Killing Michael Bay

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ThomasC, May 7, 2004.

  1. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    ...is something I'm sure some of you would have no problem doing if given the chance. [​IMG] It's also the title of a pretty good short film that I found on IFILM while trying to pass the time at work.

    http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2472952
     
  2. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    That movie goes to prove that Bay kicks ass. Come on, he's no David Lean but the guy knows action. Are his movies masterpieces? No. Are they fun? Yeah. All those who hate Bay, give it up, he's rich and famous and you still live in your parent's basement; To me it sounds like you're the ones that need help.
     
  3. Beau

    Beau Supporting Actor

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    HAHAHAHA!!!! Great video. I LOVED that they used the "Michael Bay shot" when the camera circles around someone. LOL! When's the next michael bay movie coming out anyways? This make me want to watch The Rock and Armageddon.
     
  4. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    Wow. Must have really struck a nerve there.

    You know what, youre right. Im going to cave in to popular opinion. If it makes a ton of money, it must be great. I guess I better re-evaluate my tastes. If everyone else likes it, I must wrong! [​IMG]
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Your post made the baby Jesus cry, and made ME want to drive a power drill through my brain just to erase the memory of having read it. Thanks for lowering the collective IQ of this place. Please step away from the keyboard, and abandon the internet until puberty is over.
     
  6. DeepakJR

    DeepakJR Second Unit

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    LMAO. Nice Ricardo, and yea, money and fame arent everything if youre acquiring it by making stupid movies. Those movies make stupid people dumber and Adam seems like he loves them.

    L8rz,
    Deepak Jr.
     
  7. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    Well at 22 I'd hope puberty is over for me. Why do so many people have a hard time having fun? Some movies make you think, others make you laugh, others cry and then there are those that you go to, grab a big ass bag of popcorn a 70 oz. soda and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Why do so many people think that they are above having fun? I have two degrees and yet I still find fun in watching movies that have no ounce of plausibility to them what so ever. Does this make me any less intelligent? I don't think so.

    The guys that made "Killing Michael Bay" talk about how much they hate him and how much he sucks. Watch the movie, it's all in the style of Michael Bay. It just kills me when people go on and on about how the hate someone but yet they can't seem to stop talking about that person (Ben Afleck is a good example). If you hate him so much why is it that you give him so much of your (what one would think is) valuable time? Good or bad Bay doesn't care what you say about him. Why? Because good or bad, as long as you mention him, that's great. What would really hurt him is if you said nothing at all. The worst thing in the world is if no one has anything to say about you (good or bad). So I say to everyone sit down and watch "Bad Boys" or "The Rock" and just have fun,. It won't kill you will it? Will it?


    P.S. I would really like to hear real arguments as to why "Bay Sucks" (and please do it like you have a brain in your head, don't just say: "I just don't like him" or "He just sucks" Give me reasons and do it like an adult).
     
  8. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    And you don't think that might not be intentional? Part of the joke? maybe less a hateful diatribe on Michael Bay and more of a satiric twist on the division between the multiplex and the arthouse?

    It's a parody and a satire. it's a goof.

    You pretty much completely missed the point and the tone of the film. Even with your two degrees.
     
  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Really, thanks for the opportunity. I've managed to squirrel away a few hours in the basement while my folks are away.


    1) His films totally rely on cliched, flat characters, the very worst thing you can do in narrative film (or storytelling in general). Such characters and archtypes are sometimes valuable as metaphors or in passing along a deeper meaning (such as the German fables created to help sponser a unified Germany several centuries ago), but when your only point is to tell a good yarn, then you need characters with real conflicts to MOVE the yarn along.

    Just having a character exist is not enough, no matter how cool and neat they look firing a gun as they walk toward the camera in slow motion.

    2) Following that, the reason such characters are critical in driving narrative along is because the fundamental stepping stone in narrative is the CHOICE, and only complex characters really have choices to make. Simplistic characters have simplistic thought patterns which means one point of view and one option in action, therefore no choice.

    3) Okay, so maybe he just gets attached to bad scripts. Well, in the world of cinema a director works in a visual langauge, and Bay's "writing" has the literacy of a drunk, high school drop out. Pointless and cliched slow motion shots of groups walking toward the camera as in the cops joining Will toward the end of Bad Boys 2 or the NURSES (seriously, why?) walking amid the train steam in slow motion in Pearl Harbor. Don't get me started on Bay wanna-be Simon West's Con Air, a film made apparently just to serve such a shot as if it were Bay's version of the money shot.

    It's funny because I just saw this copied in House of the Dead, rather appropriate that those awful filmmakers would choose Bay to crib from.

    The "line of protagonists" was tired 20 years ago. Bay uses it in every film.

    4) Bay's attempt to generate artificial action with camera motion is genius, or maybe it was when they used it on the original STAR TREK TV show. Add in here the quick zoom in, zoom back out as if focusing quickly to a different part of the action, ala AotClones final battle scene (many people considered this another Bay crib).

