With May comes the favorite season of any film geek: summer blockbuster season.
These are the movies that bring the bone-crushing, eyeball-pleasing action while throwing art film sensibilities right out the window. The programmers behind Tough Guy Cinema at the Alamo Drafthouse are stoked for the return of summer action flicks, in particular a film from one of the masters of cinematic adrenaline, Michael Bay. Pain & Gain, the newest film from Bay, opens on April 26 across the nation, and these guys want to pay tribute to this maestro of movie mayhem in true Drafthouse fashion.
Baymageddon is coming to the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Sunday, April 21, and with it comes a dream lineup of Tough Guy Cinema's three favorite Michael Bay films. The titles are still under wrap, although the Alamo Drafthouse released a few images to tease their selections, with a guarantee that viewers will get to see the Fresh Prince on the big screen.
The big screen chaos culminates in a free sneak preview of Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. The straight 10 hours of Baymageddon is also broken up with unique on-stage games, prizes, giveaways and a few surprises that the programmers are being tight-lipped about. There’s even a special menu for the day packed to the brim with plenty of protein.
Now a lot of self-described “film buffs” or “cinephiles” might take issue with Michael Bay receiving the special treatment at the Alamo Drafthouse. His films are often the subject of ridicule and disdain, but Alamo Drafthouse programmer Greg MacLennan thinks that Bay is worthy of the spotlight.
“I think people like to criticize Michael Bay because he's an easy target and it seems like the cool thing to do,” says MacLennan. “The truth is you never hear people picking on any other blockbuster filmmaker and that's because Bay's movies have resonance. Blockbusters come and go, but everyone seems to remember a Michael Bay movie.”
MacLennan lauds Bays “unique style” and “approach to filmmaking” as worthy of a place in cinematic history and at least a second chance from vocal critics.
“I could wax poetic about his camera work or color palettes but at the core of it all, Michael Bay understands an audience and makes movies for moviegoers to escape to and have fun with. He creates spectacle like we've never seen and he just understands movies and has fun with them, unapologetically.”
The Alamo Drafthouse believes in the power of Bay’s unapologetic fun so much, they’re even bringing Baymageddon to Drafthouses outside of Austin, including Houston, Kansas City and Denver. It's another sign that Alamo Drafthouse's rapid cross-country expansion isn’t just about novel theaters, but about the company's special brand of programming and events.
When asked if Baymageddon provides other cities with an example of the Drafthouse spirit, MacLennan replies, “I think this event is indicative of what the Alamo Drafthouse offers. The film programmers here all have different tastes in movies but the one through line between us all is passion. We all really believe in what we are doing and really care about the programming and I hope that sincerity shines through in what we do.”
More cities around the country will get to experience those events that were once exclusive to Austin, but as MacLennan points out, “there will always be things that we can only do and will only do for Austin.”