Is Michael Bay the king of rah-rah American films?
It's fitting that "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is this year's blockbuster for July 4 weekend, because there's no more American director than Michael Bay.
The master of propagandistic, big-budget fireworks and his gleefully commercial toy-franchise-inspired action series are the perfect complement to a weekend spent devouring hot dogs, lounging poolside and contemplating everything that makes America great.
With the film opening Tuesday at 9 p.m. amNewYork takes a look at a few reasons why Bay and the U.S.A. belong together.
Bay hearts the military
Bay doesn't just love the military. He LOVES it. The 47-year-old's movies invariably involve lots of manly posturing, frenzied combat and dashing figures such as Josh Duhamel's Maj. William Lennox in "Transformers." The previous "Transformers" movies reportedly used more military assets than any other Hollywood productions in history.
Bay is also heavily into massive explosions, the sort of over-the-top pyrotechnics that'd make any good fireworks-loving patriotic American grin. Don't believe us? Check out his Verizon commercial from a couple years back on YouTube, in which the "Pearl Harbor" director tells us he "demands things to be awesome" and then blows stuff up.
Bay's movies celebrate the art of slow motion, indulging in shots of helicopters framed against setting suns or beautiful women running away from the aforementioned explosions. They're giant celebrations of commercialism, ads masquerading as cinema - and if there's one thing Americans do well, it's advertise.
The oil-drillers recruited for a dangerous interstellar mission in "Armageddon," the gun-toting nerd played by Nicolas Cage in "The Rock," and Shia LaBeouf's spunky Sam Witwicky of "Transformers" have one thing in common: They're decent, ordinary American citizens driven to extraordinary lengths when the chance to save the world presents itself. American exceptionalism - It's Bay's thing.