    5) Bay's "sweeping crane shot" which is overused to the point of being silly. The sweep is meant to be dramatic, much like yelling. The problem is that yelling at the wrong time is not dramatic, its annoying, and when you add to that the fact that you are yelling ALL THE TIME it really becomes a problem.

    6) Back to choices, Bay has to lead his audience like a dog by the nose with his directorial shots. He doesn't let the audience figure anything out, he tells them. "See, see there, see what he's got there, guess what, oh look now at what's going to happen". Sometimes when you see things coming from a mile away its not the script, its the director going past foreshadowing into the realm of putting up a big billboard for the audience, just in case you were out getting popcorn during the first 5 scenes of foreshadowing.

    7) As mentioned with the crane shots, Bay also inappropriately uses most of the other "fancy" shots (ie, non-traditional 2 shots, 180 eyelines, etc) so that they do not carry the intended emotional effect. Sometimes a slow-mo is dramatic, sometimes its silly.

    8) Finally, the "fancy" shots he does use, all of them, are all the most basic, non-inventive shots a director (any director) can select from. Again in verbal terms he likes to use "really" and "very" rather than picking up a visual thesaurus, so to speak.

    "This really, really good guy is going to really shoot that very bad guy in a way that's going to be really, very cool."

    He's all visual posture and no real authorship.

    And before you even bother wasting pixels telling me its all popcorn fluff, I'm not even talking about the complexity of the script. Even popcorn films need characters with choices for the film to move along - does Indiana Jones blow up the Ark or does he surrender to the Germans. That's a POPCORN film right there, but Jones has complexities.

    And even if he didn't, even if the film was simplistic in its characters, Bay still could TELL IT well, in a language that's beautiful to "listen" to. But he doesn't. He targets cliched characters, plots, and scenes and pairs them with high-dollar cliches in direction, editing and cinematography.


    Visual motifs, underlying themes, framing structures? The dude doesn't even know what those are, and they've all been around for 100 years.

    Bruckheimer for the most part is a guy who now makes money with money - adverts, big stars, whatever else he can buy, and Bay survives off of this. Take Bay's name away and Bruck's money, and he would get buried in head to head competition with about 1000 other directors working today. He couldn't build a career on his own, he is famous for standing next to famous people, not for creating his own fame, speaking metaphorically.

    Don't believe me, just consider his head to head with Tobe Hooper with Texas Chainsaw Massacre (produced, which in his case means a figurehead director following his own style). Despite having Tobe's version to show him the way he was totally incapable of capturing any of the artistic strength of the original, and we are talking about a horror film here not an Oscar drama.

    Of course Bay is just one director in Bruck's stable. You will note that on the occassions that Bruck hires a director with his own vision separate from the Bay, West, Sena, Schumacher crowd he actually tends to land a pretty solid picture.

    Guys like Tony Scott, Ridley Scott and Gore Verbinski gave Bruck films that were hits AND considered to be high quality, even if they were just popcorn film. Do you really think Bay could deliver Pirates of the Carribean or Black Hawk Down?

    Ooops, mommy's home, I have to leave now. Thanks for letting me play grown up for awhile.
     
  10. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    oh YEAH!?!?

    Well--do YOU have 2 degrees? HUH? HUNH?!?



    [​IMG]
     
  11. Jeff_Standley

    Jeff_Standley Supporting Actor

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    I completely agree. But you forgot the sliding camera shot across the hood of the car and back that manages to show up in every film of his also, I believe right after the quick zoom in and out trick.

    I have to say the biggest offendor of the slow motion is none other than John Woo,man this guy was taking notes during Bay on film 101.
    I would slit my wrist if I had to sit through MI-2 one more time. How can you make a guy grabbing a girls scarf that is going to blow off of her neck dramatic? Wow! that was amazing, did you see the way he caught it at the last second [​IMG].
    I will never rush to see a John Woo film or a Michael Bay film ever again.
     
  12. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    If you think that's funny, try to catch Pearl Harbor II: Pearlmageddon on HBO, Cinemax or INHD. I laughed my ass off! www.pearlharborii.com
     
  13. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    Actually, that's backwards. Woo was doing shit like that long before Bay got a foot in the door. It's just that when Woo came to America, he somehow lost his skill in taking those camera tricks and applying them to meaningful stories so that they weren't too jarring and didn't call attention to themselves.

    NOW it's all empty spectacle, but the reason people like West and Bay grabbed onto that style and choked the living shit out of it is because Woo successfully used it FIRST, and remembered to hitch decent stories to it.

    But yeah, I've given up on Woo's american output as well. The only decent thing he's done since he came over here was Face/Off.
     
  14. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Woo used to film action as the central character, and in many ways his Asian work was cinema of attractions with the attraction being the action.

