ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michael Bay Is A Golden God, And I Can't Wait To See What He Directs Next

Not really.

Just wanted to throw up a new post, before the comments section below collapses under its own weight.

But maybe it's time to respin it, into a new talking point: there's no denying that Transformers 2 has made a buttload of money. How much of it is due to its direction, or is it all marketing?

Is there an under-respected section of the populace that actually likes this movie a lot, justifying its creation and making Michael Bay a respectable director? Or is it the kind of mediocre-enough dumb fun that too many people are willing to settle for?

Does it take a special skill set to have made a $400 million (inevitably) Transformers sequel, or could even someone as dubious as McG have done the same thing?

And as writers, are there lessons to be learned here, or should it just make us shake our heads in dumbfoundedness?

34 Comments:

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Steve Peterson said...

The individual character scenes in Tran2 were nicely written I think -- fun and humorous and you got a feel for the mom and dad and the new room-mates. Let's remember that it's not just that they could afford good actors, but that those actors had well-written characters.

As far as directing, other than the shaky-cam, I think Bay directs action well and has some nice staging of other scenes.

That said, much of the action is CGI, but I still figure Bay does a fair bit of oversight on the animation teams.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

In my opinion Michael Bay deserves A LOT of credit for the success of "Transformers II."

IF dude had tweeked the story to make it more serious, say explain the "all spark" or "decepticons" more, and tried to satisfy critics, he COULD have easy spoiled the show for its intended audience.

Scott, we as writers should NEVER "just shake our heads in dumbfoundness." We're the brains. We're the ones who figure shit out. EVEN if that means shifting gears a bit, and going backwards engineering a movie with a story that's not up to par with other movies which rely more heavily on story.

Yes, I do believe it takes a special skill set to do a movie like "Transformers II." Michael Bay has been building up towards making this movie. Its not something that someone fresh out of college could pull off.

I think the biggest lesson for writers with "Transformers II" is that you have to willing to mold a suitable story for the subject matter at hand. Transformers isn't a very deep story -- don't try to make it one.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I think Bay deserves the credit, but it's not necessarily for something good.

There is something so arrogant, so in your face about Bay that our society just seems to dig. I don't get it. Think about the scene in the college dorm room. This is 2009. There is a movie poster on the wall. I can think of hundreds of movies more likely to be plastered on a college dorm wall in 2009 than Bad Boys 2.

But Bay doesn't care. He has no shame, no humility. So fuck it. Bad Boys 2 is on the wall.

I love action movies, despite what some may think. You'd find at least three or four silly action movies among my favorite films of all time. Some of them aren't even silly but I love Speed, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Terminator, The DArk Knight, Iron Man. Great movies.

But they have both the spectacle, and a coherent story. If you put a gun to my head I couldn't tell you the story of Transformers. I had no idea what was going on in most of the scenes.

There were random scenes that didn't even fit what little incoherent story there was ( the pot brownie scene was both out of nowhere, and not funny at all).

The final dagger for Bay is this. I've seen all of his films now except for Bad Boys 2. I have never, ever, not even once felt tense during one of his films. Ever. I feel like I'm being punched in the face, but never tense.

He's not a good director, but the people that make the double quarter pounders at McDonalds aren't good cooks. Jessica Simpson has an average voice and is a terrible live performer.

None of it matters. People are stubborn and they're gonna like what they like.

Paul Thomas Anderson will never direct a movie that makes as much money as Transformers. Mark Lanegan will never sell as many records as Jessica Simpson.

It's not about talent. It's about the low standards of the audience.

I think this is where Mason and Peter throw more baseless accusations my way that I've never made a film, I'm a snob, I'm a bitter failure, and I hate most movies.

Of course, they can't back up a word of it but what can I expect from people that love Michael Bay.

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt:

There's absolutely no use in continuing this conversation since, after everything said, you have this ridiculous notion that I "love Bay."

Either that, or you're incredibly immature.

If it makes you feel better, then fine, I love him (although, by your own words, you've seen most of his films. I've seen... three, maybe?).

But, whatever...

And please, I may've called you bitter, but "failure" is your word.

