The gang debriefs on Jingle All the Way.
1) Cold Opening: James Bond is flying the not-so-friendly skies, putting the moves on a sexy stewardess, when SURPRISE, Bond is about to die, not only because the woman prefers flight attendant, but because she’s also a bad guy.007 is told at gunpoint by the male flight attendant, who prefers Stew, that he’s going down with the plane. A scuffle ensues that ends with Stew bailing out with a parachute. Alone and certain to die in the fiery wreck of the crash, Bond reflects a moment on a plan of action when SURPRISE Jaws pops into the film from thin air, jumps out of the plane with his parachute and drags Bond with him, to provide him with a convenient escape. In an amazing feet of skydiving acrobatics, Bond wrestles the parachute from metal mouth and leaves him to free fall to his death, while he glides to safety. Jaws falls head first into a circus tent and survives which proves SURPRISE he’s a fucking X-Man with regenerative healing powers that will stop his imminent death about twenty more times before the film is over. I give this nonsensical opening one cigar, and only that much because it’s mercifully short.
2) The Song/Opening Credits: Jaws should be a metal-mouthed flap-jack segues into the same type of shadow play I lauded in The Spy Who Loved Me, underscored with the last appearance of Shirley Bassie, singing the titular song. Unlike in the last film, the opening sequence only foreshadows the absurd awfulness of the movie ahead. As for the song: not the best Bond song, but a good one. And can you really go so wrong with Shirley Bassie? I’m giving this three cigars on the song alone, adding nothing but a solid “Fuck you, James Bond” for the sequence and another “Fuck you, James Bond” for dragging poor Ms. Bassie into this mess and sullying her good name. She did “Goldfinger,” have you no decency?
3) The Villain: Our diabolical mastermind attempting to take down James Bond is a millionaire with a space fetish named Drax. Picture Orson Welles, at the end of his career, minus the booming voice, gravitas or genius. His original, not copied, sinister plan for the world? The exact same plan Stromberg had in the last movie, except in space. That’s right, Drax wants to destroy the planet with super powered lasers so he can start society anew on his space ark. Instead of following Stromberg’s plan of choosing the best, brightest and most talented people for his new society, he goes his own way and chooses based on how hot they are, in hopes, I can only guess, of having a massive post-armageddon space orgy. Oh, yeah, and as I said, Jaws is still alive so Drax hires him to kill Bond, because, why not. Jaws attempts his mission at every turn right up until he falls in love and becomes a good guy. I’m giving one cigar here, not because of anything the villains do or say, but because I like the image a full swinging 70’s style space orgy.
4) The Plot: Take a minute and pull up my review of The Spy Who Loved Me. While you’re at it, forget this film and go watch The Spy Who Loved Me. Are you still reading? You really want this? Ok, here it goes. Take the plot I described from the superior Bond movie and add the following: A space shuttle called the Moonraker is hijacked and taken. It’s either owned by Drax, or being rented by Drax from the government, it’s kind of unclear. What is clear is that Citizen Sham has had his own rocket stolen from space and is kicking up a lot of shit because it’s been taken. Now when I say it’s clear Drax stole his own ship, I don’t mean to us, the poor, inflicted upon audience, I mean to everybody! MI6 knows. James Bond knows. Fuck, if Goodnight was in this movie, even she would know and she has the IQ of a sea slug. Bond is sent to Castle Von Drax to investigate, meets his head scientist Dr. Goodhead (you’re reading this right) and his racist Asian caricature of a man servant. After several failed attempts to kill Bond, in the confines of his own mansion, on Bond’s overnight visit, Drax allows Bond to lay some pipe with his assistant, liberate some incriminating evidence from Drax’s safe, and have a goodnight’s sleep and continue on with his mission.
