Reviews: Movie Bob
Nostalgia in Human Form
So I have seen almost every video Bob has made since his You Tube days up till fairly recently. They've gone through a serious, rapid decline over the years. The reason is in essence his entire personality being so abrasively anti-change and pro-nostalgia he can't come to grips with the world having passed him by. He hates the 90s because it wasn't his childhood, he hates games today because they don't conform to his rose tinted view of the past, he openly admits he'd rather watch 80s bullshit than newer movies just because he liked it when he was a kid, etc etc. Bob just CAN NOT divorce himself from his own overinflated sense of nostalgia. More so he attacks others—in what I can only describe as an obnoxiously passive aggressive way—when they choose to do something he disagrees with. His obsession (bordering on the erotic) with Michael Bay and blind hatred of what he conceives as some kind of "hardcore gamer conspiracy" to destroy "real gaming" being perfect examples. The crazy part is he wasn't even this bad in the past (IRONY!). Back during the early days of his lunatic ravings, Bob managed to actually make valid points or employ some kind of empiricism...people who watch his videos now would be SHOCKED at how almost-but-not-nearly objective he USED to be just a few years ago. He would even admit way back when what now is more obvious than ever: that his fixation and cultish love of Nintendo is built on the nostalgic house of cards he and other Nintendo fanboys created for themselves to excuse how they and their pet corporation had so completely and totally been left in the past. I would advise against trying to have an intelligent discussion with him now though. He's more than ever retreated into a world of rose encrusted nostalgia goggles, unable to even voice the slightest criticism of anything he personally lines and dismissing anyone and anything else as "douchebags", "trolls" and "Michael Bay". Also I have a sinking feeling that he wrote his own article, since it speaks of him in such glowing terms and his enemies with such venom, I can't imagine how else it came to be. I used to be, not a fan but a supporter at least, and his earlier comments on videos like Mama Mia and The Revolution were quite intelligent and fun. Not anymore though. Sad really. He used to at least be funny.
"The Big Picture: Combat Evolved?" - Too Deep, Too Shallow
The Big Picture is Movie Bob's new soapbox series on the Escapist, but things start out bad when he spends a quarter of the pilot not soapboxing, and when he thinks hating Halo is a big entrance. Apparently, Halo is unintentionally racist because because the bad guy Covenant are diverse, while the good guy Spartans and UNSC all look similar. Bob acknowledges that he might be overthinking things a bit - the Covenant are, in gameplay terms, diverse because that gives the player more things to shoot at. However, if he's going that deep, he's also not going deep enough, ignoring things anyone who's played one Halo game could see - the Covenant roles are not interchangeable. Grunts never carry carbines or plasma rifles, Jackals never carry fuel rod cannons or energy swords, Elites and Brutes never carry sniper rifles or plasma pistols, and Hunters only carry fuel rod guns. The Covenant isn't an ethnically diverse society - it's a caste society. Additionally, he makes several comments that could be excused by his (presumably) only playing the first game and Reach. For example, in Halo 2, the Elites join the UNSC, thereby making the good guys diverse as well, not to mention that the Spartans in Reach are ethnically mixed. However, he also shows screenshots from Halo Wars and footage from a live-action Reach trailer, showing he's willing to do a bit of research - but he only uses the Halo Wars shots to make the Spartans look the same (while one shot consists of solely of identical Elites), and the video is just used to invoke Godwin's Law, by claiming that a military haircut and the Spartan's eyes turning from blue-green to blue make the UNSC incredibly EEEEEVIIIIIL. To top it all off, he doesn't rant in a soapbox series - he just sort of rambles around for a few minutes before delivering the Captain Obvious Aesop that "Racism is bad! And wrong! And That's Terrible!" Parts of the episode simply feel like padding, reiterating the same things over and over, while pictures get used three or four times. I can read genuine criticism if it's well-presented or entertaining (or both), but not from someone who thinks Everyone Is Satan In Hell, and talks about himself for a quarter of the video.
