Why Michael Bay Might Secretly Be A Genius
Michael Bay movies are a strange thing, for me. I loved Bad Boys and The Rock when they came out (and still do, for the most part), and I proudly declared to all of my friends that Michael Bay was the coolest movie director since Steven Spielberg without a trace of irony in my voice. I suspect this had a lot to do with the fact that I was in middle school in 1996, and by definition was a silly asshole who was still trying to figure out what defined me as a person. This being 1996, I had obviously decided that what defined me as a person were explosions, mini skirts, and action heroes who behaved like they were still in middle school.
The relentless absurdity in every moment of Armageddon was what first began to raise my suspicions, and by the time Bad Boys II hit the two and a half hour mark with a surprise fourth act, I finally realized that Michael Bay is terrible. His movies are nothing but loud noises belched out by a chorus of sweaty humans grimacing through a frenetic kaleidoscope of oversaturated colors, like a carousel designed to maim children. Also, they're pretty goddamn racist.
This is one of two "Aw hell no!" characters introduced within the first five minutes of Armageddon.
Seriously, every non-white character in a Michael Bay movie is like a political cartoon in a racist newspaper.
He is also inexplicably convinced that every Russian person is both a psychotic drunk, and Peter Stormare.
Yet his movies (more specifically, his Transformers movies) consistently make enough money to ransom the solar system. So, we clearly enjoy them, as full of inexcusable racial and ethnic stereotypes as they are. Transformers is a series that gets more ignorant and mean-spirited with each installment, and each installment makes more money than the last.
So what does that say about us? Even if we don't necessarily agree with what these movies are saying, by rewarding them with our money we are telling Hollywood that casual racism is completely acceptable in a blockbuster film. And maybe that was Michael Bay's plan all along - to show us all what we're doing wrong by upping the ante of societal terribleness with each braying pile of dogshit he releases until we finally come to our senses and stop buying tickets. He's not an untalented filmmaker, and he's clearly not stupid. So maybe his movies are all part of a huge meta joke he's playing on us, like a film student at a frat party doing billion-dollar impressions of everyone in line at the keg.
I rewatched a bunch of Michael Bay movies to make these points and several others for the video embedded above, including Armageddon, which is just... just ghastly. It has aged exactly as well as Donald Trump's cameo in Home Alone 2. One thing I didn't get to address (because there is only so much ground you can cover in a four minute video) is the sexism in Michael Bay films, specifically in the original Bad Boys. There are four female characters in Bad Boys, three of whom are irrational shrews and all of whom exist solely to impede the male protagonists from accomplishing their mission.
They cause more of the conflict in this film than the murderous drug dealers.
And in Transformers The Third: Mighty Fuck Can We Just Start Numbering These So We Don't Have to Continue Making Up Meaningless Subtitles, Megan Fox's departure from the series is addressed in the first ten minutes or so by the same tiny robot that tried desperately to fuck her shinbone in the previous film.
It's like Colin Farrell's Detective True always says: We get the world we deserve.
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