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November 2, 2011 4:41 AM   Subscribe

The Formula for Complete and Utter BAYHEM or, How Michael Bay has Made Billions in Box Offices Worldwide. SLInfographic (the last graph is particularly depressing)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (110 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Shame he didn't add more explosions to The Island - - because otherwise it was his best film.
posted by fairmettle at 4:45 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't think it was that depressing; at least the deaths in Pearl Harbor fell far short of the real thing.
posted by TedW at 4:47 AM on November 2, 2011


Show business has always been 95% business. He's supremely good at what he does, and what he does is make a lot of money. Anybody can do three minute takes of backlit grass waving in the wind at twilight, but to consistently dominate the box office worldwide actually takes talent.
posted by joannemullen at 4:47 AM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


I believe it's called "grudging respect".
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:52 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, poorly constructed misleading graphs depress me too.
posted by Bovine Love at 4:54 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it just number of explosions? Don't the magnitude and style count for anything? Either this is an error in methodology, or I respect the viewing public even less than I thought.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:56 AM on November 2, 2011


...at least the deaths in Pearl Harbor fell far short of the real thing.

I'm sure the Ultra-3D Blue-Ray Director's Expanded Extended Final Cut Limited-Edition 12-Disc Platinum Box Release will correct for that mistake.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:00 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


My respect for Michael Bay pretty much comes from this awesome commercial. When someone can poke fun at himself, it's a lot easier to tolerate.
posted by explosion at 5:09 AM on November 2, 2011 [25 favorites]


The final conclusion is too specific. Using worldwide gross to say something specifically about American movie patrons doesn't really make sense. Explosions are quite popular in a variety of places I assure you.
posted by Winnemac at 5:13 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


All of the graphs that weren't line graphs should have been bar charts with bars in chronological order. The two line graphs should have been combined into a scatter plot.
posted by Jpfed at 5:14 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


My respect for Michael Bay pretty much comes from this awesome commercial . When someone can poke fun at himself, it's a lot easier to tolerate.

A double tip of the eponysterity cap to you, sir.
posted by amy lecteur at 5:16 AM on November 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


OK, that commercial was funny. His movies still suck though.
posted by octothorpe at 5:25 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


the last graph is particularly depressing because it should have been a scatterplot. But maybe Americans don't like... correct dimensions?
posted by Wolfdog at 5:34 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shame he didn't add more explosions to The Island - - because otherwise it was his best film.

It was also a rip-off of (of all things) Parts: The Clonus Horror.

Him showig a self-deprecating sense of humor would make me feel better about him, except for one thing.

That thing is Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. I have seen all 190+ episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I have never seen a movie that aggressively stupid.

Not Monster A-Go-Go, a movie where you find out at the end that the monster, a mutated astronaut returned from space in his capsule, that had terrorized the countryside the whole movie and killed several people never actually existed, because the astronaut lands safely, in his capsule, at the end of the film.

Not The Creeping Terror, which has a monster which resembles a cross between a Chinese dragon and a really dirty carpet, which is festooned with vacuum cleaner hoses, has a 15 minute pointless dance scene with characters we know nothing about, which gets attacked by the monster so the dancers line up single file to get out of the school gym the dance is being held at, and whose creature design is so pathetic that its victims have to crawl inside its mouth to be eaten.

Not Red Zome Cuba, which only actually goes to Cuba for a short stretch in the middle of the movie, has characters do stupid things for no reason, is full of touches you can tell director Coleman Francis thought arty but are really only pathetic.

Not Starfighters, that outright love letter to the US Air Force starring later congressman Bob Dornan, full to the absolute brim with in-flght refuling scenes, containing characters with limited outlooks on life, in which the most exciting moment is when everyone goes to the pool for Poopie Suit Training.

Not Hobgoblins, although it comes close, with its inert doll monsters, its lack of a single likeable character, and its terrible attitude towards women -- and men, for that matter.

Not even Manos -- which I will spare you a description of.

Even modern cult bad movies The Room and Birdemic: Shock and Horror, I would much rather watch those than Transformers 2. I have the RiffTrax to Transformers 2, but I haven't been able to survive the movie long enough to enjoy it.

The movie has black stereotype robots more offensive than Jar Jar Binks. It has a tracking shot of a young woman's miniskirted ass climbing a flight of steps for no reason other than audience pandering. Transformers 2, a movie about two factions of robots from an alien world who have taken their centuries-old conflict to Earth, contains multiple scenes of simulated dog sex. See what wonders Michael Bay has brought you!