The Best Gaming Culture Commentator
If ever Movie Bob comes into the conversation, the word "fanboy" is never too far behind. It can hardly be argued that the man is enormously biased; although he seldom praises Nintendo more than they deserve, he does praise them constantly, and he attacks other aspects of gaming culture (particuarly first-person shooters and their fan base) with out-and-out vindictiveness and little to no provocation. He's got an ego the size of his head, which was quite something even before it became inflated following his rise in popularity; the first Screw Attack episode is indeed a pretty bad offender, as is his review of Sherlock Holmes, wherein he has the sheer 'nads to compare himself to the Great Detective. But this is a good opportunity to remember that, hey, nobody's perfect. Bob may like himself a bit too much, and he's warlike about his opinions, but that doesn't change the fact that his observations about gamer culture as a whole are deeper, better thought-out, and just plain smarter than those of just about everyone else who ever picked up their mic to talk about video games on the Internet. Everyone has something to say about their favorite (and least favorite) video games, but how many of them stop to ask, Yes, but what does that say about us as people? What does it say about gamer culture? What does it say about culture, period? What will our games say about us to our grandchildren? What will their games say about them? You can count these people on your fingers. Substract the ones who feel negatively about video games, and we're left only with Movie Bob. When Bob discusses something objective, he is always truthful, and when he discusses something subjective, he is always sincere. If you're a fan of Halo or Call Of Duty, for instance, you may not feel that Bob is the kind of guy you'd like to hang out with. But beware of the ad hominem fallacy, my friends; even at his angriest, Bob has something worthwhile to say. Take it from this Nintendo-loving Yahtzee fan, and enjoy the show.
Moviebob: Unprofessional Critic (and thank goodness!)
A lot of people are complaining about how biased Movie Bob is. I'm not about to say he isn't, of course. He has his own hangups, and particularly worrying ones about sex, gender and women (the less said about his Metroid Other M defense video, the better). People say "He should be professional! Professional critics don't let bias hold sway over them!" Uh, yeah they do. The vast majority of professional movie critics have a bias, for instance, for smaller-budget personal movies over blockbuster epics. Roger Ebert, who is definitely a good critic, is a positively rabid dunce when it comes to his rants about how video games are not and never will be art because... well, because they're video games? Hard to say. What I'm trying to say is that critics claiming they are oh-so-above bias are always lying, and maybe it would be better if they embraced it. If you know the source you're getting your information from is biased, it helps to inform your own decisions, and I think Bob has definitely chosen to take this approach. His opinion can still be useful in informing your moviegoing (and presumably gaming, although I must admit I don't know or care nearly as much about video games as I do about film) decisions, especially if his biases about the way a movie should be made line up with yours. Which in my case, they absolutely do, although I'd very much like to say that this isn't the case with all of his biases. (Don't get me started on the dismissal of anyone who isn't a geek as a braindead frat boy...)
A cautionary tale
So I was first turned on to Movie Bob by my significant other through The Escapist, and at first, I nodded along. The man made really good points about some of the movies I watched. Not great— he was kind of doing a rush job of what Zero Punctuation did— but good. And then I started watching his reviews. There were superficial problems to begin with...maybe a slip there, maybe an opinionated rant there, but mostly good. But the "Escape to the Movies" series carried on, and it just got sadder and sadder. He wasn't even reviewing the movies any more, just throwing up straw-man arguments and then knocking them down as opposed to real reviews. He didn't even bother to make valid points any more, just decided seeing the movie and half-assing it was enough. And then came The Big Picture. Oh, Bob. Bob, Bob, Bob. How could you go so wrong? It was bad enough you were failing everywhere else and calling everyone who didn't agree with you a moron. It was even worse when you uttered the infamous words "We already have a Batman. Why do we need Daniel Craig's James Bond?" in one of your columns, completely ignoring why that question was already answered. But when Big Picture showed not only a lack of knowledge on the topics you'd decided to discuss but a lack of knowledge in the laws of physics and reality, as well as history and everything else (e.g. your video "Conspiracy Weary"), that was it. You became a train wreck, something to watch to see which stupid points you made without researching them every week. Would you blame JJ Abrams for the work of people he's worked with? Would you say that David Yates directed four of the Harry Potter movies? Would you rant for two whole columns on personal strawmen and how tastes aren't subjective and yours are the correct ones? Defend the horror that was One More Day, or the misogyny-fest that was Other M? Whining about how every movie isn't a masterpiece but should strive to be? Your hypocrisy regarding your own job? You're like Rush Limbaugh, only Rush is actually funny when he rants unfoundedly and spews idiotic streams of bile at everything in range. It's time to hang it up, Bob. You're not even a joke any more. It stopped being funny, and watching you fail week after week is getting boring. Please, go. I'm sure the Escapist can get a trained monkey to do your job.
