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David Poland

By David Poland

Review: Transformers 3: Dark Side Of The Moon (spoiler-free)


I wasn’t a fan of Transformers. I hated Transformers 2.

And I really enjoyed Transformers 3.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The film still has the sniggling sense of humor of a 14 year old boy who thinks he’s really smart. In the first two films, these were the moments that distracted from the thin ideas of the screenplays and the limitations of the giant f***ing robots (as Par promoted the first 2 films at ComicCon).

Here, Bay parodies himself by introducing a new character with a virtual Victoria’s Secret ad, bores us with our hero being stuck looking for work, and plays the parent joke a little too hard.

I imagine Bay either snorting as he giggles at these jokes as though he was a child or seriously discussing what a 14-year-old boy would find funny. Either way, it can be embarrassing. Bay should screen the film for Adam Sandler and anything that is too broad for Adam should be cut. And 25% would be cut. Then show it to Albert Brooks and cut a third of the jokes he think should be cut. That would put you at about 50% of the attempted comedy. Then tighten and you are probably just about right.

I did think the world might actually implode if you put The Johns (Malkovich and Turturro) in a scene together with the only goal being to eat more scenery than the Deceptacon snake thing eats Chicago pavement. Sadly, it wasn’t very funny. Malkovich is shot like a Martin Schoeller portrait by way of David La Chappelle, all teeth, eyes, greased hair, and over-tanned skin. That IS funny… but like everything else about the humor in this film, it is played waaaaay too long to sustain a meta joke. Even Julie White suffers from too much screen time this time. Frances McDormand joins Johnny Mac in slumming for dollars. (Alan Tudyk kills.)

This is pretty much the entire bad part of the film. It wastes for over 30 minutes of the running time, so it can be frustrating. But Bay moves between the unfunny attempts at being funny and the action quickly enough to keep it from dragging the enterprise down.

The good news… lots of it… for a Transformer movie

Impactful 3D becomes more of a cameo player as the moves along, but smartly, Bay maximizes it in the first 20 minutes. (It’s a weird summer. Tr3 reflects X4 by attaching itself to a real 1960s event. And Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, which I saw just the night before, also uses a period set-up before the movie, set in “today” starts.) I thought the moon sequence used 3D as well as I have seen it used in any film since Avatar. Maybe even better than Avatar. Bay managed to make mundane images pop in 3D in a way I have never seen. (Set design is a big part of it.)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is beautiful and competent as the female lead. Shes not an actress, but neither was Megan Fox. And whatever the role was when Fox was still associated with the project, the role as it stands in the movie fits H-W and is unimaginable in Fox’s hands. It’s not hard to come up with the tweaks that would make the girl lead more of a smart-ass, short-shorted tease. But what’s interesting in Huntington-Whiteley is that she has a presence that allows us to believe that every man in the film wants to sex her, but that she is so comfortable with dumb male objectification, she would be emotionally loyal to her man, in spite of his obvious flaws, because s she is confident in her choices. (More than he is.) Fox’s character seemed more of a natural mercenary.

But it’s the shift in the primary idea of the film that makes the greatest impact. This is, primarily,a war film, not an effects film. And while I’m sure the budget was incrementally higher (a 15% incremental growth in budget = over $30 million), it feels as though the technology costs much have dropped exponentially. Basically, it feels, for the first time, like Bay was able to use as much robot footage as he wanted. I’m sure, in real life, he wanted more… but I’m saying the movie doesn’t feel like it ever has to choose not to use a bot when it might fit the story. The bots, good and bad, are now like actors. There is as much literal scenery chewing as actor scenery chewing in a film in which the director seems to ask the actors to get on the scenery, dry hump it, and then gnaw on it until their teeth bleed.

Truth is, the robot stuff has gotten so strong that the overreaches by the actors – especially Shia in action scenes – really stand out. When SLB bounces over cars and then under a car, etc, I disconnected a little. But I was completely ready for the autobots to fulfill the roles that we are used to seeing actors fill in action movie and westerns. There is a line – which I won’t offer here – from Optimus Prime that gives the audience a giddy chill as though it was said by Eastwood or Schwarzenegger or Stallone in years past.

And again, thematically, the stakes here are simplified and amplified. It’s a variation on ID4 and Mars Attacks, basically. Human kind is seriously threatened and must team with technology to save itself. They get the balance of human and bot heroism just about right. (There’s even make up for the racism of Transformers 2, with more black heroics… never screaming “see, we’re not racist,” but well done.)

There is even, on top of a lot more bots, some stuff we really haven’t seen before, as Bay takes on Cameron and Nolan with a building reminiscent of The Poseidon Adventure, Titanic, True Lies, and a touch of Inception.

Yes, there are a million things you can yank out of the fabric of this film to complain about. Why is the entire earth centered in 8 blocks of Chicago? Because it’s a movie. But there is also a great benefit in this seeming simplicity… we know where we are in the 30+ minutes we spend in the space.

If you cut 30 minutes or so of Bay’s darlings – mostly human ones – this would be a much better movie. (You really could cut the entire Malkovich section of the film.) And you can linger on what other directors could have done more with this material. But you know, this is the first time the movie works well enough that I even considered whether Spielberg’s humanity or Nolan’s dryness or Greengrass’ realistic heroes would be better in this bot environment. This is a big step up for the series.

I enjoyed the film in the most big summer boom boom way. I would go again. And I would go to see it in 3D again.

And Transformers 4 could be the best of all. 110 minutes max… classic movie structure… great, seamless effects… 5 good laughs and no swinging for the comedy fences… I would really be looking forward to it.

But for now, we won’t see any better fireworks show this summer. Enjoy it. It’s the Transformers movie that we always wanted them to make.

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142 Responses to “Review: Transformers 3: Dark Side Of The Moon (spoiler-free)”

  1. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I want to see it just so I can see the breathtakingly beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum on the big screen.

    Looking at the reviews thus far, print critics seem to despise it as much as the first two, while online reviewers seem to like it. I guess that isn’t very surprising.

  2. David Poland says:

    Sight unseen, I predict praise for Potter, wild overpraise for Cowboys & Aliens, then nasty, excessive attacks on Apes to close out the mega-summer.

