This week on the greatest podcast about bad movies, Sam decides to punish us for 2 1/2 hours with both Michael Bay and Bruce Willis' first appearance on the show. It's the "classic" teenage-girl loving mega-hit, Armageddon, in which a rock gets sploded by oil drillers. Prepare for some bad science!
Armageddon on your nerves yet? If not give me another 2 and a half hours.
That’s right, despite the cumbersome length, it is finally time for Michael Bay to please step forward. This will also be Jerry Bruckhiemer’s first time on the show, somehow, he will definitely be back as my next pick is Con Air. I am sure he will be back after that as well, his filmography reads like a movie critics rogues gallery. The third member of the superstar filmmaking team is Gale Anne Hurd. Though more respected in critical circles, Gale is now a Stinker Madness 3 timer as she also produced Dante’s Peak and Punisher War Zone. The Screenplay, as you can imagine, was tackled by as many as nine individuals at various times but it would appear that Hurd’s husband and scribe of many stinkers, Jonathan Hensleigh was on the frontend and Tony Gilroy and JJ Abrams got in on the action.
Michael Bay openly cites this film as his worst. He claims that he would have completely redone the third act if there was more time, which there was not. He did not breach his shooting schedule of 16 weeks but did shoot one million feet of film on the project. This would have two results:
With the amazing success of Top Gun financially and as a Navy Recruitment tool, Bruckhiemer was able to get the cast and crew into actual NASA facilities for filming. Later NASA would use the film as a testing tool for new entries. New employees of the agency are shown the film with a provided pen and paper and asked to list the scientific inaccuracies, at least 168 have been found.
During filming Ben Affleck asked Bay if it wouldn’t be easier to teach astronauts how to drill rather than train drillers as astronauts, Bay’s reply was to shut up.
Among his cat herding techniques, Bay picked Willis as the obvious diva of the group and had the cast list their demands on what would turn out to be the back of Willis’ copy of the script. It didn’t seem to work as reportedly Willis would then demand a second trailer with a gym in it and not use it once.
Not to be out done, Billy Bob Thornton showed up with a whole back story that he came up with for his character. Bay wouldn’t even try to stop it and some of the footage that resulted from Thornton commandeering an auxiliary unit will appear in the film.
The final of note shenanigans that occurred once filming started would involve Steve Buscemi. Buscemi was very excited about the film for two reasons. Firstly he would get to buy a bigger house, secondly it was a rare role where he wasn’t playing the sleazy character. Though he would get the house, someone in the creative team decided that they needed to write in some sleazy shit for Buscemi. You got the house Steve, it’s okay, you got the house.
I am not going to go through the extensive cast or ever present Aerosmith. Also it should be noted that the film would go on to be the biggest earner of 1998 with a $200 million domestic and $550 million worldwide return against a $140 million budget.