and smart use of color that's only boosted by an excellent score, often feeling like an old-school '70s sci-fi epic in its design.

      Most importantly, however, he sees the film as a case of Hasbro's intent to sell toys going horribly right and producing something that rose above its origins. Unlike many other Merchandise-Driven '80s cartoons where both the toys and the story were created from whole cloth, Hasbro had to create a storyline out of a plotless line of Japanese transforming toys that they imported — in other words, a manner of storytelling reminiscent of how most kids actually play with their toys, leaving little surprise as to how it connected with kids. The film's Big Budget Beef-Up allowed the writers, still operating on that "kid logic" in their storytelling, the freedom to go wild with every Crazy Is Cool idea they might have had but didn't have the money to animate before, while wrapping it up in a war movie narrative that was both easy to grasp and offered up some very compelling big ideas. Moreover, the massacre of the original cast in the first act hit like a sack of bricks for many kids, many of whom, in the mid- to late 1980s, were growing up amidst widespread social change despite all the efforts of the Reagan administration and the media to hearken back to simpler times. The film's protagonists witnessed the destruction of their traditional support networks, and wound up emerging from it even stronger than before, a message that resonated with kids who were often going through similar circumstances even as they rejected the 'new' Autobots and Decepticons created to fill the newly-opened spots in the toy line. In short, despite its myriad flaws, it is a piece of commercial pop art that is far greater than the sum of its parts, having transcended its intent as a toy commercial to become a landmark.
    • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen: Bob loathed it more than mere words could describe, pouring searing venom onto Michael Bay, "the biggest hack since Hot Coffee." He was amazed that it spat on its name and still found new ways of being bad at every turn, without even the mitigating factor of being fun for a five-year-old. He doesn't buy into the idea that a film adaptation has to come from 'respectable' source material to be good, while a 'great' work from another medium can translate atrociously to film, citing the contrasting cases of The Godfather and The Bonfire of the Vanities as evidence. And while bad movies do happen, he thought the makers of this one didn't even try that hard.

      However, several years later he came back to his review (the first one he ever did for The Escapist) in the Big Picture episodes "Leave Michael Bay Alone" and "MovieBob Was Wrong". He stated that, while he still thought the film itself stank, he felt that this review was an Old Shame of his, saying that his personal insults towards Bay and Megan Fox went way over the line and that his analysis of the film was shallow and conflated his opinion with objective truth. He also said that, while Bay isn't a great filmmaker, many critics (himself included, admittedly) go too hard on him, noting that many acclaimed directors past and present are praised for doing many of the same things for which Bay is bashed and arguing that many of the problems with Bay's films can be found in nearly any Hollywood blockbuster.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: It's still bad, though filming in 3D toned down most of Bay's worst tendencies as a director, leading to more coherent action scenes and a (slightly) better movie than the last one.
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction: Devoted an Intermission editorial to examining the trailer. To his surprise, it actually looked decent, or at least better than the previous films. The direction seemed visually coherent, strengthening his theory that shooting in 3D has forced Bay to rely less on his Signature Style of hyper-kinetic, hard-to-follow action, while replacing Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg as the leading man earned the film instant de facto brownie points. When it came time to review it, he felt it to be the best film in the series (acknowledging that he was pretty much damning it with faint praise, though) and about as good as the animated film. It still has a senseless plot and wafer-thin human characters, and its attempts at themes and messages are horribly jumbled, but Bay's direction of action scenes has markedly improved since past films, and overall, despite its mind-boggling stupidity, it was very fun to watch.