I can't imagine what Michael Bay could do that could cause me to forgive him for that movie. It's grotesque.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 AM on November 2, 2011 [43 favorites]


I do not unbderstand why I should be depressed that a guy who makes bad movies sells a lot of movie tickets. Isn't that to be expected?
posted by Ironmouth at 5:46 AM on November 2, 2011


Ugh, I'm so sick of lazily thrown-together infographics. I'm surprised that this one was created for a university course and not some link farm.
posted by kdar at 5:54 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shit just got profitable.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:57 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have never seen a movie that aggressively stupid.

Oh, man. I just saw Transformers 3 (cut me some slack, it was a 23 hour flight). It will give you brain herpes. Just astonishing.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be willing to bet that these are the exact same graphs as were shown to the studio execs that gave these films the green light.

That said, this is about due to backfire - there's only so many explosions can be fitted into a film. They'll follow it to its logical conclusion and release 2 hours of back-to-back explosions and murder, then it'll bomb (excuse the pun) and they'll stand around scratching their heads as to why.

By then they'll have ruined explosions for everyone. Good job guys.
posted by Acey at 6:05 AM on November 2, 2011


Oh, man. I just saw Transformers 3 (cut me some slack, it was a 23 hour flight).

I will not. As I mentioned once before on the blue, in early 2001 I spent thirteen or fourteen hours on a flight from Tokyo to Chicago. There were four movies -- all bad -- available in English and even with that much time to kill and such a poverty of choices, I could not make it through more than about fifteen minutes of Armageddon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:07 AM on November 2, 2011


Guys!

How DID Megatron plan all that stuff with NASA and the moon landing in the sixties if he was frozen in ice all that time? That part really confused me.
posted by ELF Radio at 6:08 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


That thing is Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. I have seen all 190+ episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I have never seen a movie that aggressively stupid.

Transformers 2 is bad, but it's no Last Airbender.

(Fuck you, M. Night. FUCK YOU.)
posted by kmz at 6:14 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the real surprise here is that Transformers 3 only cost 95 mil to make. Was there a coupon for making two shitty movies and getting a third for half price?
posted by SharkParty at 6:18 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have seen all 190+ episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I have never seen a movie that aggressively stupid.

But didn't you know it would be bad? Why did you give him your time and money?
posted by pracowity at 6:19 AM on November 2, 2011


SharkParty: it was actually 195 million. The 1 just sort of gets lost.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 6:22 AM on November 2, 2011


Oh okay then I'd like to change my answer to "man what a terrible infographic!"
posted by SharkParty at 6:23 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see charts of Bay's income and explosion count against GDP and the unemployment rate.
posted by DU at 6:25 AM on November 2, 2011


He also directed the original 'Got Milk?' commercial

Certified explosion-free

Except for the meltdown in the comments
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:26 AM on November 2, 2011


I love how this stupid "infographic" looks down it's nose at Bay's films, and then right there in the footer is "ART320 Fall 2011 Portland State University" (where else) suggesting that this garbage qualifies as an art project.

If you think Michael Bay is a horrible director and can't understand his success, maybe its because art programs turn out pretentious snobs with zero creativity.

There is no greater master of kinetic art working today than Michael Bay. If he directed a pornographic film, its sales would collapse the economy.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:27 AM on November 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


If you think Michael Bay is a horrible director and can't understand his success, maybe its because art programs turn out pretentious snobs with zero creativity.

Huh. I guess maybe that's the reason. It's possible. I think there are probably other reasons too, though.
posted by penduluum at 6:29 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think Michael Bay is a horrible director and I understand his success.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:33 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


See I just don't watch his movies. It's worked pretty well for me. Except when I got a wild hair up my ass that one time and ordered The Island on Netflix. It was indeed pretty bad.
posted by Naberius at 6:34 AM on November 2, 2011


Bay's success is by no means hard to understand. People love bullshit. Bay is a peculiar auteur, but hardly a "master." The word "master" is practically meaningless here.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 6:34 AM on November 2, 2011


Oh shit, her butt's a robot! (Excerpted from an extended meditation on the shittiness of Michael Bay Transformers.)
posted by kmz at 6:34 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Woody Allen, we've found a way for you to rerelease Interiors...
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:38 AM on November 2, 2011


He also directed the original 'Got Milk?' commercial

I remember hearing that and almost reconsidering my utter hatred of all things Michael Bay. But then (prev):
Bay: The offer to do Got Milk? came to me and I'm like, "Milk? That's embarrassing." When I did it, I was like, "This is a terrible commercial. I don't get it." It won the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year. I think it's an OK commercial.
Whew. Still dumb.
posted by kmz at 6:38 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you think Michael Bay is a horrible director and can't understand his success, maybe its because art programs turn out pretentious snobs with zero creativity.

I don't understand this sentence. Is your implicit assumption that Michael Bay has shown non-zero creativity? And that that's what people are flocking to his movies to see?
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look, I am not a cinephile, nor am I a film critic, or an expert in anything cine-related.

