I didn’t really know how to review this one. I walked around a lot, thinking to myself out loud. I puzzled, I brainstormed, I concentrated. “Self,” I said, “How in the world do you do justice to Armageddon? I mean, it would be helpful if ‘Michael Bay’ were an adjective, because all the unholy suckitude contained in his movies could be summed up in the world michaelbay, thereby cutting this to the quick. I don’t know, I feel as though it’s cheating to just say: MICHAELBAY.”
And then I nodded with myself, as I am bananas, and went to go look at the IMDB page for Armageddon, where lo and behold, it was a Christmas miracle as inspiration struck. I felt like a Who down in Whoville!
I came upon the trivia pages where this little factoid stuck out at me:
Regarding the film’s premise, Ben Affleck asked director Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?” Bay told Affleck to shut up.
You know me. I have the condition known as “overactive imagination” and this sentence immediately made that condition go into overdrive. I imagined Bay screaming profanity at Affleck, tiny dribbles of spittle forming at the corners of his mouth, before he began to claw at his hair and convulse. I could see Bay topping his tantrum off by flinging himself into the craft services table, where he began to spasm angrily and flail his limbs aggressively while screaming, “FUCK YOU, AFFLECK!” amongst half-stale donuts, coffee stirrers and powdered creamer.
So, thus, a review of Armageddon in conversations with Michael Bay.
Charlton Heston: Look, Michael, as flattered as I am to be narrating a thirty second spot of dialogue for the beginning of the movie, doesn’t this feel unnecessary? And perhaps baiting the audience, a bit?
Michael Bay: Shut the fuck up, Moses, and add more gravitas.
Editor: Michael, are you sure you want that on there? “A Michael Bay Film”?
Michael Bay: Keep your trap shut, moron. Everyone will know that this work of epic genius is mine, all mine! My words, my thoughts…my fireballs exploding awesomely!
Editor: Good point. I think we should keep this on the shitty…er, I mean, completely amazing film.
Billy Bob Thornton: Hey, Mike, a question: Can we edit out this kind of weird subplot about me being gimpy? I mean, can’t I just be the super-smart director of operations at NASA? Do I have to have this completely stupid, extraneous bit about me being crippled and longing to be some sort of fancy astronaut?
Michael Bay: Thornton, what the hell do you know about the fine art of screenplays and movie making? You’re a dancing monkey, trained to cry at my whim. GROVEL. GROVEL, FOOL.
Billy Bob Thornton: Actually, I wrote this movie, you may have heard of it – Sling Blade?
Michael Bay: Who the hell is this joker? Get out of my face, tool.
Billy Bob Thornton: Hey, I WON AN OSCAR FOR THAT.
Michael Bay: An Oscar. An OSCAR? For what? Sounding like you’ve had a voice box installed on a chimpanzee? Get outta here. When the Academy sees my glorious action sequences, they’ll give me an extra special award.
Billy Bob Thornton: Right. A special award. Emphasis on “special”.
Michael Bay: OH, look! It’s me! It’s me!
Editor: Dude, you are the most un-sciencey looking scientist ever.
Michael Bay: Come on! Can’t we make my part longer? And with more dialogue? Or something? I’m sure we can reshoot it.
Editor: Uh, that totally defeats the purpose of a cameo, Mr. Bay.
Michael Bay: DAMN. Well, can we put a big pointer thingy on screen to alert viewers to the fact that I have graced them with my presence?
Ben Affleck: Hey, Mr. Bay, can I bother you for a second?
Michael Bay: I suppose, Ben. I suppose.
Ben Affleck: Well, so far, we’ve had a lot of illogical stuff happen in this movie, I mean, with the oil rigs and the drillers being asked to save the world and whatever, and I mean, isn’t it one more leap of faith to ask a viewer to expect that my character would set up his own oil company and rigs mere DAYS after being fired from Bruce Willis’ setup when he’s asked to save the world? I mean, isn’t that a little bit illogical?
Michael Bay: Illogical? ILLOGICAL? This is Hollywood. If we all ran on logic here, we’d be out of work, moron. People are SHEEP, Affleck, SHEEP. Baaaaa! BAAAA! And I think you’ll find that as long as things blow up, people don’t question things such as “logic” and “realism”. You’re a sheep too, Affleck, and I am the shepherd, and right now you are in my crook, about to have your little woolen neck wrung like a dishrag.
Ben Affleck: I’m not following this metaphor.
Michael Bay: Get the hell out of here, idiot, before I beat you with this pipe wrench. Don’t come back asking anymore stupid questions.
Peter Stormare: Um, Michael? Should I be wearing this CCCP shirt? The Soviet Union fell in the early ’90’s, man. I’m Russian in this film, not a Soviet. Also, should I really be able to stand after 18 months in zero gravity? And…really, isn’t this whole premise of having shuttles dock at Mir to refuel, slingshot around the moon and land on an asteroid the size of Texas to drill to 800 feet on a fault line just a tiny bit ridiculous?
Michael Bay: Hey, look, you Russkie bastard, fall back in line! DAVAY, MAN, DAVAY!
Peter Stormare: I AM NOT RUSSIAN! I’m Swedish!
Michael Bay: Whatever, same difference. Bring me a mai-tai, okay? It’s damn frosty in here.
Bruce Willis: Isn’t this whole fighting over a nuclear weapon thing so idiotic? I mean, really, if William Fichtner is just going to randomly change his mind about blowing it up, what’s the point of having the fight in the first place?
Michael Bay: SHUT IT, WILLIS.
Steve Buscemi: Hey, Michael, any pointers on what you want me to do in the next few scenes?
Michael Bay: Why…Steve….good boy. Why don’t you just act insane? You know, how you usually are.
Steve Buscemi: What?!
Michael Bay: And don’t feel bad, no one will remember you being in that piece of shit Fargo anyways, at least not once you make this movie.
Steve Buscemi: WHAT?!
Michael Bay: Carry on. Hey Affleck, why don’t you go compare statues with Mr. Geeky-Bob Thornton over there, since you’re both Academy Award winning IDIOTS.
Affleck and Thornton: HEY!
William Fichtner: Seriously, man, I don’t honestly have to say, “Permission to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man I’ve ever met”, do I?
Michael Bay: Do it, or I set Buscemi on you.
William Fichtner: Jesus, man, chill out!
Armageddon is inherently unreasonable, nonsensical and overblown. It’s a completely ridiculous mess, which is part of why I kind of like it – the other part would be for Buscemi and Stormare, mainly, who are always worth watching. It is, however, a film made by a man who expects nothing of his audience’s intelligence and nothing in return expect ebullient adoration of the worst kind. It is a film that focuses far more on what shit Bay can blow up rather than if it makes any damn sense. It is a movie rife with cheese, idiocy and lacking a sense of humor.
Sometimes, those movies are fun – and sometimes, they make you weary. Armageddon can do both to me, in my case, but in the sense of the everyday viewer? Weary are we all of Michael Bay.