Nobody makes a movie quite like Michael Bay. You’ll probably never hear his name mentioned at the Academy Awards or even the Golden Globes, but if this world based power on the number of MTV Movie Award nominations a man receives for Best Action Sequence in his lifetime, we’d all be kneeling before Bay. However, Bay doesn’t make his blockbuster action films to impress the people who vote on dumb golden statues that don’t even have a set of hot fake breasts of them. He makes them for the most important reason that any man ever decides to blow sh*t up in a movie – for giant trucks filled with cash.
Bay has done pretty well at making a ton of money, too, as all but one of the films that he has directed (Pain and Gain) has grossed nine figures at the box office worldwide. All that money means that people have loved watching him blow stuff up, so for his 50th birthday today, I thought we could honor Hollywood’s master of macho mayhem, the man who discovers hot, young starlets by making them wash his Ferraris (allegedly), with this very explosive ranking of some of his most absurd action moments.
10) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – “Mean robots suck!”
The only thing that could have made Skids and Mudflap, Bay’s jive-talking minstrel-bots, any dumber than they already were was if they transformed their little robot hands into handguns and turned them sideways. Still, as dumb as these characters were and for all of the backlash that Bay received for their existence, it simply would have been very anti-Bay to take them out of the film. He’s basically like the action movie director version of Skip Bayless. The things he does will make people angry and confused, but he keeps doing it because his audience eats it up.
9) Armageddon – “It happened before… it will happen again… it’s just a question of when.”
The opening of Armageddon is perfect for a Bay film because he’s like the designer of a roller coaster, and he’s telling us right away not to throw up because it will fly right back into our faces. He basically wants us to believe that while we’re in those dirty theater seats, the world around us is actually in danger, and the only people who can save us are Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Of course, they have to get over their differences about Liv Tyler first, but… hey. Did you know that Armageddon had NINE writers? That might be the most ridiculous thing about this Razzie nominee.
8) Pearl Harbor – “Them ain’t Navy planes!”
This specific action sequence won an MTV Movie Award, which is troubling considering the average MTV viewers in 2001 probably thought the actual Blitz went down exactly as Bay presented it, complete with the guy peeling potatoes saying, “Son of a…” However, instead of worrying about historical inaccuracies, I’ll refer to this excerpt from the obituary of Kenneth M. Taylor, the heroic and highly-decorated Army Air Forces pilot who was the basis for Ben Affleck’s character:
In the 2001 movie “Pearl Harbor,” actor Ben Affleck played a character based on Gen. Taylor, although he was not consulted and considered the film “a piece of trash . . . over-sensationalized and distorted,” according to his son.
So, was he not really napping in a car with his bros when all hell broke loose? I’ll take that as a no.
7) Transformers – “Beep boop bop… SCREEEEEEECH… growl beep boop.”
Again, Bay sees reality through a nuclear-powered kaleidoscope compared to the rest of us. Two giant robot monsters battle across a busy highway, and Bay thinks a soccer mom is going to stare at it with her jaw on the floor, while a little kid shouts, “Cool, mom!” No way, Jose. That minivan would flood with feces as people were driving their cars in any direction away from those metal beasts, but that’s why Bay is so great at what he does. He’s cluelessly detached from real human emotions.
6) The Rock – “I don’t want any dings, dents, or scratches, or I’ll have your ass.”
Bay is less of a filmmaker than he is that kid in your elementary school who stole his dad’s cigarette lighter and tried to set everything on fire. Watch old movies with awesome chase scenes, and you’ll always notice that the cars being destroyed are far more modest in style and price. When Bay creates a car chase scene, though, he says, “F*ck it, bring me a Hummer, and paint all of the crappy cars with peace signs, and chase it all with a Ferrari!” He then laughs and lights a cigar with a $100 bill.
*He also has a character who hasn’t driven a car in decades get behind the wheel, because Mike Bay ain’t got time for logic!