Secret agent man.

I don’t think Alan was happy with my choice, but I picked “Casino Royale” for Saturday’s On Demand movie night. Bond movies should be the ultimate date movie, don’t you think? Men can swoon over beautiful, doomed Vulva Fantastique, or whatever ridiculous moniker they’ve given this year’s pulchritudinous cannon fodder, and women get to fantasize about Bond, James Bond. He can kick ass, make love like a champ and never minds putting on nice clothes. What’s not to like?

Well, maybe I’m getting old. But Bond is starting to bore me. And when “Casino Royale,” overwhelmingly praised as the best Bond in decades, can’t do the trick, it’s time to give it up.

Not that it wasn’t a rip-roaring entry in the Bond canon. Not that there were insufficient explosions, wussy stunts or a shortage of evil bad guys who weep blood. It’s just that, at some point, you either dig watching stuff blow up or you don’t.

I brightened a little, seeing Paul Haggis’ name on the screenwriting credit, along with two others. It suggested he may have been brought in for a rewrite and polish, and maybe he was. There were a few zingers in the script, but not enough. We know what’s going to happen: Clever opening title sequence; big wham-o chase scene; the mission from M; the briefing on the toys and gadgets; introduction of the villain, who must never be named Bob Smith or John Jones, but Francois the Vile; relocation to one or more exotic locations, preferably in warm climates for maximum bikini utilization; a few more wham-o action sequences; an early love scene in which the girl must die immediately and another in which the girl must die later; more wham-o action; really big wham-o action; finale in which Bond has rolled into the arms of yet another babe, and roll credits.

It’s the same formula followed by he-man pulp fiction of the time (Travis McGee, etc.). I think the reason so many people still think of Sean Connery as the best of the Bonds is because he had the advantage of being first. I was just a kid when “Goldfinger” came out, but it had a cultural impact not unlike that of the Star Wars movies. Oddjob the villain, the bowler that was really an instrument of decapitation, the Aston Martin that sprayed oil out the tailpipes to foil pursuers — kids at school talked about these endlessly, although none of us had seen it, being too young for the spicy scenes of Connery kissing Honor Blackman, the first Bond girl, the fabulously named Pussy Galore.

True fact: The Columbus Dispatch, in its review of and stories about “Goldfinger,” never used her character’s full name, calling her “Miss Galore” on all references. Other true fact: Honor Blackman was 38 when “Goldfinger” was released, three years older than her co-star. She turns 80 this year and has been working pretty much non-stop for 60 years. Mercy.

Anyway, “Goldfinger” was huge. “Secret Agent Man” was a hit for Johnny Rivers, and for a while there, it seemed everyone wanted to be in bed with James Bond, one way or another.

I don’t want to quibble. It was an enjoyable enough movie, with all the traditions honored — gadgetry, lots of product placement. (Thanks for the Astons, Ford Motor Co. Good of you to provide laptops, Sony.) Bond is a man of his time, too, whatever that is, and so the plot turned on such pivots as cell-phone technology, and there was a big, juicy parkour wham-o, and the climactic poker game in the Casino Royale was — Jesus wept — Texas Hold’em. I haven’t seen all of the Bond films, or even most, but this may be the last for me, even with Daniel Craig’s pretty blue eyes and fabulous profile. They’re going to have to work hard for my next $3.99, and more wham-os aren’t going to do it.

Only one bit o’ bloggage today, thanks to Basset, who passes along…23 pairs of perfect breasts. Probably not safe for work, unless you sit with your back to a wall.

Posted at 1:00 am in Movies |

20 responses to “Secret agent man.”

  1. MarkH said on April 23, 2007 at 3:54 am

    I’ll agree that Connery’s big advantage was he was the first Bond. But what if they hadn’t done the films so well, or he had not been so good in the part? It is well-known, by the way, that Connery was not Fleming’s preferred choice for the role, that he liked Roger Moore of the choices presented. But he was already the Saint. The real urban legend is that Fleming’s ideal James Bond was…Hoagy Carmichael (???!)

    Honor Blackman, “the first Bond girl”? When Ursula Andress and Daniela Bianchi had already preceeded her in Dr. No and From Russia With Love, respectively? I can see where some would think it, though, with that outrageous character name and the blockbuster nature of the film itself really putting Bond (and Connery) on the map.

    My favorite is From Russia With Love. A terrific plot line, Bond on a real mission of retrieval using his wits more than the minimalist gadgets. And, one of the best movie fight scenes with Connery and a positively lethal Robert Shaw having to confine it to an Orient Express train compartment. To me, arguably the best of the Moore films was For Your Eyes Only, a one shot return to the original Bond minimalism (as Leonard Maltin described it). The sheer wall climb he did in that one gave this acrophobic the same heebie-jeebies as the great parkour scene in Royale. Royale was a fine Bond film in it’s own right, for me, with Craig bringing freshness to the role and taking as fine a screen torture as anyone, I guess. If you’ve seen it, you know which scene I’m talking about.

