One item that has been on my mind lately is the concept of “worst film ever.” In many ways, these are the easiest items to review. It’s quite easy to determine when everything goes right. It’s much easier to determine when everything goes wrong. But the idea of worst film ever is interesting because no one can agree what the worst film in the world actually is. Pretty much everyone can agree the best film is Citizen Kane. But what about the worst? I have heard qualifications for Plan 9 From Outer Space, Manos: The Hands of Fate, and Movie movies. The main problem is that there are only a few contenders for the best, whereas there are dozens and dozens for the worst.
Which brings me to another point. With all the bad movies out there, someone has to be making them. This obvious leap of logic should be the qualifications of who should never be allowed behind the camera again. So, who is it?
The current punching bag is Uwe Boll. But he is not the worst filmmaker. Do not misunderstand me, Boll is awful. He has not made a competent movie. But his films are largely ignored by the public. The only reason people know him is due to his excessive ego claiming that he is the heir to Leone and Lynch. Take him away though, and the community would barely even notice. Boll is a bad joke, but will inflict no lasting damage.
So what are the qualifications to be the world’s worst filmmaker. They must be in the public conscience. It is not enough to make a bad film. Anyone can do that. It takes a special person thought to make everyone in the world know about his films. Second, they must do so consistently. Even the great filmmakers have bad films to their name. Spielberg has 1941. Coppolla has Jack. Scorsese has Gangs of New York and The Age of Innocence. Cronenberg has an episode of Friday the 13th. Yet it is all irrelevant. They have all grown as filmmakers and continue to test their own limits. A truly bad director would never take such risks. Third, the worst filmmaker once again tries to claim that he is talented and, even worse, may get some fringe recognition.
So, who is that fits all of these qualifications? Who is the worst filmmaker currently working today?
A pretty standard choice to be sure. But frankly a deserving one. He has consistently demonstrated that he has no talent and absolutely no love for the craft. He is misogynistic, he is practically sanguinary, and his films make far more than they are worth. He is truly the worst filmmaker in the world.
Michael Bay’s films are so blood drenched as to be embarrassing. Normally, I don’t criticize violence. If a filmmaker is talented enough, it works well. John Woo has been making films far more “violent” than Bay. But Woo uses wonderful precision and choreography. They rise above the material and seem more like ballet than bloodshed. Bay’s use is far more bizarre and frankly sickening. Bay seems to think it’s a neat trick just to show a dead body. Bad Boys II is particularly loathsome. In the film, violence exists for the sake of violence. No craft exists.
Bay can also be accused of misogyny. He has never had a strong female character in any of his films. Ever. Don’t even try to find them. They exist in the film usually to showcase their, how shall I say, assets. They are not characters, rather they are glamor shots. They exist only in the realm of the men’s vision. I have no problem with actresses being glamorous. But it should go further. I can really only blame Bay. The actresses he uses are talented. I have seen that fact in other films. I can only blame Bay.
And finally, Bay has a great ego. He believes himself to be a sort of gift to filmmaking, has two Criterion releases to his name, and is a member of the Academy. Therefore, he helps to chose what qualifies as a good film. This is look a rat trying to sample gourmet cheese. It all looks the same to the rat. How can Bay even know what a good film is? He has yet to make one himself. On his commentaries, one gets the sense that he believes he is doing a good job. Hardly. Even his one good film, The Rock, is good because it does not seem like a Michael Bay film. He does have a style, which I guess deserves some praise. But it is a style that is dependent on such qualities as I have described, what is the point?
Bay should never be allowed near a camera again. But he will be, because the public flocks to his films in droves. Bay, go back to film school. Or working the counter at McDonalds. For the general populace, please stop going. Rent a Kurosawa. Spend time with your families. Drive a railroad spike through your heads. Just stop going.