    • Transformers: The Last Knight: Before it came out, Bob named it #3 on his list of ten 2017 films that he most expected to suck. He had long since stopped expecting these films to be good (even if the fourth film, while still bad, was an improvement), and the only reason he was interested at all was to see how they incorporated Arthurian Legend into a story about giant fighting robots from outer space. When it came time to review it, he admitted that he had trouble coming up with new ways to criticize it given that every complaint he could have thrown at this film had already been said multiple times about the last four movies, beyond mixing up the order of the Cluster F-Bombs.note  All he could do was put together a list of twenty ridiculous things that actually happen in the film, one of which he made up just to see if anybody could tell the difference. He did, however, admittedly praise the film for actually following a three-act narrative story structure and for managing to pull off an epic reveal in the finale, such that he gave it two stars and said that, while watching it still felt like work, it didn't feel like punishment like the prior films did.
    • Bumblebee: Before he reviewed it, he named it an honorable mention for his most anticipated films of 2018. "Yes, really." Despite the franchise's track record, he liked the cast, the involvement of Travis Knight making his live-action directorial debut, the nods to the classic cartoon (particularly Bumblebee using his classic Volkswagen Beetle form), and the fact that it seemed that Bay was finally leaving the franchise. As such, he was cautiously optimistic. In his review, he called it not only the best film in the series, but also just about the best live-action movie that anybody could have hoped to make out of the Transformers franchise. It completely abandoned the aesthetic of Bay's movies in favor of an '80s throwback style that felt like "Transformers invoked meets Stranger Things" with its constant homages to the Generation 1 line, while also fully rebooting the mythos for good measure, both of which Bob applauded given his opinions on Bay's films. What really made it work, however, was that it was a good movie even when taken entirely separate from its nostalgic fanservice and one of the most pleasant surprises of 2018. Its plot may have drawn on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and The Iron Giant in equal measure, but they did it well by keeping the focus squarely on the central story of a girl and her robot while delivering some of the best action scenes in the franchise and great performances all around even from underwritten side characters. He gave it an 8 out of 10 and said that, while longtime Transformers fans were likely to overrate it, he certainly wasn't complaining.
  • Tread: It was a True Crime documentary about a 2004 incident that he compared to "the Coen Brothers version of First Blood", in which an angry, self-righteous loner named Marvin Heemeyer went on a rampage through the town of Granby, Colorado in a heavily modified and armored bulldozer destroying the homes and businesses of everyone who pissed him off, and later became a Folk Hero to similarly antisocial individuals. The film did a great job of popping the myth of Heemeyer as an average Joe who was pushed into misanthropy by an unfair system before going out in a blaze of glory, letting his own recorded rants and interviews from before his rampage reveal him as an Entitled Bastard who imagined a nonexistent conspiracy against him by Granby's entire business community and local government, and withdrew from society to build his infamous "killdozer". Director Paul Solet put his background in horror movies to good use, using dramatizations to put viewers into Heemeyer's head as he imagines himself as an Anti-Hero taking down a corrupt system, only to hit them with Mood Whiplash by pulling back from his perspective around the halfway point and forcing them to realize just how far gone and possibly insane he really was, while also exploring how a culture that heavily valued rugged individualism allowed his psychological issues to fester without anybody stepping in to stop him. The third-act reenactment of Heemeyer's rampage was also a very tense and exciting sequence, playing out like a monster movie in how it showed how close he came to inadvertently killing a ton of people in a vehicular rampage that was ostensibly aimed at their property. He gave it an 8 out of 10 and called it "fascinating, entertaining, and very worthwhile".
  • The Tree of Life: "Pretentious? Possibly. Strange? Definitely. Compulsively watchable? Absolutely." Bob didn't review it, but at the end of 2011 he named it his favorite film of the year, comparing it to 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of films that "you don't just watch, you experience." At the start of 2020, he named it one of the ten defining films of The New '10s for heralding the start of Terrence Malick's return to filmmaking, whereupon he had a strong influence on the aesthetic of much of the decade's commercial art.
