The Big Picture: Leave Michael Bay Alone

Headbiter

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Nov 9, 2009
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Erm..hey, psht, revolutionary idea:

Both the Michael Bays of this world AND their audience are the problem.
And no, you don't really owe him an apology. Everything you said about this guy was pretty much spot on. It's tiring to me, to be honest, when internet critics "grow old" and confuse tha calmness that supposedly comes with age with an apologetic attitude that is quite frankly pathetically reliable in this scene.
And the excuse is always the same BS-kindergarden-logic induced nonsense. "You don't like this guy because of [Reason x]? well, look, way more established person of the same trade did the same thing at some time! Therefore it's alright."

There are 2 general problems with that argument:

a) Most, if not all of those "other people" have some actual, longlasting achievements speaking for themselves, an impact on their respective fields of work that goes beyond the fleeting "Lead the box office for a week"-thing. Can someone please tell me where Bay's "redeeming quality" is? Alright, so Bay is not the only one producing nonsensical sensation-films, fine. But where others at least attempt to go beyond their comfort zone, Bay contributes nothing. I dare to say that I don't have to explain the differences between a man like Hitchcock and Bay.

b) Even if we set aside point a)...
What is the supposed point here? That if we find someone else who is as lazy and uninspired as Bay it suddenly makes being lazy and uninspired less disappointing? Two wrongs make a right? Sorry, but that is, like I hinted at earlier, kindergarden-logic. If I find a cockroach in my kitchen and soon after find another one, that doesn't make the first one less of a hygene-issue. It simply means I have two cockroaches in my bloody kitchen.
There's absolutely no redeeming factor in pointing out that the same bullshit is practiced by several people, it simply means that said bullshit is even farther spread than expected.

And again, yeah the problem lies with the audiences as well, duh. But if you have even the slightest ambition to at least try to better things, making excuses for either side just isn't going to cut it. Problems have to be adresses and if both parties in a conflict are to blame then yeah, you should blame both parties.
 

sunburst

Media Snob
Mar 19, 2010
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I love giant robots, dumb jokes, and over-the-top violence. Leggy models filmed at low angels while draped over sweet rides are a plus. Michael Bay is the biggest name around making a type of movie I should adore, and they're all absolutely terrible.

It doesn't matter to me what Bay's films reveal about American culture. I don't care about the terrible tastes of mainstream audiences. I'm just frustrated that Hollywood is spending millions of dollars on films I've always wanted to see but I don't get to enjoy them.

On a more positive note, the recent Fast & Furious movies are pretty much exactly what I want from big dumb action flicks.
 

Kahani

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May 25, 2011
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The only problem with Michael Bay and Hollywood in general is that people insist on thinking there's a problem. The existence of pizza is not a problem. If pizza is the only thing you ever eat, there's a problem. If pizza is the only thing available for you to eat, there's a serious problem. But even though a gourmet meal from a Michelin starred restaurant may be objectively better in every way than a take-away pizza, the fact that far more people regularly enjoy pizza is not in any way a problem.

In case anyone's missed the point, Michael Bay is a pizza. As long as there are other kinds of films for us to watch, there is absolutely no problem with the fact that many people enjoy paying money to see Bay's films. It would only become a problem if his popularity led all filmmakers to try to do the same thing, and that's never going to happen. If you don't like his films, don't watch them. As long as there are films you do like, you have absolutely no reason to complain that films you don't like also exist.

Headbiter said:
Can someone please tell me where Bay's "redeeming quality" is?
Cinema exists to provide entertainment. Michael Bay is responsible for providing more entertainment to more people than the vast majority of people who have ever lived. Hell, he's provided more entertainment to more people than the vast majority of people who have ever lived combined. Sure, he does so through the media of boobs and explosions rather than cutting emotional narratives on the human condition. So what? If people enjoy this kind of meaningless nonsense, what right does anyone else have to tell them they're wrong to do so?
 

nightazday

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Apr 5, 2009
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Problem with that argument is that said argument tend to lead to fanbase wars.
You find a type of movie or genre you don't like, you demonize the people who like it. You try to force the people to be ashamed of what they like, if they don't they get more defensive. They start attacking anything you like and start pointing out the flaws of it and using it as evidence that you are also "a pig that enjoys his slop and that you should be ashamed of what you like. Sort of like that episode you did about critics response to a possible power rangers movie.

Though the argument you made in this video is kinda expected from a guy who usually labels FPS fans as "privileged knuckle-dragging fratboys."
 

Hindkjaer

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Sep 15, 2010
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I will go on record here and say that this is the ballsiest episode of "the big picture" I have ever seen.. and I appaude you mr. MovieBob for having the currage to do this!
 

