Thursday, September 6, 2018

Michael Bay's Filmography Ranked!

Michael "It's All About the Money" Bay has made a lifelong career out of creating big-budget summer popcorn flicks where audiences can kick up their feet, turn off their brains, and enjoy chaos and explosions, all on the biggest screen possible. If there's one thing Michael Bay knows how to do, it's how to make large-scale destruction. Even though nearly half of his filmography is comprised of "Transformers" movies, we thought we would compile a list ranking the high-art of filmmaker Michael Benjamin Bay from 'worst' to 'hey, that one's actually not so terrible.'
13) "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009): From Autobots modeled after racist stereotypes to giving Devastator giant balls, the second installment in the Transformers franchise has a nonsensical plot and easily the most eye-rolling and cringe-worthy moments of the series, making it our least favorite movie in Bay's filmography.
12) "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (2014): Over-bloated and overly long are two signature trademarks of all of Bay's work, none so much as "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth film in the franchise. This movie is a poorly paced slog with tonal issues and some really poor narrative and visual choices. At least the Dinobots are cool...for the five minutes that they are on screen.

11) "Transformers: "The Last Knight" (2017): Only slightly better than its predecessor, "The Last Knight" suffers from many of the same issues. It has sub-par storytelling, shitty writing, mediocre (at best) acting, and so much chaos, confusion, and lack of cohesion that it is headache-inducing. This installment only has a few fleeting moments of fun.

10) "Pearl Harbor" (2001): It is painfully obvious that Michael Bay desperately wanted "Pearl Harbor" to be his "Titanic." Unfortunately, he just could not make the terrible and forced love triangle between Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale work. Still, this war drama is not devoid of excitement as the action sequences during the attack on Pearl Harbor are exciting and still hold up well 17 years later.
9) "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011): Bay managed to course-correct the "Transformers" franchise a bit with "Dark of the Moon" after failing so hard with "Revenge of the Fallen." That being said, it didn't improve too terribly much. Overall, this movie still provides a crapload of mindless turmoil as a group of people chases a MacGuffin for over two hours. Bay somehow also achieved the difficult task of making giant robot fights boring.
8) "Bad Boys" (1995): A lot of people enjoy the original "Bad Boys," Michael Bay's directorial debut. Unfortunately for us, it sort of squanders the talents of its lead actors and falls victim to an overly serious tone, contrived writing, and oh so many action movie cliches.
7) "Bad Boys II" (2003): A vast improvement on the original "Bad Boys," "Bad Boys II" has a much more tongue-in-cheek tone and utilizes the charisma and comedic talents of its lead stars, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, much better this time around. This sequel actually borders on "good" territory, but it's about a half hour too long and still falls into the same cliches as its predecessor.
6) "Transformers" (2007): The first time the Transformers got turned into a live-action big-screen experience is still the high point of the series for us. Though the original has many of the problems the subsequent films have had, "Transformers" manages to be enjoyable, exciting, and sufficiently goofy at times. Plus, Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox look like they are having a good time here.
5) "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" (2016): Sure, "13 Hours" is about a controversial topic and is filled with Michael Bay-isms like obligatory shots of sweaty glistening men lifting heavy weights, American flags waving in slow-motion, and endless explosions, but overall, this story works. It doesn't hold up all that well on re-watch, but it is a pretty entertaining warzone action-flick that puts Bay in his proper wheelhouse.
4) "Pain and Gain" (2013): Many viewers will automatically have a problem with a film that turns murdering scumbag criminals into charming goofballs. Maybe it's because we're slightly twisted, but we appreciate the darkly comedic tone of "Pain and Gain" no matter how inaccurate the story may be. The performances of Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson as three dude-bro misogynistic meatheads with delusions of grandeur and a bumbling approach to crime provide us with an enjoyable watch. The three main characters might be assholes, but that's kind of the point, so we'll give Michael Bay credit where credit is due.
3) "The Island" (2005): "The Island" actually has a solid sci-fi concept that takes notes from other genre movies that came before it like "Logan's Run" and "THX 1138." Underneath all of the tried and true Michael Bay tropes is a somewhat fun, somewhat thought-provoking science fiction action flick with a couple of solid performances and some impressive effects. The first half is better than the second half, but it remains thoroughly engrossing throughout its runtime.
2) "The Rock" (1996): "The Rock" is still one of Bay's best despite being only his second feature-length effort. Is it over-the-top? Yes. Is it silly? Hell yes, but the action provides a lot of excellent fun. While all of this is good on its own, on top of it, it stars Nicolas Cage. Cage propels this action thriller into levels of greatness beyond compare. He may be at his highest level of spastic Cage-ness, but it is anchored by some solid acting from both Sean Connery and Ed Harris. It's a damn amusing movie if you give it a chance.
1) "Armageddon" (1997): Michael Bay has sort of/kind of gone on the record saying "Armageddon" is his least favorite movie in his filmography, so it's a little ironic that we consider it his best. Maybe it's because we have loved it since we were younger, maybe it's because it has provided us with countless viewing experiences full of joy and laughter. Sure, the plot doesn't make a lick of logical sense, but we can't help but love it and consider it one of our all-time favorite guilty pleasure movies. Everyone involved in this project knows exactly what kind of movie they are making, and the cast is loaded with people who look like they are having a great time making it. The dialogue might be cheesy as hell, but the special effects still look wonderful to this day. We're not going to lie, the ending still gets us a bit misty-eyed every single time we watch it.

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