On Leonard Nimoy

I’ve been consumed with a number of things, most especially getting THIS (and it’s follow-up, and the impending relaunch) ready to go, hence the lack of immediate updates. But I obviously can’t let the passing of Boston’s own Leonard Nimoy yesterday afternoon pass unremarked upon.

By the time I was old enough to be aware of STAR TREK, Nimoy and Spock were well into their mutual mid-1980s revival as blockbuster superstars, so I never new a world where Trek (classic, at least) wasn’t a widely-accepted part of mainstream popular culture. But even knowing of the period adrift only through history, it feels like any moment of “has-been” stature that might’ve stuck to the rest of the franchise never stuck to this person – even if at one point his relationship with his most famous characterization was complicated enough to pen both the 1975 autobiography I AM NOT SPOCK and follow it up with 1995’s I AM SPOCK.

So, to me, this person was always famous; one of the first actors I can remember really associating with beyond his character thanks in large part to his unmistakable voice and presence. He always seemed larger than life, which was unusual since outside of Spock he was so often seen in genial and playful circumstances – a towering figure who for some reason deigned to walk among ordinary people.

It’s cliche by now, but there’s really no better to say it than just to reiterate: Actor, director, singer, writer, activist – he lived long, and he prospered.

Also cliche: By now, I’m sure everyone’s Facebook is well and truly cluttered with repostings of the funeral scene from STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. But for me, the first thing I sought out on hearing the news was the below video, which captures Nimoy’s (locally)-famous narration of the tech-demo for the Boston Museum of Science’s Mugar Omni Theater:

Here’s An Insane AGE OF ULTRON Theory For You

Enjoy this piece? Want to see more like it? Please consider a contribution to the MovieBob Patreon 🙂

So here’s the new (final?) AGE OF ULTRON poster, which looks about as generic as one can expect from a movie that has never once needed a poster or any kind of advertising to gaurantee a blockbuster opening. Truth be told, the Marvel movies have generally had pretty bland posters, the one exception possibly being the second one for FIRST AVENGER.

But whatever. Not a lot of new information get’s conveyed upfront (Vision is still mostly obscured, if Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver eventually become not boring-looking we’re not seeing what that looks like here) but the full credits at the bottom are telling a different story – maybe.

For starters, we finally get confirmation that Stellan Skarsgaard and Anthony Mackie are both in the cast – though who can say what exactly their roles will be (I’d like Falcon and War Machine to have at least one “Main Guys’ Black Friends” side-eye moment.) Also Haly Atwell (Agent Carter) which is… interesting.

But the one sticking out to me? Additional music from Danny Elfman. What’s that about?

Briefly: The “additional music/pieces” credit for scoring is generally only used when pieces of music from a different score (by a different composer) are showing up. Now, it’s very plausible that the film is simply borrowing a piece of music just to use it (that happens – directors fall in love with temp-tracks all the time.) It’s also possible that the credit refers to the use of an Oingo Boingo track, though the credit would generally be different for that.

The only character in this movie remotely previously associated with Elfman is Hulk, but that’s because Elfman scored the 2003 Ang Lee version – if Marvel is going to reference a previously Hulk movie, it’d probably be the one they made that’s still (technically) part of their continuity, right?

Either way, I’m sure the answer is pretty mundane. But thinking on it gave me a crazy idea that I now can’t get out of my head without sharing it. So here goes. There’s effectively maybe 0.000001% chance this would happen, but if I had my cosmic way over all such matters the reason a Danny Elfman track would show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be to accompany the arrival a familiar hero with his familiar (Elfman composed) theme:


As in: Tobey Maguire as the now-adult Peter Parker from the Sam Raimi-directed, Elfman-scored SPIDER-MAN movies that pre-dated the now-aborted Andrew Garfield/magic blood/robo-rhino version.

Hear me out.

