Michael Bay Doesn’t Suck

Matthew Yglesias seeks to justify his “reputation in the blogosphere as a leading Michael Bay apologist” by providing a video of a Levis spot whereby readers might “truly glimpse the man’s skillz.” The commercial is rather entertaining.

Then again, I’m not sure where the near-consensus among movie critics that Michael Bay makes terrible moves comes from. For example, a profile in the most recent Details observes,

You most likely already have strong opinions about Bay, and not the good kind. People who care about culture and quality brand Bay and his oeuvre as shamefully, offensively hollow. It doesn’t matter that he owns a private jet, that he dates Playboy Playmates, that he lives bigger and badder than you ever will—he is Carrot Top with a megaphone.

Yet, of the handful of his movies I’ve seen, the only one I didn’t like at all was “Pearl Harbor.” I haven’t seen any of his various horror flicks, but then that’s not a genre I tend to enjoy. Nor have I seen “Playboy Video Centerfold: Kerri Kendall (One woman’s erotic, imaginative adventure)” but, really, how bad could it be?

“The Rock” was fun even if the plot was rather far-fetched. “Bad Boys” was funny; “Bad Boys II,” meanwhile, looked so obviously bad that I never bothered to see it. And I’m apparently the only one who liked “Armageddon,” which even star Bruce Willis routinely mocks.

Sure, none of them are exactly Shakespeare. And they’re not likely to have the long term cultural impact of “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” or “Rocky.” But so what?

Bay doesn’t pretend he’s making art; he’s just making entertaining movies people want to see. Judging by the results, he’s succeeding.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    If he is not making art, but just movies people want to see, wouldn’t this allow for some very objective judging of his work.

    How much did the movies make, how long did they run, how much was the budget? Now compare with contemporary films. In short, if you were going to invest in a movie, would you want him involved (aka is his involvement more or less likely to make money compared to other options).

  2. brainy435 says:

    Heh. How can you hate a guy who was in Miami Vice… the show not the movie.

  3. If Bay is so horrible how come he’s one of Hollywood’s top directors? He’s good enough for Spielberg, and his movies sell. They’re mostly fun (the whole point of movies) even with the typical Michael Bay styling.

  4. Stormy70 says:

    I like his movies, and I loved Armageddon. I want to be entertained at the movies and Michael Bay gets it. I will go see Transformers again because once was not enough on the big screen.

  5. pudge says:

    The Island was pretty good and I liked the anti-tinkering with creation, via the old “mad scientists dabbling with cloning” angle, message it delivered. Very positive. And they blowed up things real good too.And Scarlett Johanson? Hubba,hubba!

  6. Anthony C says:

    As someone who grew up on Transformers, I’m terrified of seeing the new film. I also thought Pearl Harbour stank worse than rotten eggs.

    Generally speaking though, I think you make a very good point. The Rock and Bad Boys both… er… rock. I also enjoyed Armageddon.

    And frankly, I also enjoyed Bad Boys II. I put off seeing it for a long time because the reviews were universally dreadful, but about a year ago I caught it on TV and really enjoyed it.

  7. Grewgills says:

    I think the carrot top analogy works. Professional Wrestling, Dan Brown, or Brittany Spears would work as well. What he makes is popular, can be distracting, at times fun, but there is no substance to it. In short he is exactly what Hollywood looks for, someone who will fill the seats, will come in at or near budget, and won’t make artistic demands.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Anthony C

    Transformers was done Very well, except for some of the language and innuendo, but as some who also grew up on the cartoon I think you will be impressed.