JarinArenos

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Jan 31, 2012
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This is why I always ask "do I want to support this?" before going to a movie in the theater. I can watch brainless junk-movie fare from a Redbox rental, but I want at least some outwardly redeeming value from things I'm paying upwards of 30 bucks to see. This applies both to directors and actors that I don't feel comfortable supporting. See also: why I haven't seen Edge of Tomorrow yet, despite it supposedly being a decent movie.
 

Kyogissun

Notably Neutral
Jan 12, 2010
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I hate to say it but I really have nothing else to add. This is a pretty accurate accusation of the problem with the film, literature, gaming, music and any other general industry out there. The pigs love their slop.

I mean I'm guilty of it too but I do have to agree there are probably one too many going back to their slop instead of trying something/seeing if there's something else to consume.
 

medv4380

The Crazy One
Feb 26, 2010
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The Blame the Audience cliche. It's just as over done as Michael Bay hate. Don't take the time to break down the problem. Don't waste any important brain power analising it. Just find the nearest scapegoat and run with it.

Michael Bay is picked on no more than M. Night Shyamalan. They both take a lot of heat because the more they keep this up the more they look like one hit wonders.

It's actually easy to argue that Transformers isn't a success even in the light of financial success. The problem isn't in the audience. It is in the ticket prices, and theater screen inflation.

Without the grossly overpriced tickets a movie like transformers would have to appeal to everybody. Not just the select Transformers fans that will go to a movie just because it happens to have Transformers in it. This particular problem started when they took the big theaters of "Gone With The Wind" and cut them in half. You could then have two different movies that appealed to a more of a nitch,(Suck it GP), audience. They then cut them again giving us quads. They then created megaplexes of 20 plus screens each.

It's people like Michael Bay who figured out that they could appeal to a more nitch audience, and just jack up the ticket price who are at fault. As your available screen count goes up with your ticket price your quality will go down. The only way to fix this is to cut the ticket price in half. Sadly, re-merging the screen isn't much of an option.
 

Hellfireboy

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Mar 11, 2013
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The thing is that the "hogs" know who they are. They know that all they're going to the movies for is slop. They know the difference between Transformers and Citizen Kane. AND THEY DON'T CARE. Go ahead and call them on it. Tell them that they're nothing but low brow troglodytes consuming nothing but spectacle over substance. They already know that. They don't care. It won't make them suddenly go out and pick Fritz Lang over Michael Bay. The problem that critics can't get around is that most people don't see movies as 'art'. They see them as escapism. They have lives, and these lives have problems. These lives have things that they have to think about all the time. These lives have stress. What they want is to, for a few hours, forget all that and lose themselves in what is fundamentally a childish fantasy. This claptrap is really just a way for them to let go and let their minds play. That's why the critical review of Age of Extinction is 16% but the audience review is 60%. All that will happen if you call them on it is that they will just stop reading your blog or review in particular and go out and buy a ticket for the next escapist extravaganza while all the time seeing you as an elitist blowhard who just doesn't understand what is really at play.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

Anime Nerds Unite
Apr 25, 2013
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Ashley Blalock said:
Fights need a symbol. McDonalds isn't the only reason for the obesity problem and there are so many restaurants with unhealthy menus. But instead of defusing the fight in a million directions there are times when focusing the problem into a common symbol is the way to get the message out.

Do you go after everyone who buys a ticket to bad movies or do you find a symbol for the fight against bad movies? Bay just happened to end up as the symbol for what's wrong because he doesn't change as a film maker so it's not like Bay is going to make a really good smart movie that will mess up his image as a bad film maker.
But maybe that doesn't solve the issue, a scapegoat or a single target for an entire issue only should result at most marginal improvement. The thing with movies is the thing I have with anime, too much pandering and not enough higher mind.

I hate to say it but it's time that critics separate themselves from the public. It's elitist as all hell but if it means that the public gets the smack to the face it deserves and needs, then so be it. Besides, I would rather this than my more extreme solution of neurological rewriting in which all lust and non-higher thinking sources of adrenaline and endorphins are eliminated.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