From what I recall no one stooped to those levels, except for you when you threaten to "rip" new holes and other such colorful descriptives.

(btw-- what's your fascination or innate dislike toward women where you identify them as "pussy"?)

But you read and interpret the things you will, so, again, whatever...

Matt, I'd truly love to read one of your scripts. Would you send me your very best?

Peter

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Matt, glad to hear you express your ire over Michael Bay. At least now we know what it is.

I'm also glad that you provided a list of action/adventure films you do like. And you're right all of the films you sited have a more ADULT plot than "Transformers II."

I think that's where the real rub is with those who take issue with Michael Bay: adult plot vs. juevinille plot.

Matt, I can't speak for all of Michael Bay's films, but I think the reason you never felt tension in "Transformers II" is your TOO SOPHISTICATED in your approach in how to enjoy a film like that. Shoudda had a couple beers before you watched it. Loosen up. This is fun ride, no deep mystery to uncover, just a band of robots slugging it out for a couple of hours. O yeah, and don't forget a couple butt shots of Megan Fox -- gotta prove the girl can act, ya know?!

Michael Bay specializes in movies that have a juevinlle tone. Matt, do you ever laugh? Can a sci-fi be funny? Or do they all have to have an edge? Can you laugh when watching a sci-fi, or is it manditory to be ever ratching up the supence to the ultimate, spine chilling climax? Are their sub-genres in the sci-fi field?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Matt wasn't going to bother with us any longer? I guess the drooling beast just couldn't help itself. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, Matt "won't be ignored!".

Matt, why do you keep going to the see the films of a bad director who offers no tension, no story, tortures you with posters of his other movies, and punches you in the face over and over? Isn't that... uh... stupid?

And aren't you then part of that audience with such low standards?

Newsflash!!!

Michael Bay reeled you in -- again.

Cha-ching.

(This is where Matt disappears or says something like - "Oh yeah?? Bay only wants loot and beaver! Take that! I'm the Bukowski of my parents' basement! I even formed my own Fight Club! Ooops, I broke the first rule. Who cares! You guys suck. I win. Blaaaah!")

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"And please, I may've called you bitter, but "failure" is your word."

Either you or Mason said it. At the very least implied it, but I'm not going to go back and find it.

And bitter is such a nice word.

"(btw-- what's your fascination or innate dislike toward women where you identify them as "pussy"?):"

I don't identify them as pussy. I've been happily married for five years, been with my wife for nine years. I open every door, and treat her very well. Michael Bay treats women that way on film, so I imagine he doesn't have much respect for them in life.

As for sending you one of my scripts. What do you have to offer me by letting you read it? My guess is you want to read it so you can try and put me down. You're pretty biased going into the read, so I'm not sure what the upside would be.

I send my scripts to all kinds of people, most of them in the industry. I'm not shy about it, and I'm insanely proud of a few of my scripts.

But unless you can offer me an upside, I don't see the point.

EC,

I'm sure it would have been better if I drank a few beers first. It wasn't an option though.

Do I ever laugh? I really don't get where you guys are coming up with these generalizations that I don't laugh and I don't like movies.

I laugh all the time. I'm watching Entourage right now and Ari Gold always makes me laugh. I love Judd Apatow films and those are not highbrow at all. Superbad is dumb as hell, but it cracks me up.

Mason?

"I thought Matt wasn't going to bother with us any longer"

Well first of all, until this post I'm now writing, I hadn't bothered with any of you. But, and maybe you need to work on reading comprehension, I said I wasn't going to respond on that particular blog post anymore. And I didn't. This is a new blog post. Try to keep up.

"Matt, why do you keep going to the see the films of a bad director who offers no tension, no story, tortures you with posters of his other movies, and punches you in the face over and over? Isn't that... uh... stupid?"

No, it's giving him a chance. And he failed, again. Unlike you, I don't speak to thinks I know nothing about. I like to watch a film, or know a person, before opening my mouth about it.

"And aren't you then part of that audience with such low standards?

Newsflash!!!

Michael Bay reeled you in -- again.

Cha-ching. "

My sister in law is a manager at a movie theater. She got me in for free. Bay gets none of my money.


