I do not hide the fact that I heart Michael Bay. Adam, though incredibly rational when it comes to just about everything else, is terribly misguided in his dislike of Mr. Bay. Naturally, I suggested we take this to the blog.

Adam,

Michael Bay is great. The sooner I can convince you of that, the sooner we can move on to more important things. Since for some reason you won’t take my word, it is my duty as an American to change your mind. There are many reasons why Michael Bay is so great, I’ll paint some broad strokes to describe them. If for some reason you aren’t sold, I’d be happy to clarify.

Michael Bay connect with the people. Here’s a list of the takes of his movies. His movies have universally raked in money. Bad Boys (his first) is the under $100 million domestically, but that one was obviously profitable, plus it took it another $75 million overseas. The Island tanked hard (yes, I was there in theaters), but it grabbed over $125 million in foreign lands. Which is what imdb estimates was the budget for the movie, so it is hard to call it a flop, per se, though clearly it wasn’t a moneymaker like the rest of his movies. Still, 6 for 7 ain’t bad. In fact, he ranks 11th all time among directors in combined domestic total gross, (his movies have grossed over a billion dollars!) with most of the directors ahead of him directing more movies and helming heavy-hitting franchises.

Michael Bay’s movies stay in the public consciousness. Granted, we are dealing with a small sample size. But, OK, the Bad Boys movies didn’t revolutionize anything, but they still show up on cable. Plus, the first one launched Will Smith’s career (more on this later). The scene in Pearl Harbor depicting the attack still holds sway, I’d argue. But I’d freely admit my argument here is strongest with The Rock and Armageddon. It is too soon to talk about Transformers, but I’m confident it will be added to this list just because of how badass it was. The Rock is a movie sure to attract a crowd in college dorms, and it is one that is still frequently quoted and cited as a favorite movie. If you are drawing up a list of best action movies, you have to take the movie into consideration. And yes, lots of people hated Armageddon. They are wrong. But it doesn’t change the fact that people are still talking about it. Sure, perhaps just as the pinnacle of bombast, but I’d argue that’s not a bad thing.

Michael Bay actually receives some plaudits from the critics. Which may be hard to believe. But Armageddon and The Rock are in the Criterion Collection (“a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films on DVD”) and you’d surely agree with some lofty company. From the Criterion essays, here’s Ebert on The Rock, and Bay’s former film professor on Armageddon. Here is someone arguing Michael Bay is an auteur, here is someone applauding Bay’s tendency towards excess. I share these links mostly to point out that disdain for Michael Bay isn’t universal. Far from it, in fact.

Michael Bay works with amazing actors. Maybe you don’t like Martin Lawrence, Josh Hartnett or Ben Affleck (who just might be the subject of my next argument). But you have to give credt to someone who helped Will Smith’s career take off. Other leading men include: Sean Connery, Nick Cage (another potential argument candidate, you have to concede he is an action star, I think), Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Ewan MacGregor. That’s not a bad lot. Plus, supporting actors in his movies have included: John Turturro, Jon Voight, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan, Djimon Honsou, Steve Buscemi, Alec Baldwin, Tom Sizemore, Owen Wilson, Ed Harris, John Spencer, John C. McGinley, and three guys from Prison Break, I think. That’s a pretty impressive assortment.

Also, Michael Bay works with really hot chicks. Tea Leoni is a MILF, Vanessa Marcil is really smokin’ in The Rock, Liv Tyler is the queen of girl next door cute, Kate Beckinsale won your heart on the red carpet (and Jennifer Garner was in Pearl Harbor as well), Gabrielle Union is really hot, and Scarlett Johansson and Megan Fox don’t even need comments.

Michael Bay has had lots of success with commercials and music videos. He’s won lots and lots of awards, if that matters to you. Here are some of his commercials. The Aaron Burr one is undeniably a classic. Here are some of his music videos. The one for I Would Do Anything For Love is legitimately part of the music video canon. It is hilarious that he did the video for I Touch Myself, but the video is actually quite good. And yes, I thought so even before I knew he directed it.

Finally, and probably most importantly, Michael Bay makes fun movies. I’m pretty sure you agree with me that movies are meant to entertain. Define that word however you like, but if you don’t enjoy movies, on at least some level, why watch? Do Michael Bay movies plunge the depths of the soul of mankind? Well, that’s an argument for a different day, but also irrelevant. All Bay asks is that you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. His movies come to you, and hard. Nobody explodes sh*t like Michael Bay, you know? And that’s a good thing. Because stuff exploding is fun. Michael Bay does action very well. It is frenetic and crazy and with it own laws of physics. But it is always engaging. And always sly and witty. That’s part of the brilliance. Bay doesn’t blow junk up for two hours. He gives you time to laugh and to identify with the underdog, workingman ethos of his characters. And blows stuff up for maybe 45 minutes.

I’ll stop there, because I have to imagine I’ve convinced you by now. Right?

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