Michael Bay or Shyamalan?

I thought this was a really fun discussion over on the Schmoes Know Podcast (which is one of the best movie podcasts next to the Rotoscopers!). It’s a real Sophie’s Choice. Who is worse Michael Bay or M Night Shyamalan?

They are both insanely bad but if someone put a gun to my head and said ‘you have to watch their latest movie’ what would I pick?
Here are the arguments on both sides.

Michael Bay-
His movies are demeaning to women, they are long, insulting to minorities and full of mindless destruction and explosions. His dialogue is terrible and I really don’t think he has made a good movie ever (haven’t seen The Rock which I’m told is his one good movie). I have seen Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, and all 4 Transformers movies. KMN. Now that I think about it the first Transformers movie isn’t that bad.  It’s a fun big blockbuster movie (certainly a million times better than any of the sequels).

Pearl Harbor is especially insulting because it deals with real people, real heroes and reduces them to caricatures and a laughable soap opera romance with some of the worse dialogue I’ve ever heard.

(Language warning but it’s true)

The reason I might place him above Shyamalan is he does have a demographic that he services and that enjoy his movies. Whether I have respect for that demographic is one thing but I can’t imagine any demographic liking Lady in the Water, The Village, The Happening or Last Airbender.

M Night Shyamalan-
He made one good movie, and 2 movies that look good but are very silly. When I got home from my mission everyone was raving about Signs so I watched it and thought it was a very weak and even preachy movie. I did not get the hype. Lamest aliens ever…but it at least has style.

Post Signs they have been astonishingly bad. And I don’t know is it worse to make movies with talent and to try hard and produce junk or to half-bake it and produce mindless shluck? Shyamalan if he let someone else write and set his ego aside could make a good movie. I don’t know if I could say the same about Michael Bay.

But again at least Bay kind of knows his schtick and he makes it where Shyamalan doesn’t even seem to realize he is making crap. He thinks it’s all big and important and that us silly fools aren’t enlightened enough to understand it. You watch interviews of him trying to defend Lady in the Water or The Last Airbender and it is mind blowing. He acts like he is this wounded artist that people are unfairly attacking. I mean have you seen these movies? They are unwatchable films.

Lady in the Water is boring and so full of itself. It’s so awful and pretentious.

I mean The Happening is about the evil wind and the plants attacking people. I guess it could work if you went the B cheesy horror movie route (ala Sharknado) but this takes itself seriously and turns good actors into jokes. Mark Whalberg is so bad in The Happening (he’s apologized publicly for The Happening). Same with Paul Giamati in Lady in the Water (although that movie is not his fault it is bad). And with Last Airbender he took a show that people love and Westernized it, made it incredibly boring and it doesn’t even look good? The special effects are laughable. The fight sequences and the slow motion and the panning shots make me nuts.

In both Lady in the Water and Signs M Night casts himself as these prophet types who are the chosen one’s and again at least Michael Bay (I think) knows he’s making crap.

But he could make a good movie again and his movies aren’t demeaning to women or minorities like Bay’s are? (well not as demeaning at least and it isn’t real people).

I guess I would pick Shyamalan although I think he might be the worse director again because there is not any demographic for his movies. They are just junk. Avoid them both! And don’t get me started on After Earth. It’s right up there with Battlefield Earth in the terd heap.

When Johnny Depp thinks you’re strange M Night you need to take a look at yourself.

I guess it comes down to do you appreciate a pompous artist who tries but makes crap or someone that doesn’t try but makes crap that a lot of people for whatever reason like? One is full of his own genius and the other is lazy. I don’t know. Tough call. May I never be cursed with such a choice.

16 thoughts on “Michael Bay or Shyamalan?