"Take that! I'm the Bukowski of my parents' basement! I even formed my own Fight Club! Ooops, I broke the first rule. Who cares! You guys suck. I win. Blaaaah!")"

You are a very angry, bitter dude. All you can do is attack the person, and not the message. It says a lot about you as a person, and your lack of character.

Oh, and the parents basement insult? That was played out ten years ago. Try to be more original, kiddo.

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Mason

One last thing...

Why are you even still involved in this discussion? While Peter has also been insulting and rude, at least he attempts to make points.

Your posts are juvenile, poorly written, and pathetic.

Let Peter fight this lame battle on his own, you're only holding him back.

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

Which part of Transformers 2 was funny? The part that was racist, the part that was more racist, the giant robot testicles, the mom eating a hash brownie, or the other two hours and thirty-five minutes of the film during which a bunch battles happen that despite huge explosions feel like nothing is happening?

I was going to write a bunch of snarky stuff about how bad Transformers 2 is, but I think this about covers it:
http://www.toplessrobot.com/2009/06/bonus_robs_transformers_2_faqs.php

And, lest you say that I too am excessively sophisticated, let me point out that among the movies I enjoy are: The 5th Element (teenage boy fantasy sci-fi action-comedy), Repo Man (sci-fi dark comedy), Buckaroo Banzai (sci-fi ridiculousness), Galaxy Quest (sci-fi broad comedy), quite a number of popcorn action films with thin plots (for example, Terminator 2, which also happens to be about bad robots out to get us and a good robot trying to save us), and Superbad (another teenage boy fantasy, which has many of the same humor as Transformers 2, except the racist stuff, only it's story appropriate and without that arrogant edge that makes it offensive).

I definitely think that Transformers 2 is crap that people settle for. Most mature adults, anyway. Everyone I know who has seen this film more than once has done so because they have boys ages 6-16, or are young men who still behave like teenagers. Having been a boy ages 6-16, I can attest to the fact that boys ages 6-16 haven't got much sense. Cute girl + Robots = Awesome when you're a boy in that age range, even if everything else about the movie totally sucks.

The problem with Transformers 2 is not that it "isn't a very deep story" but rather that what thin story it does have, it doesn't even get right. It is inconsistent and incoherent. Choices are made that range from irrelevant to insulting. And numerous choices made in the film violate the internal logic of the world that was created for the franchise. If you want to see recent popcorn action thrillers that get story right, or at least much more right than Bay, check out Iron Man, the last 2 Batman films, the first 2 X-men films, Casino Royale, etc.

 
At 2:04 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Well said, Lhooq.

And Peter, I wish I hadn't hurried my response to you earlier. If I had taken my time, I would have better pointed out your cowardice.

Let me explain. You wrote:

"And please, I may've called you bitter, but "failure" is your word."

For a moment, let's pretend that you did just call me bitter and not a failure.

In your eyes, what would I be bitter about? Let's see. I was calling a commercially successful filmmaker a hack, and you called me bitter. Any logical thinking person would assume that your train of thought went something like this:

"He's a wannabe screenwriter that labels a guy that made it a hack. He's bitter. Why is he bitter? Well, he must be a failure. "

Don't be a wimp. Stand behind your name calling and insults or keep them to yourself.

 
At 5:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt:

What I find remarkable is when you left the last discussions from the previous post, all vitriol disappeared.

And, I stand by my observation: the words you choose to express yourself sound like they come from a frustrated, angry individual.

Whether this personality leaks into your writing, only you know that.

But, like I said, I'd be happy to read one of your scripts.

You can always contact me via email or phone.

 
At 5:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. Matt, that last post was by Peter

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

LOOHQuitvus ov Borg,

Sorry you didn't find Transformers II funny. I guess comedy is a matter of taste. It either works for you or not. But for ME, and many others in the theatre when I watched it, there was a lot of laughs. I thought the humor in this movie was one of the movie's pleasant suprises. Didn't see the same flaws you sited, though maybe I casually overlooked them just happy to have a diversion from Transformers II silly plot.

Not sure what you expected coming into a watching of transformers. Ever watched the TV cartoon series of the 80s? Hint: it's utterly ridiculous. Given that TV cartoon series -- that they were BASING A MOVIE OFF -- what were you expecting?