After leaving the Drax compound, the assistant Bond sleeps with is fed to some dogs for her betrayal, and Wong the racist manservant begins his doomed quest to kill 007. One such attempt has Bond escape in a Gondola, which sprouts wheels as he drives it through a crowded courtyard, past a pigeon that does an honest to Christ double take. Yes, they fucking loop the film of the bird moving its head to make it appear that it has done a double take at Bond’s Pontiac Gondola. It was at this point of the film I actually yelled at my TV “Fuck you, James Bond.” Eventually Bond drops Charlie Chan to his death, in a grand piano, after a fight that could have been choreographed by Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther movies. Bond runs into Dr. Goodhead again, only to discover that SURPRISE she’s a spy too (you know, like XXX). Jaws is hired to kill Bond, meets a cute mute girl in pigtails, cartoon hearts flutter around their heads while the beautiful music of love swells. Eventually everyone is in space, not being murdered by Drax and being given plenty of time to avert the coming space orgy. Once Drax reveals only the hottest of the hottest hotties will be given spot on the orgy ark, (if this ark’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin’) Jaws’ cripplingly poor body image saves the day, causing him to defect and help Bond in his mission. With everyone else’s space sex ruined, Bond and Goodhead get vertical in zero gravity, bringing this abomination to an end. It gets a full five “Fuck you, James Bonds,” but only half a stank cigar.
5) Rapey Meter: Man, I hate having to give this movie anything more than one cigar in a category, but as this is a cartoon, it isn’t rapey at all. Bond has some consensual sex (getting one of his partners killed, surprisingly not with his 00 strain of VD). Jaws legit falls in love with a woman who he respects and literally holds hands and skips with. (The baddass, metal-mouthed assassin from the last movie skips. He fucking skips!) The only real thing I can deduct a cigar for, besides the film’s lack of a real space orgy, is the dismal name Goodhead. So there you go: a begrudging four cigars.
6) Wild Card: Here’s where I get as convoluted as the plot: I’m giving two cigars because I like the idea of the space orgy; one cigar for the strange array of Goodhead’s gadgets, such as poison tipped dart pen and flame thrower cologne bottle; one cigar for getting to see Q snippy with Bond; one cigar for seeing 007 dressed as an extra from The Good the Bad and the Ugly; two cigars for the last line of the movie, which is Q explaining Bond’s sexual spacecapades as “attempting reentry.” Now I’m deducting a cigar for every time Professor X’s favorite student should have died but didn’t: 1) The freefall from the plane; 2) crashing full speed into a 7UP castle, from a runaway skytram; 3) falling off a waterfall. I’m then taking another cigar away for Jaws biting through a steel cable; one more for the Jaws in love plotline and two for being a blatant rip-off of a much better movie. That leaves zero cigars for the wildcard.
All in all, that’s one cigar for Moonraker. In lieu of my usual wrap up, let me suggest other movies you should watch instead of this one. The Spy Who Loved Me for your Bond fix. Happy Gilmore for your Jaws fix. Space Jammin’ for your space orgy fix.
1) Cold Opening: We start on just another boring day in the life of a submarine commando, sitting pretty at the bottom of the sea, possibly in an octopus’ garden in the shade. While her Majesties Royal Navy kill time playing cards, awaiting their orders, the submarine, which may or may not be yellow, is hijacked and made to look like it has been destroyed. Though the dastardly Russians look good for the crime, we find out the same fate has befallen one of their very own submarines, which was definitely red. Cut to the bedroom of super Ruskie Spy XXX who is getting down and dirty between the sheets in the ways only a secret agent is trained for. The phone rings and XXX answers revealing that Russian James Bond is actually a sexy lady and the guy she’s with is… just some guy she’s seeing. Cut again to a cabin on a snow mountain, where the real deal James Bond is in the middle of his most famous of spy maneuvers: the bang and bail. “But I need you, James” the woman he has just finished sexing up says. “So does England,” he replies and takes off down the mountain on a pair of skis. But as Admiral Ackbar would’ve pointed out, had he been there, it’s a trap and a band of Russian assassins begin a chase that ends in all of their grisly deaths by 00 Slalom. No fuss, no muss, no long standing repercussions with the death of these spies… or so Bond thinks as he parachutes off the mountain, flying the Union Jack behind him. Among the dead, however, is XXX’s boy toy from the last scene, and our plot is sufficiently set up. All in all, raise your English fag, light five fine Cuban cigars and get ready for one hell of a Bond flick. 