  3. torpid bunny says:

    I’m on this like the squadron of A-10’s was on skoropnok. I will deploy in seconds, raining hellfire on whatever machine or beast stands in my way.

    Really, the whole middle-eastern adventure in military hardware part of the first movie merits repeated viewings I think. After that, the 4th rate amazing sci-fi of the last half is pretty crap, if enlivened by more than a few sweet money shots.

  4. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Sounds about right DP.

  5. jesse says:

    Good lord, I would like Bay’s movies a solid 30 to 40% more across the board if he didn’t labor under the delusion that he knows from comedy.

  6. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, Bay’s comedy is HORRENDOUS. Why should a movie like Bad Boys 2 be over two and a half hours? An hour of it was just horrible comedy bits, more mugging than a Jackie Chan movie. Cut the comedy and make a kickass action movie, Bay.

  7. torpid bunny says:

    For me the problem is not so much the comedy as the difficulty in managing almost any other dramatic situation, except perhaps actual combat or violence of any kind.

  8. Jason says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing it and hoping it’s closer in quality to the first one than the second one.

    I guess we should be tempering our boxoffice estimates as it seems many movies this summer are not as successfull as originally thought (save Hangover). I originally thought close to $400M DM, but I guess we should be looking at $300M…

  9. JS Partisan says:

    Perm, right the fuck on. Knowing that the stupid parents and name actors are in this film for silly ass reasons, is enough to make me hesitant. Seriously, that action at the end better be worth it, because those parents suck the life out of these films. They are god awful and I eagerly await the rebooting of this series, just get away from Sam and his annoying fucking parents.

    David, if HP delivers, it’s going to get crazy praise. Possible GIVE THIS FILM AN AWARD praise. Cowboys and Aliens may be worth a damn but overpraise for it, seems a stretch. Unlike Apes getting slammed because there’s not one trailer or poster or photo from that film that doesn’t scream; “STUPID! YOU’RE SO STUPID!”

  10. Adrian says:

    Ticket purchased for 9pm showing tonight. Reviews i have read rate it the best of the 3. I personally cannot wait even though i’m going on my one. ha ha.

  11. Hallick says:

    The final Harry Potter will probably be not much better or not much worse than the previous installment, like most of the series.

  12. For what it’s worth, Sam’s mother gets the funniest line in the movie (when comparing Sam’s two most recent cars).

  13. JS Partisan says:

    Hal, that comment does not represent reality in any way what so ever. Each film has gotten better. Seriously. Oh you want to hate on Chamber of Secrets? HOW DARE YOU HATE ON A FILM THAT ENDS WITH GIVING DAP TO HAGRID!

    The last film is going to be tremendous but of course the haters and the book snobs just don’t get that but this is the internet: WHERE NOT LIKING ANYTHING HAPPENS!

  14. christian says:

    “The last film is going to be tremendous”

    What kind of entitled American goes into a film liking it or expecting to like it before he sees it? That’s just weird.

  15. The Big Perm says:


    Nerdiest sentence ever written by anyone.

  16. David Poland says:

    I think this will easily be the highest grossing Transformers film… here and abroad.

  17. David Poland says:

    I agree, Scott… and that segment was just about enough. Maybe one more to set up that they were in Chicago.

  18. bulldog68 says:

    Ditto Christian:
    This is IO from June 16th @ 7:25pm
    “I also have no idea how anyone goes into the theatre expecting to like a film. Where does that sort of weirdness come from? It just makes no sense.”

    And at 1:19am:
    “Seriously, that you people go into movies expecting to like them, is about as bizarre a concept to me as lying, cheating, and stealing. It’s astonishingly absurd to me, that you all EXPECT to be ENTERTAINED. How entitled of all of you.

    I lack the ability to walk into a theatre, to pick up a book, listen to an album, or watch a TV show an EXPECT IT to entertain me. I hope it will work but never expect anything. What grown adult expects to be entertained? Life does not work that way. You do not always win. You hope but do not expect, that’s just tacky.”

    And June 17, 2011 at 11:09 am
    “I also have no idea how any of you are so damn entitled. Who really goes through life expecting everything to be good?”

    And IO today:”The last film is going to be tremendous but of course the haters and the book snobs just don’t get that but this is the internet: WHERE NOT LIKING ANYTHING HAPPENS!”

    Why can’t all the voices in your head just get along.

  19. NickF says:

    More of the same, just even longer. I’ll check out the Blu-ray and skip to the action scene. It shouldn’t be as disappointing as the 2nd. Here’s to hoping that the skyscraper bit is as impressive as it looks in the trailers.

  20. chris says:

    The Calatrava in Milwaukee looks gorgeous in the film, Paul MD, and it’s a great idea to use it as a rich dude’s lair. (In the movie, it’s in DC, I think — the geography is a bit confusing.) And I think you’ll find plenty of print critics liking the movie, too — their reviews just don’t pop up as quickly.

  21. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I figured he isn’t supposed to be in Milwaukee, though that would have been cool. Glad the Calatrava looks good on screen. And plenty of print critics may indeed like it, I was merely going by the first ones I was coming across: Chicago Tribune, NJ Star-Ledger, USA Today, etc.

  22. LexG says:


  23. hcat says:

    Seems a bit fickle Lex. Did she age out of your zone of adorement?

  24. LexG says:

    No, she’s still in my top 5, just saying Rosie is going to make the loss of the Fox in TF3 perfectly bearable, like when Dylan would start banging Kelly on 90210.

  25. hcat says:

    She does look cute but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is an awful moviestar name, she should pick one instead of hyphenating.

  26. LexG says:

    Megan Fox is a PERFECT movie star name, but after this revelation about who pulled the plug on her, she’s looking like toast in this town.

    Unless John Landis and Amy Irving are hiring.

  27. hcat says:

    Fox will get the tv work she always seemed destined for. To be fair I have not seen her in anything but Transformers films and those are not a good way to determine anyones ability, but with the competition for movie roles for women in their 20’s she certainly seemed like someone who might slip through the cracks.

    Off topic but speaking of slipping through cracks, where the hell has Olivia Thirby gone?

