After getting his start as a fact checker at the now defunct film magazine Premiere, Oliver went on to cover film out of New York for Variety and was the first staff writer hired at the relaunched Us Weekly. In 2000, the Washington, D.C. native decamped to his current home of Los Angeles where he became a freelancer for Vogue, Details, Allure, and New York magazine, among others. In 2004, he took a staff position in the Los Angeles bureau of People magazine where he covered entertainment and hard news until 2015. Since first appearing in the early Microsoft entertainment website Mr. Showbiz, Oliver's film criticism has appeared in Details, Variety, Yahoo, trunkworthy.com, and People. Currently, he is the Los Angeles-based critic for observer.com, formally the New York Observer.
Oliver is a proud second-generation film critic: in the '70's and '80's, his late father Davey Marlin-Jones was the film and theater critic on CBS in Washington, D.C. and NBC in Detroit. In addition, he has been a journalism professor at Emerson College Los Angeles since 2012