Anime Nerds Unite
Apr 25, 2013
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Hellfireboy said:
The thing is that the "hogs" know who they are. They know that all they're going to the movies for is slop. They know the difference between Transformers and Citizen Kane. AND THEY DON'T CARE. Go ahead and call them on it. Tell them that they're nothing but low brow troglodytes consuming nothing but spectacle over substance. They already know that. They don't care. It won't make them suddenly go out and pick Fritz Lang over Michael Bay. The problem that critics can't get around is that most people don't see movies as 'art'. They see them as escapism. They have lives, and these lives have problems. These lives have things that they have to think about all the time. These lives have stress. What they want is to, for a few hours, forget all that and lose themselves in what is fundamentally a childish fantasy. This claptrap is really just a way for them to let go and let their minds play. That's why the critical review of Age of Extinction is 16% but the audience review is 60%. All that will happen if you call them on it is that they will just stop reading your blog or review in particular and go out and buy a ticket for the next escapist extravaganza while all the time seeing you as an elitist blowhard who just doesn't understand what is really at play.
So what is the solution to it? We can't do anything like subsidize movies of legitimate value while placing heavy fines on slop movies because the capitalism that we support ( I support some portions of it such as competition determining prices and quality) won't allow it. My extreme solution of mental altercation would be shot down by every neurologist and person in the world. We have no ways out so all we can do is just hold to our values
 

leviadragon99

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Jun 17, 2010
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He's still kind of a douche though... he's made a couple of decent movies and he's not as bad as some would have you believe, but setting aside all the juvenile stuff, nihilism and misanthropy are not pleasant ideologies or character traits.

End of the day, I wouldn't point at him specifically as the only valid target of dislike, but people don't get a free pass for being assholes just because a lot of other people are also assholes.
 

K12

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Dec 28, 2012
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Can't help but feel that a significant portion of Bob's soul was bared in that last minute or so.
 

walsfeo

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Feb 17, 2010
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Bigwig said:
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.
Possibly, or possibly the predominant acceptance of crap makes better stuff less likely. I suppose it could be either.
 

teamcharlie

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Jan 22, 2013
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I sincerely think this is the wrong Michael Bay movie to bring this apology to. Most of the time, the movies are stupid in an interesting way and I'd be absolutely on board for the argument that hating on him is silly and dumb.

But Transformers 4 is fucking boring. It would be boring if it was 90 minutes, and it was unbearable at 160. It wasn't even as dumb as the previous installments, and instead of replacing that source of entertainment with something equally interesting they just replaced it with polish. Give me rough edges! Give me neurotic actors! Luke kissing Leia, boom mic in the shot, Shia LeBoeuf's parents being annoying, robots peeing on things, etc. Something different, something interesting, something to notice or just think about. That's what I'm here for, and if there's nothing to make fun of and the characters are flat and lifeless, I'm not interested.
 

PuckFuppet

Entroducing.
Jan 10, 2009
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walsfeo said:
the predominant acceptance of crap makes better stuff less likely
As tempting as that is to believe, that people are off the hook for there not being anything good because of all the utter shite, it isn't true. As long as the money is flowing freely, which it sometimes hasn't and to the detriment of all, people who make decisions about what does and does not get produced are more likely to put money somewhere it'll do good.
 

Osaka117

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Feb 20, 2011
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While I agree with all of your points, it has to be said that just because the pigs want it doesn't make the feeder any less guilty.
 

Something Amyss

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Dec 3, 2008
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I don't think Bay is merely the guy serving up the next order of fries. He's been one of the guys to cultivate this shit.

Are the audiences a problem? Yes, but I think Bob's got the wrong tack here.

Transformers threads are full of people who come in to ***** about how this is the worst movie since the last Transformers movie, how Bay continues to be crap, how they hate his military porn/racism/softcore porn/whatever.

And they've done that since opening night.

I wonder how much of Bay's audience hates him with a passion, wants him to stop making movies, but shells out money to see his movies in cinema. If WWE could get Michael Bay on their show, it'd be bigger than the Attitude Era. It'd rival reality TV at its peak. Vince McMahon wishes he had that kind of impact.

When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out, I bet those same people will go into the theater, pay their money, and then ***** about Bay. Yes, I know he's only the producer this time, and I bet they know that too, but they will ***** about Bay.

And Michael Bay will fall asleep on a mattress stuffed with hundred dollar bills and hate mail.

This is the problem that's pervaded gaming culture, as well. "stupid Call of Duty, ruining gaming," said the guy with the last four CoDs and all their DLCs in his library. "I'm sick of reboots," said the gamer who's angry that the latest reboot they bought was a reboot, though they knew that beforehand. "Why do we only get more of the same?" cries out pretty much every AAA game player while they play their newest dose of sameness. All the anger in the world won't cover it when their money speaks louder. And that seems to be the problem here. People are either too addicted to Bay to stop, or they're propping him up anyway.

I'm not saying that's his whole audience, but I bet if everyone who whined about Michael Bay stopped watching his movies, it'd be significant enough to take the wind out of his sales.

...errrr, I mean, sails.