  28. LexG says:

    Thirlby had a couple scenes as Portman’s kid sister in “No Strings Attached,” and Eisenberg’s girlfriend in “Solitary Man.” Looks like she’s doing a TV pilot next; With Kat Dennings and Zoey Deschanel (!!!!) doing sitcoms now, too, I can’t tell if “It Girls” are throwing in the towel faster than the Liv Tylers or yore… or if it’s just that thing I complained about last week where the barriers are so down, everyone just kind of drifts in and out of movies, TV, cameos, guest spots, Wain videos, Funny or Die videos, MTV hosting gigs, til we’re all SICK of seeing the same 20 people over and over.

  29. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Probably tempting to take a shot at making more money. If the show’s a hit, I imagine they would stand to make far more $ than they could in the movies.

  30. hcat says:

    Kat and Zoey are others that I can see drifting off, but I really thought Thirlby had something special. I know you are also a fan of Snow Angels and she was just remarkable in it. Adding that to her different roles in Wackness and Juno, I thought she would eventually breakout into leading stuff, but she has just sort of lingered into 5th billed indie roles. After Kids are Alright I have big hopes for Mia Washonalaicaklivawhastawhatever and it seems like she has a lot of good stuff lined up, first Jayne Eire and working with the likes of Van Sant and the Proposition guy (The Wettest County is currently top of my must see Christmas list)

  31. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I really like Thirlby as well. She has an easy charm and a strong screen presence. In the right role she is a delight.

  32. palmtree says:

    DP has officially sold me on this movie. Not that I didn’t want to go before, but that I’ve never seen a Transformers movie…ever. And now I want to see this one. Good work, sir.

    Also, bulldog & christian: LOL.

  33. LexG says:

    It would RULE ALL if THE FOX had a LITTLE CAMEO at the beginning like Margot Kidder in Superman III, then Rosie came out and was like, “Hee hee hee, you’re my little enemy, boooo!” And Megan was all, “Step away from my man, bitch,” all slicked in oily Bay sheen and wearing fetish heels.

    And Rosie was like “You gonna make me, slut?” And they started pulling each other’s hair and got all hot bothered and suddenly was like “Heee heee heee, peeep peeep peep, cute cute.” And Megan was like “CUTE CUTE! Hee hee hee” and they started making out.

    Then LaBeouf could come in and go “WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA” and there’d be a ruler slapping boner SFX on the track, then he’d wake up and go “NOOOOOOOOO!” because it was all a dream.


  34. Jason says:

    Any other non-Geek reviewers giving this movie praise? Ebert and Philips killed the movie. The movie seems to be getting praise from the geek community but outside of Poland, I cannot find any other reviewers (print or online) giving this movie a pass.

  35. hcat says:

    I have never felt older than when I watched Transformers 2 and could not keep any of the decepticons straight. I felt like I was a grandfather playing video games ‘wait who is that guy, is he the leader, what’s going on?’

    Glad to see that they are actually improving the quality as they go. Not a huge Bay fan, but I would like to see him do some other projects.

  36. Anghus says:

    Yeah, theres not a lot of character to the robots. They dont have a lot to do other than fight.

    Bays comedy is one giant drop below Entourage, which to me is at the low end of comedy theory.

  37. nikki whisperer says:

    I really disliked the first two, but am TOTALLY PSYCHED for this one, and I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. I just have this gut feeling that it’s going to be the BAD BOYS 2 of the franchise (I mean that in the best possible way).

  38. JS Partisan says:

    BD, that’s not an expectation asshole. That’s a declarative statement. Seriously, you went through all of that work, acted like a dick, because you can’t tell the difference between you schmucks and your expectations and a declarative fact? What a piece of shit you are, but you expected this response right :P?

    ETA: There’s character to the main robots but every other bot is just fodder and that’s why these movies in the most part fail in comparison to a rather cheesy 1980s cartoon. The 1980s cartoon at least figured out how to tell a story, with the same bots, and not endlessly kill them off. That’s why Transformers the movie is a pisser even though half-way through, they seemingly understood that killing off robots is a dick move, and that’s why Magnus didn’t die.

  39. LexG says:

    BAY HUMOR is the GREATEST THING KNOWN TO MAN, and the only thing better than PURE BAY HUMOR is when his descendants try to do it second-hand– Peter Berg, John Stockwell, Neveldine/Taylor, etc. Seriously, go check out Stockwell’s CAT RUN; It’s literally 111 minutes of ONLY the “comedy” stylings of Michael Bay. It is pure genius.

    I really don’t see why you guys can’t see the humor in it; Objectively, sure, it’s juvenile and the whole MO of essentially pointing and laughing at nerds and ethnic people with a roaring frat-guy guffaw is in bad taste… but then when you picture that Bay ACTUALLY THINKS THIS IS FUNNY, and you picture his smirking veneer behind the camera while some world-class actor like Deep Roy or John Turturro is standing there looking humiliated while the Chadster from a 1984 titty movie is cracking up… that’s why it’s funny.


  40. christian says:

    “your expectations and a declarative fact?”

    So…it’s a “declarative fact” that the film you have yet to see will be “tremendous” not because of your “expectations” but because…

    Ow. My head hurts. You win.

  41. hcat says:

    So despite the fact that you haven’t seen it, there are no reviews, and that taste is subjective, it is a absolute nonarguable fact that this last Potter is fantastic and awards-worthy?

    This is the cause of the miscommunication. You do not go into a movie with expectations, you already know when the film is announced whether it is good or not.

  42. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah Bay’s humor sucks, the weird looking model chick is just a weird fucking looking model chick, and Shia apparently wants to go Sal Mineo on us! He at least admitted to having sex with a sexbot. Good for him!

    ETA: Christian, you’ve got to be high not to get that I am not expecting anything. It’s going to be tremendous. That’s a statement of fact. Maybe you should use some of your trust fund money to get your head looked at?

    Hcat, have you ever seen a Harry Potter? Each one gets better than the last. The last one kicked ass so going by that equation, the next one will kick ass. Good lord you folks trying to trap me is like the saddest part of the blog. Get on with your fucking lives with your fucking expectations of being entertaining. “ENTERTAIN ME HOLLYWOOD OR ELSE I WILL GO ONLINE AND POST ABOUT EXPECTATIONS BEING DASHED! MY EXPECTATIONS! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    “WAHHH… I’M IN MY 50s and posting a blog about my head hurting. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

    “I am curmudgeonly douche, even though only 38, but I am still posting about expectations! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”


  43. LexG says:

    “the weird looking model chick is just a weird fucking looking model chick”

    Guys who say shit like this make no fucking sense to me.