However, I can categorically say that the three Transformers movies were unbelievably bad, so much worse than almsot anything else I have seen, including Shark Attack 3. Adding to this is the insane production budgets and huge gross sales and I really don't get contemporary movie audiences. I guess this is why I don't go to the movies very often.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:52 AM on November 2, 2011


"known for his...fast-paced...films" - credibility blown in the first sentence? "Turgid", "leaden", "boring" and "dull" are appropriate adjectives to apply to Michael Bay films, "fast-paced" is not.

There is no greater master of kinetic art working today than Michael Bay.


If you're going to talk nonsense, at least don't demonstrate your zero creativity by talking Armond White's nonsense.
posted by howfar at 6:56 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really don't get contemporary movie audiences. I guess this is why I don't go to the movies very often.

And yet you sat down and watched all three Transformers movies. There's your answer.
posted by bittermensch at 6:57 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


However, I can categorically say that the three Transformers movies were unbelievably bad

OK, but how and why do you know? You lined up, paid for tickets, and watched them with some expectation that they would be good? All three times?
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never bothered seeing the Transformers movies (or most Bay movies), but I doubt they would enrage me as much as Forrest Gump. At least the Transformers movies don't pretend to teach me about life through inane dialogue and buckets of high-fructose nostalgia.
posted by emjaybee at 7:00 AM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Any chart about box office grosses will seem super-dramatic if you don't include marketing costs and don't adjust for inflation.
posted by grimmelm at 7:03 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I really don't get contemporary movie audiences. I guess this is why I don't go to the movies very often.

And yet you sat down and watched all three Transformers movies. There's your answer.
posted by bittermensch at 6:57 AM on November 2 [+] [!] "


"However, I can categorically say that the three Transformers movies were unbelievably bad

OK, but how and why do you know? You lined up, paid for tickets, and watched them with some expectation that they would be good? All three times?
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on November 2 [+] [!] "

No no no!

I rented the first one, so yes I was fooled once. But I saw the second one on a flight to Vancouver (the guy next to me was watching it and I half paid attention to it, man it was awful), and I a friend tortured me by making me watch bits of the third movie in order to show me just howbad t was (he did supply me with liquor though).

So, no, I did not (repeat NOT) pay to see either the 2nd or 3rd installment. I am guilty of giving Mr. Bay a chance with the first one however, and let me tell you it was several notches below the old animated movie from my youth.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:07 AM on November 2, 2011


"known for his...fast-paced...films" - credibility blown in the first sentence? "Turgid", "leaden", "boring" and "dull" are appropriate adjectives to apply to Michael Bay films, "fast-paced" is not.

posted by howfar at 6:56 AM on November 2 [+] [!]



I think by fast-paced they mean that if you blink you will miss two or three cuts.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:08 AM on November 2, 2011


OK, but how and why do you know? You lined up, paid for tickets, and watched them with some expectation that they would be good? All three times?

George Lucas taught me this sad lesson already.

I made it through the first Transformers because I went with a support network of nerdy friends. I should have known that any movie based on a half hour commercial I watched as a child could not possibly be good. I even hated bumblebee. How can you hate that guy? Fuck you Michael Bay, I hope you drown in your vault of money.

Also, The Island better than The Rock? Seriously?
posted by chemoboy at 7:09 AM on November 2, 2011


I so regret posting this now as, although I've purposefully avoided them until now, after browsing through the comments I'm curious to see just how bad the third (and second) Transformers movies actually are. God damn you all! God damn you all to hell!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:10 AM on November 2, 2011


I watched about ten minutes of one of the Transformers movies the other day while flipping around and that was really as much as I could take. The action made no sense at all and completely defied spacial reality or any known physics.
posted by octothorpe at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2011


I'm glad we aren't going to sink into attacking "art students" - that is always tedious and depressing.

To me, the interesting thing about Michael Bay is that the commercial success of his movies seems to be an example of people paying for the idea of a thing rather than looking at the thing in itself.

For example: Transformers is actually a terrible action movie. It is in no way tense, gripping, involving, exciting etc. It's really more of a highly camp art installation. And yet, people who wanted to see an action movie went to see it, saw it and came away pronouncing it a "big dumb action movie" because they recognised enough echoes of James Cameron that it sort of fitted into that box. Of course, I can't say that for sure - but I do think that some kind of habituated behaviour is going on here - a sort of appetite for more of the same but with the rough edges taken off...
posted by lucien_reeve at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't get Michael Bay hate. So he films explosions and robots, and people watch. I like explosions and robots. I don't go to the movies for "cinema," I go for explosions and robots. How does that affect your life? You can still make and watch your artsy films. Michael Bay isn't stealing your customers; I wasn't going to see your film whether he made Transformers 41: Beast Wars on Cybertron or not.