IF you're taking issue with the movie, PERHAPS the bigger issue at hand is if a ridiculously premised CARTOON SERIES like Transformers merits adaptation into a movie at all?

Being a fellow creative, do you think you could have done better? That is wihout alienating the audience who watched this cartoon series of the 80s that is... If so, what would you have done differently?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

In the end, all we know is that this movie made a crapton of money.

It depresses me that it did, because so many brilliant films have disappeared into oblivion, which tells studios that explosions are more important than story. I firmly believe there's no reason we can't have both.

But it made money, despite my wishes. All I can do is make sure it didn't make any of my money.

So I went to see The Hurt Locker instead.

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott:

TDK dropped 43% in its 3rd weekend. And at 340mil -- 2nd only to TDK in the past 2 years -- are you still pitching the "movie isn't holding that well" concept?

And despite your attempt to load the deck of the new topic with false alternatives and implied straw man arguments, some seem to intuit (see EC and Steve) the point you're still failing to grasp. You might've been more honest if you titled the topic -- "I think Bay sucks no matter what you guys think -- so now, what do you guys think?"

And you still haven't clarified what a "good movie" is in your view; you only harp on what a good movie isn't. Why the reluctance to define what you so passionately support? Your vague notion amounts to "I don't know, but a good movie isn't what Bay makes".


Matt:

"No, it's giving him a chance. And he failed, again."

Oh, you've given the talentless jerk another chance? So, you thought, despite the horrible reviews -- and seeing the first Transformers and hating it -- and hating Bay himself -- that the jury might still be out on him anyway?? That he might've been struck by a lightning bolt filled with talent -- turned the corner -- and made a movie you might actually like?? I think your credibility ship has sprung yet another leak.

"Unlike you, I don't speak to thinks I know nothing about. I like to watch a film, or know a person, before opening my mouth about it."

I really can't tell if your joking or completely delusional regarding yourself and things you've already said. (I'll admit that I'm starting to lean towards the latter.) Should I again list Matt's Greatest Spits? Quoting from your ignorant and venomous spewings against others that kicked off this whole melee?

"She got me in for free. Bay gets none of my money."

Oh, so you're a thief who'd rather spend 2.5 hours watching a film by director that he hates than doing something else. I got it.

Matt, I actually read your two-posts-and-out blog. It really shines a new light on where your coming from; but I'm not really surprised. Bukowski inspires you, huh? A bitter, alcohol-dependent misogynist and hypocrite who lived off a govt job for years while condemning everything around him. You must feel "beat down" by "the system" and your personal anti-christ, Michael Bay (you were even grumbling about him back in '07).

You might want to re-commit to the idea in your '08 post because you're clearly not over romanticizing your narcissistic faux-suffering and melodramatic existence.

Time to move on -- like most of us managed to do once we pass our teen-angst years (that we thought were filled with such torture). The title of your blog says it all: it's the devil, ADHD, OCD, women (excuse me -- "whores"), alcohol, drugs, the system, the pretty rich kids, Mason, Peter and that bastard Michael Bay that did it to you (and your soul-mate Bukowski)!

Not you though, never you. You're just another victim, kid.

Oooh the pain.

It must be tough being Matt, but maybe you should just let go of your inner "kiddo" completely this time, instead of "mostly".

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Oy. Transformers 2 dropped 61% in its 2nd weekend, and 43% in its third.

It's NOT holding well -- it's going to wind up making about 50% of its total box office in its first 7 days. Not the sign of a movie that is doing huge positive word of mouth, or one that people are seeing again and again.

If you honestly need me to define what a good movie is, then you need to get more. Clearly it's semi-subjective -- if it's a good movie to E.C., then to him it's a good movie. Hell, every movie is likely loved by someone.

But if most people think it's either a honking piece of crap or an innocuous piece of piffle, clearly it's not actually a good movie.

What's a good movie? One that leaves you feeling that you REALLY got something out of it -- an engaging plot, characters and themes that resonated with you, moving drama, cool visuals, maybe a lot of laughs. Hopefully a combination of these things.