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7: As far as Oscar Bait "great moments in boomer history" movies went, this one failed to live up to the greats in that subgenre like JFK and All the President's Men. All of writer/director Aaron Sorkin's fixations were on full display here, for better and for worse: lots of polemics about his '60s-liberal political stances, a "Rashomon"-Style structure that failed on account of both Sorkin's lack of nuance and the historical record being pretty clear about what happened, his Signature Style of snarky dialogue, lighthearted wit, and sentimentality that didn't really fit the story the film was telling (he would've gone with a Black Comedy focusing on the Chicago Seven's trollish pranks and Courtroom Antics), and all the big, dramatic speeches one could want. He did like the cast and the subplot about how the authorities tried to conflate the trial of Bobby Seale and the Black Panthers with that of the Chicago Seven, spotlighting how much more serious the stakes were for Black civil rights protesters than they were for the mostly White, middle-class student protesters in Chicago, which delivered one of the film's best moments. Unfortunately, this subplot was ultimately just a subplot, even though it felt as though Sorkin himself recognized that invoked this was where the real drama and social commentary lay, toning down his usual snark in these moments. It wasn't a bad movie, but he called it "overpoweringly average" and gave it a 4 out of 10, saying that one would have a better and more informative experience reading the Wikipedia page on the Chicago Seven while listening to a Classic Rock station and the score for The Patriot.
  • Triple Frontier: invoked A "sad dad" war/heist thriller so Rated M for Manly that "your media player might as well start emitting a vague scent of leather polish and rich mahogany", and if nothing else, its heart was in the right place with its story about the problems faced by older men and veterans in modern America. Overall, he called it "okay", comparing it to Three Kings as far as these sorts of military heist movies go, and one that fit well into director J. C. Chandor's oeuvre of films that, while not standouts, are still eminently watchable, praising its cast and pacing even if he felt that the story was predictable and didn't quite come together. He gave it a 6 out of 10 and said that "I didn't love it, but I respected it." He also opened the review with a tribute to the victims and survivors of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which happened the day he published his review.
  • The Troll Hunter: One of the best monster movies of the year, with great effects and a fun, satirical take on classic Norwegian mythology and the concept of the heroic monster hunter. Plus, it highlights one of the positive effects that CGI has had on modern filmmaking: it has broken Hollywood's monopoly on blockbusters by reducing the budget needed to make them, allowing indie and non-American filmmakers to make such films as well.
  • TRON: Its visuals were certainly breathtaking by 1982 standards, but it was unevenly paced and didn't really capitalize on its bigger ideas. Didn't review it, but he was compelled to mention it in his review of its sequel …
    • TRON: Legacy: Bob gives it a B-plus and calls it a fun nostalgia trip, saying it has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the original — it's got gorgeous visuals, Awesome Music courtesy of Daft Punk, stunning use of 3-D, and proof of God's existence in the form of Olivia Wilde, though it struggles when it's trying to balance the needs of being the start of a new franchise for Disney with those of being a standalone film. Still, if you loved the original, you'll love this one too.
  • True Grit: Discussed both the 1968 version starring John Wayne and the 2010 remake by The Coen Brothers while reviewing the latter. Bob considers the original to be good, but not a classic, most notable for being the film for which Wayne received his long-awaited, much-deserved Oscar. Regarding the remake, the entire cast (including Josh Brolin, who is officially forgiven for Jonah Hex) all turn in great performances … and there's not much more to say. Both versions are fairly straightforward Westerns with little contrivance, and both are good, so go see them. Also, as the episode was released on New Year's Eve 2010, Bob opened the review pretending to be drunk.
  • True Romance: One of Tony Scott's best films. He also noted that the film played out like a Wish-Fulfillment fantasy for writer Quentin Tarantino (his first screenplay to be adapted to film), given how it's about a comic-shop clerk who falls in love with a Hooker with a Heart of Gold and goes on the run from the mob. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in his Intermission editorial "Remembering Tony Scott - Part 1", a retrospective of the late Tony Scott's career.
