Michael Bay’s final installment in his Transformers series has earned a respectable $—— this Fourth of July weekend, almost coming full circle in closing, yet as always has drawn in mixed reviews from casual moviegoers and horrendous reviews from critics. The film is still pure Bay, and for many, that is either a good thing or a bad thing.

The problem is status. That is, when considering a film, a critic has to maintain a reputation as a respectable and intelligent critic, lest the critic’s readers and peers ridicule them. This, unfortunately, does not account for taste. This flaw in the system creates the ever-expanding chasm between audience and critic, because majority opinion creates consensus, and that wipes away opposite views instantaneously. This is how we have films which are widely accepted by fans and even casual moviegoers, yet bashed and ground out by critics forced into groupthink because of their careers to tend to. This is also how we have Hollywood attack trends on specific celebrities and filmmakers.

This leads to the point. Many believe Michael Bay to be an incompetent director with essentially raucous films drained of character, often with forced comedy. His faults (and only his faults) have been laid out on the table so fiercely that is has become common practice to judge his films, and label them low brow so that we can feel superior. But the fact is, the director keyed into what has now become ubiquitous use of action-editing all the way back in 1995 with his debut Bad Boys.

Our culture has become exhausted of real-life hardships, and so we beg for escapist film. Whether we like it or not, the majority of society is suffering financially, and we typically don’t care much to spend upwards of $20 to watch a tragedy, or even a drama about suffering people. We want to escape; regardless of how superior we’d like to feel. The fact of the matter is, we all want popcorn entertainment, we all need popcorn entertainment, and all of that is why Transformers: Dark of the Moon is number one this weekend.

Bad Teacher has proved itself true to its genre, performing better than even I had anticipated. The fortunate thing for the film is that its audience was established before it even got released. Larry Crowne and Monte Carlo both under-performed as expected, satisfying absolutely nobody. Actors’ and actresses’ names don’t mean anything anymore as a reason to see a film. Our movie-going culture is primarily constructed from younger audiences—meaning teenager to early twenties as a frame. This means, it’d best be an entertaining film, not just a billboard with familiar names on it.

Zookeeper opens this week. Poor Kevin James. We’re proud he’s lost weight and gotten in shape, but my goodness—will anyone hand him a decent script? He’s a relatively funny actor, as far as I’m concerned! How awful Paul Blart: Mall Cop was. It made profit, but ultimately it may very well be a secret device of torture made for the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange. At least Horrible Bosses seems a bit interesting, so it will take first because films just don’t have any staying power anymore unless they’re animated—only children have the will to see films twice these days.

USA Weekend Box Office Summary

July 1 – 3, 2011

Rank Title Weekend Gross Total Gross Week #
1 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $97,400,000 $162,125,000 1
2 Cars 2 $25,112,000 $116,043,000 2
3 Bad Teacher $14,100,000 $59,546,000 2
4 Larry Crowne $13,007,000 $13,007,000 1
5 Monte Carlo $7,600,000 $7,600,000 1
6 Super 8 $7,500,000 $108,036,000 4
7 Green Lantern $6,270,000 $101,962,000 3
8 Mr. Popper’s Penguins $5,100,000 $50,125,000 3
9 Bridesmaids $3,521,000 $152,895,000 8
10 Midnight in Paris $3,438,000 $33,638,000 7