Love him or hate him Michael Bay is a director that makes a particular type of film, and in a crowd of the usual auteurs that favor quirks and quiet moments Bay is the type of guy that prefers explosions and mayhem. To honor his brand of blockbuster cinema the fine folks over at the Alamo Drafthouse are honoring the director with a Lifetime Achievement Award as the first inductee in the Alamo Drafthouse Tough Guy Hall of Fame with a day-long celebration they’re calling “Baymageddon.”
Four participating Drafthouse locations in Austin, Houston, Kansas City, and Littleton, CO will screen three classic bay films as well as a sneak peek at his new action comedy Pain & Gain on April 21st. Bay himself won’t be in attendance, but the Drafthouse promises a special video thank you with a certain “Michael Bay-ness to it.”
Alamo programmer Greg MacLennan says, “When I first started programming the Tough Guy Cinema series for the Alamo Drafthouse, I wanted to take repertory film screenings to a new level, and the first films I could think of were modern masterpieces of mayhem from Michael Bay. I wasn’t taught them in school, you don’t see any books on them, but his films deserve to be recognized and revisited on the big screen. Blockbusters may come and go, but his films stand the test of time. He’s made heroes out of everyday actors, and somehow, along the way, he became one himself.”
MacLennan has a point that I think speaks to the still lingering controversy over Bay’s inclusion in the Criterion Collection. His films, including The Rock and Armageddon, may not garner the same attention and film school acclaim as other famous directors in the collection – he’s no Kurosawa, Godard, Bergman, or Ozu in that regard– but the films still adhere to the credo packaged with every Criterion release in that they attempt to gather the greatest films from around the world and publish them in editions of the highest technical quality to enhance the appreciation of the art of film. It’s something I never quite understood about that backlash. If you think of one Hollywood action director chances are you think of Bay, and despite the relative quality of his films and whether or not you think they’re “art,” why not be able to include someone who is ostensibly the best at what they’re doing?
What do you guys think? If you’re on board and live near one of those Drafthouse locations be sure to check out Baymageddon this Sunday!