James Bond Review Part 5: You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice AKA James Bond vs The Roald Dahl Script

1) The Cold Opening: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the USS Sitting Duck. Its mission: to be sucked up into a large, penis shaped rocket in an attempt to spark world war 3. Cut to a seedy motel room in China. Bond is lying in the bed with a Chinese intelligence agent, wearing nothing but the sweater God gave him. After asking her why Chinese girls taste different, she flips the Murphy bed into the wall, calls in a firing squad and, much like in From Russia With Love, we have one dead James Bond on our hands. Unlike From Russia with Love, however, the title of this movie cues the audiences in that this is a clever ruse and for not insulting my intelligence, I’m doling out 5 full martinis.

Bond Girl

“It’s our diet, Mr. Bond. Now eat lead.”

2) Opening Credits/Bond Song: What do you get when you take Asian women, dunk them in molten lava, project multicolored lotus blossoms in the background and score it with s soft Nancy Sinatra ditty? If you said my sick, specialized sexual fetish, then you’re half right. If you said my sick sexual fetish and the opening credits to this movie, pour yourself five martinis and enjoy the ride.

opening titles 3

And you thought I was lying about the Roald Dahl thing. Can’t wait for this Tim Burton remake.

3) The Villain: Finally, after four movies of skulking in the shadows, we are introduced to the brains behind SPECTRE: Ernst Stravo Blofeld. Clad in a weird futuristic gray outfit, like he’s an Alpha from Brave New World, complete with his signature cat and unsettling prosthetic eye scar, Blofeld finally ditches using his under-trained henchman and heads up this plan for global terrorism himself. Played by the creepy Donald Pleasance (my favorite Blofeld incarnation), you would expect me to give this a full five martinis and move on. However, in the vein of fairness, I must remove two glasses from the bar for Ernie: 1 because he only shows up with twenty minutes left of the movie, leaving Bond Nearly villain less the whole time, facing off against the likes of Japanese business man, and the other because Ernie only takes the reigns after he thinks Bond has been brutally murdered, making him a yellow coward (not surprising for a guy whose rank is number one)

wonka1

“You can’t face your arch nemesis for five movies, huh? Tell me again how you’ll take over the world.”

4) The Plot: SPECTRE, in another overly elaborate plot to extort large sums of money from the world, so they can finally afford to throw that last kegger before college, have been sending up rockets into space to abduct other space crafts, in an attempt to blame it on Japan and begin world war three. Left without the ability to blend in, because of four movies of self-announcing and macho blustering, Bond is forced to fake his own death, attend his own funeral and be shot out of a submarine missile tank, like he’s Spock at the end of Wrath of Kahn, all so he can investigate these nefarious deeds without every low level henchman asking for his autograph. Rolling into Japan, Bond is introduced to one of the most knowledgeable, most powerful people in the country, an old white British guy, so he can get the political lay of the land. White Ninja is murdered mid-sentence, spurning bond to chase down his killer, switch clothes with him and ride back to his hideout unnoticed. It’s here we meet random Japanese business man. Bond investigates, pretends to be a foreign investor, takes in a sumo match, hangs around the docks, gets bathed by several subservient Japanese women, indulges in a little yellow fever, has a sham marriage, all before our villain pokes his hairless head into a frame. The end of the movie takes place in a classic super villain control center, complete with loud sirens and dying henchmen. After thwarting the villainous plan and averting world war 003, 007 cozies up to his partner on a raft, the different tasting Chinese girl from the opening, and proposes they run away together and continue their fake marriage long enough for consummation. Cue submarine disrupting the moment, roll credits. Good action, good story, good script. All in all, I’ll poor four vodka martinis, saving one because the fake marriage in real time drags a bit.

Blofeld

“Only ten minutes left to the movie; has anyone killed Bond yet?”

5) Rapey Meter: This is a tough one because Bond does get a sponge bath by a bevy of beautiful Japanese women, but it is at the behest of his Japanese counterpart who tells him “in Japanese culture men come first and women come second.”  To add to the confusion, 007 is instructed to pick one, which he does gleefully. She takes him into his room and gives him a massage, happy ending implied, and he only doesn’t love her long time because his Chinese partner from the cold opener, Aki, takes her place. So overall, let’s give three and half martinis, holding back one and half because we know, had he not been interrupted, he would have definitely marred his masseuse’s lotus flower.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE

“No need for the happy ending, ladies, I’ve already finished.”