    However, in Hollywood he has been tied, either by his choice or others, to a stricter sense of narrative, and this means that camera work centered around showing off action now finds itself out of place. He's writing Stienbeck with rap lyrics and it just doesn't mesh.

    Hollywood was a fool to try to crowbar Woo into the classical H'wood narrative style.

    Mission Impossible is the perfect example. DePalma recognized that the story/show was about plots, about double dealings and espionage. That is NOT what Woo does.

    Woo needs a film like King of New York, that is far less plot dependent and is instead all about showcasing characters and their actions. Stuff like Face/Off is a twisty thriller, a whodonnit in the most traditional sense. Even Broken Arrow is more about "can they stop the nuke" ala Hitchcock than it is about a character posturing.

    More recently Hellboy worked well as more of a character action piece than a plot piece. People do make those types of films (heck, Kill Bill is more a Woo vehicle than anything Woo has been attached to), but no one is giving one of those to Woo (or he isn't taking them).


    But when Woo was on his game before the US, his visual language was already far more advanced and appropriate for the films he was making than what Bay was able to take from him. In fact I don't think Bay really did take from Woo. His work looks more like the product of 80's/90's commercial direction standards (and MTV). That's not just quick cutting. Lots of INVENTIVE work gets done in those forums, but it also applies there much better.

    Fincher does not direct his narrative films like he directed music videos. Neither do guys like Jonze or Gondry. Some of the style is similar, a TONE to the work is consistent, but these guys use different phrasing for feature films than they did with shorter, more commercial-oriented works (after all music vids general sell a song or band).

    Bay does not seem to recognize this boundry, or IMO is intentionally taking that "make the film a commercial" approach trying to sell audiences with the hard sell of commercialism. The hard sell does work on lots of people which is why it continues on, but it still stands out as awkward when compared to real artistry with deeper intentions.
     
  15. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    You know in reflecting a bit more on this the problem of commercialism as an approach to feature direction can probably summed up best in this way:

    It's the difference between the shot serving the story and the story serving the shot.

    Bay's work (and the Bruck team of copies) are all about the "cool shot" and the film moves along only to get to that next cool shot. You can see him thinking that way as the film unfolds, and that's what rubs people the wrong way.


    A truly great shot is one which tells the story and ties into the story in such a powerful way that it becomes greater for it. Consider one of a myriad examples - Lawrence of Arabia. At the well there is a long 2 shot (well, really 3 as we are about to find out) with Larry on the far left, the scout on the far right, both looking off into the distance toward the dust of an approaching camel.

    The shot separates the 2 characters (symbolic, and it foreshadows the coming action) and it places us in their position, also straining to see what is off on the horizon. It's power comes not just from the beauty and the framing, but from what the shot is saying in regards to the story and characters.

    Out of context such a shot could become bland or even silly.



    BTW, does Bay even understand anything but the cheapest matched-cuts? Seriously, he never has a beautiful metaphorical cut, he only uses the occassional shock cut or gross cut, if even that (can't really think of many examples at all in his work).

    Compare that to LoA again in which Lean matches the lighting of a match to the rising of the burning desert sun. That's art. Each shot does look good, but it is in the pairing of shots that the real art and metaphor come out.
     
  16. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I love it when Seth goes to town. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the schooling. It's always great to read.

    ...although using LEAN and Lawrence of Arabia to show off Bay's shortcomings is like swatting a fly with a Bulldozer [​IMG]
     
  17. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    Seth, I gotta say I like you. Your posts are why I asked people what they think. Very rarely on the internet do you find informed people who can talk about a subject intelligently (I'm sure most of you have been to messaged boards where this was the case).

    You make very valid points and you made them very well, thanks. I really wasn't going for the whole "Michael Bay is the shit, no one can touch him" type of thing. No, I really wanted to see exactly why it is that so many people hate him. And thanks to your post I can now see why some would have that opinion of him. Does that change the fact that I like Bay? Not really, but that's what's great about life is that we're all into different things. I would love to see more posts like this one (on at least where this post has gone) around here. So much can be learned by listening to what others have to say and disscussing the finer points of filmmaking in a diginifed mannor. Again, great posts, you've helped me see what the other side sees.

    P.S. Sorry if I sounded like a dick in my other posts. I sometimes forget that the average age of posters here is not sixteen, like the other site I sometimes post at (it's that really big one where everyone thinks they know everything about everything, I bet you know the one).
     
  18. Stevan Lay

    Stevan Lay Second Unit

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    And that's putting it politely. Face/Off was just a poor Hollywood version of Woo's previous The Killer.
     
  19. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    You just described about 4,000,000 internet messageboards right there, man. You're gonna have to narrow it down [​IMG]
     
  20. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    You're right. TWell, this one has some sort of "Database" or something[​IMG] .
     

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