I used to work as a jazz musician. I know all about trying to work in a "higher" art form while nobody pays attention and your show is empty while Eminem sells out a stadium across town. I never resented pop artists for their success—hell, I listen to pop music—nor did I want to be doing what they were. It was a different thing, and there was plenty of room for both. If I can try to make a living playing Coltrane without hating Britney Spears, then I'd think filmmakers can ply their trade without hating Michael Bay. And if you're not even a filmmaker but just someone in the audience, then I really don't get your stake.

If it's an argument about distribution, you're dreaming. Even if you were able to convince a cinema to show your artsy film on one of the five screens that would otherwise be showing Transformers, your audience wouldn't balloon; the cinema's revenue would shrink. (I tried something very similar with jazz. It failed, too.)

And if it's an argument about "dumbing-down" America...? I don't mean to derail into PoliticalFilter, but you have to see the humor in a bunch of people on a liberal website who mostly support teacher's unions, leveling that particular criticism at Michael Bay.
posted by cribcage at 7:14 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ended up in an impromptu Tom Swifty contest with a colleague last summer. I won when he couldn't stop laughing at my submission:

"'Michael Bay is a terrible director!', Tom exploded."
posted by caution live frogs at 7:18 AM on November 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


I don't get Michael Bay hate. So he films explosions and robots, and people watch. I like explosions and robots.

I like (indeed love) explosions and robots, and I hate Michael Bay films even when they have explosions and robots in. That's because they're bad films. They are not entertaining. That's why people hate them. It's not snobbery, they're just boring and shit. If Michael Bay weren't making bad action films, someone might be making good action films that are actually enjoyable.
posted by howfar at 7:18 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Look, cinema is for a variety of things. One of those things is lovingly rendered explosions. If you don't think explosions are a legitimate form of artistic expression then that is your right as an adult. You're completely incorrect, but that's okay, Art is vast and it encompasses many things whether we want it to or not.
posted by Peztopiary at 7:19 AM on November 2, 2011


I like explosions and robots. I don't go to the movies for "cinema," I go for explosions and robots.

There's a lot of room between "cinema" and "Michael Bay" where explosions and robots could fall.

I used to work as a jazz musician. I know all about trying to work in a "higher" art form while nobody pays attention and your show is empty while Eminem sells out ...

I don't think people hate Bay because he's stealing their customers. They just...don't like his movies. That's still OK to do, right? Not like something and tell others about it?

And if it's an argument about "dumbing-down" America...? I don't mean to derail into PoliticalFilter, but you have to see the humor in a bunch of people on a liberal website who mostly support teacher's unions, leveling that particular criticism at Michael Bay.

*parse*
*re-parse*

Oh my. Oh MY.
posted by DU at 7:20 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't get Michael Bay hate.

It's easier to hate the purveyor than it is to hate one's neighbors, coworkers, and god forbid even family members who lap up his excrement.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please, folks, enough with the bandying about of supposedly worse movies. We all know the worst movie in recent times was Crystal Skull, the movie that made me think "hey, maybe The Craft wasn't so bad after all."

As for Bay, the Rock is good stupid fun. The Island, though, started half an hour too early, and ended at least an hour before it should have. Personally, I would have rather seen a film where the developmentally stunted clones of the world's rich and famous emerge from the (literally) underground organ farm/holding pens. What happens next in that world, where even the freaking president has an organ double? The sometimes optimist in me imagines a fifteen to thirty minute closing act, with the clones being rehabilitated, the clone owners being dealt with in some appropriate manner. The loyal science fiction fan that I am would look forward to the hour long struggle to end the system, followed by society just accepting the horror it now lives with, and ending with clone farm franchises popping up all over. That? Not a bad movie.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2011


I would like to go on the record to say that I really like the film "Bad Boys."
posted by chavenet at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


but to consistently dominate the box office worldwide actually takes talent.

I guess that's a talent. So is shit-shoveling and chicken-choking. Personally, I can't yet imagine spending money on a Michael Bay film. Not even my pure and holy love for Scarlett Johansson could get me into The Island. It takes a special kind of talent to make something so relentlessly derivative and still turn it into a hot mess.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2011


If you go to a Michael Bay film expecting a Godard artsy wankfest tour de force, please punch yourself in the genitals until you see reason.
posted by dr_dank at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2011


TedW: "I didn't think it was that depressing; at least the deaths in Pearl Harbor fell far short of the real thing."

I went to the National Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol steps earlier this year.

For me, the highlight of the ceremony was the exasperated sigh from the crowd that came after the announcer said
"And what better way to welcome our brave men and women home than the sounds of American Idol runner-up ______* set to scenes from Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor*"
I was there with some friends who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. One of them stood up and shouted "Turn this off, and we'll go back,!" which got amused chuckles from the people sitting around us, except for the WWII vets, who seemed somewhat offended.

