The Big Picture: Leave Michael Bay Alone

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Leave Michael Bay Alone

MovieBob doesn't think Michael Bay is the problem.

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We keep bashing him specifically because we know he can do better because of movies like Bad Boys II and The Rock, but he keeps pandering to the idiot masses.

I feel like I should be offended but I can't bring myself to it. While I'll never pay to see a Bay movie, I must admit that I tend to stop on them when they are on cable. I blame the explosions.

I feel like I should be offended but I can't bring myself to it. While I'll never pay to see a Bay movie, I must admit that I tend to stop on them when they are on cable. I blame the explosions.

I've been known to catch a few on TV as well, though I feel the reason is the same reason I would slow down and look at a car wreck. I have a morbid curiosity that makes me want to know how bad it will be. I knew when I watched Revenge of the Fallen on TV that it would probably be one of the worst movies I ever saw. I was right, but I was also a little surprised by how much it exceeded those expectations and was even worse than I expected.

I've paid once to see a Bay movie and it was the first Transformer. You are right about it. You hit the nail when you said the problem is the audience.

Been saying for a long time now that the audiences are the problem with movies today and not so much the film makers themselves. If you wanna get paid and have a career you better have something that can be marketed with a big pay out at the end.

While I'm not the biggest fan of his more recent work taken as a whole (outside of Pain and Gain which I loved) there are still great moments inside his movies which kind of make it worth seeing, Revenge of the Fallen aside that is. Moments like the battle for Chicago in Dark of the Moon where all hell is breaking loose and we're finally getting to see this all out war we've spent two other movies hearing about. While the entire film isn't the best thing ever in my opinion setups like that are definitely worth seeing the film at least once.

I've never quite understood all the hate he gets when there are far worse films out there getting far bigger followings which have far worse impacts on the industry as a whole. I mean anyone who contributed to the Twilight Saga made sure these hokey tween romance/dramas centered around supernatural nonsense will be in theaters for at least another ten years if not more if another franchise really catches on. While Revenge of the Fallen is an awful film from start to finish there are circumstances around it which kind of explain why it was so bad such as the writers' strike so filming begun before they had a script finalized or the accident during one of the scenes which forced them to re-purpose footage from The Island for the highway chase sequence. Not all of this falls on Bay's shoulders.

Doubt I will go see the new Transformers in theaters, just Redbox it later when it comes out. Seems to be the best way to enjoy his films in my opinion.


seriously a Mic drop would not have been out of place at the end of that.

It's about time that somebody just came out and was honest about the burning of the Michael Bay effigy. I also do not remember reading pieces about the death of cinema when Pain & Gain came out. If someone is going to assert that a particular filmmaker is everything that is wrong with cinema, it would be in that person's interest to go over that person's entire filmography, not just the biggest targets.

I saw the first Transformers movie out of curiosity and thought it was crap. Then they kept coming out with more, and people kept going to see them. All I could think was "Why the hell are these movies popular?"

Especially in a post-Avengers world, where you can have awesome explosions combined with good characters and stories. Guardians of the Galaxy can't get here fast enough.

I find it seriously hard to believe that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is worse than Revenge of the Fallen. It may be a bad movie (not seen it yet, can't comment either way), but man, Revenge was so godawful.

I wholeheartedly agree. As far as it concerns my taste in movies I'm about as pretentious as it gets but I still can't bring myself to dislike Michael Bays work. In fact I like the basic elements of his style, I like the fast cars, the big explosions, the underwear models and the American cityscapes and I think he has a great eye for visuals. Pain and Gain war arguably one of my favourite movies of last year. The only offensively bad movies he made are the Transformers series and while these deserve all the criticism they get there's only so much even the most talented director could make out of a campy 80s cartoon about big toy robots.

Definitely one of my favorite Big Picture episodes in quite some time. I got nothing against Michael Bay seeing as The Rock is one of my favorite action movies and I liked both Pain & Gain and Armageddon well enough.

Class act from Bob to rise to Bay's defense, particularly in regards to the fact that some critics slam Bay as a way to indirectly slam his audience's tastes.

I agree with Bob wholeheartedly and nothing ticks me off more than how many elites will outwardly revile Transformers, but defend New Trek, even though they operate at roughly the same level.