    LOOK AT HER. Also yes, Shia has banged The Fox, Isabel Lucas, and Carey Mulligan, all A-list squack, and now he’s dating an Asian girl? Like, *I* can get Asian girls.

  44. JS Partisan says:

    Lex, you aren’t smart enough to get an Asian girl :D!


  45. nikki whisperer says:


    IO stands for I (have) Ovaries

  46. Glamourboy says:

    Can I even tell you how much I am looking forward to avoiding this film? Even’s Dave’s praise can’t get me there. It’s not just because the first two were such terrible movies…but I come out of them with migranes..and even worse, they make me lose my love for movies…just a little bit…a day..a few days. To me, they are the rock bottom of movie making, and it depresses me that anyone goes to the theater and watches them instead of throwing rocks at the screen. It depresses me that great actors like Frances McDormand would have this on her resume.

  47. Hopscotch says:

    I haven’t enjoyed a Bay movie since Clinton was President. I’ll skip this one, good reviews aside.

  48. JS Partisan says:

    She’s just not pretty Nikki. She’s basically the lead character in Brave but that character at least has the distinction of NOT BEING REAL SO SHE CAN LOOK STYLIZED!

  49. nikki whisperer says:

    BAD BOYS 2 is a masterpiece, the “ne plus ultra” of the Bay and Bruckheimer aesthetic. If this movie can even come close to BB2’s ecstatic heights, it’s a lock for best picture of the Summer.

    As for Potter: Yates is a journeyman hack, who hits all the beats of the books, but without an ounce of style, atmosphere or invention. And Deathly Hallows pt. 1 was a big disappointment for me, overlong and filled with all sorts of awkward moments (the WTF Nick Cave cue, the weird Taiwanese News Animation-style sex scene). I’ll see Part 2 out of duty (and because I have a kid), but I’m not expecting much.

  50. christian says:

    “I am not expecting anything. It’s going to be tremendous. That’s a statement of fact.”

  51. JS Partisan says:

    Okay, being named Nikki, has obviously driven you off the bridge of rationality! Bad Boys 2 is so utterly disgusting that just thinking about it skieves me out. Totally skievy ass movie.

    ETA: Christian the fact that you can’t wrap your head around that is why you are on Lex’s most wanted list… to meet… and have nachos with in Burbank. Seriously, it’s tremendous, that’s a declarative statement, and so is Captain America. Apparently you folks just can’t tell a good film from a bad one, but you are horror movie fans, so that makes a lot of sense :P!

    Before you blowjoes start going; “YOU LIKE IT BEFORE YOU SEE IT, DEEDUH.” Yeah it has nothing to do with that but having faith in the people who have made the last 2 HP films tremendous. Oh yeah, Vettel is going to win the F1 championship. HOW DARE I MAKE A DECLARATIVE FACT! DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDAMMMMMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Comment removed to avoid petty arguments.

  53. Joe Leydon says:

    Paul MD: Back away from the tar baby! Back away from… oh, too late.

  54. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    IO Please for the love of spandex men, shut the hell up. Just admit that you say stupid (like really stupid) fucking things now and then, so this blog doesn’t turn into one giant petty “did – did not” sandbox argument.

  55. JS Partisan says:

    Spirit, no because unlike these mooks, I don’t expect to be entertained and if these entitled white boys want to start some shit, then let’s start some shit. Seriously BD started some shit and let’s go down the road, and your response to me is fucking offensive but that’s this blog. You give me shit for being different while patting one another on the ass for being the same.

    Joe that’s some racist shit but you are a Texan!

    Paul, how is FAITH AN EXPECTATION? Come the fuck on. I have faith, I do not expect, and that’s the INHERENT FUCKING DIFFERENCE.

  56. nikki whisperer says:

    Counting down until a certain sanctimonious commenter who lives in Oceania accuses Joe is accused of racism with that last barb.


    I can hear IO now: “Is that because I like to PRETEND that I’m black?”

  57. JS Partisan says:

    Nikki, that’s some racist shit right there.

  58. David Poland says:

    Glamour boy… I respect that. 100%.

    It’s not for everyone. It’s barely for me. But If you don’t want to see great actors getting paydays and loud, clanking machines destroying the Tribune worse then Carr, do stay away. It got to my inner 12 year old.

  59. hcat says:

    IO- when you go into a resturant do you expect to be fed?

  60. David Poland says:

    Thank you, Paul

  61. palmtree says:

    Faith = Strong Belief

    Expectation = Belief about the future

    Faith in the tremendousness of a movie that’s coming out in the future = Expectation

  62. Madam Pince says:

    Bay’s humor was best displayed in the first “Got Milk” commercial, which was later turned into a series of films, called National Treasure.

  63. JS Partisan says:

    Hcat, no, because I may just be walking in the restaurant to let someone know I am there to pick them up. Again, you expect and want, good for you.

    Palm, I know how I feel, and I am not expecting anything. Thanks for playing, try again, never.

  64. palmtree says:

    JS, with pleasure.

    Wow, just checked out Mojo’s All-Time Second Sequel list. Man, is it pathetic! If DP is right, Transformers 3 will buck a huge trend.

  65. nikki whisperer says:

    If JS/IO has liked all the HARRY POTTER films, even the last few directed by that hack Yates, is it REALLY so unreasonable for him to have faith that he’s going to enjoy the hell out of the finale? I mean, is there anyone who was batshit about LOTR: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING who was then disappointed in the second and third films? It’s not like DEATHLY HALLOWS 2 is going to be some off-putting change-up like the MATRIX sequels; it’s pretty much “what you see is what you get.” I’m the first to call him on his shit, but this is straight ganging-up on him for sport. Cut the brother fella some slack.

  66. Thank you Lex, for reminding me to add Cat Run to my queue. It looks like a good bit of trashy fun in that ‘stuff I used to watch at 1am on Cinemax or The Movie Channel’ kind of way. And yes, ‘look at her’ indeed.

  67. David Poland says:

    What that list can’t offer, however, is the growth in international box office. Tr3 may not get to $400m here, but I still think a billion ww is completely possible.