    But, you’re right, Nancy. One keeps up with the series anymore just to see what they come up with next to milk the franchise.

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  2. nancy said on April 23, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Mark, I bow to your obviously comprehensive knowledge. I thought “Goldfinger” was the first of the Connery Bonds, but you’re right.

    Or, as we say in our house: “You were right. And, far more important, I was wrong.”

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  3. Dorothy said on April 23, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Well this is one 49 year old woman who swooned and swooned when she saw Daniel Craig as Bond on screen last year, and I bought the DVD too. I found it hard to believe that so many people were denouncing Mr. Craig before even seeing the movie! The movie was not as thrilling as some other Bond movies, but generally speaking I liked it tremendously.

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  4. Joe Kobiela said on April 23, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Your eyes only was my favorite also, Topal was fantastic and one of my all time favorite actress Lynn Holly Johnson, The only movie she was better in was Ice Castles with Robbie Benson. Blind skater she trips over the flowers in the end, Her and Robbie forgot the fans threw flowers. Totally Bad Cinama.

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  5. Peter said on April 23, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Mad props to Mark H. My 11 year old can’t get enough of “From Russia With Love”. Speaking of Honor Blackman still working after all these years, Russia had Lotte Lenya trying to stab James with the switchblade shoe. And the understreet river/sewage scenes – almost as good as The Third Man.

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  6. LA mary said on April 23, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    That’s a lot of tits, Basset. What brought you to that website?

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  7. nancy said on April 23, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I wonder if there isn’t a “This Day in Tits” roundup somewhere out there, a TitBlog of sorts, to track that kind of thing — the sports-bra motion simulator, celebrity nipple slips, etc. I know a lot of guys would bookmark it.

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  8. brian stouder said on April 23, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Speaking as an apprentice fellow-DOM, that question strikes me as akin to asking what brings a duck to water, or a pig to mud!

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  9. John said on April 23, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Just an observation: I had previously viewed the aforementioned Tits on Parade, following a link from College Humor (a time consuming website that I first heard about from These (at Jane’s) are indeed fine representatives of the topic, although I for one (DOM and an equal opportunity ogler), appreciate those closer to my age (51).

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  10. Marcia said on April 23, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I have never seen a James Bond movie. Never.

    I have a subscription to Jane mag, so I didn’t have to click the link. The subscription was bundled with another magazine, probably Elle or Glamour; I get everything.

    It wasn’t The New Yorker; this I know.

    Anyway, it takes me approximately two seconds to flip through Jane, find absolutely nothing in it relevant to my life, and put it into the recycling.

    My blog is down, if anyone cares. Someone has taken over my URL. This happened to me once before. Blogger was able to fix it that time. Hopefully they will again, but regardless, I’m moving to WordPress as soon as I get time to do so.

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  11. Marcia said on April 23, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    P.S. I am going to hear the fabulous Ms. Lippman read tonight. Yay me.

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  12. nancy said on April 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    That’s right, she’s at the Thurber House tonight. Yay you.

    Say hi for me.

    And I noticed your blog had been hijacked, but I thought it was maybe by your kid, since it’s now called “My Mom’s Blog,” or something.

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  13. Marcia said on April 23, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Nope. No kid of mine.

    My new blog will be here:

    Ants Marching

    All that’s there right now is one lame post. I am hoping Blogger can fix the old blog, and then I can import it intact.

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  14. Dorothy said on April 23, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Mary you took the question right out of my mouth. I was wondering the same thing! And John I did notice that all of the girls/ladies showing their breasts were under the age of 30. Not a fair representation!

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  15. Danny said on April 23, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Regarding Parcour, here was my post from a while back:

    And with this post, I’m back. The Carribean was marginal, but probably a bit better than the alternative of dicussing last week’s news cycle. I don’t plan to return nor to cruise on Royal Carribean again. When I’m more caught up at work, I may fill youz guyz in on details if you are interested.

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  16. basset said on April 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    It was a link from Reddit. I’m not a regular “Jane” reader myself.

    nothing against what a female co-worker used to call “bodacious ta-tas,” though.

    and with a 17-year-old boy in the house, I have yet to look past the first set.

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  17. harry near indy said on April 24, 2007 at 6:21 am

    nancy and basset,

    as bob hope would say, if he was still alive, thanks for the mammaries.

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  18. Marcia said on April 24, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Danny, sorry your trip wasn’t so good.

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  19. cce said on April 24, 2007 at 7:58 am

    I’m really appreciating today’s tit parade.The only other female mammory glands that I see on a regular basis are those of supermodels and surgically altered celebrities. I was really starting to feel abnormal. It’s funny how even I, an educated, liberal thirty-something with strong anti-cosmetic surgery sentiments, have begun to prefer the look of the falsies. Cosmetic nation is altering my brain.

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  20. Ricardo said on April 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    I read all of the James Bond books when I was a teenager. I’ve seen quite a few of the movies, mostly the older ones. I’m sorry, Daniel Craig looks just like how I imagined a Russian spy from a Bond book would look. I don’t want to see Craig as Bond.

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