I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern’s Peace Initiative

As if the whole world wasn’t going to shit already, now we got this war going on between Israel and Hezbollah in Syria. Or according to some people, between the US via Israel and Iran via Syria via Hezbollah in Lebanon or I don’t know. Whatever the fuck is going on over there, it’s not good. People are dying every day and it seems like this could be just the humble beginnings of this latest phase of the world’s biggest mess.

In the old days, like, say, seven years ago, what we would do is the President would make some phone calls, send some diplomats, try to figure out how to get those assholes over there to chill the fuck out. “Come on guys, it’s not worth it.” Like when your buddy’s had a few too many drinks and starts getting in a guy’s face in an argument over a girl or a shoe or a slice of pizza or something. You gotta give your buddy some perspective before things get ugly.

Well, Bush is too busy clearing brush or dumping out stem cells or something. You know how he is, if the world is teetering on the precipice then you bet your ass that asshole’s on vacation. I heard he’s supposed to be reading Camus’s The Stranger on his vacation, which is interesting. Future embarassing off the cuff remark: “Well it’s interesting, in existentialism it says I can kill an Arab.”

Anyway, the point is he’s not gonna do shit. Therefore, I feel it is my duty as an American to step up and set a positive example for our brothers and sisters around the world.

Now, I know you have plenty of reasons to hate each other. The other side kidnapped some of your soldiers, or arrested a whole bunch of people, or blew up your house, or hate your religion, or stole your land, etc. I’m not saying you don’t have cause to be angry. But what you gotta understand is, this shit goes back hundreds of years. So far, blowing shit up has not helped in any way. Maybe, perhaps, it is worth considering that blowing shit up only ever makes it worse, and you gotta stop.

So here’s what I’m gonna do to help. I am not a soldier, I cannot offer a military solution. I am not a politician, I cannot offer a political solution. I am an outlaw film Writer, I Write about films. So I will work within my particular medium. Within my medium, I also have an enemy. You know how you guys feel about the other side of this conflict? That’s kind of how I feel about Michael Bay.

Michael Bay has not committed crimes against my people, but he has committed crimes against my action movies. More than any other person he is responsible for the destruction of the filmatic language. What was once a genre that pulled you in and put you in the shoes (or cut up bare feet) of its hero, now distances you and whacks you over the head with a giant dick made out of strobe-light edits, whooshy camera spins and indecipherable action spectacle. He took Bruce Willis, the star of the greatest action movie of all time (DIE HARD), and put him in ARMAGEDDON, one of the most retarded big budget movies I’ve ever seen. He took the trademarks of one of our greatest action auteurs, John Woo (the slow motion hero strolls, the double pistols, the melodrama) and chopped them up into snack sized fast food bites, turning them into American cliches that people would later ridicule Woo for. His movies are idiotic, their values are vile, and worst of all they’re completely boring to me. Even in his early, not as retarded movies like THE ROCK and BAD BOYS, the filmatics of the action scenes make them completely uninvolving and confusing for a guy like me to watch.

Once Bay had had his way with my beloved genre, the motherfucker bought up the rights to my favorite horror movie, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, and hired a crazy German video director who had been fired from END OF DAYS to do a shitty remake. To get me more worked up, he went to the press and started making statements that made it clear he had never seen the original movie and had no idea what it was all about. Talking about how the new one would be less gorey and ignorant shit like that. Just trying to work me up. Trying to psyche me out.

What I’m saying is I hate this motherfucker. I HATE this motherfucker. After ARMAGEDDON, I called it quits on the shit he directs. Sometimes I’ll go see a movie I don’t think I’m gonna like. And obviously I believe in giving people a second chance. But Michael Bay, in my opinion, as well as in scientific fact, is not curable. It’s just not worth it. If it says “Michael Bay,” I must stay away. So I didn’t watch PEARL HARBOR, didn’t watch BAD BOYS 2, didn’t watch THE ISLAND, didn’t feel like I was missing out.

Bad Boys IIBut today, in the name of world peace, universal brotherhood, understanding and giving each other high fives as well as down low, etc., I am prepared to make concessions, sacrifices and compromises. I am striving for excellence in the area of peace. I can’t just blow up Michael Bay, especially since he would set up a camera that would rotate around the explosion and cut to a closeup of sweat dripping down Josh Hartnett’s shoulders reflected off the back of a Lamborghini made out of cocaine and it would be unclear whether he was in the explosion or not and I would just be confused so it wouldn’t be worth it. So I decided instead to do something I never thought about doing before… I watched BAD BOYS 2.

I gotta be honest, I don’t remember a god damn thing about BAD BOYS PART 1 except that there was Sergeant Whatsisdick and Detective Whoevertheguyiscalled and they kept saying things like “Hello we’re negros” while fighting diamond thieves or kidnappers or somebody. I don’t think it was as offensive to my sensibilities as ARMAGEDDON, but it was more forgettable. The jokes weren’t funny except for the one about how you were supposed to accept these two skinny jokers from TV sitcoms as tough guy cops. I’ve actually never heard of anybody who liked BAD BOYS 1. I know Will Smith was in it and he’s popular. But they didn’t make MADE IN AMERICA 2 or even INDEPENDENCE DAY 2, so you just don’t expect this. And honestly you’d think America would have safeguards in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

But I know people who enjoyed BAD BOYS 2. I had heard legends about some of the crazy shit in the movie. Michael Bay actually put his director’s credit over a shot of a burning cross, no joke. There’s a chase scene where cadavers fall out of the back of a truck and bounce around the freeway getting crushed and beheaded by cars. It’s the first movie with the balls/poor taste to mention 9-11, and has a scene where the heroes drive a yellow Hummer over about a hundred hovels in Cuba. They call them “drug dealer shacks” so that we know they are all for sure evil and we don’t have to feel bad about it, and I am positive that none of this was intended as an ironic commentary on our foreign policy or attitudes toward the world. At least as far as Michael Bay knew. (One of the many writers who had his way with the script [think WORLD’S BIGGEST GANG BANG] was Jerry Stahl, the Permanent Midnight/ALF guy, so who knows.)