  68. The Big Perm says:


  69. palmtree says:

    Shoulda analyzed that list more. It hasn’t been updated since 2002! LOTR definitely should be on there at the very least. Mojo, get your shyte together.

  70. Hallick says:

    “Hal, that comment does not represent reality in any way what so ever. Each film has gotten better. Seriously. Oh you want to hate on Chamber of Secrets? HOW DARE YOU HATE ON A FILM THAT ENDS WITH GIVING DAP TO HAGRID!”

    Nah. Each film’s gone from like a 3 and 1/4 to a 2 and 3/4 experience. I’m not hating on the franchise. I’m just not humping on it either.

    “The last film is going to be tremendous but of course the haters and the book snobs just don’t get that but this is the internet: WHERE NOT LIKING ANYTHING HAPPENS!”

    That’s not even right. If you have to stereotype the internet you need to write something like, “…but this is the internet: WHERE ONLY LIKING SOMETHING TO A DEGREE BETWEEN BLOODLUST AND ADULATION IS NOT ALLOWED!”.

  71. Hallick says:

    “Nikki, that’s some racist shit right there.”

    Yeah, seriously Nikki, come on. Please, confine your awful remarks for the white boys only.

  72. The Big Perm says:

    I picture IO as a big fat nerd with glasses and missing six teeth and there’s old plates all over his desk and some dead rats on the floor.

    I’d say he’s white because NO brother could be as uncool as he is.

  73. Anghus says:

    I think people are in need of a knock down, drag out spectacle as there hasnt been that breakout popcorn flick.

    400 feels attainable, as does a billion worldwide

  74. JS Partisan says:

    Perm, you are a coke whore. Fuck you very very much. Shazam.

  75. actionman says:

    I agree with the above commenter in that Bad Boys II is a masterpiece of epic action moviemaking.

  76. Anghus says:

    I found both bad boys films difficult to watch.

    Comedic “mugging” Will Smith is like sandpaper to my soul. Martin Lawrence is like a poke in the eye with an open tabasco bottle.

  77. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah I agree with the guy above.

  78. christian says:

    BAD BOYS 2 is a stupid, loathsome film. So IO and I agree on that.

  79. LexG says:

    I rules.

    Especially that part where that kid comes over to pick up Smith’s daughter.

    Bay Humor at its finest.

  80. Anghus says:

    I will say I enjoyed The Rock, which I know was about as smart as a sack of doorknobs, but it was a ludicrously entertaining.

  81. Joe Leydon says:

    Gee, IO, dissing Will Smith AND Martin Lawrence? That sounds pretty racist to me.

  82. LexG says:

    Bad Boys: A-minus; Great debut.

    The Rock: A. A modern action masterpiece.

    Armageddon: A-PLUS; Best film of the 1990s. One of the 10 best movies ever made.

    Pearl Harbor: A. Underrated. Mid-movie setpiece is the best symphony of destruction ever put to film at that time.

    Bad Boys II: A. Scarface meets Tango & Cash.

    The Island: B-minus. Too many dorky supporting turns.

    Transformers: A-minus. LOOK AT HER!

    Transformers 2: A. LOOK AT HER!

    Transformers 3: I am going to go out on a limb and say I will like it.

  83. Anghus says:

    Ooh… Do we need a best/worst Michael Bay thread?

    The Rock

    (Steep Drop)


    (Steeper Drop)

    The Island
    Bad Boys

    (a drop to the core of the earth)

    Transformers 2
    Bad Boys 2

  84. palmtree says:

    Pearl Harbor: A? Seriously! That movie was a shiny piece of turd! Very shiny, I agree, but still very turd-y at its core.

    But agreed, The Island was a crapfest, a new low.

  85. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually… as I have posted elsewhere, and caught much flak for posting… I quite liked Pearl Harbor.

  86. christian says:

    The flak-induced head injury explains your like, Joe;]

  87. Jason says:

    I’ve tempered my opinion on $400M domestic; but agree DP, that one billion WW is in the mix. This summer has shown that sequels are still performing overseas.

  88. cadavra says:

    Here’s my Michael Bay list:

    (steep drop)

    All of them.

    Seriously, why is anyone even surprised that TF3 is getting bad reviews? Does anyone expect he will ever make a movie fit for non-moron viewing?

  89. LexG says:

    Bay is the single greatest filmmaker.


    This is not negotiable.

    Could anyone else do what he does? No.


  90. Joe Leydon says:

    Christian: This is what I had to say back in the day.

  91. LexG says:

    Pearl Harbor is pure cornpone Americana. It is a beautiful movie. In many ways, it’s got some of Bay’s best stuff in it.

    There’s really NO POINT to arguing Bay on the internet, maybe even more than anything else. NOBODY is going to be won over, for or against, so everyone rehashes the same who-gives-a-shit arguments, self-included.

    I will ask:

    How much money does Bay have in the bank?

    How much money do you have in the bank?

    That makes him INHERENTLY BETTER than you and me, as an artist and as a person.

  92. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: What do you think the reaction to Pearl Harbor would have been had it been released just six months later than it was? Reason I ask: I was a talking head on an MSNBC show near the end of 2001, and that question was raised.

  93. Anghus says:

    No. history worked out right. The movie we needed to get us through the aftermath of
    9/11 was Zoolander.

  94. torpid bunny says:

    I don’t understand the talk that this is the last transformers. We can get 12 Potter films with indistinguishable plots but we’re limited to 3 transformers movies? Let’s go to Cybertron, let’s get Unicron, let’s take this shit intergalactic.

    But, failing that, if there are no Transformers it would seem that a lot of talented mega-robot effects people will be out of jobs. If only lurking super-producers or their shadow army would consider what is quite possibly the finest unproduced summer tentpole property, an epochal 80’s cartoon known as ROBOTECH. Make this movie and the Robotech massive will stand up and be counted.

  95. Martin S says:

    A simple way to try and follow IO’s thought process is just remember he always takes a cumulative view to genre films.

    HP’s “guarantee” is not an expectation because he’s read the book and is familiar with the talent in front and behind. Those “knowns” erase whatever unknown risks. Apply that thinking to Cap, Thor, GL, X:FC etc…and you can see the disconnect between him and everyone else on this blog – we view the film as a standalone entity. IO needs that expansion to apologize for busts. Look at GL, he thinks it works not because of the film itself, but because the promise of future sequels based off of comic storylines and as long as they trash everyone behind the camera. To Jason, expectation is equal to obligation, when everyone here means expect in the context of a reasonable probability.

