Shhh... It's OK. This Is A Safe Place. So Let's Talk About Your Favorite Michael Bay Movie. And What It Says About You.
Don’t lie to me. DON’T. I hate a liar*. Yes, we are Pajiba. We’re pretentious as fuck, occasionally condescending, immensely judgmental, and we give new meaning to the word “critical.” We’re sometimes abrasive, but that’s partly because You People are idiots.
But it’s time we opened our hearts to each other.
It’s time we talked about our favorite Michael Bay movies. Because let’s be honest — we mock the man relentlessly. And we should. He’s a jackass. And his movies are dogshit. But you are all — ALL — fucking liars if you try to pretend that you don’t have a favorite Michael Bay movie. It’s OK if you do. It’s normal. The question isn’t if you have a favorite Bay flick. The more important question is which one. Because that’s an important question, and the answer says a lot about you. It could mean you’re fun. It could mean you’re an asshole.
Well, you’re probably an asshole anyway, but this question could describe the enormity of your assholery.
And what that says about you. So we’re going to go through his entire directorial resume, and we’re going to talk about your choices. In short, let’s talk about your favorite Michael Bay movie, and what that says about you as a person.
Bad Boys, 1995 — Bay’s first film is my personal favorite, because it features what makes all of his “best” movies enjoyable — funny, engaging leads. The story is shit. But Martin Lawrence and Will Smith have terrific chemistry (not to mention some thinly veiled homoerotic subtext, which is awesome), and they riff off of each other brilliantly. Tchéky Karyo (the poor man’s Jurgen Prochnow, really) mails it in, but co-star Tea Leoni (“Did you go to college?”) is a scene stealer. There’s nothing wrong with liking Bad Boys. It means you appreciate things that are funny, even in the face of stupidity, though it may be because you are, in fact, fucking stupid. You don’t take things too seriously. And you’re not that uncomfortable around black people.
The Rock, 1996 — This one will be a popular one, and it should be. It features another surprisingly excellent cast that seem to be having a good time in the midst of an utterly ridiculous story about an abandoned prison being hijacked by Special Forces commandos who threaten to kill millions of people so that veterans can get benefits. Seriously, when I write it out like that, it’s even crazier. But it has Sean Connery playing a badass caricature of himself, Nicolas Cage only dialing it up to a six or seven, and a stone-faced Ed Harris. It’s full of text book Bayism — lens flares, slow motion tracking shots, epic heroism, SHIT TONS of melodrama, and almost no female presence of note. It’s shitsacks of stupid, filled with goofy-assed dialogue. But goddamn it, it’s almost downright unAmerican to dislike it. Liking The Rock means you like your action fast and furious, your heroes sensitive, and your antiheroes square-jawed and ready to rock. It’s possible, however, that it might mean you have a small penis.
Armageddon, 1998 — This one takes the famed Taco Of Ridiculousness.** A giant, snarling, angry asteroid is plummeting towards Earth and only a band of misfit fucking oil drillers can stop it? ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME, BAY? But aside from the clenched jaw stylings of Bruce Willis and the gasping whinery of Ben Affleck (not to mention the breathy uselessness of Liv Tyler), it’s got Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, William Fichtner, Billy Bob Thornton and a then-unknown Jason Isaacs who gets to deliver a fairly hilarious verbal beatdown. AND THE WORLD IS AT STAKE, PEOPLE. If you like Armageddon, you probably like Wes Anderson movies. Or maybe Paul Thomas Anderson movies. Actually, make that Paul W.S. Anderson movies. Either way, you like good actors, you don’t give a shit about science, and while you may like a lot of good movies, you’ve got shit taste in music and you’re probably not very bright.
Pearl Harbor, 2001 — You pretend to like history, but you’re a fucking idiot and should have drowned in the womb.
Bad Boys 2, 2003 — It should have just been called Bad Boys 2: Fucking Worse. This movie is a mess, a loud, plotless, pointless exercise in blow-shit-up film making. They blew up an actual mansion. They ACTUALLY BLEW UP A MULTI MILLION DOLLAR HOME. It’s got a healthy amount of passive homophobia, it’s condescending as hell towards women, and if not for Smith and Lawrence’s charisma and a couple of truly bitchin’ car chases, it would be a fucking war crime. If Bad Boys 2 is your favorite, you enjoy light beer, box wine, hot pockets, and misogyny.
The Island, 2005 — Some people think this is objectively Bay’s best film. It’s probably his smartest, in that skinniest kid at fat camp way. It’s easily his most interesting, even if Scarlett Johansson spends the film gulping air like a fucking goldfish and Ewan McGregor is somehow bereft of charm, which should be goddamn impossible. But it’s Michael Bay. Nothing is impossible. It’s not quite as ridiculously effects heavy, and it wants to tell a Very Important Message, even if that message is stolen from a couple of (much better) novels (including Michael Marshall Smith’s brilliant Spares). I guess it’s OK if The Island is your favorite Michael Bay movie, even though it means that you like your thinking done for you and, most likely? You’re fucking boring.
Transformers, 2007 — We’re heading into the dark years, folks. Transformers is a mess. A muddled mess of a film filled with hideous dialogue and a thoroughly unlikable lead in Shia The Boof. The giant robots are awesome, until there’s more than one on screen and then you can’t tell them apart. The lens flares are friggin’ blinding, Megan Fox cries and tries to be sassy but mainly looks constipated, and it is the ultimate career low point for John Turturro and Jon Voight. It did introduce the world to Rachael Taylor, the actual prettiest woman in the film. And Anthony Anderson is kind of funny in a derogatory, degrading way. OK, so maybe not that funny. Plus, as I’ve said before, Josh Duhamel is the poor man’s Olyphant. And Tyrese Gibson is a walking stereotype. So sure, Transformers can be your favorite. You’re charmingly nostalgic, you think Norbert is hilarious, you still look at Playboy for the pictures, and you’re mentally defective.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, 2009 — It featured a giant robot with testicles and a pair of minstrel show robomorons who may as well have been named Shuck and Jive, and Ze Boof was somehow even more annoying than in the prior film. And let’s not even discuss his parents. There is not a single redeeming characteristic about this film, and we should find the original prints, burn them, bury the ashes and then salt the earth. But hey, you know, like I said — this is a safe place. No, wait. It’s not. You’re a douchebag who is amused by flashing colors and loud noises. You’re basically a racist Brick Tamland, and you should spend all of your money paying everyone around you to punch you in the crotch until your genitals turn to red paste.
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, 2011 — If you edited out every single line of dialogue in the third Transformers film, well… you’d still have a shitty film. But it’d be impressively destructive. But then there’s Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who is a vacuously perfect match for El Boof. It’s really saying something when you’re a step down from Megan Fox in the acting department, yet here we are. Anyway, it’s totally cool if this is your favorite. You probably drive like a moron, beat your dog, and drink appletinis, but hey, at least your favorite isn’t Revenge Of The Fallen, right?
*totally a lie
**alas, there is no such taco