  • Truth or Dare (2018): A "cheap, trite, forgettable teen horror movie" that snapped a good-running streak of movies that turned out to be better than expected.note  It can best be described as "a really overcomplicated and shitty version" of It Follows, bogged down by a terrible cast of characters and a dumb premise that the film never really elevates, instead drowning itself in convolution that never goes anywhere and giant heaps of Fridge Logic. He gave it one star and admitted that he had trouble just padding the review, as there was so little worth talking about in it.
  • Turkey Shoot: Didn't review it, but he discussed it in a Big Picture episode on invoked So Bad, It's Good action movies to watch during quarantine. It was a mashup of a whole bunch of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game and dystopian sci-fi movies set in the Australian Outback, and it was so much fun that he didn't really care all that much if it actually worked as a movie.
  • Turning Red: invoked It was running in a well-worn subgenre dating back to I Was a Teenage Werewolf of monster movies that used lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty (or in this case, made it outright text instead of subtext), but it was the first one he recalled since Ginger Snaps that was actually good, largely because of the unique perspective that it took on the subject matter (namely, playing it for "awkward adorability" instead of horror) that marked a nice change of pace for both Pixar and Western animation in general. He liked how it took the Parents as People route to great effect in not making the protagonist a rebellious Bratty Teenage Daughter, but a genuinely devoted and studious (if extremely girly) adolescent girl, while her strict, controlling mother had a point and her main flaw was that she wasn't honest with her daughter earlier. The humor and pacing were energetic, the story had a lot of heart and nuance, and it felt genuinely affectionate for its characters. He also noted its unironic nostalgia for the Y2K-era pop culture of the late '90s and early-mid '00s (boy bands, Total Request Live, YA Paranormal Romance novels, et cetera), an era of pop culture that much of the geek culture of the late '00s and '10s seemingly framed itself in opposition to, and suspected that this was the reason why the film encountered so much backlash from animation fans before its release. Overall, he gave it an 8 out of 10 and called it "just a terrific little movie."
  • Tusk: Found it an attempt at So Bad, It's Good comedy-horror that largely fell flat, mainly because it was a deliberate attempt to make such a movie rather than one that just emerged naturally from a filmmaker with more ambition (and craziness) than sense. As a result, it felt artificial and calculated, a symbol of what Bob feels to be Kevin Smith's continued decline as a filmmaker and his overreliance on callbacks to his older work. He didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Big Picture episode "#WalrusNo", using it as an opportunity to talk about So Bad, It's Good horror movies and why films that try to imitate that style usually miss the point, and at the end of 2014 he named it one of his twenty least favorite movies of the year.
  • Twilight: "Having to watch this movie is the most pain I've experienced at the hands of something beloved by preteen girls since I got kicked in the nuts by a pony." Bob was highly critical of both the movies and the books that they were based on, not only for their stilted writing and flat characters, but particularly for the message that he felt they sent to impressionable tween girls, which he felt was creating a generation of "Domestic Abuse victims waiting to happen." He views the series as, essentially, conservative Christian abstinence propaganda, and has said as much on multiple occasions.

    After Breaking Dawn — Part 2 came out, he discussed the series in the Big Picture episode "Next Light", talking about how it awakened Hollywood to the fact that the young female dollar can be just as lucrative as the young male dollar. He took a look at several young adult series that were being adapted to film in an attempt to cash in on Twilight's success. "Point is, we might be through with this crap, but this crap ain't through with us." Years later, in the Big Picture episodes "The Dork Knight Rises" and "Second Sun", he went back to the films in the context of, respectively, the casting of Robert Pattinson as Batman and the announcement that the Perspective Flip novel Midnight Sun (2020) would finally be published. He argued that, while both the films and the books were genuinely bad and problematic works of fiction for a laundry list of reasons, the venomous reaction they received from within geek culture — and from young male geeks in particular (something that he admitted to engaging in himself in his reviews, complete with clips) — was invoked grossly out of proportion to their faults, especially given how much of that hatred was directed not at the books and films themselves but at their fans, often in incredibly gendered and misogynistic ways that reflected an anxiety at the idea of a massively successful geek property that didn't treat young men as its primary audience. He compared Twilight fans to the Tethered from Us in that regard, the corner of nerd culture that their peers try to pretend doesn't exist and who they treat as the Madwoman in the Attic. He also noted the irony that Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who he and many others dismissed as talentless and wooden at the time, went on to become two of the most acclaimed actors of their generation.