*I forget who it was. They weren't very good.

Also, I guess Michael Bay deserves some kudos for actually filming most of his location shots in DC, even if he did manage to completely screw up the city for a few days. It's astonishing just how little DC-based location shooting actually takes place.

posted by schmod at 7:24 AM on November 2, 2011


If I ever considered spending money to see a Michael Bay film, I would punch myself in the genitals until I saw reason.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:28 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, Bad Boys II was all I ever wanted in a movie and more. (Admittedly a big part of this is my undying love for Jordi Molla.) Bay's films fit my low expectations and miniscule attention span very well.
posted by elizardbits at 7:33 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


My idea of actual trufax hell is a movie where people cry and talk about their feelings a lot. Also there are babies.

If, on the other hand, those people are crying and talking about their feelings regarding the explosions and robots all around them, and the zombies they are slaughtering, then it is a whole new ballgame.

posted by elizardbits at 7:35 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the Bad Boys films are schlocky fun due to the charismatic leads, not so much the director. Although the car chases were cool.

So is shit-shoveling and chicken-choking.

Did you just say chicken-choking? I haven't hear that since grade school.
posted by Think_Long at 7:35 AM on November 2, 2011


Bad Boys II? Seriously?! The one that ends with Will Smith invading Cuba? Where they just escape to Guantanamo without causing a major incident? Or, more ridiculously, the marines just let them in?

Other than that, yeah, good fun fights, not bad.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:37 AM on November 2, 2011


Yes, because stupid explosion movies should always have absolutely scrupulously correct sociopolitical realism as their main plot point!

oh god wait does this mean that giant robots from outer space DON'T ACTUALLY EXIST noooo
posted by elizardbits at 7:45 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bad Boys II? Seriously?! The one that ends with Will Smith invading Cuba? Where they just escape to Guantanamo without causing a major incident? Or, more ridiculously, the marines just let them in?

I completely forgot that I saw that.

In my defence, it was at the drive-in, part of a dusk-til-dawn, and I was waiting between other movies. Normally seeing any movie at the drive-in improves it somewhat, but... alas.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:50 AM on November 2, 2011


You know, that infographic is actually an impressively well done representation of Michael Bay's work. I feel dumber after viewing it.
posted by loquacious at 7:57 AM on November 2, 2011


There is no question that the Transformers movies are profitable. There's no question that they're terrible, either.

The thing that Bay defenders don't seem to get is - quality and commercial appeal are not in essential opposition, and his movies would be even more profitable if they were good!

Haven't seen Transformers 3, but Transformers 2 had the bones of terrifically fun and frequently exciting spectacle. Any one of dozens of scifi authors / script doctors could have fixed the story and superintended the cut from a broad narrative perspective, and any one of dozens of editors could have superintended the cut from a this-just-hurts-your-eyes and this-is-dragging-on-too-long. Maybe a $2 million investment and easily $100 million more in sales.
posted by MattD at 8:06 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


you have to see the humor in a bunch of people on a liberal website who mostly support teacher's unions, leveling that particular criticism at Michael Bay.

I'm really confused. Is Michael Bay in a teacher's union now?

If you go to a Michael Bay film expecting a Godard artsy wankfest tour de force

I generally expect to be able to understand what's happening on screen. 3 hours of amorphous robots that all look the same punching each other isn't really my idea of a fun action movie.
posted by kmz at 8:13 AM on November 2, 2011


Godard artsy wankfest tour de force

Okay, so art is subjective and people are free to dislike whatever they want to dislike, sure sure, but there is some weirdly aggressive anti-intellectualism that comes up whenever people talk about explodey movies.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Godard's Bell End is probably his best artsy wankfest tour de force.
posted by defenestration at 8:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody can do three minute takes of backlit grass waving in the wind at twilight, but to consistently dominate the box office worldwide actually takes talent.

Why do you hate Days of Heaven so much?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:25 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


his movies would be even more profitable if they were good!

Not entirely convinced that's the case. The blockbuster business model is, as far as I can tell, to make a movie good enough that enough Americans will watch it to more-or-less cover its production costs, then make about three million metric assloads of money selling it to foreign audiences who don't actually care one way or the other. They don't speak the language, don't get most of the references, and basically just want to go see an American movie with explosions in it. Seriously, about two thirds of the Transformers franchise's worldwide gross comes from countries outside North America, which as far as I can tell the majority of which does not give two sacks of manure for what people around here would perceive as metrics of "quality" anyway. Sure, maybe the Brits and some other Europeans, but Malaysia? I think not.
posted by valkyryn at 8:27 AM on November 2, 2011


Anti-pretentious is the new pretentious.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2011


The thing that Bay defenders don't seem to get is - quality and commercial appeal are not in essential opposition, and his movies would be even more profitable if they were good!