2) Song/Opening Credits: As James parachutes off the mountain, he drifts into the credits, having his Union Jack cradled by two giant shadow hands. The lovey Carly Simon song, “Nobody Does It Better,” begins and plays over a romance in shadows between Bond and XXX, illuminated only by the occasional British flag waving in the background. Now, I’m not usually a fan of my Bond song having a different name than my Bond movie, (like if the movie Live and Let Die was called Give the Other Fella Hell it would’ve been intolerable. Or if Goldfinger was called The Man With the Golden Touch it would’ve been a Lulu song) but in this case the subtlety and beauty of this song make it work and I’m lighting another round of five cigars, hoping Moore’s tenure as James Bond ends before I get mouth cancer. 3) The Villain: Meglo-maniacal Stromberg, (who was originally supposed to be our old pussy-stroking friend Bloefeld, but wasn’t because Ian Fleming lost the rights to him) has a dream! A dream where all men, women and children who aren’t obliterated by the coming nuclear holocaust, of his design, will live as equals under the sea. Yes, he knew in 1977 what it took Sebastian the crab until the mid-nineties to figure out: it’s just better down where it’s wetter and everyone could say “Hakuna Matata” if they ditched their land-locked lives and began repopulating the Earth in an Atlantis of his making. Though you might not believe Stromberg’s real goal is to live the life aquatic, without Steve Zissou, and that he’s ultimately out for a big score or some other promised ransom, starting his underwater doomsday cult is actually his end game, which he proves by shooing away Bond’s promise of a payoff if he stops his insane machinations. Joining Stromberg on the underwater crazy train is the most iconic henchman in the whole Bond series, Jaws. Standing seven feet tall, with literal teeth of razor sharp steel, this silent assassin is tasked with murdering a bunch of Stromberg’s associates, in order to keep the underwater pleasure project a secret. Eventually, Jaws runs afoul of XXX and 007 and the deadly game of cat and mouse and… Russian dog(?) begins. With a true visionary villain and the brute force of a super-powered henchman, we light four and a half cigars for this section, deducting a half because Jaws does come off as a bit superhuman, which leans the action a little bit too close to comic book territory. 4) Plot: So by now it’s evident, I love this movie, so yes, it’s getting a full five cigars here. In addition to all the underwater doomsday fun I’ve already mentioned, we have a smart spy movie that takes a female Russian agent, puts her on equal footing with Bond, and intelligently explores the foibles and misconceptions of the Cold War outlook of we are the good guys, they are the bad guys; we stand for democracy and they don’t think like human beings; our stockpile of nuclear weapons is blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ and their stockpile of nuclear weapons are spawned by Satan. Add onto this the mostly one-sided affection and respect Bond has for XXX, and the subplot of XXX vowing to kill Bond for murdering her lover, you have a genuinely smart and well written Roger Moore Bond movie. And I do hope you’re paying, 007, as it is only rough terrain after this flick. 5) Rapey Meter: I don’t really have much to say with the rapey/sexist meter. Bond is used sexually by XXX, he makes sexist remarks about women drivers, which is served right back to him. He’s out smarted by his counterpart as many times as he outsmarts her, and both top-notch spies are obviously portrayed as equals. Of course, this movie, as all Bond movies up to this point, ends with the couple having stranded ocean sex in a boat, but at least this time you’re not left feeling dirty, like you’ve just witnessed a sex crime. Five cigars all around. 6) Wildcard: Obviously five cigars here, but if you really need the breakdown: 1 cigar for the MI6 and Q lab being set up in a pyramid in Egypt; 1 cigar for Bond’s submarine car; 1 cigar for Bond shooting Stromberg in the balls; 1 cigar for Jaws being defeated at the hands of a giant magnet and one cigar for Bond’s response to M’s inquiry of what he was doing, after getting caught in his post-mission water fucking, “Keeping the British end up, Sir.”