6) Wild Card: I’m giving five martinis here because: A) Roald Dahl wrote the script, B) the titular line is used in a clever way, C) It has given me one of my favorite witticisms “You only live once. Unless you’re James Bond, then you only live twice D) we get to see 1960’s Japan and get no buck toothed caricature in yellow face to ruin the setting with racism and E) Bond drinks sake

vlcsnap-6151

“The title was wrong. I’m on my sixth life.”

7) That brings this Bond installment in at three and half martinis with a shot of warm sake on the side. Enjoy the exotic locales, attractive women and super-duper super villainy, ending on what every movie should close on: the titular line: Blofeld: “James Bond. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They told me you were assassinated in Hong Kong.” James Bond: “Yes, this is my second life.” Blofeld: “You only live twice, Mr. Bond.”

James Bond Review Part 4: Thunderball

Thunderball AKA James Bond vs Austin Powers

1) The Cold Opening: Open on a church funeral complete with priests and mourners all in black. Bond and an associate are lurking in the balcony. They follow a mourner, apparently an older woman hiding behind a black veil, to her palatial mansion. Upon entering her house, the woman is surprised by Bond, who stands up from one of her comfy red chairs, quip on lips, and sucker punches her in the face. In retaliation, the mourner throws a dagger at 007, nailing his suit sleeve to the bookcase behind him. With reflexes like a rapey rabbit, Bond yanks his arm, bringing down the heavy tomes on the old woman’s head. Once the upper hand is his, Bond rips off the black veil to reveal: that’s no old lady mourner, that’s a maaaaan, baby. After briefly fighting like a dysfunctional married couple, leaving a stream of broken dishes and furniture in their wake, Bond murders the drag-henchman, tosses flowers on his body and flies off into the sunset in an authentic, 1960’s, jet pack. All in all, this opening gets a full five vodka martinis for action, cross dressing and starting the audience right smack in the middle of a “what the fuck is going on” situation.

Thunderball Drag

“Imagine what I could do in flats.”

2) Opening Credits/Bond Song: Ok ladies, set your panties to throw, because our titular song is a slow, soulful ditty by the incorrigible sex symbol Tom Jones. Play that over a seductive shadow lady being hunted underwater by a scuba diver and you’re drowning in the multi-colored fish tank foreshadowing that is the opening credits to one of the most iconic movies in the Bond franchise. For all of this, I’m shaking and serving a full five martinis.

tomjones2

Panty Police.

3) The Villain: Largo AKA Number Two, is an older, white-haired cyclops who owns his own island. He likes Baccarat, the company of younger ladies and his pet sharks, which he keeps in his swimming pool. He’s really good at scuba diving/scuba fighting, following orders and putting spies in over-the-top, easily escapable situations. On a normal Friday night, he’s either entrenched in a terrorist plot to destroy the world’s governments or drinking on the beach. If you’re asking yourself “who does number two work for,” you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out it’s everyone’s favorite facially scarred, bald super villain: Doctor Ernst Stravo Blofeld (he didn’t spend four years in evil medical school to be called Mr.) .In honor of Largo I’m pouring four and half martinis, keeping that last swig back because his sharks don’t have laser beams on their heads. Is it too much to ask to get sharks with freakin’ laser beams?

Emilio_Largo

“Let me ask you a question, and be honest: do I make you horny, baby?”

4) The Plot: while inexplicably vacationing at a S.P.E.C.T.R.E Spa, James Bond gets suspicious of foul play after two attempts on his life. After raping a spa attendant (more on that below), 007 uncovers a plot concerning identity theft. Not the kind that ends with a tweaker using someone’s social security number to open up and max out a Best Buy card, but the type that culminates in hiring an actor to undergo full reconstructive surgery and literally take the place of his mark. Unsure of the full plan, Bond heads back to MI6, while the audience, through the magic of dramatic irony, gets the plot: the impersonator has taken the place of an ace military pilot so he can purposefully crash the experimental military plane into the ocean, allowing number two to squeeze himself into a wet suit and retrieve it. After reviewing the film’s DVD release, Bond figures out who his adversary is and, in true 007 fashion, announces himself to Largo by A) publicly beating him at cards and B) sleeping with Domino, his paramour. After a few narrow escapes from sharks and other underwater obstacles, Bond defeats Largo, retrieves the plane and lives to fuck another day, making this a five martini round.

number 2

“No, you don’t make anyone horny.”