    • New Moon: invoked Just as bad as the first, though he thought some of the plot points could make a good movie, even if they didn't.
    • Eclipse: "Two hours of Taylor Lautner standing around not getting the message, briefly interrupted by a sad excuse for a monster battle." He found the rehashing of New Moon's Love Triangle especially painful.
    • Breaking Dawn — Part 1: Painfully slow, overly tame, unintentionally hilarious, and carrying an anvilicious pro-life message that made Bob cringe. By this point, he seemed hopeful that the franchise would finally die already, given that Breaking Dawn was the Black Sheep of the book series, and that the generation of tween girls that turned the books and films into blockbusters was growing up and leaving high school.
    • Breaking Dawn — Part 2: "It took five movies, but they did it. They finally figured out how to make this crap work." By indulging in all the worst aspects of the books and turning them up to eleven, this film, the capoff to the Twilight saga, managed to be So Bad, It's Absolutely Hilarious and the most fun that Bob had at the movies all year. It fixed the book's anti-climatic ending by adding in one of the most awesome action scenes he'd witnessed all year, while still (for better or worse, and Bob was leaning towards the latter) staying faithful to the novel. It was a masterpiece of awful cinema that begged to be seen in theaters.
  • The films of Tyler Perry: While he's never done a proper review of any of his movies, Bob has stated on multiple occasions that he regards him as a hack, and a consequence of Hollywood's failure to pay attention to Black audiences. In the Game Overthinker episode "Mississippi Pwning 2", he outlined what he felt was the reason Perry was so successful — that Black moviegoers had been left so alienated by the crappy, low-budget action movies and crude comedies that Hollywood sent their way that, in desperation, they latched onto Perry in order to have a filmmaker, any filmmaker, to call their own. He uses Perry's success to make the case that the games industry shouldn't ignore Black gamers, lest it risk seeing the rise of its own version of Perry who gets away with making crappy games simply because he's the only developer catering to that audience.

    That said, he does find himself fascinated by Perry's films, given that any film that is written by, directed by, produced by, and stars the same person usually has a very distinct feel, even if it turns out to be crap. He finds the films to be quite misogynistic, and possessing a great deal of Mood Whiplash between Perry's comedic "Madea" character and the soap opera-esque melodrama that the films are loaded with, but Perry does have a very unique presence on screen, and for what it's worth, his fans love his work. Also, while he did name his 2018 film Acrimony a dishonorable mention for his least anticipated films of 2018, he did so with a caveat, arguing that a big part of the reason why he and many other White film critics were so turned off by his films initially was that they were so weird compared to the Hollywood mainstream, and that they had a tendency to Accentuate the Negative while ignoring the areas where he shows genuine talent and the reasons why his films have the audience that they do.

  • Unbreakable: Bob's favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie and the one he feels to be the most underrated, due largely to the fact that it was following The Sixth Sense. He particularly liked how Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson were Playing Against Type, and how it deconstructed and played with superhero tropes. Didn't review it, but he discussed it in the Intermission editorial "Nightfall", a retrospective of Shyamalan's career.
