Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What a disaster...

Ok, so the other night I reluctantly finished 2012, one of the worst disaster films ever released in my opinion, and it got me thinking.  When we think of disaster films, what names come to mind?  For me, there are three and yet when looking at their filmography I question why the third popped up at all.  I instantly think of Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich and Joel Schumacher.  In looking over Schumacher’s filmography though, I see more disasters than actual disaster films.  In fact, I don’t see any disaster films, so the fact that his name is often linked or associated or mentioned alongside the other two is telling to his talent.
Yeah, he’s certainly tried more than the other two, but then again maybe that only accentuates his failures.
So, I don’t know why but I thought about criticizing their careers for a minute.  These guys make a lot of money for Hollywood, and their names pop up quite often on trashy posters all over the place sucking in the masses like plague to an Indian Village (yes, my wife watches too much Dr. Quinn).  Still, what do their filmographies say about their careers?  Now, thankfully, I haven’t seen everything these guys have produced, but I have sadly seen quite a bit.  In fact, combined I’ve seen 26 of their films.  I’m not even sure how to begin dissecting these directors, or quite frankly if I even want to, and then I thought…why not make this all about Oscars and awards and personal awards and…

This should be fun; right?
We’ll start with Oscar notices.  How many times have these three ‘directors’ found Oscar attention?
Michael Bay’s The Rock started off his Oscar traction by netting a nomination in Sound back in 1996.  Armageddon followed in 1998 with four nominations; Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Original Song and Sound.  Pearl Harbor also got four nominations (Sound, Effects, Sound Editing and Original Song) and actually won the Sound Editing Oscar.  Then you have the Transformers Trilogy, which garnered seven nominations in total, with no wins (although the Visual Effects loss in 07 was quite shocking). 
So, that’s six films, sixteen nominations and one win.
Emmerich directed Independence Day to two Oscar nominations (for Sound and Special Effects) and it actually won the Effects Oscar.  That was in 1996.  His next brush with Oscar was in 2000 when he directed The Patriot and nabbed three nominations for his film; Sound, Score and Cinematography.  Lastly, his latest effort, Anonymous, raked in a Costume Design nomination at last year’s ceremony. 
So, that’s three films, six Oscar nominations and one win. 
Schumacher started his Oscar run with Flatliners in 1990, which nabbed a nomination for Effects Editing.  Then, in 1994, Schumacher became the only director in this group to have his film nominated in a major category.  Susan Sarandon was nominated for Best Lead Actress for her work in The Client.  It is lesser Sarandon, and this was a WEAK field, but still, that’s quite the accomplishment for a director like Schumacher.  Next, Schumacher took over and gradually killed the Batman Franchise, but managed to snag three nominations for Batman Forever (Cinematography, Effects Editing and Sound).  His last brush with Oscar was in 2004 when he directed The Phantom of the Opera, which largely underperformed (it was assumed at year’s beginning to be an Oscar juggernaut) and walked away with three nominations for Art Direction, Cinematography and Original Song. 
So that’s four films, eight nominations and zero wins.
Please note that NONE of these Oscar nominations went to these directors themselves, but merely to the films they directed.  They have all been nominated for Razzies, but never Oscars.
So, I guess Michael Bay would win this war. 
But does Oscar really matter?  It’s all so subjective anyways.  Of the three, Schumacher has certainly stretched himself more than the other two will every dream of.  That isn’t to say that he has really succeeded much (he has a few times, but he’s not consistent at all) but at least he tries.  Emmerich tries more than Bay, but he also desperately wants to get out of Michael Bay’s shadow, which is really hard to do when Bay is pretty much considered the King of Action Films.  So that brings me to Personal Ballots.  Who gets their films noticed the most with the Fistis?  That’s difficult to ascertain, considering that most years outside of the aughts are not complete yet. 
But I’ll give this a shot.
Bad Boys (Sound / Original Song)
The Rock (Film Editing / Sound / Special Effects)
Armageddon (Special Effects* / Sound* / Original Song)
Pearl Harbor (Visual Effects / Sound)
Bad Boys II (Sound)
Transformers (Visual Effects*)
That is twelve nominations from six films with three wins.  All of this, especially those pre-2000, are tentative and subject to change, but off the top of my head this looks about right.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman (Special Effects)
Flatliners (Art Direction)               
The Client (Adapted Screenplay)
Batman Forever (Art Direction / Costume Design / Special Effects / Original Song / Makeup)
A Time to Kill (Supporting Actor-Samuel L. Jackson)
The Phantom of the Opera (Art Direction)
That’s six films, ten nominations and zero wins.
Stargate (Special Effects, Costume Design)
Independence Day (Special Effects*, Sound)
Godzilla (Special Effects, Sound, Original Song)
The Patriot (Score)
The Day After Tomorrow (Visual Effects)
That’s nine nominations from five films with one win.
I guess that means Michael Bay wins this one too.  Eh, I have a hard time saying that he’s the best here, but then again maybe he is.  He is probably the most consistent and then again, he’s had some awful lows (especially the last Transformer’s film).  I think that Schumacher is probably the King of mediocre straining, because he tries so hard to produce Oscar fare and yet winds up falling short every time.  I mean, I know that on paper films like A Time to Kill and Flawless seemed like shoe ins, and I will always forgive him his transgressions for delivering Tigerland to us all (possibly the best film out of all mentioned in this group and yet it couldn’t get a Fisti nomination in 2000), but really, he just can’t mold his films enough to give us something special.  Emmerich is kind of a joke.  I mean, he wants to be better than Michael Bay and yet all he does is recycle Bay’s visuals with the cheap illusion of grandeur. 
LOL, I spent all morning working this up (between work) and I’m wondering what the point was.  I mean, why are we discussing these guys when Luc Besson obviously OWNS this genre.


  1. Great write-up! Haha, I love Luc Besson. He makes great guilty pleasure films. I'm kinda excited for Taken 2.

    I've no idea who'd win with my awards, but I do love The Patriot. It's probably the best film from all of these directors combined.

    1. Really? It was good, but...meh...I think Tigerland is probably the best in the bunch, and yet 2000 was so strong a year it doesn't sneak in anywhere.

      Besson will win forever just because The Fifth Element is like the best sci-fi disaster type film ever.

    2. Still haven't seen Tigerland, but it's on my watchlist.