  96. JS Partisan says:

    Anghus, that’s a good list, but I am a fan of the Island. Hell, The Island is my fave Bay film. There’s just something about it, that works for me.

    Bunny, I want more Transformers, but I WANT GEN 1 DESIGNS! IF these fucking movies had GEN 1 designed bots. The action would be so much easier deal with but no, we had to get this shit.

    ETA: Martin, that’s very non-douchebag of you but I like Green Lantern for the same reasons I like Alice in Wonderland: they are both stories about a character overcoming their obvious deficiencies to save the day.

    I also got to see a character I love, fully realized on screen, and that never sucks. I also know that what happens when Sinestro gets his corps and Carol gets her ring, is a lot more interesting then Krona merged with Parallax. Yeah that’s not Parallax folks. It’s KRONA with FEAR POWER but apparently the Warners execs who fucked up GL (I take back what I said about Campbell and deflect that to EXECS) didn’t want to tell their audiences any of this.

    Also, if any of you view any of these comic book films as stand alone properties, then you are missing the point of their existence. They come from SEQUENTIAL ART for fuck’s sake and what obligation do I have to see stories that I have already seen/read?

    Seriously, expecting anything in life seems rather foolhardy to me especially when you have zero control over it. I can expect things to go smooth but why would I do that again? Good for you people who feel entitled to entertainment. If I felt entitled/expected to be entertained. I would have never ever paid to see Jason X.

  97. movieman says:

    My favorite Bay is “The Island” (yeah, go figure), followed by the first hour of “Bad Boys 1.”
    “Armageddon” is a quasi guilty pleasure for me, and I mildly tolerated (most of) “Transformers 1.”
    The rest?
    Well, any director who can win the #1 spot on my 10-worst list twice in a span of 6 years (w/ “Bad Boys 2” and “Transformers 2” respectively) must be doing something hideously wrong. Right?
    Haven’t seen “Trannies 3” yet, by Scott’s review in the NYT gave me a small glimmer of hope that it might not be the total pile of dogshit I feared it would be.

  98. palmtree says:

    Martin S, great translation job. I hope you help us out more often lest we confuse words for what they actually mean.

  99. JS Partisan says:

    Palmtree, come the fuck on. Seriously, come the fuck on.

  100. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Bad Boys 2 is not just a film.

    It’s the guy from Great Train Robbery shooting you in the face.
    it’s the elephant being electrocuted.
    It’s the odessa steps.
    It’s the motherfucking ape hitting some bones yo!

    It’s a thing of horrible beauty and there’s nothing quite like it in the annals of cinema. Despise it or worship it, something profound happened when BB2 was released to cinemas.

    The world became either a better or much worse place to live in.

  101. The Big Perm says:

    “they are both stories about a character overcoming their obvious deficiencies to save the day.”

    NOW I see why IO likes these movies…wish fullfillment!

    I know I know, I shouldn’t be baiting but I just can’t bring myself to discuss this Transformers children shit.

  102. JS Partisan says:

    Yeah the profundity of Bad Boys 2 comes from RIPPING OFF THE CORPSE HIGHWAY SCENE FROM THE CHASE! Seriously, fuck Bad Boys 2!

    ETA: Yeah those stories happen in real life as well. Good lord, what the fuck man.

  103. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, but I think overcoming deficiencies is something you only see in the movies. Am I wrong?

  104. Joe, what did you answer to the Pearl Harbor 9/11 question? I have always argued that, had Pearl Harbor come out over Thanksgiving weekend 2001, it probably would have crossed $400 million and threatened Titanic for the top spot (domestically at least). One could argue whether the critical reaction would have been better or not (that’s a tough one…), but seeing the movie would have been as much a ‘patriotic duty’ as it was ‘your Christian duty’ to see Passion of the Christ three years later. Anyway, if said MSNBC segment is available online, I’d love to see it.

  105. nikki whisperer says:

    JBD: You hit the nail on the head re BB2.

  106. LexG says:

    Also “Black Hawk Down” came out around the time of the hypothetical “Pearl Harbor” “what-if?” I wanna say there was some hemming and hawing about releasing that as planned, and ultimately they either stuck to the date OR even moved it up a little, and it was a decent-sized hit; In the immediate wake, there was all that hand-wringing “Will Americans want to see…” asked of every violent movie, military movie, terror-themed movie, and in most cases instead of squeamishness, the audiences turned out. PH was a pretty sizable summer anyway, but I don’t think it would’ve done any worse at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I do, even, think the reviews might’ve been kinder. Didn’t somebody (or maybe a couple critics?) kind of soften their initial pan when they re-reviewed it for DVD in light of the tragedy, saying it played better afterwards as big, glossy, heroic old-school adventure?

  107. JKill says:




  108. Joe Leydon says:

    Scott: I may have that segment on VHS somewhere. If so, I definitely should have it transferred to digital, like this one.

    Scott/Lex: Yes, I do think folks would have felt it their patriotic duty to see Pearl Harbor had it been released after 9/11, as I told the MSNBC interviewers. But what I find more interesting is this: Within weeks/months of 9/11, all sorts of war-themed movies – from Blackhawk Down to We Were Soldiers to Hart’s War — opened. Some really dim-bulb critics at the time complained these movies were trying to exploit patriotic feelings whipped up by 9/11. But, of course, you and I know these films had to have been in production long before the planes hit the Twin Towers. Which makes me wonder, even now, what was in the air long before 9/11 that made Hollywood think it was a good time to make/release movies like this?
    BTW: On 9/11, I went out and bought a copy of The Siege, and showed it to my students a few days later, to show them what sort of excess I thought this country might be driven to in the wake of terrorist attacks. I had hoped I would be proven wrong. But…

  109. The Big Perm says:

    Joe, I think the what was in the air to make those war movies was the huge success and reinvention of the war movie with Saving Private Ryan just a few years back. Suddenly, it was a new way to make a war picture, and being financially successful didn’t hurt either.