5) Rapey Meter: Ok, I realize it was the 1960’s. I realize James Bond doesn’t take no for an answer. I even realize Sean Connery believes sometimes it’s ok to hit a woman with a rolled up newspaper, only if she’s asking for it, of course. I also acknowledge I promised to score this, using my bullshit algorithm, so it’s in a fair curve. Having said all that I’m calling this a round of zero vodka martinis, because I feel it’s important we all be sober when we face the fact that our hero, the suave, baby-faced British secret agent, James Bond, out and out rapes a woman. Don’t believe me? Think I’m letting my 2016 bleeding heart libtard viewpoint ooze in unfairly? Than you tell me what else to call this: Bond escapes his assassination attempt in camp S.P.E.C.T.R.E., corners the buxom attendant in the hallway, who apologizes for leaving him hooked up to a stretching machine, unattended (yes, they try to stretch him to death. I didn’t say it was a smart plot to kill him). He smiles and says he can think of ways she can make it up to him. She coyly smiles back and says no. He back her into a steaming hot Turkish Bath where she continues to protest. As he pushes her up against the steamy glass,  she insists she needs to get back to work, until her cloths are shed and she gives up fighting.

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“Oh, I think you’re asking for it. Where’s the New York Times?”

6) Wild Card: I’m going to give one martinis for every moment that inspired the original Austin Powers, which breaks down as follows: 1 For the eye-patch wearing Largo who gave us the comedic genius of Robert Wagner’s Number Two. 1 for the pussy petting Blofield that gave us the freshly shorn Doctor Evil. 1 for the pet sharks. 1 for the scene where Bloefeld dumps one of his own men down a trap door while talking business around a conference table (help! I’m still alive but I’m very badly burned) and finally 1 for the six-minute scene of James Bond urinating.

zardoz-1

And let’s say a hundred martinis for never having to see this in a Bond flick.

7) That brings this Bond installment in at three and half martinis, allowing us to get pleasantly buzzed without being black-out drunk enough to allow Mr. Bond to holster his Walter PPK in our Moneypenny, against our wishes. “Try to be a little less than your frivolous self, 007.” – Q

Heaven’s Gate On Trial

This month the gang puts their legal expertise to the test in deciding if Michael Cimino’s three hour and forty-minute western, Heaven’s Gate, is an artistic piece of Americana or an indulgent piece of chicanery. Joined by special key witness Ann Podracky, and visited by the ghost of Reverend Applewhite, the honorable judge John Rice must decide the fate of this movie and if it gets the vaunted Movies On Trial recommendation.

Hudson Hawk 2: The Fan Fiction Sequel

Hudson Hawk Fan Fiction

 

The Hawk glided coolly into the coffee shop, his signature trench coat flapping behind him like a tuft of unruffled feathers. It had been one year since that ugly business in Italy with the Mayflowers, the CIA, and Leonardo Davinci; and he was flying high. He and Andy McDowell were engaged to be married and, though she had to quit being a nun, he was sure the big guy would forgive him if it were true love.

“Tommy,” Hawk bellowed, dropping his trademark fedora on the bar. “Get me a cappuccino. Extra foam.”

Coming right up, buddy O-Mine,” Tommy called. Within minutes the steaming hot drink was in front of Hudson. He took a pause to enjoy the aroma and, after tasting the drink, Hawk spit it out.

“What’s this?” he asked. “Nuts and chocolate?”

“It’s the new house special. The Davinci Code. What do you think?

“What do I think? What do I think?”  Hawk blustered. “I think you should get this Baby Ruth outta here and get me a cappuccino.”

As Tommy turned around to make the correct drink, Hudson felt a warm breath on his neck and a cold gun barrel in his back.

“It’s a shame that name is already taken, Mr. Hawk.”