That said, if I had to choose a Bay specific problem that makes me hate Bay's films, it would be his penchant for excess. Bob's right to point out that plenty of other filmmakers do what Bay does, but I don't think any other director takes it to the same level. The relentless pacing that offers no mental repose, somewhat tolerable in a shorter film like Star Trek Into Darkness, becomes unbearable in Bay's overlong explosion-fests. And speaking of explosions, the sheer volume of destruction and things on screen just becomes mentally tiring. When I saw Transformers for the first time on television, I had a headache by the time the film ended.

Excess is Michael Bay's problem. Excess and the unwillingness to just take a breath.

I... wow. I was rolling up my sleeves midway to post a rant, but by the end when...

... a Mic drop would not have been out of place...

... I was left quite speechless. Bravo.

Yes...just, yes. The viewing public has, and always will be, the problem because they would much rather watch the flashy visuals and action sequences over the slower movie with an actual story.

Also, to be fair, I have to believe that Bey is actually TRYING to make a good movie on some level. Or, at the very least, he does enough research on the established characters to try and make them not too far off from how they are known. When I saw a couple of the trailers of the new live action TMNT movie, I saw that Mikey was still a lovable goofball and Raph looked like he was going to kick someone's ass for looking at him wrong...and those weird goggles do kinda exemplify Donny's nerdiness, I must admit. So, basically the characterizations seem on par with how the Turtles are classically depicted. I only wish the Shredder armor never happened...that was a buzzkill.

Heh. I went back and rewatched the Transformers 2 review. Moviebob has really mellowed over the years.

Edit: So, I'm not saying Moviebob is wrong about his rant against "the public", but I'm not sure very many people are going to really understand that they are also part of "the public". Its super easy to bash on everyone else as "dumb and ignorant" as long as you don't count yourself among them. You, noble reader, are the one voice of reason among the masses etc. etc. Moveibob does count himself among the problem at the end there. Most of the other comments in the thread above mine don't really do that though. For my part, I saw Armageddon back in the day when it was in theaters and liked it a lot and will watch anything as long as it has spaceships.

Heh... reminds me of Bob's Expendables review. Certainly not afraid to spit on the public there, though he certainly never attacked the film's creators.

Nothing to actually argue about. The audience love to see stupid, un-intellectual movies. Michal Bay gives that out and people love it. I never really thought of him as the devil, just a assface who took childhood franchises and ruiniend the original concept. I am still going to see TMNT though.

You remember at the end of Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, where Cochran is just standing there amid the wreckage and he just starts slowly clapping, smiling wryly and applauding the hero, each clap like a thundercrack in the silence? That's me right now after watching this video.

So Bob's argument (as I understand it) is that Michael Bay is a cultural mirror of sorts, and the loathing for Michael Bay is in fact a loathing for the culture that he reflects. Makes sense the more that I think about it.

I liked the summation, it pretty much sums it up.

For me it's weird, movies Bay has particular affection for I like, maybe it's because the way he shoots those films I can somehow tell he's trying while the rest it just can't stand. I now he had fun with the Rock and the Transformers feel... detached somewhat. Which is probably why he goes all "paint by numbers" on them.

Nice vid.

This is very interesting. I've always wondered if the state of pop culture, as it is today, is to blame on the artist or the audience.

I've always been more open-minded to the idea that the audience only consumes what's in front of them and if they placed something of higher quality in front of them, they would take it... but, we've seen countless times at the box office that's not always true.

What I will argue is that one can't happen without the other: you can't serve slop if there isn't an audience for it, and the audience can't eat slop if isn't there.

Yeah the general public can be a good and bad thing depending which side you're on when it come to the media.

The Transformers movies where way better than DragonBall: Evolution so he's alright by me.

Really there is problem. If the average moviegoer likes Transformers who am I to take it away from them? Its existence isn't affecting me in any way.

True dat! :)
So... there isn't really a problem; Bay makes movies people like, they watch it and have fun.
Railing against that is just hating for hates sake.

I've been saying this for quite some time in regards to both film and games.

Case-n-point, I wrote a thing a while back saying how the Nintendo is basically doing EVERYTHING gamers demand from their game companies for their gaming experience: free online service, aesthetics over graphical fidelity, 1080p, variety of options of controllers so you can play how you want (similar to PC), backwards compatibility and access to a large library of old school favorites that many are happy to go back to for fun and nostalgia, listening to what consumers want, showing gameplay when revealing a game, more female characters in their games, affordable console, etc. Yet the WiiU doesn't sell and people still treat Nintendo like garbage even though they're embracing the PS4 and Xbone along with Ubisoft and EA who are constantly going against all the above shit and treating customers like crap. (This has changed a little bit recently, but not much).

