Tag Archives: Michael Bay

The Island (2005)

Parts: The Lens Flare Horror
Parts: The Lens Flare Horror

I expected to hate The Island. But 2005 was a real bi-polar year. We all learned what it means to miss New Orleans, but look on the bright side: Batman came back to unexpectedly-viable life, I was enjoying all the benefits of dating a Reed College student, and Michael Bay directed a film that doesn’t totally suck. It’s not good…but it fits in with the general tone of this site a whole hell of a lot better than, say, The Rock. I’m a Sci-Fi geek through and through. Gave up making apologies for that sometime in the early-90s, around the time Star Trek started rocking my world.

As such, I could care less about frat boy circle jerks, like the Bad Boys duology or Pearl Harbor. This film faced longer odds then a sailor on the U.S.S. Arizona on December 7, 1941. And yet it…kinda…sorta…beat them. Continue reading The Island (2005)

Bad Boys II (2003)

And here's everything you need to know about this film in ONE image.
And here’s everything you need to know about this film in ONE image.

Instead of doing my normal thing, I thought I’d summarize this film from the perspective of an actual Michael Bay fan. So I went and kidnapped one: Mr. Daniel Ichluguer. After a few days of torturous medical experimentation by my Mad Scientist alter-ego (some of us had one back in ’99, before it was cool) I think I’ve finally got him to the point where he’ll do pretty much whatever I want, so long as I use his control phrase. So, Daniel…would you kindly summarize the film for my reading audience?

Dude! So there’s like, this guy, right? And he’s all like, tryin’ to be all that in the Miami drug scene, know what I mean, playah? He’s like, smuggling ecstasy outta Amsterdam (cuz that’s where drugs come from) in like, coffins and shit, cuz he own this funeral home as a front, right? Like those queers on Six Feet Under. But it ain’t like, a gay thing: it’s a man thing. Martin Lawrence even says so. Continue reading Bad Boys II (2003)

The Rock (1996)

The devout Action Movie worshiper must face west five times a day and sing praise to their great god, the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.
The devout Action Movie worshiper must face west five times a day and sing praises to their god: the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.

Michael Bay didn’t know it at the time, but he made this movie for my mother. She’s an actor junkie who came of age in a time when movie stars were movie stars and the mainstream culture still surrounded them with auras of “respectability.” As such, she prefers her leading men play flawed-but-noble heroes…though she’s not opposed to the occasional flight of hyper-masculine fantasy (after all, she married my dad). So putting Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery in the same film was like ringing her personal dinner bell. And since I was thirteen at the time, I had no choice but to suffer through this at her side.

This was my – and a lot of people’s – real introduction to Michael Bay. Sure, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence might’ve headlined their own TV shows, but neither boasted the box office draw of the original James Bond…or the original Ben Sanderson. Continue reading The Rock (1996)

Bad Boys (1995)

Confidently striding forward in slow-motion while carryin a gun: universal sign of bad-assitude.
Nothing forced or contrived about that at all. No.

You know, Inner Circle’s song “Bad Boys” is probably responsible for more crap than the rest of reggae combined. And I say that as a man who has never and will probably never be able to get into reggae, no matter how many stoners I may or may not hang out with. Apart from that great commercial for the coming Police State, COPS, we can also thank Inner Circle for Michael Bay’s career as a feature film director.

No, not entirely. But they aren’t exactly blameless. If not for that bad song, this bad film wouldn’t exist. At the very least, it wouldn’t have such a readily marketable title. By the time this premiered, COPS had drilled this song into America’s head with a rusty bit and a slow grind, like something out of…I don’t know…Driller Killer. Is that even real or did I just make it up…? Holy shit, it’s real and I didn’t. The more you know. Add that to the list of films we could all be watching right now…or could’ve been at the time. Continue reading Bad Boys (1995)

Pearl Harbor (2001)

Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!
Full daylight? In a Michael Bay establishing shot? Revolutionary!

I’ve been dreading this. Re-examining Armageddon all but killed me, though that’s partially my own fault. I was the one playing that drinking game. Incidentally, Googling “Michael Bay Drinking Game” yields up some dangerous results. But while individual drinking games exist for individual films, apparently no drunk has the courage to construct a game applicable to Bay’s entire oeuvre. As that great old drunk Stephen Hopkins (my favorite character from 1776) once said, “So it’s up to me, eh?” That’s what you get for falling down on the job, fellow rummies.

Since Pearl Harbor bored me so damn much, my mind savored any distraction. I spent a good thirty minutes contemplating how hard I’d need to throw this movie off my balcony in order to ensure its disc would land at the optimum place in the street where it was sure to be run over by as many cars as possible. After I filled half a page with geometric calculations, constructing the Ultimate Michael Bay Drinking Game seemed a much more utilitarian distraction. I figured it would do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Throwing Pearl Harbor at passing cars would only annoy their drivers…who’d go on to annoy the cops…who’d go on to annoy me. Continue reading Pearl Harbor (2001)

Armageddon (1998)

Michael Bay has survived every epithet in the Movie Critic’s Mean Word Handbook. We’ve called him a “hack” and a “bullshit artist.” We’ve called him “the Devil,” “the Antichrist,” and even honored him with the title “American Uwe Boll.” All of these characterizations are false, missing the quintessence of Bay. In their rush to (rightly) condemn the man’s aesthetic failings, critics have miss the essential and obvious point: Like a great many evil things, Bay is first and foremost a creature of the late 1990s, an artistic distillation of that time, with all the glory and the horror that implies. Continue reading Armageddon (1998)

Transformers (2007)

At least they're honest.
At least they’re honest.

As far as I’m concerned, Transformers first aired at 5:30 in the morning on my local Fox affiliate. This was back in the halcyon days when the Fox Network bought syndicated series the way survivalists buy bulk foods, slapping them down anywhere a hole in the programming schedule presented itself. Many a school day began with me dragging myself out of bed, the better to catch the theme song and learn the title of this latest episode in the Autobot’s seemingly-never-ending battle “to destroy the Evil Forces of…the Decepticons.”

For a time, the Transformers headed up what felt like my own Hour of Power, their show followed up by that realest of Real American Heroes, G.I. Joe. I often dreamed of an epic crossover event between my two favorite marketing tie-ins. I imagined Cobra Commander shitting himself in fear at the sight of an Autobot assault force rolling over the horizon. I imagined G.I. Joe’s hanging from every open window and flat surface their new their allies could provide, lasers ineffectually blazing. I imagined the unholy alliance between Serpentor and Megatron…not that Megatron would ever lower himself to an equal partnership with so puny a creature. I imagined the whole thing ending with Optimus Prime shaking Duke’s hand as bald eagles soared through sparkling fields of fire works. At sunset. Ironhide and Sgt. Slaughter could arm wrestling in the background, next to a stand of American flags that waved safely in the breeze, secure for another day from all things Evil and noncommercial.

I didn’t know at the time, though obviously I realize that now, that I was fervently hoping for the prototypical Michael Bay film. So, in an abstract, magical-thinking sorta way, this is really all my fault. For that, guys, I really am sorry. {More}