“Is that a gun in my back or are you just happy to see me?”

“A gun. A Magnum. The same gun my father once used.”

“So you’re not happy to see me?”

The mysterious man put his hand on Hawk’s shoulder and turned him around. As the men faced each other, Tommy returned with the cappuccino, spotted the gun and let the cup fall to the floor.

“No,” Hawk whined. “Not my cappuccino.”

“I’m sorry,” Tommy blustered. “He’s got a gun. I got startled.”

“Startled? Startled? It’s just a gun.”

“A gun leveled at your head, Mr. Hawk.” the stranger whispered, pointing the gun higher.

“Do I know you, pal?” Hawk asked.

“Not yet. But you knew my father,” the stranger hissed. “James Coburn.”

“Father? That lunatic had a kid?” Tommy asked.

“Don’t be rude, fat bartender,” the mystery man said. “I only really need him.”

“Sorry, I’m retired,” Hawk chimed in.

“You killed my father, destroyed my team, ruined my life,” the stranger said. “You’re not retired until I retire you.”

“Team? You weren’t one of those candy bar fruit cakes, were you?”

“The candy bars were my compatriots.”

“Who were you?” Hawked asked. “Nuts for nuts?”

While you were dicking around in Vatican City, I was serving time in a Russian gulag. While you were murdering my friends, I was plotting my escape. And while you’ve been planning your wedding, Mr. Hawk, I’ve been planning my revenge.”

“So was your code name chocco talk-o?”

“Baby Ruth, at your service.”

“Huh, because you’re nutty?” Hawk quipped.

“Because I always hit it out of the park,” the stranger said. “And speaking of parks, you are going to help me liberate some gold from Gorsky Park.”

“Sorry, not looking for a hat trick,” Hawk said, slyly removing his fedora from the bar and slipping it on is head.

“Funny, but when I picked up your blushing bride,” the stranger said, smiling. “She might have been out of the habit;  but she was very interested in the hat trick of survival.”

Next Up: Heaven’s Gate

Hello there, cineaphiles! (Not you, Jared!)  We hope you enjoyed the first two episodes of our podcast, dealing with that mostly-forgotten Bruce Willis flick, Hudson Hawk.  For our next episode, we’ve shifting gears a bit to talk about a piece of cinema history, the epic known as Heaven’s Gate.  (Aren’t we versatile?)  Heaven’s Gate has an unavoidable reputation–it’s an infamous box-office flop, notorious for ending the auteur filmmaker era of the 1970s.  It is a point of parody (as seen here, in a page from an issue of Marvel’s Damage Control) a punchline to a gag that keeps running, but is it actually a bad movie?

comic page_cropped - finished

Page from Damage Control, Volume 3, Issue #1. Please don’t sue us, Marvel Comics!

Will Heaven’s Gate be redeemed?  Will Kris Kristofferson be drunk and shirtless?  Will Jason survive watching a 4 hour western?  The court will decide!

Here come the judge–I’m John Rice, and this month I’ll be deciding the fate of Heaven’s Gate.

James Bond Review Part 3: Goldfinger

Goldfinger AKA James Bond vs His Own Shitty Spy Skills.

1) The Cold Opening: James Bond, super-spy extraordinaire, pulls himself from the water, removes his wetsuit, revealing a pristine white tux, and joins a party where he does spy stuff. After planting a bomb, he smoothly makes it back to his room where a smoking hot Bond babe is waiting to give 007 some 00 lovin’. As they kiss, Bond spies an assassin coming up behind him, through the woman’s eyes, uses her as a human shield and winds up electrocuting him using water and an everyday household appliance. Standing among the dead, Bond quips “shocking,” and the film is underway. Defiance of fashion physics aside, this opening gets five full vodka martinis for its iconic nature and bold use of a terrible pun in face of grisly murder.

Laser

“Speaking of puns, can we split the difference and say I only alter fashion physics?”

2) The Opening Credits/Bond Song: Take the powerful voice of Ms. Shirley Bassey and the look of a movie theater using attractive women, painted in gold, as their screen and you’ve got the opener to Goldfinger. In a blank, black background, gold-painted parts of the female anatomy slide into screen, with scenes from the upcoming film shown on the gilded skin. Goldfinger is the Bond song that set the bar for all themes to come and this opening is the first not induced by several tabs of acid and for that I give this a full five vodka martinis.

goldfinger-opening-titles-ken-adam

God, I miss a good, old-fashioned, naked drive-in.