Here’s what’s known about the immediate future of the SPIDER-MAN movies: Marvel originally wanted to strike a deal to get him into the hero versus hero CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR movie in some capacity. The role is being recast not only younger, but with a rumored emphasis on possibly shaking up the franchise’s ethnic status-quo with either a non-white Peter Parker or a movie debut for Miles Morales, the Black/Latino second Ultimate Spider-Man.

So, picture this scenario:

  • Spider-Man shows up in AGE OF ULTRON. Doesn’t have to be for the whole movie, just for a scene – maybe he’s helping in a battle, maybe it’s an “Oh hi guys!,” something like that. He’s NOT an Avengers-level hero, traditionally, so it makes sense he’d be operating on their periphery.
  • When he shows up, he’s accompanied by Elfman’s familiar main theme and sounds a lot like Tobey Maguire. Just to get the audience thinking on those lines.
  • At a certain point, Maguire (briefly) appears again as Peter Parker, with some sort of quick business (piece of costume sticking out?) and a reprise of the theme to indicate that, yes, this is not only Spider-Man but THAT specific version of Spider-Man, retroactively making the Raimi films (or just the first two, if you like) part of the MCU extended canon.
  • Maguire-Spidey reappears as a full-blown supporting character in CIVIL WAR, where he fulfills much the same role as the comics re: joining Team Iron Man, revealing his identity to the public and coming to regret doing so. But this time, it goes much worse for him – he dies. Yes. Spider-Man (a hero still more familiar/loved worldwide than any of the MCU characters) buys it in CIVIL WAR. He can die heroically (Ooh! Maybe he takes the sniper-bullet for Captain America for the adaptation fake-out?) Tears, sadness, “This generation’s Optimus Prime death,” etc.
  • Post-credits stinger for CIVIL WAR: Introduction of a seemingly random young kid who seems especially moved by the death of Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
  • However many months later, Miles emerges as the main character of the new Marvel-But-We’re-Pretending-Sony-Is-Making-Any-Meaningful-Decisions-About-This SPIDER-MAN movies; which can no procede with his supporting cast, origin, etc.
Would it work? Who knows. Maybe I’m nuts. But I’d be all over that, and not just because I more or less made it all up on the fly. But I’d argue it offers a lot of benefit: Marvel get’s a huge WRATH OF KHAN moment for CA:CW without having to lose one of “their guys,” Sony gets to re-issue full=-priced new Blu’s of the Raimi Trilogy now that they’re MCU building-blocks, picky fanboys get a “proper” MCU Parker at least for a moment, Miles Morales becomes a massively talked-about figure to a general public that never heard of him and Sony-But-Really-Marvel get’s a fresh start for their new series that’ll be covered as a colossal event for introducing who will immediately become (with apologies to T’Challa) THE Black Superhero.
Either way, we’ll find out what really happens so enough. Unless Marvel just steals this idea.Which isn’t going to happen.

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Zack Snyder’s Twitter has revealed the first official image of Jason Momoa as AQUAMAN (who will almost-certainly not be called that, ever) in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE… and holy hell, is it about the worst approach I could’ve imagined…

I’m a Zack Snyder apologist through and through – the guy has amazing chops, and WATCHMEN remains one of the most visually spot-on translation of comics to film. But this Aquaman? Wow. The worst coke-binging money-fight “brainstorming” session at Image Comics circa-1996 couldn’t have yielded such a bad redesign.

I’m actually kind of stunned – it was probably too much to expect anything close to the scale-mail shirt/green pants look, but this literally looks like they just said “add some fish-stuff to the GAME OF THRONES look and give him a trident.”

I get that the DC movies are doing their own thing apart from the “Silver Age with the stupid sanded off” approach Marvel has mined to such success, a mash-up of the broody testosterone-fest still lingering from the Nolan Batman features and “XTREME!!!!!” 90s comics affect that seems to be Snyder’s go-to reference point for the genre.

But… there it is.

