Skip the Rock, Go Straight to Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham's debut is one of the funniest teen movies ever: Peter Travers
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2018 8:11 AM CDT
Updated Jul 13, 2018 9:12 AM CDT
Skip the Rock, Go Straight to Eighth Grade
This image released by A24 shows Elsie Fisher in a scene from "Eighth Grade."   (Linda Kallerus/A24 via AP)

Rawson Marshall Thurber's Skyscraper arrives at the box office this weekend with the most wham: It's "the biggest-budgeted 'not based on anything' release of the year," per Forbes, and stars heartthrob Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson as a former FBI operative turned security expert under siege. When it comes to reviews, however, two lesser-known flicks are blowing it out of the water. Here's what critics are saying about Skyscraper (51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), Eighth Grade (98%), and Sorry To Bother You (96%):


  • "This largely humorless yet occasionally thrilling action movie milks the screen charisma of [Johnson] … to gloss over its hilariously unconvincing story, in which nearly every twist and big reveal feels like an insult to the viewer's intelligence," writes Edmund Lee at the South China Morning Post, though he says "it's nice to see Hong Kong's scenery."
  • Colin Covert applauds Johnson's "innate charm and earnest gung-ho approach." As for the movie, "the one place it brims with assurance is in lifting plot points from earlier, better movies without fear of triggering intellectual property lawsuits," he writes at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Here and there I liked it. But I liked it more three decades earlier when it was called Die Hard."

Eighth Grade:

  • "First-time director Bo Burnham's tender take on teen angst, starring an incandescent Elsie Fisher, is a flat-out triumph—a film that is both indelibly of the moment and achingly timeless," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. He actually calls it "one of the funniest, saddest and most heartfelt teen movies ever," adding "no excuses will be accepted for you missing it."
Sorry To Bother You:
  • Set in "a surreal version of present-day, or near-future," Boots Riley's "phantasmagoria about racial identity and plain old human dignity" is "far from perfect." But it's "the most of-the-moment movie on the landscape right now" and "may end up being the most politically and culturally relevant movie of the year," writes Stephanie Zacharek at Time. Helping out is star Lakeith Stanfield. He "gives us something to watch every minute."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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