That's the thing I like about the Harry Potter movies from #3 upwards. While the franchise owners knew that the entire lot would be insanely profitable, they took a conscious decision to introduce at least a bit of quality and finesse into the movies. Hence you have Cuaron doing #3 for example.
posted by the cydonian at 8:32 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I truly don't care for Bay's films either. And this thread is filled with trolling, defensiveness, and anti-intellectualism — Bay's bros are going ad hominem or taking down assumed sacred cows of the snooty cineastes. But!

His films are profitable. And when those credits roll, there are thousands of names. At least he's creating jobs.
posted by defenestration at 8:36 AM on November 2, 2011


The only Bad Boys worth watching is the one with Sean Penn.
posted by Sailormom at 8:39 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm missing the anti-intellectualism here. Or is liking a bay movie supposed to be inherently anti-intellectual?
posted by Bovine Love at 8:44 AM on November 2, 2011


Have you missed all the comments that say you must be an ivory tower snob if you don't like Michael Bay's movies?
posted by kmz at 8:46 AM on November 2, 2011


I understand why Bay changed some of the things that he did about Transformers, but it's disappointing that he chose to make a show about giant, fighting robots into a movie about boring humans. At least the people in the cartoon were always scientists or hackers or metalworkers. The films just make this random kid the most important person to the Autobots, because for some reason they're very concerned about humanity and don't have Teletraan I to help them figure stuff out. Sam is clearly meant to be playing the role that Spike did in the cartoon, but Spike taught these alien robots important earth facts, fought alongside them, and later became one of them. Sam and his girlfriend become the damsel-in-distress about as often in the movies as Spike did on the show, but in terms of writing, there's no reason that he should be the center of the story.

Bay even stripped out the relationship between Megatron, Starscream, and Soundwave, an aspect that makes the cartoon so much funnier than photorealistic robots inexplicably peeing on people. Having that in the films would have cost nothing more, and then, bonus, they would have had personalities.

In lieu of going on, here's an expletive-filled tirade about Dark of the Moon.
posted by heatvision at 8:50 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man and you know every time people on Metafilter start going on about how stupid and snooty and fakey-fake artsy art is I'm like 'nah but that's just a few vocal outliers, watch!' and then I make a post about some neat bit of contemporary art project or something and it gets three and a half comments half of which consist of the word 'Lame.' So.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:52 AM on November 2, 2011


"Anti-pretentious is the new pretentious."

New?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:56 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sure, maybe the Brits and some other Europeans, but Malaysia? I think not.


I could post a snarky response to you valkyryn, but can't be bothered. I'm pretty certain that your belief that Malaysians don't care about decent films says more about your attitudes and expectations than it does about theirs.
posted by howfar at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't like Michael Bay movies, not much at all. But I'll spare the hyperbole: He's actually the very best director on my personal "worst directors of all time" list. He's really a great deal better than, say...posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2011


When you shit-talk someone like Godard it's cool as hell, because you assert that you know who he is and how important he is perceived to be while being the above "artsiness" of it all.

It's all like, "Sure, I've heard of your mouth, your eyes, your nose and your ears, but they ain't shit!"
posted by defenestration at 9:03 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


above the*
posted by defenestration at 9:03 AM on November 2, 2011


OK, you have your Bay hate — but then you're not allowed to love Méliès.
posted by Tom-B at 9:11 AM on November 2, 2011


bad boys II contained a scene with RAT SEX, Martin Lawrence pointing out they "fuck just like us!", and one of many blatant GM ads where Will Smith says " I have to get me one of these" while using a Cadillac in a chase scene. in summation, Michael Bay is a very rich jerk.
posted by ninjew at 9:11 AM on November 2, 2011


So Blow'd Up would actually have been a successful movie, then?
posted by zompus at 9:14 AM on November 2, 2011


What pissed me off about the last transformers movie was that the first few minutes of it started kinda cool, like it was going to be the next Moon or at least Contact or something. Then some shit blew up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:26 AM on November 2, 2011


I don't get Michael Bay hate. So he films explosions and robots, and people watch. I like explosions and robots.

Yeah, but Michael Bay makes robots and explosions suck. Bay makes them somewhere between just boring and annoying.

The problem with Bay isn't that his movies are non-art movies. The problem isn't that they're lowest-common-denominator asplosions. The problem is that even for non art movies, even for LCD action flicks, they suck. They suck in comparison to other non-art, LCD action flicks, like, I dunno, Predator or Die Hard.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:28 AM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


They don't speak the language, don't get most of the references, and basically just want to go see an American movie with explosions in it.

Pretty similar to US audiences, then?

but Malaysia?

