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Quality Films of Quality

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Like many Criterion fans, I have long wondered how the hell Michael Bay movies got in the collection early on. I mean, I actually like The Rock for what it is, but c’mon. This Times article on Criterion investigated this and it’s amazing–they contact Bay and he has no idea Criterion exists!

In September, when I called Michael Bay at his home in Miami, he seemed blissfully unaware that many cinephiles don’t think his films belong in the collection. He was also unaware of Criterion’s continued existence, but told me quite earnestly how “cool” it was that they were still around. His enthusiasm for its LaserDiscs was palpable as he described washing cars for the cash to buy them, just as he did to afford the best stereo equipment. “I just remember it being the pinnacle,” Bay said of the brand. Bay also gamely entertained my questions about the most infamous feature of Criterion’s commentary track for “Armageddon,” in which the movie’s star, Ben Affleck, mentions an on-set spat with Bay over the plot: Why, Affleck wondered, would it be easier to prepare oil-rig workers for outer-space travel than to train NASA astronauts how to drill into and then destroy an asteroid on a collision course with earth? “I told him to shut the [expletive] up,” Bay said. “Ben has a wry personality, so you just have to come back at him with that same type of personality.”

I have no words. Except to question Bay’s understanding of what “wry” means.

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