    I don’t really think people would have been patriotically compelled to see Pearl Harbor due to 9/11. I think people keep their entertainment choices separate from that kind of stuff, largely. Remember how everyone predicted the death of disaster movies and large scale action movies after that? Yet, buildings still explode in CG every other movie.

    Also, I was pretty young then but I remember all the whining about The Siege and how it was negatively stereotyping Arabs. Like it was more realistic to have Neo-Nazis do it like jerkoff movies do. EVen then I thought that was stupid as fuck. And THEN everyone missed the point of the movie!

  110. cadavra says:

    “I will ask:

    How much money does Bay have in the bank?

    How much money do you have in the bank?

    That makes him INHERENTLY BETTER than you and me, as an artist and as a person.”

    Dick Cheney has more money in the bank than I do. There is not a soul on Earth who would claim that he is better than me. Or pretty much anyone else.

  111. jack20 says:

    tf3 is the best movie of the sumer

  112. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Cad – Dick Cheney would. You know, assuming he has a soul…

    Just got back from TF3 myself, big BIG movie. The usual forgetting stuff that people had talked about 10 minutes ago (and, oddly, remembering things too… the script is wildly schizophrenic in ignoring key exposition and returning to points mentioned in passing).

    A lot of product placement, specifically by Lenovo – the first half of the movie has panned shots over the logo every 5mins.

    But, yeah, enjoyable movie. MASSIVE sense of scale, and closure. One of the people I went with (who is not a movie buff by any means) said “Even though Optimus is a robot, you can sense his emotions and why he did the things he did”.

  113. torpid bunny says:

    Optimus is NOT a robot. He’s a living cyberorganism god damnit.

  114. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Hey, I’m quoting here. Were you hiding in the car during the ride home? No? Then shush.

  115. MarkVH says:

    Does anybody remember the Spring of 2001, right before Pearl Harbor came out, and people were talking about it like they thought it would be a LEGITIMATE Oscar contender? Like, two years after The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan, and just because a movie had WW2 cred everyone thought it would win Oscars?

    Then it came out and everybody suddenly woke up to the fact that it was directed by Michael Bay and was, in fact, completely terrible.

    That was awesome.

  116. styrgwillidar says:

    Saw it last night/this morning and really enjoyed it on a summer blockbuster special effects/action level.

    BUT… not as much as TF2 which actually gave you(particularly a WWII/military history buff) much more to contemplate on cost/effort/choices in opposing evil/tolerating it. Specifically the imagery in the Smithsonian scene with connections from P-40 Warhawk, to F4U Corsair, to the Enola Gay to the SR71 Blackbird; as well as the choices of USS STENNIS, USS KIDD and USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Oops sorry, knee jerk reaction since I think TF2 is under-rated.

  117. hcat says:

    The oscar contender stuff was just hype pushed by Disney to boost box office, I doubt remember it gaining a lot of traction. They were also pushing that the romance aspect of it was going to push it to Titanic level box office, while it ended up barely keeping up with The Mummy Returns.

    Because the budget was so huge (I think it was the highest ever greenlit, even with people deferring for backend), Disney was terrified of it losing money and they pushed it from every possible angle. It was actually a risky investment but they pulled it out, just as they did it again with Gangs of New York, and then had the Alamo come crashing down around their ears.

  118. torpid bunny says:

    What I’m hearing is that Bay is basically a big megadork and if you just accept that you can forgive him the 153 minutes of uncut scatological improvisation he left in Bad Boys 2?

  119. yancyskancy says:

    It’s taken me a full day to realize Dave got the title of the movie wrong in the thread name. He must have had Pink Floyd on the brain. 🙂

    Haven’t seen T3DOTM or THE ISLAND yet, but I think the first TRANSFORMERS is probably Bay’s best. I thought it worked fine on its own terms (a big, dumb hoot). The BAD BOYS films mostly get a pass from me (the second is morally reprehensible, but did make me laugh a fair amount). Never got the love (or at least tolerance) for THE ROCK, perhaps because it’s the one that first made it clear to me that Bay had no interest in staging spatially coherent action. Maybe it wouldn’t seem so bad now, but at the time it drove me up a wall.

  120. Triple Option says:

    Bring out the spoiler thread!!

    This is not really a spoiler but relating to what’s been brought up thus far in this thread, I CANNOT believe that for two whole films, and we’re talking 2 1/2 hour + movies each, that every last comedy attempt fell flat on its face! Even if by just by sheer accident I’d think it’d be statistically impossible that NOT ONE comic take or line came out w/out being funny.

    Those robots were pretty impressive, though.

  121. Edward Havens says:

    Is Don Murphy banned? 120+ comments and nothing from Don is anti-climactic. Open the floodgates, I say. Let Don speak!

  122. David Poland says:

    Everything Don has posted in the last while has posted. We is always welcome to make comments that add to the conversation of the topic at hand.

  123. SamLowry says:

    “What I’m hearing is that Bay is basically a big megadork”

    He did play a fratboy in “Mystery Men”….

  124. James Dalton says:

    Loved it, this is what a summer blockbuster should be about. A lot of explosions, transforming robots and a cheesy storyline, thrown in with 3-D awesomeness. I got my money’s worth simply because I am a zoned out Zombie…Michael Bay you rock!!!!

  125. leahnz says:

    i think i’ve put my finger on what i dislike most about bay’s increasingly methhead-meets-blowup-doll-meets-military-recruitment-poster sensibility for the ‘trannies’ arc, as someone i guess i would characterise as ‘familiar’ with the transformers ethos/universe but far from a connoisseur (like some have proven here), which is:

    i don’t want m. bay’s gag-inducing fascination with/fetishisation of the US military disguised and increasingly passed off as ‘transformers’ movies.

    the first movie i forgave, because while nauseatingly bay-esque, he by some miracle managed to capture to a degree that G1 sense of ‘bit of a lonely outcast boy accompanied by his plucky mates/family befriend the alien robots and help to repel the snarky cyber-horde’ sensibility, not in design but rather as a kind of modernised version of the super dorky but iconic ’80 transformers ethos. the military was on the back foot and proceedings, while ridiculously over the top and silly, were at least held in check as largely a battle between the A’s & the D’s helped by sam and michaela and a rather ineffectual US military, as it should be.

    but as trannies 2 and now 3 have worn on, they’ve turned into a silly bay paean to the US military, more like an excuse for bay-orchestrated orgies of “the military lets me use their toys because we’re mates, we really are!’ showboating dressed up as ‘transformers’ movies rather than movies made by someone who’s even remotely interested in exploring some of the detail of a story about giant robots from space infiltrating earth in disguise with the help of their pet human. a compelling human storyline is somewhat intrinsic to transformers ethos, because it give us someone/something basic to relate to/root for, but a compelling fuckarow for the glory of the US/military is not transformers, never was, and never should be.

    if you want to take the concept of ‘trannies’ and adapt it to make silly glorified war movies with huge rampaging robots, why not just do that and spare us the talking robot stuff, which in the hands of bay is mostly just fucking PAINFUL anyway.