There are other evil Michael Bay touches for the Bush era. The Bad Boys are supposed to be cool and rebellious because they bribe a guy to help them do a “highly illegal” wiretap. There are also some attempted laughs about drug dealer Klansmen always saying, “I have my rights!” Ha ha, what a whiner, thinks there’s supposed to be civil rights in this country. Only a drug dealing Klansmen would believe in civil rights. Also, Will Smith’s character drives a Ferrari, because Michael Bay is obsessed with rich man toys that no ordinary human being would have a chance of owning. In MIAMI VICE they drive a Ferrari because they’re undercover as drug dealers and they confiscated it from a real drug dealer. In BAD BOYS they drive a Ferrari because Michael Bay has the mentality of a 12 year old boy. (He also has a cameo driving a crappy car. Ha ha, it’s funny because Michael Bay would never drive that car. Michael Bay only drives cars that cost more than your house and ten years worth of food and electricity.)

One of my associates informs me that Will Smith’s character was supposed to have inherited a bunch of money in the first movie, that is supposed to be how he affords the dick lengthening vehicle. Which sort of blows my theory that he is supposed to be taking bribes and selling dope from the evidence locker. At any rate, I’m not sure how he can keep tailing people in that thing. It’s not exactly inconspicuous.

The movie ends with Will Smith and Gabrielle Union making out at Gitmo. I felt like an unlawful combatant watching this shit.

So I watched this shit and in the spirit of understanding I hoped maybe to get into the crazy, over-the-top spirit of the movie. In concept, I liked the black humor of them having to search a bunch of dead bodies for hidden drugs. There were some giant explosions here and there, including one caused by a remote controlled car. In the car chases, there’s definitely some spectacle with cars flipping around and flying through the air although just like all of Bay’s movies, I just couldn’t get involved in it no matter how hard I tried, because the whole approach to shooting and editing pulls me out of it.

The editing actually isn’t as bad as ARMAGEDDON, though. For the first ten or fifteen minutes I thought it might kill me because of that Michael-Bay-strobe-light-editing where literally no shot lasts for more than 4 seconds and is usually between 2 and 3. So you get this bump-bump-bump-bump-rhythm where you can never solidly focus on anything and you just feel like the guy is trying to murder your eyeballs. But at some point either I got used to it or it started to calm down a little to the point where it wasn’t as distracting. Which is helpful.

What surprised me is that even though this is a terrible movie, it’s not a terrible movie in the same way I thought it would be. What I didn’t expect, somehow, is that this is a really bad comedy. Maybe if they cut out an hour and treated it seriously you could enjoy it like THE TRANSPORTER 2 or something, but the emphasis of the movie is not on action as much as it is on horrible, painful, inexcusable comedy. There’s almost no point in criticizing it as an action movie because most of it is all about these two whiny bitches bickering.

The story is mainly about the relationship between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and how Martin wants to break up. Will is sad but he decides to accept it. Then they bond by doing a wacky comedy skit that involves pointing a loaded gun at Martin’s daughter’s boyfriend. Then he quotes what Martin wrote in his high school year book (“Bad Boys for life”) and they make up. But the thing is, there is no fucking way Will would want to be around this guy. There is no person on earth who would want to be around this guy. He’s supposed to be a cop, but during every action scene he runs around like a coward whining and begging for his life and dancing around like a minstrel. I forget his character’s name but I think it’s Detective Stephen Fetchit. During the first shootout he announces “It’s the negras!” He’s afraid of rats, they make him scream and cry. The dead bodies make him puke and cry. When he has a gun pointed at his head he cries and gives up. When he’s in a car chase, he cries and gives up. I’m surprised they didn’t find a place for him to be scared of a ghost. If he’s not crying or running like a coward he’s yelling things like “Shit is crazy!” during a shootout so you remember the movie is supposed to be “fun.”

These clowns make Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold in all those Andrjez Bartkowiak movies seem like the fuckin Marx Brothers.You know how Will Smith has his “serious voice” and his “I’m trying to be funny now” voice when he starts busting out the slang? Both Will and Martin use the “I’m trying to be funny now” voice for most of the movie. Most of their dialogue seems improvised and it seems like everybody involved must’ve thought they had struck gold. But scene after scene has that embarrassing, uncomfortable feel of a bombing Saturday Night Live skit. There is this one “joke” about how Martin doesn’t know that Will is seeing his sister. Will is supposed to tell Martin but is scared he’ll disapprove (what’s he gonna do, cry and bitch some more?) so he keeps stumbling on his words and lying. They do this same joke over and over again throughout the movie, as if they thought it was hilarious the first time and can only grow in its power the more they do it.

Then there’s the joke about how the pool breaks and water goes everywhere. Craziness! This could’ve happened in that movie where Malcolm in the Middle painted Paul Giamatti blue, but Michael Bay wanted in on some of that action. And then he was so happy with the results that he did it again at the end of the movie.

And of course there’s the “Bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do” song. In the first BAD BOYS they sang that song from the show COPS. COPS came on the air in 1989, so this was a six year old reference. Even Leslie Nielsen wouldn’t have touched that shit, but they did it. Somebody somewhere said, “You know what, it’s named after the song from COPS. So people are gonna expect them to sing the song from COPS.” So they put it in there. Then BAD BOYS 2 comes along in 2003. And somebody said, “You know what, it’s a thirteen year old reference, it wouldn’t be funny even if it was current, it was just one of many bad decisions we made in the first one, but you know what? It was in the first one. People are gonna expect them to redo the same thing they did in the first one, if there is anyone who remembers that we made a first one.” So they had them sing it again. And then they were shooting the end of the movie and they said, “You know what, we did it in the beginning of the movie. People are gonna expect us to redo what we did in the beginning of the movie in the end of the movie.” So they fucking did it again, they sang it twice in this movie alone. That is the kind of quality control we’re talking here, they let that get in there twice.

Probaly the worst scene in the entire movie is the Circuit City scene, which makes no sense on about 25 different levels. The Bad Boys have found a drug dealer’s video camera, but it has a bullet hole in it so they can’t just play what’s on it. They have to bring it to a young salesman at Circuit City. Being an electronics expert, he is able to plug it in and that I guess magically repairs the bullet hole in a way that the Bad Boys could never have done on their own. But he accidentally plays the tape on every TV in the store. So of course the tape has footage of Will Smith (off camera) screwing Martin’s sister and everyone in the store thinks it’s porn. So then there is mayhem and outrageousness and Martin and Will retreat to another room inside the store. For reasons maybe explained in part 1, the tvs throughout the store now switch to a camera in this room and broadcast a conversation that out of context sounds like they’re talking about buttfucking each other. And this goes on for a long time while everybody in the store is shocked. I was disappointed that nobody fainted or spit out a drink.

Get it though? Fags. Ha ha.

I thought I sort of understood why some people liked this movie, but now that I’ve seen it I’m completely befuddled. This is like a David Spade movie that costs $130 million and has cars flying all over the place and blowing up. Even if you have one of those brains that can translate the Michael Bay spazzovision into real filmatic language, I still don’t understand how you could enjoy this shit. So what if it has big explosions if you gotta sit through two hours of painfully unfunny shtick to get there? This movie is fucking terrible.

But, you know, peace be with you. So as far as reaching out to my enemies, I would have to say that my viewing of BAD BOYS 2 was a failure. I don’t have much nice to say about that one. After I saw it, I wasn’t sure if I had achieved my goal of creating brothership and understanding around the world by watching this horrible, horrible movie. So as extra credit for peace, I decided to watch TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE, the cartoon movie that Bay is currently turning into his next horrible, horrible movie.

The Transformers: The MovieTRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE tells the story of The Transformers, a race of robots from the metal space planet of Cybertron. Like humans, the Transformers robots are bitterly divided into two groups, Autobots and Republicans. The Republicans control Cybertron, much like they control the White House, the congress and the courts here. They have forced the Autobots to move to the space moon where they are planning some kind of rebellion.

One thing I should mention is that the Transformers have the power to “transform” into a car, plane, or appliance. It’s similar to how a hide-a-bed transforms from a couch to a bed. Transformers can also fly so there is no reason why they should ever turn into a car or plane, unless they are trying to impress Michael Bay, because he gets a boner for that shit. The cars are pretty good cars though because in one part they can drive underwater and fight robotic piranhas and sharks from space.

The Autobots are planning some kind of big something or other, but a robotic bird finds out so he tells Maggotron, the head of the Republican party and also a member of the NRA I believe, since he transforms from a huge evil robot to a small handgun that you could fit in the back of your pants. So the Republicans attack the Autobot moon and they all battle the shit out of each other.

The leader of the Autobots is Optimus Prime, who turns into a red semi-truck and talks like John Wayne. He says some kind of dramatic deal about stopping the Republican agenda “no matter the cost,” in other words he’s gonna die heroically and it’s gonna be awesome. Sure enough after some punching and guns, Optimus gets cracked and he dies peacefully surrounded by his loved ones including Microscope Robot and Girl Robot. As he dies he turns black and grey and his chest opens up so he can pass on the glowing “matrix of leadership” to some other dude.

But the Republicans are in bad shape too (see that? the endless circle of violence) so they retreat on a robot that turns into a train that turns into a space shuttle. Maggotron is dying, so everybody fights over who should take his place, kind of like when Alexander Haig tried to say he was in charge after Reagan got shot. The robotrainshuttle is damaged though and Republicans don’t believe in social programs, so they just toss the smaller or sicker robots, including Maggotron, out the side door. Sorry, suckers. Cybertron is not for socialists.

MEANWHILE, IN SPACE, there is yet another metal planet, this one called Unicron. If they just switched two letters and made it Unicorn then alot more girls would like this movie, but I guess they weren’t going for box office, they were staying true to the original vision of the executives who came up with the idea of toy cars that turn into robots. Anyway, the Unicron planet has a big octopus type mouth on it and is alive and it likes to eat other planets. It’s played by Orson Welles (CITIZEN KANE) and in my opinion it’s kind of an asshole thing to do to cast a guy as a planet just because he’s fatter than he used to be when he was young. Maggotron floats into Unicron so Unicron makes a deal with him, he gives him a new body and Leonard Nimoy’s voice and sends him to crush “the matrix of leadership” so that nobody can stop him from doing whatever it is that evil planets like to do.

There was one part I thought was pretty funny, the new Republican majority leader Whiny Airplane is making everybody throw him a coronation party. But just as the crown goes on his metal head, the new Maggotron shows up. Whiny Airplane says, “Is that you, Maggotron?” and he says “Here’s a hint, cocksucker” (or words to that effect) and transforms into a magic laser cannon. Then he shoots the airplane and the guy disintegrates into ashes. But here’s the cool part. His crown falls to the ground and Maggotron steps on it and crushes it like a Dorito. This I would consider to be a definitive statement about the airplane’s poor leadership.

Then I think there was a big battle or something, I can’t remember what happened.

The universe of Transformers is kind of like CARS, everything is machines and you can’t figure out who the fuck built these guys or how they reproduce. What would happen if girl robot got it on with robot bird? or is that gross? I’m not sure. Are the small robots considered pets to the big robots? Or are they just unique and beautiful, like snowflakes?

Unlike CARS though there are exactly two hunks of flesh in this movie. But both of them wear robo-suits and one of them even transforms into a car. He is kind of a poser in my opinion, why doesn’t he just drive a car like a normal person. You gotta stay true to yourself, you don’t have to copy somebody else’s culture.

I should note, by the way, that this has some of the worst ’80s rock music you ever heard. It even has the song that Mark Wahlberg recorded in BOOGIE NIGHTS, “You Got the Touch.” In that movie it seems like a really funny exaggeration of the type of music we had in the ’80s, but it turns out it’s a serious song from this particular movie, and it is talking about how Optimus Prime “has the touch” and is “a winner.” There are lots of awkward montages set to bad rock music and one part where all the robots dance.

Now, if you watch this movie and carefully study it, after a while you will figure out who this movie is for: nerds. First of all, it’s a cartoon. Second, it’s about robots. You got all this fancy mythology and what not. And the characters are constantly talking about The Matrix. So it’s definitely for nerds.

That’s why The Transformers is exactly what Michael Bay deserves. Because no matter what he does, he’s now cursed to be plagued by nerds from today until the day the coke does him in. If the movie makes nerds happy, he’ll be their hero and they’ll worship him like Peter Jackson or whoever, they’ll follow him around and he won’t be able to shake em. “Michael Bay, why can’t you do the new Dungeons and Dragons movie. Michael Bay, why can’t you do Halo. Michael Bay, come to my house and re-enact Monty Python skits with me.” But in the more likely event that he shits all over their dreams and passions and makes them angry, they’ll plague him in a worse way. And this is a guy accustomed to taking his Ferrari and doing donuts on a military base while two high priced hookers shoot coke into his balls (at least, that’s my impression. I cannot prove this). He’s not the type that’s gonna have patience for these nerds.

It’s so beautiful. It’s like the bad guy from REVENGE OF THE NERDS having to referee a Magic: The Gathering tournament. I don’t think he knew what he was signing up for. Much like the kids who he claimed, in an interview for Air Force Television, would sign up for the military because the movie is a good “recruitment tool.”

But you know what, I’m trying to make peace here, so my heart goes out to Michael Bay. Even though you’re horrible, I hope you can keep them off your property. And I can see why the guy wanted to do this movie. It’s very personal to him, because it has cars in it instead of people. He can relate to cars more than people, they think the same. Ever since his senior thesis film which was apparently about frat boys driving around really fast in a yellow Porsche, he has related to cars more than people, and in interviews he has said that TRANSFORMERS is a personal story to him because it has a part where a kid buys his first car. This is probaly the movie he was born to make, the one he could really knock out of the park. So instead he’ll probaly make it more about people than robots and fuck the whole thing up.

I’m against BAD BOYS 2, I guess I’ll say I’m neutral on TRANSFORMABLES. For that type of robot/car cartoon movie, I guess it is probaly pretty decent, as far as those go. But please understand that I made an effort. I reached out. We’re all grown ups here, that’s what we do.

Israelis, Hezbollahs, Americans, Iraqis, unlawful combatants, transformers, and everybody else out there with a gun or a bomb: please learn a lesson from this. It’s time we all got together and said “what the hell, the world is big enough for all of us assholes.” We gotta be less stubborn and more humble and acknowledge that co-existing with somebody you don’t like isn’t the end of the world. BAD BOYS 2 may be shit, but it’s not the end of the world. Life goes on.

let’s do this everybody,

–VERN

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Sunday, August 13th, 2006 at 3:52 am and is filed under Action, Comedy/Laffs, Crime, Reviews, Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

63 Responses to “Vern’s Peace Initiative”

  1. Wow, brilliant stuff. Using the power of movie watching for good and not evil. I’ve always meant to give Bad Boys 2 another chance since I had the same reaction as Vern the first time but then the Hot Fuzz guys loved it. Guess it wasn’t a fluke though so I’ll keep putting that second viewing off.

  2. Have to admit I’m a little bit looking forward to PAIN & GAIN. Could be the first Bay movie since THE ROCK that I watch with a fully open mind and a willingness to accept its filmatic premise & intent as entertainment and some kind of artistic expression, instead of what most of us usually do which is see his movies in the spirit of hoping for good action & just barely suppressing our disgust for the Baytardedness for a couple hours.

    There aren’t many movies about weightlifters doing interesting things and being fully realized characters. I mean, there’s a ton of buff studs in movies, but they’re almost always just buff & studly just because; the movies never show the work that goes into looking & feeling that way (the “pain and gain,” if you will).

    Musclemen aka meatheads aka jocks are mainly played for laughs or just to look big & tough as human scenery. Even MIRACLE MILE’s small role for beefy Brian Thompson, an awesome hero who stops his early a.m. workout to go fly a helicopter, had to include the weird fact that he’s gay married to an incongruously small dude.

    I dunno. Bay’s probly not the best guy to convey what it is to be a diesel gym rat in a semi-realistic thriller/heist movie, but maybe he is. I’m not nearly as big as The Rock or Marky Mark, but I feel a kinship with their characters based on the trailer. I know what it’s like to want to pump out a couple dozen quick bicep curls to help you think & relax, to want to do impromptu unsupported sit-ups in the middle of town in the middle of the day. I relate to them & other filmatized PT freaks more than I relate to other male movie roles, and it’ll be good to have that on the bigscreen if Bay can pull it off without embarrassing us all, kind of like the way that Muslim Americans would probably be happy to see a movie that depicts Muslim characters in an honest, positive way instead of making them stock terrorist villains like usual.

  3. I give Bay props for taking pennies (along with Marky Mark and the Rock) just to get PAIN & GAIN a reality, with hopes to make hard cash in box-office points if that movie takes off…which I doubt honestly but you never know. Probably why he decided to make TRANSFORMERS 4, his back-up plan if his passion project bombs.

    Can’t say I’m expecting much, but I still respect that.

  4. Speaking of PAIN & GAIN, Bay talked about the trouble with working with the Rock in that he had some woman always lubing his whole body up with baby oil.

    http://www.prowrestling.net/artman/publish/WWE/article10030970.shtml

  5. I’m not going to prowrasslindotnet to read about a dude being oiled.

  6. Mouth – but the image is staying in your brain. The damage has been done.

  7. What are you talking about? PAIN & GAIN is a comedy based on real-life events perpetrated by three vile scumbags. There’s nothing positive about these morons to be said. The movie could be funny since it seems like Bay is attempting to channel the Marky Mark in BOOGIE NIGHTS vibe. Stupid people being clueless about their idiocy is usually pretty entertaining.

    Between this and the pursuit of that titless twig Olga I’m not sure we haven’t missed some concussion story from you Mouth.

    Oh yeah, BAD BOYS 2 is awesomely ridiculous!

  8. Hoping Bay takes artistic license with the story and makes heroes of the scumbags. He made President Franklin Roosevelt stand up from his wheelchair; Bay obviously has no limits or taste.

  9. the only thing that seems interesting about PAIN & GAIN is the 1995 setting, I wonder if there’ll be jokes about mid 90’s technology

  10. Dammit Mouth, now I can’t tell if YOU’RE the one joking around. Have you not read the complaints from the survivors or victim’s families about the movie? I won’t report the (spoilers) but c’mon lol.

    And Bay with no taste? There was some sweet shit in THE ISLAND!

  11. How many times do I have to say: I go into every movie with tabula rasa. I learn as little as possible about films before I see them, with the occasional exception for, like, politically charged films. I knew P&G was based on something in the 90s, but I don’t care about its real-life-ness. I hate knowing *anything* about a movie before seeing it.

    Am I supposed to boycott De Palma’s SCARFACE because I disapprove the business acumen & technique of Tony Montana?

  12. “Am I supposed to boycott De Palma’s SCARFACE because I disapprove the business acumen & technique of Tony Montana?”

    yeah, I agree, lots of movies feature anti-heroes who are technically reprehensible people but you like them anyway

  13. Oh I’m not boycotting it or suggesting anyone should I was just surprised about your hopes for an uplifting tale about gym denizens. I even included one reason to look forward to the thing.

    I don’t know what it says about me psychologically but I’ve avoided everything about a movie before and didn’t derive any more joy than when I was read and trailered up. Is it possible to just shut out the build-up in the moment?

  14. Didn’t mean to say that it needs to be “an uplifting tale about gym denizens” (though that would be nice). Rather, I hope that the meatheads are fully realized, complete characters that aren’t just one-note tuffs with no personality.

    They can still be scandalous assholes & criminals, so long as they’re 3-dimensional, human scandalous assholes & criminals.

  15. If you read my 1st post, you’ll see I don’t say I expect the cast of P&G to be good people. I use the words “interesting” and “fully realized,” not “hero” or “uplifting.”

    Only hoping for measured realism & honesty, to some extent, instead of cartoonish ridicule.

    And I expect Olga, whether you find her voluptuous or not, to stay hot for a couple more years, but I’m realistic. She’s no Vanessa.

  16. I’m looking forward to PAIN AND GAIN in a way which I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a Michael Bay move (which is to say, at all) simply because for once, I actually think he may be able to relate to these morons. I’m serious, and I don’t mean it as a cheap dig; I think a bunch of ‘roided up simpletons stealing money from a rich guy is a human concept that Bay might actually be able to connect to on a level that would enable him to tell a story. It’s his passion project because for once he understands the drama here. I don’t think that;s a bad thing at all; honestly, I would love for the guy to finally hit his stride making the simple, adorably unselfconscious bro-porn he was destined to create. With a small budget and a limited story, he might actually be able to make something with sufficiently simple fundamentals to withstand his sensory assault.

  17. Wow, we’re taking shots at Olga now? Titless twig? Did I miss something?

  18. Knox Harrington

    April 20th, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Olga is fucking beautiful. It’s, like, a fact of nature, man.

    Yeah, I’m very excited about Pain and Gain. I love how it still undeniably looks like a Bay film, even if it was made for $23 million. I think all the big budget event movie directors should do this now and then, just to avoid losing perspective. That’s why I always loved the idea of Dogme ’95. Hell, it even had Spielberg interested for a while.

    I seriously think that Christopher Nolan needs to tone down and make a low budget movie soon, otherwise he’s gonna start losing that indie filmmaker spirit that makes most of his bigger movies so good. The Dark Knight Rises came a little too close to being a Bay-inspired rollercoaster, in my opinion.

  19. Knox Harrington

    April 20th, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Shit, I didn’t mean to turn this into a He-whose-name-we-do-not-speak talkback. No one say the B-word.

  20. What, you mean Batman?

  21. Mr. Subtlety – You sum up my best case scenario feelings.

    Knox – Its not bad advice.

    Of course to be perfectly fair, the only reason P&G is being low budget (for Hollywood standards) produced is because the studios wouldn’t give Bay a big, very comfortable budget (plus his usual nice salary) he’s used to and instead of whining about it*, he bit his tongue and had to accept that reality just to get that movie made. Again, I respect that he believed in this particular project enough to do that. Who knows, maybe the fates and timing are all in his favor here?

    *=I seem to remember him whining about not having a big enough budget on PEARL HARBOR. Yes because more money would’ve saved that turkey.

  22. I’m interested to see how this turns out. I genuinely enjoy Bad Boys and The Rock, which, if you can believe it, are his two most restrained movies (I was going throw The Island in there but then I remember the flying hover bikes, the freeway chase with the giant metal cylinder things, and the constant Xbox logos everywhere).

  23. Man, I need my gesticulations and inflections! People always say you can’t “get” tone on the Internet, but like with any other form of writing I don’t think that’s the case, through time and experience you learn how people are communicating and can apply that to what you read. Short version: I thought by now people had a sense of how I am just as I think I have a good handle on the regulars.

    Yes Mouth, “interesting” and “fully realized” were very much on my mind when I typed “uplifting tale of gym denizens” as it was both the opposite of what you typed and of the “true life” events that inspired PAIN & GAIN. It continues to frustrate me that after years of complaining about wanting/needing forums they go unused and off-topic stuff gets crammed into an old unrelated but for the same actor/director/whatever review. Like most of my reactions they are warped by my arrested adolescence. So I go with (apparently failed) humor.

    And yes, Olga has a very pretty face. And the body of a prepubescent. Like most women in Hollywood where height is valued over womanly proportions. It’s funny seeing pictures of her with Tom Cruise and he’s not standing on a box.

  24. off-topic, but I caught OBLIVION. Not bad, but criminally bland. Reminded me of that TOTAL RECALL remake from last year, just as irrelevant of a movie attached with very nice, pricey futuristic CGI.

    Like unlike most critics who didn’t like OBLIVION, I don’t bitch at movies in general for ripping off others. I mean yes 2001 and TERMINATOR and MATRIX and whatever are terrific movies which OBLIVION borrowed liberally from, but those films themselves lifted shit from other sources. Plus they had of course great intriguing elements that viscerally engaged you intellectually and emotionally. OBLIVION doesn’t have that luxury.

    In short, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN is still the best Morgan Freeman movie of 2013. But OBLIVION has a giant floating evil X-Box as a villain. (Voiced by Melissa Leo, who was also in OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN.)

    Also this and WARM BODIES (which was quite good) has main characters who have impressive vinyl LP collections despite their shitty situations (hero is zombie or post-apocalyptic Earth, whatever). But neither have Prince records. I’m sure you could dig up a SIGN O’ THE TIMES copy from under the rubble at Paisley Park. Awesome bootlegs too that Prince’s skeleton will still have a vicious deathgrip on.

  25. > If you read my 1st post, you’ll see I don’t say I expect the cast of P&G to be good people. I use the words “interesting” and “fully realized,” not “hero” or “uplifting.”

    That’s kind of dodging the point though, which si that people are making slapstick comedies back on horrible real-life murders, though.

    It’s not about whether the characters are good people, it’s about how fucked up it is that somebody actually heard about these murders, sat down, and said “yeah, I can get some laughs out of that”.

    It’s hard to imagine a more fucked-up exploitative movie. It’s pretty weird that people are willing to cut Michael Bay, of all people, slack for it.

  26. Man I’m not sure that I could have fucked that post up harder if I tried.

  27. Man, I’m getting really excited for PAIN & GAIN. It’s getting the Gentleman’s F from The AV Club, which is a seal of approval as far as I’m concerned. Generally whenever they like it, it’s some safe, boring bullshit, so if it pisses off these joyless pantywaists, then it must have that retarded Michael Bay magic I crave.

    Quote: “Pain & Gain is less a satire of stupidity than a loud, brash, unapologetically vulgar celebration of aggression divorced from intellect. It’s the film Wahlberg and John C. Reilly’s characters in Boogie Nights would have written as a vehicle for themselves in a coked-up, narcissistic delirium, fatally unaware that the narrative makes them look like oblivious, dim-witted assholes, not the swaggering, Tony Montana-like badasses of their pop-culture–warped imaginations.”

    Is that actually supposed to make me not want to see this movie? What part of that doesn’t sound amazing?

    I’m hitting up a matinee tomorrow first thing. I’m going to bed early for this shit, just to wake up and watch The Rock pop one in a motherfucker.

  28. I meant to say: “generally whenever they like AN ACTION MOVIE.” I edited my post too fast so that essential information was lost in the rapid-fire cutting, which is thematically appropriate, in my opinion.

  29. “You know who invented salad? Poor people” Good line.

  30. NFL Draft tonight takes priority over P&G, which I’ll see tomorrow, but this viewing choice is also “thematically appropriate” —
    either way I’m seeing footage of an abundance of over-muscled overnight millionaires this week.

  31. If you ever wondered if it was possible to intellectualize the most perverted, infantile shot of BAD BOYS II

    you should check out the middle section of this article, in which 3 dudes strain to analyze & find value in arguably the least loved Vulgar Auteur:
    http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/three-takes-4-michael-bays-bad-boys-ii

  32. Mr. Majestyk – yeah, Nathan Rabin tends to be kind of lame, he’s still a great writer and sometimes really funny, but when it comes to genre films his tastes and sensibilities do not quite sync up with mine

    for example, in his My Year of Flops articles, he hated TOYS and NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, two movie I happen to love for the exact reasons he hated them

  33. Man Mouth, you’d rather watch which lunkhead gets picked by which team live rather than see a movie and now you’re not getting any entertainment value from rats fucking missionary style? Add in your attraction to that boobless stick figure and… and… the world makes no sense!

  34. “boobless stick figure”

    yeah, I don’t get his love for Vanessa Hudgens either, she’s one of those modern young girls that think having no damn body at all is attractive

  35. clubside’s tone seems to range from sarcasm to realness to sarcasm within each sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph, so I don’t know how to respond.

    And I thought we sort of agreed that it’s okay to state whether you find someone attractive and what works for you in terms of being turned on, but it’s not so cool to pick on body types or to reduce a person to your skeevy judgment of their solely physical characteristics. (out loud, at least)
    If you want to convey to us which women are hot and which are not in your opinion, then go the Michael Bay route by becoming a famous filmatist who shamelessly points his camera at Victoria’s Secret models’ asses & navels, allah bless him.

    Anyway, if you google image search “olga kurylenko” and you don’t think the results are spectacularly photogenic, then I don’t know what the fuck to say.

  36. all I’m saying is it’s a shame that so many women think being so damn skinny is attractive, as a result you get things like eating disorders which have actually cost some women their lives

    how is that skeevy? the opposite would be skeevy, saying that someone is too fat

  37. Vanessa underwent 6+ months of serious physical training for SP. She’s an athlete as much as she is an actress. She was on the cover of Shape magazine. She ain’t skinny. She ain’t unnatural. Her body is not weird. She is not too skinny. She doesn’t having tooth marks on her knuckles. She is hot. She is young, looks just right for her age, and I’d wager that her vitals & likely life expectancy exceeds that of 99.9999% of the world’s population. She can lift more than her own body weight. And she doesn’t care if you find her attractive.

    And no I’m not just saying these things b/c I have a crush. These are all things that we should value as a society, instead of nitpicking a nonsensically perceived underweight-ness.

  38. BOOBS!!

    Yes Mouth, I am inscrutable verbally.

    Since Vern is not an absolutist in terms of free speech like I am I have to pre-moderate my comments, which usually results in me not commenting at all. A policy no doubt celebrated by all. BY ALL I tells ya!

    Of course Olga has a beautiful face. I said so in a previous comment. I however can not remember a sexual encounter where I played with a woman’s face. And I wouldn’t be photographing or filming Victoria’s Secret models either, most of them still appear breastless despite padded push-up bras.

    But seriously while no competition for humping bulldogs, no joy in missionary rat fucking?

