After dedicating last week’s episode to a film barely anybody has seen, this week we decided to go big – and movies of the 90s don’t come much bigger than Armageddon.
Like most Michael Bay movies, Armageddon was not exactly a critical fave on release in 1998 – although it did receive four Oscar nominations for Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects and – inevitably – best song for that inescapable Aerosmith chart-topper.
The public ate it up though, to the tune of over $500 million at the global box office, outgrossing the other big apocalypse movie of the year, Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact, by over $150 million worldwide – creating a blueprint for brainless blockbusters that Bay would make his trademark over the subsequent years.
There’s a lot wrong with the film, and we certainly don’t hold back on this episode. As the ostensible leads of the movie, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler’s bland romance barely registers, while Bruce Willis’ tax-hating, Greenpeace-baiting oil tycoon was a bizarrely hateful hero figure in 1998 and only comes off worse in a post-Trump era. The film is also overly long, completely nonsensical and at times jarringly offensive.
That said, as easy as it is to Bay-bash, the movie is also not without some guilty charms. A supporting cast of quirky character actors – including Steve Buscemi, Michael Clark Duncan and Peter Stormare – chew scenery with abandon, and if you turn off the part of your brain that questions why anything is actually happening, a few of the action set-pieces are undeniably impressive.
On this week’s podcast, we break it all down and highlight some of the best and worst moments of the movie. We also brainstorm an extensive round of drinking games – trust us, you’ll need it – check in with our listeners, and pitch some sequel ideas to this surprisingly one-and-done movie. Guess Bay’s been too busy with Transformer movies to figure out a way to cash in on this one again, but his loss could be our gain…
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Next week, we’ll be going with another 90s classic from a very different style and genre. Until then, happy listening and remember – in Space… you can pretty much do whatever you like if it’s a Michael Bay movie!