In his new book “The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex,” Observer of London and 5 Live film critic Mark Kermode issues a scathing critique of the film industry and the alleged contempt that big studio film directors allegedly harbor for the audiences that fill their pockets.
In an excerpt published in The Observer this morning, Kermode, a witty and intelligent critic, mostly blames director Michael Bay “(“The Transformers” and other big-budget insults to audiences’ intelligence) for the current lamentable state of blockbuster cinema.
Here’s the crux of Kermode’s argument: Big-budget movies have been getting so steadily bad for such an awfully long time that audiences have been conditioned to have lowered expectations when they head to the theater. In other words, if the movie isn’t completely awful (ie: “Pearl Harbor”) and it makes its money back, then it’s considered a success.
Here’s the nut graf:
“‘There are tons of people who hate me,’ admits Bay, who turned an innocuous TV-and-toys franchise into puerile pop pornography with his headache-inducing Transformers movies. “They said that I wrecked cinema. But hey, my movies have made a lot of money around the world.” If you want kids’ movies in which cameras crawl up young women’s skirts while CGI robots hit each other over the head, interspersed with jokes about masturbation and borderline-racist sub-minstrelsy stereotyping, then Bay is your go-to guy. He is also, shockingly, one of the most commercially successful directors working in Hollywood today, a hit-maker who proudly describes his visual style as “fucking the frame” and whose movies appear to have been put together by people who have just snorted two tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not stupid; he publicly admitted that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was below even his own poor par (his exact words were “When I look back at it, that was crap”), after leading man and charisma vacuum Shia LaBeouf declared that he “wasn’t impressed with what we did”. But somehow Bay’s awareness of his own films’ awfulness simply makes matters worse. At least Ed Wood, director of Plan 9 from Outer Space, thought the trash he was making was good. Bay seems to know better and, if he does, that knowledge merely compounds his guilt. Down in the deepest bowels of the abyss there is a 10th circle of hell in which Bay’s movies play for all eternity, waiting for their creator to arrive, his soul tortured by the realisation that he knew what he was doing.”
Read the full story.
Meanwhile, in case you needed a reminder, here’s some Transformers footage that is truly appalling in its scale of offensiveness.