Day: June 28, 2014

Offended by bad?

Michael-Bay-Movies-List-900Yesterday I had an interesting experience.  I was following the reviews for Transformers 4 (It’s like a car crash that you can’t help but look at).  Sometimes the bad reviews are the most entertaining and so as I was doing a rather boring project I put on podcasts and reviews and it all sounded pretty terrible.  It was funny as the day started the score on Rottentomatoes.com steadily declined from 53, 35, 26, 18, 13…

When my roommate got home I was telling her about it and how frustrating it is such junk gets made and that people go to see it!  The only reason 4 exists is because the 3rd one made over a billion dollars.  That makes it #7 in all time box office gross.

“Well, all movies are trying to make money”  my roommate responded, which is completely true.  However, I like to think people who create things for us to consume have at least an ounce of artistic integrity.  That they are at least trying to do something that is beautiful or funny or splashy to them.

Stephen Spielberg, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and even M Night Shyamalan are making money yes, and some junk, but what they think is beautiful or interesting or challenging.  Even George Lucas in those awful prequels can’t be faulted for trying to make something that he liked. It was terrible but not a complete cash grab.

The Simpsons is perhaps the greatest marketing machine there is.  Simpsons cups, toys, clothes, and everything else but the show is made with a certain degree of integrity.  Some could argue that the last 10 seasons have been unnecessary but I feel like they are at least trying to do something good.

Then we get to Michael Bay…

Michael Bay has made the same jaw droopingly bad movie over and over again.  They keep making money (why America?) but come on?  Wouldn’t a movie that is actually good also make a lot of money?  2 of Michael Bay’s movies made it on my Movies I Hate list Pearl Harbor and Armageddon.

I could easily put Transformers 2 and 3 on that list.  They all are explosions, objectified stupid Maxim cover girl women, and mind numbing special effects with horrible music.   To make matters worse Bay also always includes humor that is based on some type of ethnic stereotyping.

Some language in this clip but it shows throughout his movies the same cringe worthy treatment of Latinos, women, African Americans and any other non-alpha male group.

After talking a little with my roommate she said something interesting.

She said ‘well, I don’t like it.  I’m not really offended by it though’.

I said ‘well, I’m not offended by it either’

She said ‘Are you sure?’

It made me think.  Am I offended by it or is it just simply something I don’t like that others like?

offended- resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.

Given the definition I guess I am a bit resentful that all the money spent on making and watching such trash and  it isn’t used to create something at least a little bit fun. Pacific Rim proved you can do ‘giant transformer movie takes over city’ without being so insulting to your audience.

I’ve long said that my most hated movies of all time are Drop Dead Gorgeous, Superstar, Brother”s Grimm, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, but I recognize DDG and Brothers Grimm were trying to do something different and it didn’t work.  So what is worse the lazy mediocrity or the ambitious flop?

Pearl Harbor gets a special place in offensively bad movies because it is takes a dump on the memories of our brave servicemen.  It’s one thing to see autobots and dicepticons  dodge explosions while humans engage in cringe worthy dialogue, but an entirely new level of nightmare when it is real people who sacrificed everything in those explosions.  They deserve better than an hour of Ben Affleck pining over a woman and another hour of mindless explosions.  It’s offensive to me…

Some language in this but the NC says it pretty well…

And what about other mediums?  For instance, last year’s Mixology definitely offended me.  I really hated the book Julie and Julia.  There was a little book called Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl that came out a few years ago, and I was really offended by that book.  (The author actually contacted me on goodreads after my review and we discussed my feelings.  Love her.  Hate the book).

But I also hated Austenland, but I’m not offended by that.  So where’s the balance?  Where does something tip the scale between not caring for something and finding it’s existence offensive?

I’m not sure. The Michael Bay movies make me nuts because I know he has every available resource and this is what we get?

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/06/26/transformers-age-of-extinction-review-has-michael-bay-lost-his-mind

I think where it crosses the line to offensive and not just bad is when it is mean spirited, cold, insulting, chauvinistic, degrading of any ethnic group/women.  That I just don’t get. That’s why Mixology made me so angry.  I like to think that over the years we have learned something about how to treat human beings and then something like that exists and it blows me away.

I actually hope that Michael Bay is just being lazy and stupid.  If he really see’s this as art then shame on him.  I do not get why people see it.  Why?

It is even worse when it is geared towards children. The Smurfs was such cynical film making.  It exists only for the money.  The second Smurfs was  literally a giant Sony product placement.  This makes me sad because it discourages people from participating in modern storytelling.  You have a bad experience with a Smurfs or Transformers and you assume it’s all a waste of time.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

I agree with Chris Stuckmann.  Certainly our kids deserve better

So, yes these kinds of things offend me.  Not often but it does happen. I know many are cynical about pop culture, literature, movies, television and it’s no wonder when you have this kind of cash grab.  It’s discouraging, but I refused to let such junk sink me down.  I believe in storytelling in all it’s mediums.

And perhaps that is why such garbage does offend me.  I know the power it has and it is being used to give us less than nothing.  Roger Ebert once said about a film ‘this was the first time I’ve been to a movie where staring at a blank wall would have been preferable’.

That’s a pretty low standard to be setting and yet I’d agree with him.  At least then you could come up with your own stories.

It’s summer.  Please do something outside or rent The Lego movie.  Don’t reward this behavior.

If you don’t believe me here’s a lot of smart people who do.  Don’t’ see Transformers 4. Please!!!!

I guarantee you these reviews have more wit and thought than the mess for nearly 3 hours on screen. (some of these have strong language)

there I said it!  🙂