All in all, we get 4.9 cigars making this easily one of the best and most enjoyable films in the series. So pour a martini (or whiskey or whatever the fuck Moore is drinking in these films), light a cigar and get ready to enjoy the quest for Orgy Atlantis that is The Spy Who Loved Me. And before you judge the movie without seeing it take a note from Bond’s book “Mmm, maybe I misjudged Stromberg. Any man who drinks Dom Perignon ’52 can’t be all bad.”
If you want to gear up for our Jinle All the Way recap, or are just missing the holidays, take a listen to this Arnold-Christmas remix.
1) The Cold Opener: Open on a beautiful, tropical beach, to a shirtless Francisco Scaramanga (played by the wonderful Christopher Lee) and a near naked mirror-mirror universe Bond girl. Close up on Christopher Lee’s bare chest as we count not one nipple, not two nipples, but three oddly shaped man teets. Scaramanga and the nega Bond girl enjoy a sip of expensive champagne before beckoning for Nick-Nack Francisco’s butler/henchman/heir/friend (question mark), played admirably by Hervi “The Plane Boss, the Plane” Villichez. After serving his boss his morning booze, Nick-Nack consults secretly with a high priced assassin in a cheap suit, explaining that when FS shuffles off this mortal coil, he gets the mansion. Once the trap is set, Nick-Nack lures Scaramanga inside, where he avoids the assassin’s bullets amongst a bevy of fetishistic carnival play, ranging from animatronic gangsters, hypno lights, multi-mirrored walls and other assorted fun house goodies. By the end, Scaramanga reunites himself with the titular golden gun (which was sitting on a pedestal in the middle of the room the whole time), uses the impractical one bullet shot the gun fires to put a deadly whole in the cheap suit, reloads and spins around just in time to shoot a Madame Tousaud quality wax figure of 007 himself. It’s exciting, trippy and a lot of fun, which is why I’m lighting a full five cigars, not even deducting any for being tricked into seeing Christopher Lee shirtless.
2) The Opening Credits/Bond Song: This is a really hard section to rate for this flick because it’s where it will lose most of its cigars. Whereas the movie is fast-paced and fun, the opening itself will only score two dank cigars whose express purpose are to be gutted by teenagers and filled with danker weed. To start with, the song (performed by Lulu of “To Sir with Love” fame) is a fast-paced go-go pop song with lyrics more on-the-nose than the ones I wrote drunk for On Her Majesties Secret Service.(He’s got a powerful weapon, he charges a million a shot, an assassin second to none, the man with the golden gun). Pair that dreadful piece of noise with an opening so boring I had to watch it three times on Youtube in a row and still couldn’t remember anything about it. According to my notes, though, there are watery images of guns and women that seem to be out of sync with the song’s tempo. This is easy the worst credit sequence and song thus far in my exploration of MI6, and it really should have only gotten one cigar, but I couldn’t, with a good conscience, run the risk of this movie scoring lower than Live and Let Die.
3) The Villain: This is a real no brainer and, of course, will be getting a full five freshly rolled Cubanos right off the bat. Christopher Lee as the titular man with the golden gun, himself, Francisco Scaramanga, an assassin who hunts for the thrill and charges for the business, using a gun with a one bullet capacity to prove that he never misses his target. Living his life in the comfort of wealth and the shadow of complete anonymity, the Man with the Golden Gun is a man you don’t want to learn your name (you see how it’s done, Lulu? A little class. Not so obvious. Maybe slow down the tempo of the music). Scaramanga is everything you could want in a Bond villain, tapping into the delicate relationship in literary archetypes of the hero and the shadow. He’s the Sarumon to 007’s Gandalf, the Count Duku to Bond’s Obi-Won, the Nega Duck to James’ Darkwing Duck. He’s the man Bond could have easily grown into without MI6, Queen, and Country to guide him.
“I had a bigger Twitter following in 1977 than this site will ever have; don’t tell me how to write a damned pop song.”