Whelp Of Wall Street

Remember back when WOLF OF WALL STREET was first hitting and people realized you could cut any movie about someone having lots of money to the beats of that trailer and it’d be funny, and the most obvious one 90s kids went to was the live-action RICHIE RICH?

Well, Netflix has apparently decided that what’s cute for like 2 minutes will be hilarious for a season’s worth of binge-watching. Below, the trailer for the streaming giant’s new RICHIE RICHIE reboot series (did anyone even remember hearing they were doing this?) which is pitched, literally, as “Jordan Belfort, but he’s 12.”

So… the gamble here is that “90s Disney Channel/Nickelodeon sitcom” is an aesthetic with enough nostalgia cache that Millennials will binge it and maybe younger kids won’t hate it either? Because I’m not seeing why this is a streaming show and not just turning up on Nick’s fall lineup – unless, of course, it really sucks and none of the cables wanted it.
I’ll say this much: I was more or less going along with the “okay, this is pretty harmless” vibe (the idea that 21st Century Richie is a boy genius whose start-up success is the source of his previously-ordinary family’s cartoonishly-obscene wealth instead of being an Old Money scion is kind of inspired – that I can see being a weekly show) until we get to the pet robot that Richie (who looks to be about 12) has for some reason built (commissioned?) in the form of a human girl in her late-teens that he dresses in a French maid’s outfit.
I know that “Irona” is part of the lore, but she’s usually depicted as an automaton. This version feels like something that’s been calculated to become a wink-wink-nudge-nudge running joke by the writers (“Hey! That’s gonna be a whole other kinda useful in like 5 years, right bro!?”) should the series actually become a hit.

Well, whatever. This comes out tomorrow, and it seems to be the first anyone has heard of it, so I guess we’ll find out.

TV RECAP: Agent Carter – Episode 7: "Snafu"

NOTE: I was recapping AGENT CARTER episodes for The Escapist, and it seemed to have a decent following. Since I hate leaving things undone (and because I want to show all you wonderful folks donating to the Patreon that you’re going to see a steady run of work) I’ll post the remaining two here.

At this point, AGENT CARTER has turned out to be so solid that all it will need to do in it’s eighth and final episode is not end on a note of total disaster and it’ll immediately assume a position among the very best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not many TV shows that can fit a riot, an explosive self-sacrifice suicide, an indoor parkour battle, creepy hypnotism and a slapstick almost-jailbreak around the edges of what remains both a cracking good spy story and an extended metaphor for the invisibility of women in post-WWII America.
After a cold-open featuring some of that aforementioned creepy hypnotism (revealing that, as suspected, the evil Russian psychiatrist is indeed Doctor Faustus), “Snafu” dives right into the setpiece teased last time: Carter’s interrogation at the hands of Chief Dooley, Agent Thompson and Agent Sousa. This quickly turns into an opportunity for Peggy to finally come clean – not about her double-agent duty for Stark, but about how she really feels about her male colleagues and the way they’ve all treated her as a projection of their own issues (Dooley is patronizing, Thompson is all macho bluster and Sousa is a resentful spurned-“nice guy.”)
She’s sidetracked, though, when Jarvis turns up with a plan of his own: Buy time with a fake confession from Howard Stark. Given the ongoing themes of the show, it’s not exactly surprising that his grand heroic gesture only makes things more difficult; and Carter has to reveal the entire sequence of events up to this point including that last vial of Captain America’s blood. Refreshingly, Thompson and Sousa believe her right away and set off for a confrontation with Dottie (aka Black Widow ’46) that doesn’t go especially well.
Ultimately, everything comes down to a main character being forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, after having been fitted with a malfunctioning suit of electrified Stark armor (heh) refitted into a suicide-bomb. More troublingly, it turns out Leviathan has no interest in Cap’s blood (or doesn’t know it exists): They’re after another item. Part of me was hoping that it was The Winter Soldier’s bionic arm, but it turns out to be a gas weapon that can turn anyone exposed to it (in this case a movie theater audience) into feral killers driven to murder eachother.
Where’s this all going? Well, with the reveal of the poison gas (which, it must be said, loses something by virtue of being so similar to an impossible-to-top plot device in KINGSMAN) and the still-unanswered questions in the central mystery (who wiped-out a squad of Russian soldiers without using any weapons during the war, why was Howard Stark on the site of that massacre a day later and why did Stark stop doing business with the Military) I think a basic outline can be surmised: The army used Stark’s gas on the Russians, Stark saw what it did and withdrew from weapons-making and Leviathan is actually out for revenge against the U.S.
If that’s where they’re going, it’s pretty dark; but it certainly fits in with the series’ secondary theme of Peggy watching the clean-cut good vs evil clash of WWII morph into the amoral morass of the Cold War right before her eyes. It also provides – along with S.S.R HQ being blown to hell after they failed rather decisively to do the one thing they’re supposed to do by being a backwards-looking boy’s club – a potential reason for why it might be scrapped and replaced with the more forward-looking (at least in theory), globalized idea of S.H.I.E.L.D; which we already know Carter is a co-founder of (a note which I imagine will be the punchline of the series.)

