And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


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

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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



Daredevil (2003)
"Ugh, Ben, jeeze...I can smell the Jennifer on you."

"Ugh, Ben, Jeeze...I can smell the Jennifer clinging to you. It's downright wafting!"

I hate to admit this, but there’s a sad, small part of me trapped down in the basement of my mind that wants very much to like Daredevil. But what does that whinny little bastard know? I’m in charge here, and I say the film’s a mess. It’s an interesting mess with decent color sense and the occasional flair for high drama…but so are most of the drunken artists staggering home through every major city on any given night of the week.

Really, Daredevil is a case history in everything that can go wrong with film – any film, regardless of genre. Writer/director Mark Steven Johnson tried to get this made back in 1997, but Marvel Comics’ bankruptcy, the collapse of the Batman and Superman franchises, and a widespread public disregard for superheros kept Daredevil in development hell until the turn of the millennium (or Willennium, as we said at the time). Continue reading