4) The Plot: Bond is sent a message that implicates Francisco Scaramanga (the Man with Golden gun, Bond points out, abusing my good graces on using the title as dialogue), has been paid to put a hit out on 007. After being strong-armed by M off his current case, concerning the disappearance of some energy conservation scientist, Bond takes one of his famous work leaves for revenge and attempts to track down the elusive assassin. Having only a name, and the location of his last hit to go on, 007 travels to a strip club in Beirut to warm up the cold case of who killed 006. After meeting the dancer who was with 006 on his last day on Earth, Bond proceeds to literally charm her clothes off in an attempt to obtain her lucky charm: the golden bullet collected from the dead agent’s body. After a few near swipes, amidst a goon fight, Bond swallows the charm and rushes to the local CVS for some laxatives (yup, not kidding). Once he collects his evidence, Bond threatens a weapons maker with a bullet to the crotch and gets the vital info he needed: the location of Scaramanga’s paramour. After shaking the paramour down for information, with his penis, Bond meets up with his ditzy assistant Goodnight; a character who single-handedly reverses at least a decade of woman’s liberation. After promising to, but not sleeping with her, Bond goes back on the golden gun trail only to find out that he was never a target to begin with (what!?) and Scaramanga’s real target was the missing scientist from Bond’s last mission (what a twist). With the weird energy conservation sub-plot reinserted to the film, Bond continues hunting Scaramanga, tapes a fake third nipple to his chest to pass as him, fights a bunch of ninjas, gets Goodnight kidnapped and eventually winds up on Golden Gun Aisle to watch Scaramanga show off the literal laser death ray he’s built with the scientist’s piece of technology. Francisco challenges Bond to an ultimate gentlemen’s duel: pistols at dawn, and Bond puts an end to Scaramanga’s cribbing from Diamonds are Forever with one shot from his Walter PPK. Finally alone on a literal slow boat to China, Bond and Goodnight start making it a very goodnight, only to have the mood spoiled by the ankle biting Nick-Nack (that’s not a slur at little people, he bites Bond’a ankle). After making short work (pun intended) of the henchmen, Bond gets back to his favorite past time: sex on a boat in the ocean.
5) Rapey Meter: Again, we have a tough category to call: whereas Bond doesn’t outright force himself on anyone, Goodnight is so slow in the movie that having sex with her would be tantamount to seducing the mentally disabled. Also, Scaramanga pulls a Diamonds are Forever Bloefeld and has Goodnight walking around his evil lair, after kidnapping her, in a skimpy bikini. Only it’s worse because I have no doubt Scaramanga showed Goodnight the titular golden gun was really his penis, and again, she has the mind of a six-year-old. On this alone I’d light no more than two cigars, but because Bond fights alongside two fetishized, teenaged kung-fu Asian school girls with nary a sexual look, I’ll add a third.
6) Wild Card: Hashtag honesty time: I loved this movie and was going to give it a full array of five cigars in this category, but I must, in good conscience, deduct two cigars for the appearance of nobody’s favorite racist southern cop from Live and Let Die: J.W. Pepper. That’s right, the rootin’ tootin’ sheriff who chased 007 down in the last movie is coincidentally vacationing in Thailand, where Bond is on his mission and, even more coincidentally, he is driving the car Bond commandeers to save Goodnight. Remembering Bond as “that British agent from the last movie,” he becomes James’ sidekick for a bit, using his obnoxious American bluster to get himself arrested (and hopefully murdered). I will, however, restore one of those cigars because right before this, Bond is a dick to a child by promising him money if he helps him, then pushes him in the water instead, after the kid legit helps him.
7) All in all, the second outing of Roger Moore gets a solid four cigars, because despite its problems it is one of the most fun Bond movies in the series so far. And as M puts it best “So if I understand it, Scaramanga got away – in a car that sprouted wings?”
This time the gang puts the Christmas classic/catastrophe “Jingle All the Way” on trial. Will Dr. Bealer talk about her woman’s lit tramp stamp? Will Jonathan defend the film as Turboman? Will the new and improved sound make Jason’s slurring any more coherent? All of these questions will be answered in this episode of “Movies on Trial.”