It’s also interesting because it ups the ante on how the series plans to utilize what’s now been revealed as a red herring: Captain America’s blood.

We know the blood can’t survive into the present, because if it did someone would’ve successfully duplicated the Super Soldier Serum well before THE AVENGERS. It’s looking like there’s no room for my pet-theory of Sousa becoming an MCU version of William Burnside, so I’m guessing instead it’ll be something more like having to use the blood’s restorative properties to save someone whose been gravely wounded, maybe Sousa or Thompson. (Or, alternate theory, it’ll be stolen and used to create/maintain Winter Soldier, since I’m not done hoping that plot-point doesn’t crop up in here somewhere.)

The MovieBob Post-Escapist FAQ (UPDATED with Patreon info!)

UPDATE: Right up top, here’s the link to the Brand New MOVIEBOB PATREON!

So. Now that I’ve got myself some breathing room and some time, I thought I’d draft up a more comprehensive FAQ to answer your questions re: What’s going on with me after Friday’s sudden departure from The Escapist. Obviously, I can only answer questions that are mine too answer, so if you’re looking for industry gossip… sorry, not here.


Why did you leave so suddenly?

Short answer: It wasn’t really all that sudden. Again, I’m not here to talk about insider business stuff, but suffice it to say if you follow gaming websites you’ve likely noticed a lot of closures and consolidations among older magazine-style outlets along with an exodus of original content-producers to YouTube etc happening over the last few years so… draw your own conclusions.

As far as this pertains to me, I’ve been in the process of setting up new venues for my content (and new content as well) for awhile now, as you’ve seen with the impending end and reworking of the Game OverThinker franchise; and if you were to conclude based on that that I’ve been preparing for the possibility of this eventuality… well, like I said, draw your own conclusions.

So this wasn’t a surprise?

The timing and completeness of it was, yes. Again, can’t discuss internal business stuff, but my assumption had always been that if I were ever to need to transition away from my now-former outlet it would be a gradual thing – perhaps a reduction over time in overall workload.

To have it end all at once, after such a long partnership, was a shock to the system, deeply disappointing and (while the parting was indeed entirely amicable) has left me very shaken and terribly sad – I don’t handle change very well, and earlier today I was having a conversation where the subject of movie screenings happening this week came up, and it took a moment for it to occur to me that I had no reason to care what the big movie for this weekend was going to be because there’d be no Escape to The Movies on Friday or ever again… and I don’t mind telling you it was a mildly devastating moment to have creep up on me.

So that’s it – no more MovieBob content at The Escapist?

