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Bumblebee peeing on John Turturro propelled Lindsay Ellis to film criticism greatness [Fandom Files #39]

Contributed by
Jul 16, 2018

If you take a deep dive into film critic Lindsay Ellis' well-crafted, insightful video essays on her YouTube channel, one image will appear over and over again until it's seared into your brain forever, whether you like it or not.

No matter what the video is about, there's at least a decent chance that it will feature a clip from Transformers in which the Autobot Bumblebee urinates all over the Emmy-winning actor John Turturro.

"The image of Bumblebee peeing on John Turturro was a formative moment in my life, and while I kind of joke about that, it's kind of true," Ellis says in a new episode of The Fandom Files. At the very least, the scene was the spark that led her to where she is today, with a massive YouTube following, a passionate Patreon subscriber base, and her first video network sponsorship. It wasn't a direct route, obviously, but yeah, the Turturro scene really was formative.

Ellis had grown up a big fan of the Transformers franchise, and when Michael Bay's first movie adaptation came out in theaters, she was there opening night with her roommate. "It was just such a bizarre movie that my brain cut out the weird parts and I remembered it like a basic action movie," Ellis explained. "A couple days later, my roommate was like, 'I can't believe that robot peed on John Turturro.' And I was like, what? And she was like, yeah, the robot peed on beloved character actor John Turturro. I was like, that didn't happen. I have to go see it again and again and again."

Her fixation with Bay's Transformers grew and grew over the years as the director continued to pump out blockbuster sequels with increasingly nonsensical plots. And after Ellis branched out from being a voice on an existing YouTube network to starting her own film criticism channel, she decided to use the franchise, in all its skull-numbing glory, to explain oft-inaccessible aspects of filmmaking and criticism. Her series The Whole Plate is a calling card for her work, which, fear not, features videos on many other films.

Ellis has also become known for her video apology to Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and a series called Loose Canon, which focuses on different iterations of popular characters over the years. On a more minor — though no less important — note, she also wants to call out Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson for never seeing Phantom of the Opera: Love Never Dies.

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