Moviebob: "Professional" Movie Critic
Whether you hate him or like him one must admit when he has an opinion/argument he remains strong in his resolve to not only defend it, but to go down fighting if necessary. Chipman has a great understanding of cinema and often showcases said knowledge with insightful background information and history of a film or production. Overall, Moviebob often shows a love for film combined with his opinions to make an interesting individual. The price? The right to be called a professional, which he is most definitely not. Understand this: critic's are entitled to their opinions and that's all they are, opinions. Not to Bob, it seems many years ago he took several opinions and walled them into his mind with the intent of locking them away never to be harmed/questioned/judged by opposing viewpoints. Now what's wrong with strong opinions? Nothing, we should respect other peoples' viewpoints even if they go against our own, it's a part of life; this is the main argument for Bob's fans saying, "They're his opinions and we should respect that." The problem? Bob is not a believer in showing respect/tolerance for differing opinions. Instead he openly insults others including his fans for having said opinions (with a particular amount of hatred towards Christianity and it's believers) that disagree with his own, whether political, religious, or liking/disliking a film he likes/hates. What's worse is if he says something questionable in his videos and Escapees post their arguments/concern in the comments section he chooses to mock them in his following video/column with pictures equating them to Bill & Ted, Ogre (Revenge of the Nerds), crying infants, and angry mobs all the while choosing to repeat their viewpoints/arguments in a mocking tone similar to a child. Finally his opinions for liking/disliking movies are often based on a deep-seated hatred towards the subject matter, personal grudges, or if there's female nudity (Watch following examples: Book of Eli, Expendables, Centurion, Paul, and Scream 4). There's a saying, "arrogance has to be earned," and watching his videos and reading his columns/blog, Bob shows a firm belief that his biases/opinions are a gift unto an ignorant world. When watching him it's important to take liberal amounts of salt to avoid asphyxiation from the delusions of this self-proclaimed "professional."
The Game Anti-Thinker
''Movie Bob's'' Game Over Thinker series has often been criticised for alienating the gamers who enjoy games he commonly associates with jocks and morons. That is to say, games like Halo, Call Of Duty and Madden which have huge audiences. If you happen to enjoy these games, you may not enjoy his straw men who mirror your tastes. So now he is doing this new thing called "The Game Anti-Thinker", in which an evil doppelganger of Bob presents an alternate, jock version of his show. At first I thought, "great idea! He'll use this alternate viewpoint to examine his own prejudices against many enthusiastic gamers, and the shortcomings of his position as a nostalgic fan of the old arcade titles." Alas, he does little more than use this new persona to ridicule his meticulously stuffed straw men for cheap laughs. The entire video is just the same weak joke stretched out for ten minutes. Whilst he could have been discussing the potential issue of future gaming generations dismissing the classic titles Movie Bob cherishes, or the reasons for the ensuing popularity of Madden and FPS's, he wastes the opportunity to take pot shots at his old enemies. Internet reviewers love to introduce evil doppelgangers into their format, usually as a comedy/dramatic vehicle to spice up their shows. As Movie Bob can't act or deliver a gag to save his life, he shouldn't be trying to go down this route. He should stick to insightful commentary - and use his doppelganger to further this activity. Right now the Game Anti-Thinker is just a wasted concept that should have been left as a two minute gag.