  • Uncharted (2022): invoked He never really liked the games the film was based on, describing series protagonist Nathan Drake as "Indiana Jones, but a douchebag who owns a thesaurus", so his expectations were low going in. The film was about as bland and cookie-cutter as he expected, with a plot that felt like a half-baked ripoff of countless other action/adventure treasure hunt films and Mark Wahlberg's Sully leaving him cold, even if it did admittedly have one cool standout action scene. Drake also came off as an Adaptational Wimp who was constantly bailed out by his older mentor Sully, a dynamic that felt heavily modeled on that of Peter Parker and Tony Stark in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which he felt to be an artifact of the film's long, drawn-out production having started when Tom Holland was still an untested young actor who the studio didn't realize was perfectly capable of carrying a film. He gave it a 5 out of 10 and called it the kind of So Okay, It's Average movie that he forgot about almost as soon as he watched it.
  • Uncut Gems: invoked A rare straight dramatic turn for Adam Sandler (whose comedies Bob has always found underrated, Pixels aside) that demonstrates his genuine talent, even if the words "Academy Award nominee Adam Sandler" still sound weird to him. He was genuinely surprised by the quality of the film and of Sandler's performance as a loathsome con artist and compulsive, self-destructive risk-taker, the kind of person that most people have probably encountered at some point in their lives and who it felt as though Sandler was basing on some real people he'd known. He gave it a 9 out of 10 and wondered how this film, starring Sandler, Idina Menzel, and a pro basketball player As Himself, wound up a better crime drama than The Irishman. At the end of 2019, he named it his seventh-favorite film of the year.
  • Under the Skin: Didn't review it, but at the end of 2014 he named it one of his top ten movies of the year. It has a great performance by Scarlett Johansson, and it's unlike anything else he'd seen this year, mixing thriller, sci-fi, horror, and improv tropes into an amazing blend.
  • Undercover Brother: Devoted an episode of Good Enough Movies to this film. Not only is it one of the first successful adaptations of a web show, it's also an Affectionate Parody and reconstruction of the blaxploitation genre that, in hindsight, marks a turning point in the genre's reevaluation in American pop culture. On its own, it is also a clever comedy that transcends being merely "the Black Austin Powers" via its Values Resonance and a sense of humor that is surprisingly edgy to this day. Unlike many movies and real-life figures, especially those from the Clinton and Bush years (when discussion of race relations was big on "can't we all just get along?"), it's refreshingly upfront about its Politically Incorrect Villains being motivated by simple racism. Both Eddie Griffin as The Hero and Chris Kattan as The Dragon give what are easily their respective career-best performances, to boot. Being an origin story for the titular Undercover Brother, it's a little too heavy on plot, said plot jumps from thread to thread a bit too much in act two, and Dave Chappelle's turn as the resident Conspiracy Theorist is kind of uncomfortable looking back on it in 2017, but those are outweighed by the film's good points.
  • Underwater: invoked "Oh! Hi there, basic filmmaking competency — how I’ve missed you!" For a January release that had been sitting on the shelf for over two years and which the studio clearly had no idea what to do with, this was a very welcome surprise, a lean, mean B-Movie that wasted no time getting straight to the point. It was admittedly derivative of films like Alien and Gravity, but it took its setup, already built for an intense monster movie, and made just that out of it, anchored by its claustrophobic setting, good-looking monsters and production design, tight pacing, and performances by Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel that managed to elevate the affair while still taking it seriously. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and called it a solid programmer, one that wasn't likely to become anyone's favorite movie but which still got the job done. He also opened the review with a Public Service Announcement telling people to stop making hackneyed jokes about the Twilight films whenever Stewart and Robert Pattinson come up in the discussion, noting that those films were a decade in the past and that the two of them, with their scads of Twilight money meaning that they could make all the weird indie films they wanted rather than just take Money, Dear Boy roles, have become two of the best actors of their generation. "Because I don't wanna be having this conversation again when that fucking Batman movie comes out."
  • Underworld: invoked He really liked the first three movies, and was disappointed that the fourth one was Not Screened for Critics (the reason why he didn't review it). Didn't review any of the films, but he mentioned them at the end of his Red Tails review.
