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What Is Michael Bay's Best and Worst Movie?

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Jun 27, 2014 | 2:02pm EDT

Michael BayGetty Images

You might hate Michael Bay. You might hate his movies. You might hate every movie he's ever made. But in that very fact is there a paradox: in order to hate every movie Michael Bay has made, you have to have seen every movie Michael Bay has made. And you have, or at least most of them. His films' box office numbers and the unparalleled population density of their critic screenings are proof enough of that. As much as we all lament the life's work of the Los Angeles-born director (including his latest feature, Transformers: Age of Extinction) there is something about his films that draws us back repeatedly. With this in mind, we have to assume that some of them might not actually be as bad as we're inclined to let on.

Sure, some of Bay's films are obscenely empty-headed marathons of metallic friction, but among the lot are a few examples of relatively decent blockbuster production. We're not quite sure which is Bay's best (or, if you prefer, least offensive) movie, but we have some candidates. And of course, we're also up for considering his worst piece of work yet, too. Because that's more fun.

WHICH IS MICHAEL BAY'S BEST MOVIE? 

Could it be...

...The Rock?

The RockBuena Vista Pictures via Everett Collection

Just the second film Bay ever made, the '96 picture is a pretty sturdy action epic. Performances from Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery don't hurt The Rock's cause one bit. Nor does the climactic Elton John-inspired wordplay.

...Pain & Gain?

Pain and GainParamount Pictures via Everett Collection

The only non-Transformers film that Bay has made since picking up the franchise in 2007 is actually a pretty sharp, funny satire about the very ideas that his filmography propagates.

...Armageddon?

ArmageddonTouchstone Pictures

I know, I know... but... eh, I don't know. It's decidedly cheesy, but hits a few marks in fun and excitement.

WHICH IS MICHAEL BAY'S WORST MOVIE?

Could it be...

...Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?

Transformers Revenge of the FallenParamount Pictures via Everett Collection

Wholly disillusioning in its nihilistic adherence to spiritually vacant destruction, this is almost certainly the worst of the Transformers flicks and perhaps Bay's most agonizing feature to date.

...Pearl Harbor?

Pearl HarborTouchstone Pictures via Everett Collection

Why did this happen?

...Bad Boys II?

Bad Boys 2Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection

I gather that most would deem it egregious hyperbole to denote Bad Boys II the very worst movie Bay has made, but I defy you to sit through this unbelievably overlong tribute to grit and machismo without wincing in agony at every half-hour mark.

Let us know what you think: are you a defender of Dark of the Moon? Do you detest The Island? Sound off below! And catch Transformers: Age of Extinction in theaters now. You know you're going to. We all are.

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