Last week, we wrote, " [T]he Transformers films are abominations which any grown adult ought to be ashamed to even bring up in conversation." Hence, this week: Transformers!
The jive (or whatever its is that what they're talking is called)-talking robots of Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen are called out for racism, and Bay defends the characterizations by saying "they are robots, by the way." Which actually begs the question as to why they're speaking any form of colloquial English, let alone ebonics. Frustrated, Bay throws up his hands and exclaims, "It's like is everything going to be melba toast?" I think it's cute that something like Melba Toast still enters his alleged mind.
Speaking of Bay's alleged mind, usage and grammar mavens were amused by the dumb-ass use of "would of" rather than "would have" in a letter Bay wrote to the Paramount brass complaining of the company's promotional campaign. (Said letter leaking, as such things tend to do, to the thoroughly erudite gossip website TMZ.) But come on, the guy's upset. He still runs into so many people even this weekend with kids. Even though he has been locked away editing for six months. Okay, now I'm confused. But for some reason I really enjoy the phrase "I consider this so lame."
Also, note the reference to "my good friend Steven," who has made "a lot more successful movies than us." That's Spielberg, not Seagal. Spielberg is one of the executive producers of the Transformers films. This will prove to be of significance later.
Quoth Bay: "It's easy to go shoot an art movie in a winery in the South of France." Not to put too fine a point on it, but just what the fuck art movie is he talking about? Have you seen any art movies involving vintners lately? The last one I can recall is Rohmer's Conte d'automne all the way back in 1998. No, my friends, I deduct that Michael Bay's idea of an art movie is actually Ridley Scott's 2006 A Good Year. Now that's scary.
Over at Big Hollywood, John Nolte hears that Bay's film contains a swipe at President Obama, and giggles with glee waiting for his "Obama-loving friends" to have their otherwise enjoyable Transformers experience ruined by a sucker punch. Precisely, because NPR-listening Obamacons are in fact the Transformers' films core demographic. Later, in comments, Nolte notes that the presence of an Obama swipe in the film naturally "makes many of the negative reviews [of the film] suspect." Except, that is, for the review by Nolte's conservative friend Christian Toto. Who hates the film for pretty much the same reasons liberal critics do. Later, Nolte see the film himself, and hates it, calling it "Bay's worst since Bad Boys II." Which is saying something. (By the way if you're thinking Big Hollywood looks like a helluva lot of fun, you'll get over that after your third or fourth Burt Prelutsky column.)
All of which leads us to...(drum roll please)...our
Armond White-ism Of The Week: "Why waste spleen on Michael Bay? He’s a real visionary—perhaps mindless in some ways (he’s never bothered filming a good script), but Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more proof he has a great eye for scale and a gift for visceral amazement." See, told you the Spielberg thing would prove to be of significance later. Also: "a great eye for scale?" As in, "holy crap, that's ENORMOUS" and/or "ooh look it's a teeny-tiny thing?" Oh, never mind.
Moneybrawl: Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal put Steven Soderbergh's Moneyball into turnaround mere days before its principle photography was to begin. Brad Pitt or no Brad Pitt. (Note to those unfamilar with trade lingo: to put something "into turnaround" is to "ankle" it, some might say. To "ankle" is to "bail." To "bail" is to abandon a project that had one been "greenlit." Whatever: the studio said "Hey, guys, we're not letting you make this," is all.)
Regardless of what you thought of the picture's source material or premise (and while I'm a Soderbergh fan, I haven't thought much of any movie with even a peripheral baseball theme since 1950's Kill The Umpire, and that's only on account of my lifelong worship of star William Bendix), one has to admit that this sort of thing doesn't bode at all well for the mid-budgeted mainstream Hollywood drama. Over at The Hot Blog, David "Yes You Did, You Invaded" Poland examines the tea leaves, or the chicken entrails, or whatever they are, then invokes a group of sources too awesome to even consider naming, assures his readers that nothing is Brad Pitt's fault, and begs off to attend a screening he can't even talk about, it's so teh awesome, kthxbye. As someone said of Tim The Enchanter in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, "What a strange person."
My personal advice to Soderbergh is that he now go do something easy, like an art movie set in a winery in the South of France. Where a character named The Erotic Connoisseur has decamped, after being forced to flee the United States. It will work.
Ten: So next year there are gonna be ten Best Picture Oscar nominees instead of five. According to AMPAS President Sid Ganis, this "may make it more interesting and less cloistered." I wonder just what "it" he's talking about. Also, I like that "may"—way to hedge your bets there, Sid. The whole exercise has a whiff of perfunctory faux desperation to it—as in, the whole thing's falling apart, our own state of entropy is so thoroughly advanced that we don't really care, but we've gotta look like we're doing something, so...here.
Finally: Boy, they weren't kidding about everything in the new Transformers film being bigger than it—they?—were in the first one, were they?