Ku Klux Klan members get a shellacking in this 2003 cinematic masterpiece by Michael Bay. I say with the utmost absolute sincerity possible that I am confident, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no other human being on planet earth has informed my own value system and moral foundation as much as has Michael Bay. Growing up in the nineties, Bay was everywhere. And ever since, to this day, he continues to be a constant fixture in my thought space, a cornerstone of my belief system and personal identity.
I missed the first Bad Boys (1995) and The Rock (1996) but every single Bay film since, starting with Armageddon in 1998, I’ve been there on opening weekend at the theater. I dragged my entire family to see Pearl Harbor in 2001, and was there for Bad Boys II in 2003. Yes, I even saw The Island (2005). In college, that summer I was staying in midtown New York with my buddies all working Wall Street internships; that’s right– we all went to Transformers (2007). I personally went twice.
When you watch a Michael Bay film, especially those early ones when Bruckheimer was still keeping him reined in, those movies represented everything I genuinely believed being a man meant. The difference between right and wrong. The humor and masculinity, the dedication and camaraderie, the spirit of sacrifice. Good lord, the sheer American patriotism. I dare you to find another film director who is as virtuosic as Bay is at putting on the big screen what it means to be an American. Oh, right. You can’t. That director doesn’t exist.
In today’s entry, I tip my hat to Michael Bay. Mr. Michael Benjamin Bay, I salute you. Everything I am today, my very moral and ethical foundations, I owe to you. Thank you.