Sam Now

“Sam Now” is like “Kick Ass” meets “The Up Series”.

Sam’s wetsuit and mask wearing alter ego, “the Blue Panther”, is awesome.

Trailer for “Sam Now”

Watch “Sam Now”

Stream “Sam Now” here on The Criterion Channel (requires subscription); or rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu Fandango, YouTube and Google Play ($3.99 to $4.99 last I checked). All the streaming options should be here.


  • My Rating: 97/100
  • IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 97/100 (users); 90/100 (critics)

My Review of “Sam Now”

Get ready for a wondrous wallop of feels with Sam Now, the 2022 feature-length doc directed by Reed Harkness (stepbrother to Sam) over a breezy 87 minutes.

It’s a time-tripping snapshot of his frisbee-flinging brother Sam and the middle-class Seattle fam left scratching their heads after mama Jois (pronounced “Joyce”) ghosted them back in 2000.

Little Sam was just 13, with nary a note of explanation.

Turns out adopted Jois was on a mission seeking her Japanese birth parents when she vanished that fateful Y2K.

The only clue she left was a coworker confession about bolting with some globetrotting academic named Gosselin.

Cue stepbrother Reed’s art therapy camcorder and the fantasies of 11-year-old Sam, who dreamed up a long-lost ma-rescuing superhero named Blue Panther.

What follows is DIY docu-drama meets quixotic coming-of-age caper as the brothers grab their Nerf blasters 16 years later, hopping a flight to SoCal still clinging to Sam’s hero hope.

The dynamic duo sports Men in Black suits for a reverse phonebook gambit searching for the mysterious Professor.

By pure 25-to-1 odds, they reach Jois herself hiding out in rural Oregon.

Talk about precocious pathos!

As we inch toward Sam’s 29th birthday, the fuller picture emerges via satin-sheeny flashbacks: the quiet ripples of intergenerational trauma radiating from Sam’s devastated dad and bro Jared to grandma Doris.

Yet the prodigal mother’s unlikely return sparks less shockwave than cascade of catharsis.

“Freakish!” exclaims pops.

“Amazing!” declares Grandma.

In the end, the family emerges stronger and Sam steps into a fruitful adulthood, soon winning a spot on Team USA’s championship frisbee squad.

Twenty-five years of home movies stitched together with heart and humor add up to a quirky testimony of human resilience.

However fragmented the past, new dreams can take flight.

Wherever Sam’s next toss takes him, something tells me the Blue Panther will be watching with a smile.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc