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 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?

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!  🙂


8 thoughts on “Offended by bad?

  1. I could not agree more with his review of the Smurfs 2. I didn’t see the first one, but I took my daughter to Smurfs 2 because it was one of the free summer movies offered at the local theater last year. The product placement drove me nuts, and the portrayal of Smurfette was just HORRIBLE. It was a chauvinistic movie for sure. The whole time I was thinking “Is this really what I want my daughter learning?” Not just about the Smurfette obnoxiousness, but also the *almost* swearing, the way the treat each other, the list goes on. It was really bad, and I definitely found it offensive. It’s a situation where I’d rather stare at a blank wall than watch it. Lorena liked it, and she asks to watch it on Netflix from time to time, and the answer is usually NO. There are just so many better things to watch on there.

    I agree with you in that it crosses the line when it lacks any semblance of artistic integrity and becomes a pure grab for dollars. It makes me sad that so many movies have gotten to be that way because the public just gobbles them up. Ugh.

    1. Yeah, I’ve noticed these types of movies are easily forgettable to kids. They had a strange movie last year about turkeys going back to the first thanksgiving and my niece saw it and liked it but then completely forgot about it like 2 days later. Those good movies will stick with them.
      The style of smurfs is cute and they might like that but to what end? It’s really quite maddening.
      When you think of what Pixar has done even on their weaker efforts it’s sad.
      I remember going to the movies as a little girl and being dazzled. I think a lot of kids had that with frozen but it is too far and few between.
      Transformers just makes me nuts.

    2. What’s really sad is there are great options that often go unnoticed for kids. 1995 is a great example. That year you had Toy Story, The Little Princess and Babe. 3 of the best movies ever made period but especially for families. Biggest family hit that year? Mighty Morphin Power Rangers…Sad day.

        1. Wait now I’m seeing different things but Power Rangers made a lot of money. I would say that Babe and Little Princess are 2 of the best movies made ever, not just for kids. Talk about taking a throw away concept (talking animals are typically the worst movies ever) and making it special.
          Michael Bay takes it to a new level because he insults so many groups and people (even historically which is even worse). So he’s not only mediocre but cringe worthy. It boggles my mind that people see them and yet they are critic proof. Sigh…

  2. I am always wondering who is watching the stuff…I mean, I was never into the transformers in the first place, but one would think that considering that all those movies got mediocre reviews at best, they would stop making that much money. I couldn’t get paid to watch any of the smurf movies (I feel a certain nostalgia towards the show, but it was never movie material in the first place).

    One thing for sure, I don’t think that any of the Michael Bay movies will ever made it to my blog. They guy has no idea how to write a good female character, and I hope for his sake that the reason is lack of writing abilities and not his actual view on females (and ethnicities)

    Have you ever seen the review Roger Ebert did about “North”? That one put offensive on its own level. I am still surprised that anyone got involved willingly in that project.

    I think generally speaking those movie become more offensive when they are actually successful. If they are fast forgotten it they are easily to ignore. But when someone actually makes money with this stuff, it makes my blood boil. I call this the Twilight effect.

    1. why do they make so much money? I don’t get it. Clearly Smurfs and Transformers are critic proof. But even if you don’t like critics and reviews you’d think the disappointment of Transformers 2 would have stopped 3 and 4 to be a success. Why America! It’s such cynical film making.

      I have seen the Roger Ebert North. It is epic. I haven’t seen the movie but just listening to Gene and Roger’s review was enough for me. What was Rob Reiner thinking?

      I think you are right they seem more offensive when they are successful. That’s a very good point.

      I’m surprised Michael Bay isn’t called out by Hollywood more for his offensive female and ethnic stereotypes. You would think in this day and age actors, studios, screenwriters, someone would say ‘enough is enough’. I guess the mighty dollar rules all…Sigh

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