He Who Fights Mosters is Doomed to Become One
I used to like Moviebob. I really did. Now now he's lost it. I can't believe it took me this long to realize it, but Moviebob is a douchebag of the kind he so frequently satirizes. He is a hypocrite, bashing "Hardcores" when he himself is no better. He hides his blatant favoritism behind a mask of a "learned" gamer, analyzing all sorts of gaming minutia with bigass words and pretentious college thesis. He's a Nintendo fanboy and needs to stop pretending he's not, because hiding it is just going to piss people off more. His dislike of FPS's, while understandable, has reached a new point of obnoxiousness when he calls them the "worst thing to happen to gameing"; Hello? Moviebob? Half-life and Bioshock would like to have a word with you. For a microcosm of Bob's asshattery, watch his Gameoverthinker video about Metroid Other M. Way to miss the point while being extremely insulting about it, Bob! His movie reviews are a bit better, in that he makes valid points and are genuinely informative. However he has been getting progressively more childish as his series goes on. The absolute nadir is his review of "The Expendables"; Not only is he contradictory in his argument, but it's quite clear that he's just sore that "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" tanked while "Expendables" soared, and goes on to insult the people who went to see the all star boom-stravaganza, calling them douchebag jocks who wouldn't know a good thing from a carp to the face (not in those exact words obviously). To make matters worse, he managed to extend his jerkassery to the next weeks video, which boils down to "The Expendables would be better if there were boobs in it". That seems to be a continuing sentiment in his videos, both before and after. He makes me ashamed to be a geek. EDIT: 10/31/11 Okay, It's been a while since I stopped watching GOT, and I just revisited it. Fittingly enough, it was a revisit of the infamous "Heavens To Metroid", and it was nice to see he'd learned a measure of humility since then, and explained his points in a non-troll, non-sensationalist manner. I still don't agree with him, but at least now I don't feel like curb checking his skull into a truck stop toilet for being so obnoxious. EDIT: 5/24/12 Never mind, I hate him again, now more than ever. Truck stop toilet decapitation is too good for him.
Hero to zero
I discovered moviebob in the episode "can it happen to us" where he made some very good points on the development of the game industry. I was hooked instantly upon seeing it and thought he would be the internet's next big thing. Time passed, and he eventually got a job at the Escapist (which funnily enough is the site or more specificly the forums where I discovered him in the first place) almost immediatly things got to hell. With his hiring I guess the popularity got to his head. His game overthinker videos, when they weren't nostalgic bullshit trips was a place where he can talk about how great he is (see his first screwattack video for the biggest offender) and his movie reviews became a place for him to talk about his opinion is infaillible and anyone who dissagrees with him is just a neanderthal who doesn't get good cinema. tldr; Fame does nasty shit to people so take note aspiring internet celebrities don't let it get to your head
Just another critic
As far as critics go, I fail to see why people get so worked up over Movie Bob. He's a guy on the internet with an opinion, just like everyone else who goes on a forum. Yes, he works for a prominent website, but that doesn't mean he's infallible or important. People will agree with critics when they agree with their reviews and disagree when they don't; simple as that. But Bob is still a much better critic most of the time than many other critics I have read and, Bias Steamroller notwithstanding (seriously, Transformers 2 was worse than an Uwe Boll movie?), is a pretty intelligent guy and makes some good points. He just lets personal feelings get in the way of his work, just like every other critic. No critic can be wholly objective, otherwise they'd just be boring and would be ignored across the board. Still, Bob needs to tone down the arrogance and get his nostalgia filter modified. Watch his stuff (or don't) and make your judgment then. Then get on with your life.