I think it’s important, especially in the internet based environment in which we so frequently communicate, to pull back the hate from time to time. Sure, we had fun bashing movies, directors and even each other in the Weekend Roundtable. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll be doing it again this week too. But there’s room for positivity on the internet too. So here it goes. Despite ‘Armageddon,’ ‘Pearl Harbor,’ and the ‘Transformers‘ series, I think it’s time to say something nice about the director we all love to hate – Michael Bay.
Don’t get too excited about bashing my credibility as a judge of film, because it’s not Bay’s directing that I’m in favor of. Okay, I really dug the Meatloaf music videos he made. (That’s not one of those ironic statements all the kids are into; I really do love them.) That’s not why I still tolerate the man today, or why I see a silver lining every time the dark cloud of his directing rolls out over the world.
For me, it’s all about Bay’s obsession with Michigan Central Station. It’s a big building in Detroit that’s probably rich in all sorts of cultural history. I have no idea; I’m from a suburb a half hour outside of Detroit, and venture there very rarely. But Bay seems to dig filming there, and that’s good for Detroit.
Both ‘The Island’ and the first ‘Transformers‘ movie were shot in the same building. Since then, a surge of directors have come to Michigan to film. If a director like Bay is willing to put a part of his ridiculously large budget into the state, there’s no reason other directors shouldn’t as well. Oh, and a nice tax break for movie-makers helps too.
As you may have noticed if you’ve watched the news any time since the late ’60s or so, Detroit could use all the help it can get. I won’t pretend to have any deep rooted love for a city that I only go to when there’s a concert I want to see, or a girl I want to impress with my knowledge of “a really cool jazz club, but it’s in a kind of dangerous part of town.” I don’t live there or work there. A Detroit renaissance probably wouldn’t change anything for me personally, but I’d really love to see it happen. It was a really great city once, and there’s still plenty in Detroit worth bringing back.
If more directors like Bay pour their money into the city, we could finally start seeing a little change around the place.