Pretty much. There is (I believe) one more written column that was finished in advance that is yet to be published, but I have no idea if they intend to or not. But beyond that? Yes, this is the end: There will be no new Big Picture on Tuesday, no Agent Carter recap on Wednesday, no Escape to the Movies or Intermission on Friday, etc.

I don’t know what happens to the backlog of episodes they already have, both on the site and on YouTube. I produced that content under contract, they own it, they can do what they wish with it.

Are you done with criticism?


Can you elaborate on that?


I am a film critic. That’s my primary trade right now, what I’ve made my name in, and while it’s not my ultimate life/career goal it’s what I have right now and what I intend to keep doing. I also intend to keep writing, talking about news, blogging, making videos and everything else I did before.

Where can we find your reviews now?

Like I said before, I’ve been making moves toward expanding my number of outlets since before exiting The Escapist was ever a real concern, so it’s possible you’ll see me in a new regular spot on the web sooner than later. However, I have no intention of being married to only one outlet going forward and nothing is yet set in stone, so for now if I have reviews/opinions I’m burning to write you will likely find them posted directly to this blog. Video work, on the other hand…

Will Escape to The Movies be on YouTube now?

…sort of, probably. Here’s the skinny: As the title implies, The Escapist owns the name and all the audio/visual regular pieces of Escape to The Movies. So if I wanted to put movie reviews in video form on YouTube, I can… they just won’t use that title, those art-assets, etc. But the overall effect will likely be very similar in terms of content.

What about The Big Picture?

That one is a little trickier.

The thing about Big Picture was that it’s “hook” was, “Here’s what our opinionated movie-critic has to say about anything else he wants to talk about,” so without a website to be a regular on or a fixed presence to be a side-dish to, it basically becomes a vlog (especially since The Escapist owns all of those art/assets, too.)

In other words, while I can near-guarantee that you’ll see Big Picture-esque work from me in the near future, it will probably NOT be in the form of single regular weekly series. Rest assured, however, that I’m very much attached to some of BP’s semi-regular features like “_____! Are! Weird” and “Schlocktober,” and so long as I’m able I want to do more stuff like that I will (though the titles may end up being different – stay tuned on that front.)

Are you in financial trouble now?

Only in the sense that it is better to be employed than unemployed (though, believe it or not, I was always technically a freelancer for The Escapist – never a full employee). But no, I’m not going broke or falling apart here.

That having been said, if you’re a fan whose ever felt compelled to hit up the PayPal Tip Jar on the righthand side of the blog or to buy a copy of Brick-By-Brick and haven’t done so yet? Now would be a very good time, yes 🙂

Will there be a MovieBob Patreon?

Yes, and it’s right here!

Admit it: The Escapist fired you over #GamerGate – right?

…Not that I know of? 🙂

In all seriousness, NO – I do not know or believe that to be the case and (without discussing things that are not for public discussion re: employment and contracts and such) have it on good authority that it is NOT the case. I’m aware that because of various things that went on at The Escapist when the GamerGate disaster was at it’s initial peak it’s perceived as being a “pro-GG” site in some quarters. As a freelancer, I really had no input into that and limited knowledge of upper-level business matters, but at best I would call that characterization incorrect and at worst very unfair.

Well, either way I’m upset that they let you go. Should I not go there anymore?

I don’t want anyone to do that, and I cannot stress that point enough.

I’ve been retweeting a lot of well-wishers on Twitter whose wishes have included their opinion that The Escapist is no longer worth visiting or that they’ll actively avoid patronizing the site because of my absence. I’ve done so because I appreciate the sentiment, because I want potential future employers to see the passion and dedication of the fanbase I can bring to them and – YES – because I happen to be both a little-bit pissed off and A LOT immature. Oh well.

But as I said on Twitter, I do not want (nor do I expect) any plurality of my fans to try to “punish” my now-former outlet. That’s not only silly (if they were desperate not to lose a single one of my viewers, I’d still be working there) it potentially hurts a lot of good people. I’m touched that you’d leave a site just for me, but there are a lot of good people and content on The Escapist still (Critical Miss, LRR’s Unskippable, Critical Intel, No Right Answer, etc) which very much need and deserve your traffic.