3) The Villain: Auric Goldfinger is a portly, childish, German accented billionaire with a fetish for gold. Our fist view of him is elaborately husting cards, in a golden shirt, while vacationing in a beach resort. As the film goes forward we see him paint a woman from head to toe in gold, cheat and lose at golf, brandish a slow-cutting laser beam, breed horses, and murder his business partners for no reason, all in the name of irradiating Fort Knox, leaving all of the world’s gold (but his) untouchable for hundreds of years. Pair Herr Goldfinger with Odd Job, his mute Japanese side kick known for his black belt in the deadly art of bowler throwing, and you have a perfect pre-world war two, Axis-style, duo of villainy.  For all of this flair and intelligence (and the fact that Bond really should have lost this one) I’m pouring five shaken vodka martinis, with the rims salted with edible gold flecks.

Goldfinger and oddjob

“You kamakize the golf cart into his clubs and I’ll violently annex the fourth hole.”

4) The Plot: We begin with James Bond on vacation, helping his CIA pal Felix Leiter (Cec Linder) keep tabs on Goldfinger as he swindles patrons out of their traveler’s checks by hustling them in Gin. After spying (and I use the word loosely here) Goldfinger’s system of having a hot chick with a telescope feed him the other player’s cards through an ear piece, Bond swiftly goes to work trying to bed this hot chick (or Jill Masterson, as she’s billed). After breaking into Jill’s room, Bond announces his presence to Goldfinger over the ear piece, forces him to lose all his money back to his mark and gets down to the dirty spy business of laying gold pipe. After he’s finished, on his way to make a sandwich, Bond is knocked out by Odd Job and his lover his gilded to death.

Goldfinger_Golden-girl-1024x725

“It might be difficult, but we’re still going to have sex.”

Bond’s incompetence doesn’t stop here, though; after he’s assigned to officially spy on Goldfinger, Bond shows up at his golf course, challenges him to a match, beats him and announces his intentions to stop whatever his plans are. On the road to the end, Bond gets Jill’s sister killed, like he’s the STD plague of the Masterson women. He gets captured, is nearly cut asunder by a slow-moving laser (to which he is spared through an eavesdropping stroke of luck). He hangs around Goldfinger’s ranch, as a prisoner, getting sauced on Mint Juleps, while not actually making any headway into his mission. In the end, he’s chained to a nuclear weapon, inside Fort Knox, and is saved only because he somehow convinced Pussy Galore, using only his penis, to cue Felix Leiter in on Goldfinger’s plan. I really should only give this movie one martini for Bond’s incompetence, but he’s so bad at being a spy in this movie, he’s good. All in all five Mint Juleps, in honor of Bond’s time at Branch Goldvidian.

5) Rapey Meter: As further proof that Bond is off his game in this flick, he beds only two women: Jill Masterson and Pussy Galore. We’ve already covered the first seduction and, well, his second conquest is named Pussy Galore, so how rapey did he really need to be to close that deal? (Acctually, pretty rapey, to be honest) For Bond’s lack of promiscuity, I’m pouring five full vodka martinis.

Pussy Galore

“My name is Plenty of Cats. No, wait, it’s Lots of Labia. Or is it Multitude of Muff?”

6) Wild Card: Five vodka martinis for all of the following reasons A) this is my favorite Bond movie, B) I’ve always wanted a razor-brimmed hat, C) “My name is Pussy Galore,” “I must be dreaming” isn’t even the best line in the film, D) I need to over compensate because this inspired the dreadful “comedy” Goldmember and E) It’s the first time Q gets really snippy with Bond.

Goldmember

“Even I’m not sure how Mike Meyers got me from this movie?”

7) That leaves Goldfinger with a total of five fervent vodka martinis. This is a pleasure to watch, from credits to credits, and stands alone in the series as the indisputably most iconic. You may not agree with me, you may even mock me, and to that I say “Choose your next witticism correctly, Mr. Bond, it may be your last.” – Auric Goldfinger