100 entertaining minutes, on one level or another. A good story, well told.

Haven't you ever seen a good movie? Don't you have the ability to tell the difference between The Dark Knight and Transformers 2? Because anyone who can't, I feel sorry for. Sorry, E.C.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

E.C., et. al.:

I didn't say that ridiculous was bad. I am a fan of The 5th Element AND Buckaroo Banzai (and for that matter Wild Zero), so clearly I appreciate ridiculous. I can even appreciate cheezy, thinly plotted, and testosterone-driven at times. What I said was bad is incoherent and insulting.

And yes, I have seen the Transformers cartoon series. I grew up with it. I used to watch it every day at one point in my life. It wasn't sexist or racist, for one thing, and among other properties it had were: a consistent logic to its world (Transformers transform into machines, not humans or silver balls, for example), coherent action (during fight sequences, you can see which robot is figthing which, and thus which you're rooting for), Transformers-centric plots (not a bunch of weird stuff about some teenager), and while the plots were thin and silly, the cartoons: (a) weren't 2.5 hours long, and (b) generally made more sense than Transformers 2.

Could I do better than what was done, and not alienate the 80's audience. Absolutely. And, frankly, I refer to both the writing and directing. Give me $200million plus the same marketing budget (which I think was a zillionty zillion), and I'll prove it.

But they weren't targeting the 80's audience. I know in part because Bay has repeatedly said as much, and in part because I am in that audience and so are most of my friends. We are so much the core of that 80s audience that we went into computer animation as a profession. And we all hated Transformers 2. Even my friend who has all the comics. Even my friend who had a Transformers tattoo.

They were going after a contemporary teen audience. Even so, I think a number of the films I listed (Iron Man and Batman being the most recent) are examples of how you can appeal to that audience and make a film that isn't incoherent rubbish (and in the case of Batman, even if it's also 2.5 hours long).

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Dudes and dudettes, I went to Transformers II as an act of finding "peace" with my family. THEY wanted to see it, not me. Many times during this move my butt cheeks felt the repelling end of a magnet: autobots, decepticons, the mysytery of the "all spark" -- gimme a break!

It's just after seeing how well other people in the theatre reacted to it, and how much $$ it was doing at the box office, I RE-ADJUSTED my perception and TRIED to see Transformers II through the lenses of those who responded favoribly to it.
Maybe I've got a leg up on all in that regaurd because in real life I actually do wear glasses, thus changing perception is a bit easier for me. (joke)

I actually liked the Terminator robot fiasco better. I just wish it didn't trail off so badly after such a promising start.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original point has been lost in translation:

Bay's genius is putting butts in seats. He's done it pretty consistently.

Whether we think the movies are good or bad is a moot point.

He knows how to make bucks for the studios.

This is why Spielberg chose Bay out of all the A-list directors.

This concept/reality (Bay makes bucks and obviously knows how to deliver to "his" audience) has pissed some people off.

Isn't that what we all want? To get as many people as possible to see our little flicks?

This concept dismisses many pre-conceived notions of what makes a "good" film. And therefore, many people have blocked the essential argument: Bay "gets" his audience and mostly knows how to deliver to them.

Peter

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oy. Transformers 2 dropped 61% in its 2nd weekend, and 43% in its third."

Yeah, you're right. I must've misread something somewhere. No intention to deceive on my part.

See how easy it is to concede a point -- instead of responding with silence -- or changing the context -- or pretending to be confused?

"If you honestly need me to define what a good movie is, then you need to get more."

As if you didn't know already, I don't NEED you to define it for me. I have my own views on the subject. I was just curious as to your view since you seem to feel that you can identify it so clearly -- for yourself -- and others? Your reluctance was puzzling; it was as if you didn't know what to say -- or were afraid to commit. Not a trap, just a question. And I don't know what word(s) were missing from the next phrase in your sentence -- but I'll assume you were attempting to take a shot at me.

"Clearly it's semi-subjective..."

Oy, that's liking saying, "Plainly it's semi-complicated"

"But if most people think it's either a honking piece of crap or an innocuous piece of piffle, clearly it's not actually a good movie."

