I am a James Bond freak…ever since I remember I've been watching Bond movies. My very first memory of seeing a Bond movie on the big screen was a double feature Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. Since then I was hooked. In fact I used to have an annual James Bond Marathon in my high school years.
Started on Friday night and went to Sunday. Had a bunch of friends over and we watched every single Bond movie in order of appearances. Back then, of course, we only had to make it through 13 to 14 (depending if you count the original Casino Royale with David Niven and Peter Sellers).
Like Bond, James Bond, I do have very definitive tastes. Here are my favs:
The Best Bond:
Sean Connery hands down…gritty yet charming under fire. Not afraid to get mussed up and still can look good in a tux.
Roger Moore seemed like he was nervous about getting his shirt wrinkled. Pierce Brosnan I had the same issue with.
As for Timothy Dalton…a bit low on charm and high on cynicism.
I do love the reboot with Daniel Craig…not quite smooth…less of a vodka martini and more of a single barrel bourbon…yet but an excellent reinterpretation.
Best Bond Movie:
For me nothing beats Goldfinger.
A great story, a henchman with a hat that decapitates, a cool car, but most of all it has a nice pace and really sets the tone what a Bond movie should be.
Best Bond Henchman:
My favorite henchman…Baron Samedi…from Live and Let Die. The voodoo dude with skeletal make-up (go figure he would be my choice). You may remember the actor Geoffrey Holder from the 7up comercials… "Never had it, never will"
Best Major Villain:
It could be because of my affinity for vampires, but Christopher Lee, as Scaramanga in the Man with the Golden Gun is pretty impressive.
Bond Meets Dracula. Actually the reason I like this guy is because it seems like Bond is pretty evenly matched…and a duel in a fun house…loved that part.
This goes…by far…hands down…to the Aston Martin DB5. It's got machine guns, oil slick buttons, and an ejector seat. Everything a secret agent needs. By the way Skyfall has a nice homage to this vehicle.
Best Femme Fatale.
This goes to Fiona Volpe in Thunderball…villainous yet beautiful agent of SPECTRE.
My dear girl, don't flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for King and country. You don't think it gave me any pleasure, do you?
But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, who only has to make love to a women and she stars to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, then immediately returns to the side of right and virtue. But not this one. What a blow it must have been, you having a failure.
Well, you can't win them all..
Best "Bond Girl"
I'd have to give this to the beautiful Jane Seymore as Solitaire, the Tarot reading psychic in Live and Let Die.
Is it a coincidence that my lovely wife Andrea also has an interest in this method of divination? By the way…Andrea has the exact outfit…she usually wears it when we are going out for a casual dinner.
Best Bond Drink
…duh…my favorite as well. Vodka martini….shaken not stirred.
Best Opening Music
this is tough because I think the best guest artist Bond Song goes to Paul McCartney and Wings for Live and Let Die (certainly the most memorable of all the songs) but accompanying video is less interesting….though that could be because it's bit dated and the music video era hadn't kicked in yet.
So for visuals it is a tie between GoldenEye with Tina Turner (very nice post Soviet imagery) and Casino Royale with Cris Cornell (a sort of a MadMen meets player card imagery)
A runner up from a not quite a true Bond category is Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass doing this jazzu little number from the comedy Bond, Casino Royale.
After seeing SkyFall the other day, Andrea and I have been on a James Bond kick. Our on demand cable network has a special Bond channel now. Hard to resist. We just watched Live and Let Die the other night, which was fun because I have been teaching workshops in New Orleans for the last few years, and I had forgotten how much of the film takes place in the Big Easy. Nice to see some of the locations and a bit of Voodoo. Here's the assasination scene from the film on the corner of Chartres and Dumaine. Apparently not a good place to watch a funeral march.
Here it is then
and here it is now
Wandering the cemeteries in NOLA I half expected the Baron Samedi character to pop up and give what I consider to be the best laugh EVER.
So if you're looking for something to do during the winter months…perhaps you need Bond, James Bond.
PS is you're interested in hangin' out with me in NOLA this February. I'll be on the corner of Chartres and Dumaine watching the Dixieland Bands go by.