Malaysian studios should remake Transformers like they did Evolusi KL Drift. It couldn't be worse. (Speaking of Malaysia, I'm eager to see if U-Wei Haji Saari's version of Almayer's Folly ever gets made.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:29 AM on November 2, 2011


OK, you have your Bay hate — but then you're not allowed to love Méliès .

Between this and the teacher's union thing, what's up with nonsensical non-sequitur analogies?
posted by kmz at 9:31 AM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


...headphones and huge American flag

I can't believe I'm defending Michael Bay, but it stands to reason that the huge American flag is from the set of Pearl Harbor (though I guess it could be Armageddon) , and directors wear headphones so they can hear the audio of the scene that's being shot, not to look cool.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:57 AM on November 2, 2011


I don't get Michael Bay hate.

FDR rises from wheelchair, swallows hard against rising emotion as string section swells.

"Do not tell me it cahn't be done."

I mean, there's garden-variety plug dumb, and then there's stupidity so aggressive it's a kind of cultural cancer, and then, just a little further along that scale, there's Franklin Delano Roosevelt standing up to underscore his rhetorical point.
posted by gompa at 10:02 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that even for non art movies, even for LCD action flicks, they suck.

Yes! This! I don't care who goes to see his movies, or whether it's some kind of class marker to like or not like them. I have no interest in the politics of whether or not the success of his movies is indicative of the dumbing-down of anything, or the quality of directors being turned out by film programs, or some kind of referendum on what people want out of movies. I don't care what his movies say about contemporary America and am not convinced that they actually say anything about contemporary America at all. Michael-Bay-as-signifier is fine, and you guys can talk about that all you want, but don't tell me that I can't hate Michael Bay movies because those conversations are totally orthogonal to the fact that I find his movies specifically boring. And sometimes offensive. Not that explosion-based movies are dumb or wasteful, or that other people aren't allowed to like whatever they want to like. But that his specific, personal movies are bad and badly made.
posted by penduluum at 10:06 AM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


The problem is that even for non art movies, even for LCD action flicks, they suck.

Agreed, with the exception of The Rock and Bad Boys 1 & 2, which are enjoyable action movies.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:09 AM on November 2, 2011


i wonder if it would be cool to stick up for m. bay and call him like a master of motion and action etc. etc., i think that would be cool and i would look smart and contrary like a guy who is smarter and hipper than everyone

what do you mean, "armond white did that like a year ago"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't get Michael Bay hate.

Because something like the Transformers franchise seems like it could be made into some really fun, exciting action movies. Giant robots that turn into cars and fight wars with each other. I want to watch that movie. And I think there are scores, maybe hundreds of directors who could make a really fun movie with that premise and Michael Bay's budget.

And yet he gives us this crap that is less fun, less cool, less interesting, less exciting, less funny, less visually engaging, and more poorly written than an average TV cartoon.
posted by straight at 11:11 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


kmz: Have you missed all the comments that say you must be an ivory tower snob if you don't like Michael Bay's movies?

Yes. Still can't find them. I found one particularly strong slam against art programs, but surely we won't claim that art programs represent intellectualism? I found several responses which don't accept anti-populism as being inherently correct, but I'm not seeing the anti-intellectualism here.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:15 AM on November 2, 2011


But didn't you know it would be bad? Why did you give him your time and money?

The answer is in my comment: RiffTrax. Transformers 2 was the movie so bad that even if I watched it with the participation of three guys whose job it is to make fun of bad movies, I couldn't finish it.

It's easier to hate the purveyor than one's neighbors....

People who live Michael Bay movies we can excuse by ignorance. Pandering to ignorance, however, is reprehensible, no matter how much money it makes you.

Oh and cribcage, what, you're dragging out the tired "teacher's unions are destroying America" meme? You're actually staking a political flag upon the towering, exploding shitpile that's Michael Bay's output? Wow.
posted by JHarris at 11:19 AM on November 2, 2011


Don't forget Michael Bay's cameo performance in Mystery Men as the leader of the Frat Boys gang. I believe his line of dialogue to Geoffrey Rush's villain is, "Can we get more brewskies?" (holds up beer mug).
posted by asfuller at 11:55 AM on November 2, 2011


I found several responses which don't accept anti-populism as being inherently correct, but I'm not seeing the anti-intellectualism here.

The arguments in favour of Bay all seem to be founded on an anti-intellectual straw man, the notion that if you don't like Bay it's because you want "a Godard artsy wankfest tour de force". No-one is prepared to defend Bay on any of the actual grounds of dislike. His films are slow and badly paced, they never create engaging characters (The Rock and Bad Boys, dependent on the charisma of their stars, demonstrate rather than contradict this point), they substitute soap opera squabbling for an integrated plot. I could go on.

