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Published on June 27th, 2014 | by Chris Scott


Five Films on Friday – Michael Bay

Say what you will about Michael Bay, but the man is money in the bank. Of the ten films he has directed, only three have failed to hit a domestic gross of $100 million USD and half of his films have grossed over $400 million USD worldwide. While ticket sales certainly aren’t a strong indicator of quality, they are an indicator of what the masses want. Clearly, the people want Bay’s style of popcorn schlock.

This weekend, Marky Mark teams up with Optimus Prime in theaters for Bay’s eleventh directorial effort, the third sequel in the immensely popular Transformers series, Transformers: Age of Extinction. But if you can’t get out to see Bay destroy another city, or you just don’t want to brave the opening weekend crowds, here are five Michael Bay films to watch this weekend.

5. Pain & Gain

In terms of moneymakers, Pain & Gain is one of Bay’s worst. However, the film is far from being one of Bay’s worst efforts. Instead of focusing on the usual myriad of Bay explosions and CG special effects, Pain & Gain takes a character focus and showcases a nuance of storytelling that many did not believe Bay was capable of.

4. Transformers

Robot lips, Shia LaBeuf and Optimus Prime prancing around in a garden: there are a host of things that one could complain about in regards to the original Transformers film. Despite those quibbles, the film is extremely entertaining. In fact, the original Transformers is about everything anyone could ask for from a modern day blockbuster based on a 80s cartoon designed to sell children toys. The rest of the series though… well, best not to dwell on bad memories.

3. Armageddon

1998 was the year of giant asteroids on a collision course for Earth, but while Deep Impact had Morgan Freeman, Michael Bay’s Armageddon had Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton and a super smaltzy ballad by Aerosmith. It’s incredibly implausible,  but simultaneously incredibly entertaining, which is kind of Michael Bay’s calling card.

2. Bad Boys II

The original Bad Boys was a fun buddy cop film but in many ways was done by the numbers. Bad Boys II sees both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return to star in what might be the most over-the-top display of filmmaking ever put out. Bay blows up just about everything that is on screen while Smith and Lawrence ham it up to 11. From one perspective it may seem like filmmaking gone wild with excess, but from my perspective it is filmmaking genius.

1. The Rock

When discussions of the great action films of all time take place, The Rock is almost always hovering around the edges. But it shouldn’t just be condemned to the periphery: the film should be right there in the thick of the discussion. The Rock is Bay’s best film and easily stands alongside the best of the genre. It might also be one of the last times we got Nic Cage the actor instead of Nic Cage the complete crazy person.

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