So as much as I appreciate the sentiment (and will continue to share it around on social media etc) please do not stop visiting a site (or start using adblock) as some kind of gesture to me. Seriously.

I know this great site you should totally try and move your content to – what can I do to help make that happen?

Tell me about it in the comments to this blog. Also, if you know an outlet is looking for people, by all means talk me up to them – every little bit helps 😉

I run a site and we’d like to talk to you about working with us. How do we get in touch with you?

BobChipman82@gmail.com – just to save some time, while I’m eager to hear from anyone in the business, right now I’m not in a position to entertain any “for exposure” offers. However, if you represent any conventions, public forums, podcasts etc and are looking for a speaker, guest, panelist, etc? Let’s talk, regardless of what the arrangements might look like.

Are you just putting on a brave face? Will this really just turn out to be the end, and you’ll be bagging groceries at Star Market in a month?

I guess we’ll find out together. It’s a shitty economy and a rough industry, and I frankly don’t know anyone in it who’s making what their worth for the work they put in from my perspective. I’m under no illusions that it won’t be a rough go for awhile, or that I’m not unlikely to find similar security right away.

But I got where I am by working hard, cultivating a loyal fanbase, putting out content that I’m proud of and making an effort to adapt and survive in an ever-changing media landscape. It’s not lost on me that my absence leaves a big hole in The Escapist’s schedule and thus in the daily viewing of many people, nor that as I type this I’m getting well-wishes on Twitter from South America, Asia, the Middle-East, Europe, Australia – fans all over the world; and I keep in mind amid this that I got to this point starting from being picked up as a near-nobody posting videos to YouTube for kicks. If I can get to this point from there, there’s no limit to where I can get to next.

And I’ll be more than happy to have you all come along 🙂

All Good Things

So. Straight and to the point: What you may have heard already is true – I am no longer working for The Escapist. 

The last episode of ESCAPE TO THE MOVIES ran today (It’s Kingsman, it’s good) as did the last INTERMISSION.

I’ll have more to say later (right now, I’ve an appointment to keep) but suffice it to say that I am devastated, heartbroken and quite upset by this turn of events, which came mostly as a surprise to me. I am grateful for the time I had there, for the platform that was afforded to me and – most of all – to my loyal fans and readers, who I hope will follow me to whatever venture comes next. And for those wondering: No, this has nothing to do with hashtags, “consumer revolts” or any other such nonsense – not that I expect that will keep the chattering class at bay in that regard, but facts are facts

I have several projects that are already in the offing, which I will now likely be announcing sooner or later. I’d ask anyone who hasn’t already done so to please subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

I am where I am because of my fans, followers and viewers – I have not forgotten that, and will not. It’s going to be a rough near-future, for this and a variety of other reasons, but I plan to emerge on the other side of it in better shape and ready for great new things. And I hope that you will join me there.


You’ve heard the news, you already know the tune, might as well sing along…

Spider-Bro, Spider-Bro 
No more movies with Spider-Bro! 
Twilight hair, 
Mumbly mouth, 
Give my best to Brandon Routh! 
Goodbye, worst version of Spider-Man! 

Reboot sucked, 
Sequel worse! 
Failed so hard might have been cursed. 
Didn’t buy 
His or her 
Inconsistent characters. 
So sad, The Forgettable Spider-Man! 

Scripts so bad were a sin 
Even wrecked Uncle Ben! 
Stupid magical blood 
What the hell was with that!? 

Spider-Douche, Spider-Douche 
Smirking sk8-punk Spider-Douche 
Arad’s ox, 
Justly gored. 
Marvel’s gain but our reward

Hooray, Spidey’s been rescued from hacks! 
Next get Fantastic Four back! 
New day for Spider-Man!!!