I don't hate Michael Bay's films because I hate dumb action movies, I hate them because I love dumb action movies, and know that they can be great. People who defend Bay seem to think that action movies are intrinsically bad. If you want to see snobbery and artificial ideas of "quality", you need to look at those who support Bay, not those who criticise him.
posted by howfar at 11:59 AM on November 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


One of the things I can't stand about Bay movies is the pandering to the audience. You can make a scene powerful without showing us an American flag fluttering over some Kansas landscape in order to tell us "this is heavy," like every third scene in Armaggedon. You can be funny without being aggressively stupid, as in every freaking joke in the Transformers films, from the racist stereotypes that by and large have little to do with the original cartoon, to the humor so crude it makes me sad. Just sad. I mean, did we really need to not only see that Devastator had testicles? Or be explicitly told about them?

And, ahem, Space Dementia? The agressive lack of any sort of critical thought is stupefying. Sure, I get it, escapism is awesome. I love my absurd films. I'd just like to be able to suspend disbelief for just a little while. When the director, or the script writer isn't even trying to make sense, it's just freaking insulting. It's not that hard to put together a plot point, then to stop for a moment and think, 'hey, if I followed this idea to its blindingly obvious conclusion, if I thought for just a freaking second about the bigger ramifications of this plot device, would it make any goddamn sense? In Transformers 2, the U.S. Navy blows up Devastator (arguably the best designed giant robot in the three films, mind you) the Decepticon that is laying waste to every single thing in its path, the unstoppable killing machine, if you will. How does the Navy do it? With a rail gun.

Why the fuck doesn't the Navy just kill all the transformers and have done with it? Why does the astronaut have a gun in space? Why the hell are there gatlin guns? Are you telling me you couldn't manage to find enough drama in landing a group of oil workers on a giant asteroid heading for earth that you need to add pointless shooting and such?

Seriously, SPACE DEMENTIA?
posted by Ghidorah at 12:41 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, SPACE DEMENTIA?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:56 PM on November 2, 2011


howfar: The arguments in favour of Bay all seem to be founded on an anti-intellectual straw man, the notion that if you don't like Bay it's because you want "a Godard artsy wankfest tour de force".

This is unsupported; there are those here who are saying not all films have to be Godard artsy wankfests to be good. That is not anti-intellectual; it is just anti-Godard. I think it is you who have raised a straw man.

People who defend Bay seem to think that action movies are intrinsically bad.

I will defend some of Bay's films, and I do not, most definitely do not, think action movies are intrinsically bad. I also thought the original animated series ****** **** (and that was not nice things blanked out). Not to mention, I don't see why it is relevant, but sure comes up a lot. People are entitled to their opinions. I think Transformers was entertaining, made me smile and I had fun watching it, reveling in the wins by the good guys. It was not art, it was entertainment and fine entertainment for a good few million people. They may not share your sense of taste, but that is no cause to accuse them all of being anti-intellectual schmucks. IMO, #2 sucked. I don't know many people who thought it didn't, despite having parted with their money. I haven't seen #3.

I'm not fond of Armageddon, but that is because it was too jingoistic for me. Some of his other stuff is entertaining. Maybe it is a guilty pleasure. Or maybe I just separate entertainment from art fairly cleanly. Plus I like tracking shots of mini-skirted asses. Pandering? Ok, sure, but it is also known as shit-people-like.

I also enjoy a wide range of other movies (and all sorts of other entertainment and art). I see those as orthogonal to Bay-ism.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:28 PM on November 2, 2011


And when those credits roll, there are thousands of names. At least he's creating jobs.

Pretty much any movie you go to see, more than ninety per cent - perhaps closer to ninety-nine per cent - of the people involved in making it are among the very best at what they do and are working at the top of their game to ensure further employment.

And then there's Michael Bay...
posted by Grangousier at 3:25 PM on November 2, 2011


This is unsupported; there are those here who are saying not all films have to be Godard artsy wankfests to be good. That is not anti-intellectual; it is just anti-Godard. I think it is you who have raised a straw man.

But why on earth mention it at all, given that no-one has suggested anything of the sort until someone sprang up to deny it?

A: "I don't like Michael Bay's films. I think they're awful in fact."
B: "Yeah, well not every film has to be a Godard artsy wankfest to be good."

If you can't detect the subtext it's no wonder you like Michael Bay.*

I have no problem with people liking Michael Bay's films. Nor do I believe that people who like Michael Bay are anti-intellectual schmucks. I do believe that a fallacious anti-intellectual argument is raised by people who wish to defend Michael Bay's fucking awful films. I also believe we've seen examples of it in this thread.

*Yeah, totally uncalled for I know. I'm cheap. ;)
posted by howfar at 3:58 PM on November 2, 2011


Heh heh heh yeah I like the parts in Michael Bay movies where people on the set have their lives completely fucking ruined forever.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:39 PM on November 2, 2011


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