  39. Yeah, I enjoy ’em as much as anyone does, but this dumb conversation about women sounds a lot to me like listening to someone complain about pizza b/c it doesn’t have chocolate on it.

  40. But that’s just it, I don’t think you do, mister! I don’t think you do AT ALL!!! Now drop and give me twenty!

    This is no game! This is serious business, this wishful fucking. Bestowing my sexual desire upon strangers isn’t an animal reaction. I have a master race to consider (spoiler). Spreading your fantasy seed can be blind, wanton, calculated, demure and a bunch of other shit I could list if I didn’t prefer to smoke some more. I’d not dare deny one’s motives in this desire to celebrate distanced lust. Except those dudes who collect pics of uggos. That’s demented. But I am more restrained in this remote gifting of lurrrvvve. Of course this is because unlike most I could fulfill these desires if I really wanted to. But I don’t. Sounds like work.

    But seriously, the rat fucking? You think the pic says it all regarding Michael Bay’s idiocy? I think it says a bunch of awesome stuff:

    Animal fucking is always funny

    Normally they put animal fucking in comedies so it being is a crazy shoot-out is a shout-out to fucking fun

    You usually get dogs in these scenes, or really huge animals, so using rats is, like, the opposite, man

    That they’re doing it missionary style is funny. Because they don’t do that. And it lets the audience make jokes about sexual positions. Which is always an excellent conversation starter.

  41. it looks like we found something to agree on clubside, because I love big boobs too, it’s like Walken and his cowbell, I GOTTA have more cowbell!

    and it bothers me that big boobs are not really in style if you think about it, if a woman has them naturally then she may be considered “too fat” and if a woman has fake ones then everyone instantly assumes that means she’s shallow and stupid (hooray for double standards!)

    that’s why I find Christina Hendricks hotter than just about any other actress out there

  42. Wait, you guys like boobs? That’s weird that this hasn’t come up before.

  43. “I´m a titman myself”

  44. Can’t believe a Michael Bay thread devolved into such crass stupidity as this.

  45. As a feminist and gentleman I never participate in locker room debates such as this, but as the older man here I can tell both sides that it’s not about size but proportions.

  46. Perhaps we all should tone down with the pervy stuff and move on. I´m just as(s)king.

  47. liking boobs is pervy now? guess I’m a huge pervert now (well I actually am, but that’s besides the point)

  48. Well, the unthinkable has happened. My recent attempt to emulate Vern’s Peace Initiative has resulted in the shit getting real. I rewatched BAD BOYS II for the first time in almost a decade, and my opinion of it has 110% flip-flopped like a Republican’s caricatured conception of Presidential candidate John Kerry (timely reference in the spirit of the BB2 release date & titular theme song “jokes”).

    I was not expecting this at all. Maybe all the “vulgar auteurism” chatter the last couple years has softened me, made me susceptible to enjoying crap filmatism, but I don’t think that’s the case b/c I’ve always loved some little-loved action films. I like gloss, I love polish, I like slo-mo, I like movies that aren’t afraid to embody the opposite of the most inexplicably praised values encompassed by the critic-darling words “understated” or “restrained,” movies that are okay with being extended music videos — I still don’t get it when professional film critics level that “music video aesthetics” charge as though it’s a bad thing — and more than anything I love me some hardcore unabashedly R-rated action. BAD BOYS II is all this.

    I don’t really remember what the plot was, but I still love this film somehow. It might be my new COMMANDO (though way more repulsive and not nearly as good as COMMANDO).

    There’s a part where Gabrielle Union (permanent resident of Mouth’s dreamtopia since BRING IT ON) shoots a guy with a shotgun through the rear window while simultaneously accelerating her GMC Yukon.

    There’s a slo-mo MARKED FOR DEATH Skrewface-style corpse kill — fatal headshot followed by fataler dead body annihilation via multiple land mines.

    One of the final lines of the script (during the movie’s wonderfully superfluous 4th-or-5th-ish (?) car chase) is something like, “Everybody shoot something!” followed by a bit of dialogue that expresses the good guys’ lament that they lack any more ammunition for the various firearms in play.

    A yellow Humvee (cuz why would a rogue Humvee be tactical in a Mike Bay movie?) drives through a mansion estate. The vehicular-architectural carnage isn’t enough, isn’t fully… full, so the movie tosses in a couple more massive explosions/implosions/demolitions to finish the job. No beam or doorway or rooftop or wall or carpenter’s ladder is left intact.

    A guy gets blasted almost square-on with a round from a rocket launcher. I don’t know how they filmed this, but it’s beautiful, rivaling the best part of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE or FIRST BLOOD PART 2: RAMBO & USA GET TO WIN THIS TIME.

    I’m more okay with BAD BOYS II’s rip-off homage to Jackie Chan’s POLICE STORY than I am with TANGO & CASH’s.

    Then they arrive at a certain infamous US Naval installation.

    Never thought I’d say this, but…
    Please bring on BAD BOYS III: GITMO DRIFT.

  49. Vern’s humble attempts to promote peace has forced me to come clean. I like BAD BOYS 2. There, I said it. My conscience is clear.

    BB2 is high budget, low quality trash and does not fail to provide that feeling of watching a real life train wreck take place in slow motion. You know it’s fucked up, but you can’t look away. Yes, there is the risk of brain cells being bludgeoned by Bay’s wanker outlook on masculinity. But I have the benefit of life experience to call bullshit on the misogyny, the homophogyny, the penis-measuringogyny and all that shit. As do most of us here.

    To quote Ebert quoting Kael(which has probably been quoted many times on this site) ” If we cant appreciate great trash, then we’re a bunch of cockheads”, or something like that, you know what I mean.