Ahh, truth by consensus. Valid for critiques; but invalid for box office receipts?

"What's a good movie?"

Yes, yes, that's what I keep asking. Stop stalling.

"One that leaves you feeling that you REALLY got something out of it -- an engaging plot, characters and themes that resonated with you, moving drama, cool visuals, maybe a lot of laughs. Hopefully a combination of these things."

You did it!

"A good story, well told."

Thanks McKee.

"Haven't you ever seen a good movie?"

Good in my view rather than some ineffable "good" from on high? Oh yes. Unfortunately, not enough of them.

"Don't you have the ability to tell the difference between The Dark Knight and Transformers 2?"

Yes, I do. Have you ever watched a critically acclaimed film; that was also recommended by those you trust; that you said to yourself, "That sucked."

Or, have you seen any films that didn't quite live up to all your criteria; that those trusted others didn't like; that you say to yourself as you listen to them trash it, "Hmmm, I thought that was underrated. I liked that movie. I thought it was... (wait for it...) GOOD."?

"Because anyone who can't, I feel sorry for."

I feel sorry for anyone who will feel that a release date for the next Michael Bay film is a tragedy.

The Great Depression, 9/11, nuclear proliferation -- and Transformers 3?

Sorry, Scott.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Peter -- My disconnect is that I think there's a big difference between "putting butts in seats" and "knows how to deliver to his audience".

Because most of the sense I have gotten is that he isn't delivering to his audience. The reactions of most of the people who have seen the movie seen tepid at best, and scornful at worst. Even E.C. backed off his initial praise.

As for putting butts in seats -- do we really believe that if some other action director had directed this film, they couldn't have cut a trailer than would have done the exact same thing? C'mon. And I am willing to bet that very few people are going to see this because they know Michael Bay directed it.

It's the project -- and the advertising -- delivering the audience, and Bay's contribution is providing clips to use in the ads.

Anonymous-who-isn't-Peter: I have seen lots of praised movies that I am underwhelmed by, though I try to appreciate what lovers of these movies see in them (though my tastes tend to be fairly mainstream). If I ever meet anyone who loved Transformers 2, I'll do the same there.

Is truth by consensus invalid for box office receipts? It depends what that truth is. If the truth is that the studio did a great job packaging this as a movie people wanted to see, than yes, I can agree with that truth. Does that make it a good movie? Hell no.

And a reminder, I never said Bay was a bad director. There are things he can do well, just not enough of them.

And I never said his next release date was a tragedy -- I just posted that it's a lie that "I can't wait to see what he directs next".

Because I don't think he inspires that kind of passion in anyone.

 
At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Scott, this begs the question again: if any director could do what Bay did and be just as succesful-- with cutting a similar type trailer and marketing-- then why on earth is Spielberg paying him 10 million bucks (plus) when he coulda got any number of directors to do this gig?

Man, imagine how much cash he coulda saved by hiring a cheaper, yet equaly incompetent director?

Or, quite possibly, he coulda scored a director with a little artistic edge?

All that sucker would have to do is cut a wicked coupla set-pieces in a two minute trailer and whamo-- we got a potentially $700 million (plus) sequel!

But Spielberg didn't go for any other director. Not the first time. Not for the sequel. He's paying out the nose for Bay and no one else...

Does that account for anything?

Peter

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

That's valid, and it beats the hell out of me. Maybe Bay has pictures of Spielberg doing something kinky.

More likely it's tied to something we haven't talked about, and where I will give Bay some credit: apparently he did a good enough job not making the first movie suck, that people came back for the second one.

Maybe his Transformers 2 deal was tied to the success of the first; maybe it was part of his contract. Maybe Spielberg just wanted to make sure that he hired a director who wouldn't screw up the second movie, to make it easier to open Transformers 3.

Maybe he just wanted to make sure that no one did something crazy, like make the Transformers-sequel version of "Alien 3".

Bay's a safe choice. He's not going to make a great movie, but he's not going to screw up the cash cow.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter: You're a better man than I. Scott's last post here brought us right back to the beginning -- as you've pointed out.

They don't get it.

Audiences did come out to see Bay's movie whether they realize it's his or not. They saw the first one. They're looking for more of whatever it is he's giving them.