  1. I don’t think I ever watched a Bay movie. Transformers have no appeal to me whatsoever, and Pearl Harbor….just one look at the posters convinced me that I don’t have to watch that movie.
    So I can only comment on Shyamalan and my thought is: He is a writer who encountered a really good idea, created one good movie out of it (which mostly worked because the twist back then was a real surprise, Sixth Sense would have needed some adjustments and various places, especially the dialogues, but the actors pulled it off), and then tried the “twist” again and again, which naturally didn’t work because it became expected. I honestly think that “The others” is a way better written and directed movie than “The sixth sense”, but it wasn’t the one which came first, so it can’t claim the credit for starting a string of movies with “twist”.

    1. I agree 100%. He received too much praise for a competently made movie. Some people love Signs but I certainly don’t (although it’s certainly better than what came after).

      With Michael Bay he always makes good trailers and the first transformers movie was kind of fun but the rest are the worst. I don’t even know why I’ve seen these terrible movies.

      Thanks for the comment

    2. So which do you think is worse? (I guess if never seen Bay you wouldn’t know but I do feel like at least he has a demographic who likes his movies. Something to be said for that. His movies are basically critic-proof.

      1. There is also a demographic which likes Twilight, and it is still an awful book. So I don’t think that this a good argument for quality or abilities.
        I just can’t tell…he could be a really good director who just happens to have a strange taste in the kind of movies he does. I mean if he manages to make the best out what he is given, he is good, even if the end result is not that good because the basic was sup-par. In the end the question is not if his name is attached to good movies, but if he manages to elevate the source material.
        Take James Cameroon. I don’t think that either Titanic or Avatar are truly good movies, because neither have a truly good story. But in both cases, I don’t think that you could make a movie based on those stories which are better than what he offered. That’s what a truly good director does. Or Stephen Spielberg. Is a story about a couple of people running for their life on an island full of monsters really that compelling? Not really, but he managed to make it special and the result was Jurassic Park.
        That’s my point with Shyamalan. His one good movie is based on a truly good idea (which was his own, so he deserves credit for it). It is not so good because it is so well directed. In order to judge Michael Bay I would have to watch a couple of movies made by him, to truly decipher how much of the success of the Transformers movies can be credited to him.

      2. Good points. It’s definitely just a question of least awful. They are both terrible but I feel like Shyamalan doesnt please anyone. I thought the first 2 twilight books were fun campy romance novels but hated 3rd and 4th with passion.

        But good point about the idea vs the directing. They both suck no doubt about it. Good point about Spielberg and Jurrasic Park. It was proven by the 2nd and 3rds being such duds. Got to tell a good story.

        Interesting discussion but I agree with all you said.

      3. I’ve been thinking about your James Cameron example. That’s very true. Shyamalan is kind of the reverse. He takes good stories and makes them awful. Like Last Airbender is a franchise people love (havent seen it) and it is just painful to sit through. Same with Lady in the Water the concept isnt bad but the execution is so pretentious.

        Bay does execute the kind of movie he likes well for the type of people who like that kind of movie but it’s total crap.

        So which is worse someone who takes something good and directs it terribly or someone who is just completely mediocre. I’m calling a tie! Co gold medalists in awful.

        Fun discussion

      4. To be fair, Avatar is not easy to adapt because the story is not really made for a movie format. But yeah. Pretentious is the right word.
        I don’t know what is worse. It’s just a different kind of bad, I guess.

  2. I can’t truly judge as the only Shyamalan movie I’ve seen is The Last Airbender. Michael Bay movies used to be guilty pleasures of mine, mostly for the action. These days, I tend to notice more of the openly stupid moments. I saw Transformers 2 in the theatre, and when the mum gets high from the pot brownies, I was just thinking “What the **** is this?!”

    Still, Bay’s work has given me some enjoyment, which I couldn’t say for The Last Airbender, which felt completely lifeless. And I’ve never even watched the Avatar cartoon.

    1. Yeah I know what you are saying and I agree. I actually dont think his movie The Island is that bad and the first Transformers movie was entertaining in the way that you say.
      Last Airbender is mind-numbingly bad. But 2-4 transformers kill me now. Ugh.
      Interesting discussion. Sixth sense is an entertaining movie if you get a chance to see it

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