  50. I’ve been BAD BOYS II’s #1 fan since the day it came out. I wasn’t really a Bay supporter before that, because I just took the party line that he was an oddly tone deaf hack. BBII was when I realized that he’s more like a big-budget fratboy Jim Wynorski than a Tony Scott. Like Joe Bob would say, he does things the drive-in way. You put as much bang for your buck in there as you have money and time for, even especially to the detriment of common sense and good taste. Why have one car chase when you can have six? Why have one comic relief character when you can have 14? Why spin the camera around Will Smith being weirdly racist against Haitians once when you can do it 65 times? You give in to meaningless excess enough times, patterns start to emerge. You become a dadaist auteur, giving voice to your era’s most primal idiocies. And you do it with a cocky smirk that makes people want to punch you.

    I love BAD BOYS II. It’s an evil, joyful, weirdly illuminating work of something-sharing-certain-surface-characterostics-with-but-definitely-not art.

    The best thing I can say about it is that it’s the kind of movie the people in ROBOCOP would watch.

  51. Guys I’m scared, three of us have just CONFESSED liking BB2. I hope Vern isn’t using this peace and humility line to lure us out into the open. If so we’re fucked. Now I’m gonna spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, like Eric Bana in MUNICH, or the Olsen chick in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE. Fuck, fuck, fuck..

  52. Positive response to the gloriously R-rated BBII might be partially due to recent years’ conditioning to bloodless PG-13 sub-action expectations.

    It’s as though I’ve just gone on a successful date with Sasha Grey after a long dry spell semi-flirting with the fundie conservative neighbor family’s ugly daughter.

  53. I talked about my enjoyment of BB2 a few times on here too. I also mentioned that I downright love the colour palette of this movie. It’s the only movie I know that has such bright and saturated colours. Almost as if Bay tried to went for a comic book or cartoon look.

  54. I gotta say, I also have a soft spot for THE ROCK. Cage contributed to that. Connery too in his own grumpy way.

    Just to even it out though, I saw PEARL HARBOR once. ONCE!(in Joe Piscopo voice from JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY). And there is no argument that could convince me ARMAGEDDON is not a piece of unwatchable shit.

  55. Bays’ cinematic sin of editing a lot of his movies to death is what killed ARMAGEDDON for me. Apparently this turd set a world record for the number of edits in a film.

    But on my recent viewing of BB2 I was surprised to find the editing was a lot better than I remembered. Definitely more coherent than AGDN and no post-action crap.

  56. I kind of like ARMAGEDDON when it thinks it’s a comedy about a bunch of blue-collar slobs who inexplicably become astronauts. Then it gets to space and you can’t tell what the fuck is happening half the time.

  57. The Rock is definitely my favourite Bay movie. He still tried to somewhat follow and respect a more classic action aesthetic (well, as much as is possible for someone like Bay). Plus, it has the magic of Cage and Connery.

    I don’t mind Armageddon too much, especially when Liv Tyler’s onscreen. First half is much better than the second half.

    Tried rewatching Bad Boys 2 a while ago and nearly fell asleep. It’s pretty as hell and all that delicious excess sure does entertain, but much like one of those Victoria’s Secret shows with the sexy models wearing wings, I can’t watch that shit for two and a half fuckin’ hours. I still really enjoy the first one, though.

    Also, I can’t really defend this, but I have something of a soft spot for the first Transformers.

    Like herpes, I’ve learned to live with Bay. Every family needs that hyperative fratboy douchebag cousin to shake things up and make us slap our foreheads every now and then.

  58. Knox – with Herpes, you don’t have a choice. Thankfully you can switch Bay off anytime.

  59. The Original... Paul

    July 3rd, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, just came here from the “Transformers 4” review’s link. I can’t believe I haven’t commented here before.

    Look, I’ve been fairly clear about my feelings regarding BB2 in the past. (I saw it in the cinema with a friend, who persuaded me to see it against my better judgement, and honestly I think it’s to his credit that our friendship survived that one.) It’s the nearest thing to actual cinematic poison that I can imagine, and despite me leaving for twenty minutes halfway through it to recover what was left of my senses, I still came out of it with a thumping headache and a bad case of motion sickness. The only good thing I can say about this cinematic version of white noise torture is that the “funny” bits kinda raised a smile at the memory of the other, better comic moments that they were ripping off. That Lenny Henry sketch about the two doctors fighting in the morgue with some guy’s body parts, oblivious to his family watching on in horror; and the bit in “There’s Something About Mary” where Magda takes speed by accident? Both freaking hilarious.

    Anyway, what I don’t think I’ve mentioned before – at least not here – is that I actually didn’t see another Michael Bay film – not in the cinema or by any other means – until “Transformers”. And ironically enough, I went to see that one on recommendation from some friends. (Who I no longer speak to. Not because of the film, we just lost contact.) Not in the cinema – I saw it on DVD later on – which may explain why I didn’t end up feeling like I’d just ridden a rollercoaster while twenty dwarves perched on my head and pounded my skull with mallets. (Small screens are better for this kind of thing.) I was still utterly stupefied by its mere existence though. I couldn’t, and still can’t, understand why anybody would think any of this shit would make any kind of sense in any way. I mean, I presume people must like “Transformers” since they went to see the sequels, but for the life of me I don’t “get” why. I don’t understand the kind of brain that would be amused by the pissing robots, the awkward masturbation references, the jokes at the expense of soldiers dying in the Middle East… I don’t get it. I didn’t find “Transformers” offensive to my sense of what “art” should be in quite the same way that I did “Bad Boys 2”, but it still felt like a failure. The jokes weren’t funny, the action wasn’t thrilling, the characters were unlikeable or just lame, and nothing about it worked as it seemed to be intending to.

    Is it possible for a film to make hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of profit because people watch it “ironically”? Is that what’s happening here? Do they just have really short memories? Or is it simply a case of all the dollars being spent on the marketing rather than making the film any good? People genuinely seemed to like this at the time, which again I just don’t “get”.

    Anyway… that’s my Bay cinematic experience for those several years… first “Bad Boys 2”, then absolutely nothing until “Transformers”. And if you want to know why I give him a bad time occasionally, there you go.

  60. Don’t worry Paul, you can put Bay’s films on the back-burner for now, you still need to see EVIL DEAD 2013.

  61. when i went on vacation,he put story in my mop brain ,he brain wash,sometime she act ,shes not my mother.iran

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