Scott thinks he's making a counterpoint, but he keeps missing the original.

The irony is that he and Matt are examples just like EC. They're part of Bay's audience more than we are. They just can't see it.

It reminds me Howard Stern listeners who say how much they hate what he says -- not realizing that they're confessing to tuning in every day. I laugh when I think of Matt sitting in the theater for 2.5 hrs after saying what he's said here about Bay and his films.

There's really nothing more to add.

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about this then:

Spielberg and his team made a very conscious choice of hiring Bay for the first Transformers film.

He must've had a list of potential directors...? That usually is the way...

But, he chose Bay over whoever else was on that list...

So, he took into account what? That Bay is a shit filmmaker that blows shit up...? Or, for whatever reason, he's a safe bet 'cause people actually go and see his movies in large droves... across the US... Canada... and hell, even overseas...?

Peter

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Not Peter: But I didn't tune in. He didn't get my $10. (Or Matt's).

Peter: Before Transformers, though, Bay was coming off The Island, which tanked critically and at the box office. His previous movies were Bad Boys 2 and Pearl Harbor (in reverse order) which didn't set the box office world on fire either.

I'd love to hear the true story of why Bay was chosen. Bay has a production company; maybe he owned the rights?

Hell, maybe he's just that good in a room.

 
At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott:

Fish around the 'net for the word on Bay from Spielberg when you get a chance; and I don't mean the promotional junket stuff. Spielberg loves that crazy thing that Bay can do so well -- same for Ratner.

But then again maybe you shouldn't.

Like Dr. Zaius' warning to Charlton Heston as he decides to ride along the beach, "Don't look for it Taylor. You may not like what you find."

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed this conversation. It was enlightening in many ways...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say I'd be very surprised if Mason Anonymous wasn't a pro writer in some fashion-- he's got some deep insights/firm understanding of the industry (I'm not sure if it's just common sense or actual experience, but, like I said, I'd very surprised if this is a greenie...)...

I'm happy to make his acquaintance. I'd like to hear more of his thoughts, hope he participates more in the future... (I just can't wait to hear the crack Matt is conjuring...)

Peter

 
At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Peter, I'm just a "dick" who's been whack-a-mole'd by Scott and ripped apart by Matt for all my unintelligent conversation and lack of support for my arguments.

What do I know? Geez.

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Not Peter: I'm not going fishing. If you can find a quote that backs your take, go for it.

Peter: I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's living in his Mom's basement. But maybe we're both right.

As for Spielberg hiring Bay for T1, it makes sense. Spielberg needed someone who could get the visuals on the screen, and knew that if Bay did even a Pearl Harbor quality job on Transformers, it was going to make a buttload of money. As indeed Bay did, and as indeed the movie did.

Bay was the safe choice, and as I said (somewhere) he's good at spectacle, and audience loves spectacle. Hell, I think I would have liked a Bay version of Planet of the Apes a lot more than Tim Burton's take on it.

But I don't think Spielberg hired him for either movie because he needed Bay to make a particularly-good movie. He just needed Bay to do exactly what Bay did. And Spielberg probably has zero regrets.

Though a Spielberg take on Transformers would probably have been cooler. Though then again, the last Indiana Jones movie felt like a Michael Bay movie.

 
At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Peter: I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's living in his Mom's basement. But maybe we're both right."

C' mon Scott, I used that one on Matt already. And he ripped me new one for it!

Actually, we have a mutual associate. But that's classified -- at least for the moment.

"Hell, I think I would have liked a Bay version of Planet of the Apes a lot more than Tim Burton's take on it."

Careful Scott -- I think we might agree on something. Though we could do better than Bay too, dontcha think?

Indiana Jones didn't cut it for me; but it didn't feel like a Bay film. It just felt like Spielberg saying, "Do we have to?" more often than not.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, you know, the Wes Anderson Planet of the Apes probably would have rocked.

In the interest of clarity, I've now disallowed anonymous blogging. Registering is quick and free; hopefully Peter and Not Peter will take advantage of it, no matter what names they use.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger peter said...

all signed up...

 

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