‘J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius’ is a fascinating deep dive into an eclectic cult

Noah Levine

This is a documentary, believe it or not.

“J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius” is a wonderfully strange documentary that follows the cultivation of a strange cult by the name of the Church of the SubGenius. Sandy K. Boone directs the peculiar story as she interviews the founders of the Church and explores how their unique sense of humor ended up starting a cult following.

The visual style of the documentary is very unique and appealing. The film is filled with a plethora of “retro” stylized stock footage that bring the content to visual life. The interviewees are often filmed in a strange or peculiar area, adding to the weird style of the film. One person is even interviewed in a room filled with toy dinosaurs.

The overall scope of the film is most impressive, as it documents and offers insight on various stages of the SubGenius cult throughout time. The documentary even touches on modern times, using Donald Trump as a perfect example of someone who lives in their own world. People with firsthand accounts of the Church are interviewed in addition to a couple of celebrities, including Penn Jillette and Richard Linklater. These elements help convey a solid account of the strange history of the Church of the SubGenius.

The history of the Church is extremely fascinating and shines a spotlight on a wonderfully weird grouping of people. The strange archive footage is paired nicely with the leaders of the Church as they clarify what’s on screen. The themes of the film offer a very enlightening take on how people who don’t fit in can find their inner selves within a strange unification. It also touches on the dangers of mob mentality and how something that started as a small joke can be interpreted in very dangerous ways.

“J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius” is an enjoyable and eclectic journey into one of the strangest cults in American history.

“J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius”

Rating: 4.5/5