  • Unicorn Store: invoked It wasn't much more than a gender-flipped version of 2000s indie dramedies like Garden State with a dash of Magic Realism thrown in, but that wasn't really a bad thing. It was honest about the failings of its womanchild protagonist without being mean-spirited, and Brie Larson did a great job of carrying the film as said heroine while making for a surprisingly well-assured directorial debut. He gave it a 7 out of 10 and said that, while it was slight and likely would've worked better as a short film, it was still worth a look.
  • Unsane: invoked It was Steven Soderbergh doing a Genre Throwback to lurid '70s B-Movie thrillers from the likes of Dario Argento and Brian De Palma, one that took a real-world problem with the health care system and crafted an intense little movie out of it. The central conceit, that Claire Foy's character is trapped in a sleazy for-profit psychiatric hospital that's making up excuses to keep her locked up as part of an insurance scam, not only made for some good, topical commentary, but also did a good job explaining away the Fridge Logic of why they act as unhelpful as possible regarding the stalker who's after her (because they're covering things up themselves). It also boasted got a great cast led by Foy's flawed hero and a gritty, twisted story and style that didn't feel like the sort of thing one would normally see in theaters, such that he gave it three stars and predicted it'd be one of those films that people would be surprised they hadn't heard of before a year after its release.
  • Unstoppable: It's hardly all that original or meaningful, and Chris Pine is pretty bland, but Tony Scott knows his action, and it has everything Bob loves about disaster movies.
  • Up: This lifted Bob's spirits after an abysmal summer run. The video is less a review than a treatise on the success of Pixar due to their choice of stories.
  • Upgrade: It's a brutal, intelligent, and well-made cyberpunk action thriller that felt like the sort of B-Movie he should've been renting from a video store back in the day rather than watching in theaters, with writer-director Leigh Whannell stretching its low budget to the breaking point and making a lot from very little. The beautifully-shot action scenes with their unique effects blew him away, giving him the same sort of feeling that he got the first time he saw The Matrix, and Whannell's background with the Saw movies meant that the gorn was well-placed and hit hard with that series' trademark gruesome-yet-ridiculous flair. The interplay between Logan Marshall-Green's protagonist and the AI chip in his head also worked surprisingly well given that, on set, most of their interaction must have consisted of Marshall-Green talking to himself, and while the plot is fairly heavy-handed in its themes and rather predictable once it becomes clear that there's something more going on, the journey to the conclusion is still a ton of fun. Overall, it earned three stars and a recommendation. He also joked in the intro that it looked like a better Venom movie than the actual Venom (2018).
  • Us: invoked Before he reviewed it, he named it one of his fifteen most anticipated films of 2019, largely on the strength of Jordan Peele's previous horror film Get Out. He opened the review by simply giving his final score of 9 out of 10 and telling everybody to see it before reading his review (preferably at least twice so that they could fully process it) so as to avoid potential spoilers. Peele turned out to be a much weirder filmmaker than Bob had predicted, with this film being almost a Spiritual Antithesis to Get Out in many ways and seemingly designed to confound anybody expecting something in the same vein; he himself wasn't sure he had the movie fully figured out even after seeing it again. What was clear was that, even if one isn't digging for subtext, this was still an outstanding horror film, with Peele's gorgeous direction making it feel grand in scope despite its low budget, his writing offering just enough clues to let the audience figure out what was happening but leaving enough ambiguity that they didn't know everything, and Lupita Nyong'o's Acting for Two performance as both the heroine and the lead villain (he compared it to her playing both Laurie Strode and Michael Myers) was the best female lead performance he'd ever seen in a horror film, one that would be nominated for an Oscar in a just world. The only thing he could fault it for was that, like many of the high-concept '70s horror films it felt like it was taking after, the sheer scale of the wide-view story stretched his Willing Suspension of Disbelief, hence why he appreciated that this was mostly kept in the background with the focus put squarely on the family at the film's center, whose story was handled to near-perfection.