    (oh and bay tops himself – too bad only figuratively – with ‘carla’. somewhere megan fox should be laughing her ass off, as compared to rosie whatshername – who may now head to top of the list as the single most preposterous female lead in the history of action cinema, with not a scratch or spot on her pristine white damsel-in-distress bandage whilst the world turns to an exploded portaloo around her – michaela in ‘trannies one’ at least got to be an actual human girl with a modicum of moxy and mechanical know-how and capability, even if megan likely couldn’t act to save her life if facing a firing squad, but never mind, compared to rosie’s ‘carla’ fox in the first movie is friggin joan crawford. the second movie, well the transmogrification into a howard-the-duck-lipped blow-up doll was well on its way, the process now complete with the advent of the ‘pristine white duck lady’)

    typos mostly fixed

  126. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I actually *liked* the use of the military in this one – for me it’s the first time you feel they actually did something of consequence, as opposed to the others where you felt they were there merely to provide background explosions and gunfire while Optimus & Friends did the real work.

    And, yeah, Rosie’s character was as flat as a pancake. We’re told she’s some Type-A Overachiever, but we never see her do anything apart from Get Menaced – she’s classic “Stuffed in Fridge” material purely there to provide a motivation for other characters to do something. While we’re told that she worked for the British Embassy and has turned the Museum around (as an assistant, no less!), from everything we’re actually shown we’re more inclined to believe she achieved those positions from using parts of the anatomy that aren’t the brain. Contrast with Part 2 where Fox captures and interrogates the mini Decepticon to progress the story, and is actually USEFUL.

  127. leahnz says:

    contrast that with ‘trannies one’, where michaela drives that tow-truck in reverse through the streets of the city under siege with crippled bumblebee at the back (front, really) firing at the decepticons, which is essential in the battle because US military hardware proves virtually useless against the big bots, as per transformers canon. i won’t mount an impassioned defence of michaela – who in the pantheon of action heroines is merely a bump in the road – but she is a bit of a hard-ass. at least she was, before the inflatable body-snatchers took over.

    (that CK clapping thing is creepy as hell, neato)

  128. Krillian says:

    Saw it. It’s too long. Full of silly humor that doesn’t quite work. And yet, I think it’s my favorite of the three. The 3-D work was really good. Loved the sequence in the building breaking in half. Getting the real Buzz Aldrin was hilarious.

  129. SamLowry says:

    “Which makes me wonder, even now, what was in the air long before 9/11 that made Hollywood think it was a good time to make/release movies like this?”

    Maybe they saw a war on the horizon, having heard the rumors that Team Bush was looking for reasons to invade Iraq in 2000?

    Wait a minute:

    “2. After Shia LaBeouf complains that he is unemployed, Rosie suggestively says, ‘Tonight, maybe I can give you a job … ‘”

    Are you kidding me?

  130. ryanlu321 says:

    micheal bay is an action genus! The car chase in Bad Boyz 2 when they were throwing cars was awesome! Best scene in the movie. But transformers 3 might have been rough around the edges, but after the first two didnt have as much action. Everone has its not the same w.o Fox, well the love story added alil touch to it. Everybody forgets the cartoons, it was the autobots vs the decepticons. The action is awesome, but everyone forgets the real reason behind it

  131. ryanlu321 says:

    It had more action than the first to combined! Not an under statement. And the story was more interesting than first 2 movies bc it had to do with U.S history! A must watch! Everybody’s critics for a reason. If you to see it its worth the money your going to pay

  132. leahnz says:

    ryanlu321, did you by any chance play the dog in ‘UP’

  133. SamLowry says:

    “but everyone forgets the real reason behind it”

    To sell toys to the little kids while encouraging the bigger kids to join the U.S. military because their toys are so much more awesome?

    Fly, strafe, kill–hell yeah!

    (And if you took that comment seriously, I believe there’s a recruiting station right down the block; they have a quota of body bags that need to be filled. Please help them out.)

  134. cadavra says:

    Okay, I realize I’m just a grumpy old dude, but seriously, how many times can you sit through giant robots (or aliens or earthquakes or whatever) destroying skyscrapers and leveling cities over and over and over again? Doesn’t it just get fucking boring after the tenth or twelfth time? Is there ANYTHING in TF3 that we didn’t see in the first two or almost any Roland Emmerich movie?

  135. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Same could be said for a lot of things – doesn’t Bond get boring after his 12th movie? Don’t high school prom movies get boring after the 100th time? Doesn’t the latest arthouse snoozer get even more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  136. cadavra says:

    You’re not incorrect, but it doesn’t answer my question. Isn’t there a limit on this crap?

  137. SamLowry says:

    There was an article listed on the MCN front page yesterday explaining that about 15 years ago Will Smith examined the movies with the all-time highest grosses and deduced they were all action-packed summertime movies with lots of SFX and clear-cut heroes and villains. (Duh.) And so he decided to stick to that formula, making sure he always played the hero to maximize his paydays.

  138. Foamy Squirrel says:

    The human spirit knows no limit to the amount of robot mayhem!

  139. yancyskancy says:

    cadavra: But that’s the thing about genre, isn’t it? If it’s your thing, you keep consuming it, knowing that there will be formulaic elements. The formula may even be part of the appeal. Heck, I could watch a Western every day. And while I always appreciate the ones that deviate from the formula in interesting ways, sometimes all I need are the usual elements, well handled.

  140. justin says:

    wtf!!! wat happened to megan fox i mean wat r they going to do have sam dump her off in the movie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

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