And people wonder why customers are treated like crap in gaming or in cinema. Because you people keep taking it instead of going for better options. Why, I'll never fully understand, but it happens. And I agree with Bob on this one. creators like Michael Bay or the guys at Ubisoft aren't necessarily the problem. Sure, they don't actively step in to change that, but that's because they have to make a living. And if making a living means selling b-level slop to large audiences because that's the thing that sells best, I guess we'll be stuck with b-level slop for a while. This doesn't mean we can't criticize the creators for making slop, but I do think this is something we should keep in mind when point it out so we can at least be civil about it.

My issue with Micheal Bay is his heavy handedness. He makes these goofy movies and then over intensifies his terrible scripts with slow motion shots of supposed emotional moments. The whole thing falls flat, and it hurts to watch. Examples of this are the scene when Bruce Willis' life flashes before his eyes when he's about to die Armageddon. When the Navi Seal teams are shooting each other in the Rock, and Ed Harrison realizes the extent of what he's done. It so slow and over dramatic, and ham fisted. That's my issue, I cannot even watch the Ham Fisted crap.

I would offer up a counterexample to Bob's claim that the bulk of American viewers would only turn out for slop - but not that the bulk of American movie-goers are in fact turning out for slop.

Let me explain.

A statement about what movie-goers are doing, namely, filling the theaters up for the big, dumb robot movie and ignoring better cinema is not the same as a statement about what they would do under different conditions.

On the small screen, we saw the dumbing-down during the early 2000's of television shows with the reality TV craze, but that subsided as networks managed to sell the general public on more complex serials with long arcs, multi-season plots, and deep characters. What started with Lost and 24 ended up with Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones becaming massive institutions that dwarf most of the contemporary shows on television. The networks sold the populace on the idea of these shows while the critics of the early 2000's were crying about the dumbing down of the TV-viewing population.

Right now, a movie viewer doesn't generally go to the movies expecting to see something that's part of a larger world or longer story (Marvel excepted - and notice how they are hitting it out of the park?) They go expecting two hours of abnegation. They go to turn off for a couple of hours. The small screen sold the viewers on investing in a series, expecting it to be smart, expecting to have to invest in it, and so on. One viewers got the idea that TV would expect that of them, the viewers still turned on and tuned in.

Hollywood for the most part still sells abnegation (exceptions are many but still in a minority). The movies that stick with the viewers are those that offer more - we can all remember Frozen, but does anyone still care about or even remember clearly what happened in the recent Jack Ryan movie? But for the most part, movie viewers go in with the mindset of just zoning out for two hours. And that's fine. Plenty of television is just a way to zone out. However, the small screen has shown us clearly that the public is willing to put a bit of work in when they believe the medium requires it.

I really enjoyed The Rock, but Armageddon was too long. Never seen Bad Boys 2 or Pain & Gain. I grew up with the TMNT cartoon & the original movies & I gotta say the new TMNT actually looks like it might be "gasp" fun to watch, which is really all I ask for in a movie sometimes.

The only thing I ever really hated about the Transformers movies was Shia LaBouf. He's just so damn annoying in every movie. The fights in the first one were a bit of a clusterfuck, but it wasn't really a bad movie. The second was largely forgettable, but a fun watch that I've seen several times on tv. The best thing in it was Devastator. The third was an overwhelming "meh" to me & that's about all I can say about it. I've not seen the fourth one yet, but I'll catch it eventually, I got a long weekend coming up maybe I'll actually go see this one in theaters.

And we wouldn't have Baysplosions without him & I like it when things go boom. Call me one of the mindless masses if you must, I'm ok with it, though I've never paid to see one of his movies.

Very insightful, it is a nice change of pace.

He's just fun to hate

The only thing I have left to add to this is that my personal most despised Michael Bay movie is Pearl Harbour, which is arguably the movie where he tries the hardest not to be Michael Bay.

Bay isn't the only one people hate.

Action sequences aren't plot devices.

And yes, the audience is to blame, but they aren't going to change if you just keep feeding them shit.

When I first saw transformers I enjoyed it, but I also saw it in a packed theater. When I got it on dvd and watched it, I hated it. To enjoy it I needed the energy of the audience to help cover up the weak aspects of it, like most of the pink fleshy things that kept running around or anything shia labeouf did.

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