In Defense of Jingle All The Way

By now, you’ve heard the result of our Jingle All The Way trial.  (That’s a hyperlink, in case you didn’t.)  And I’m sure you’re thinking, wow, he chose that movie–he must be so disappointed!  I’m here to tell you that, I tried the impossible.  Movies on Trial is all about rhetoric.  We enter these films not as ourselves but as the kind of moviegoer who would enjoy this particular film.  We speak not just for these films, for for the people who might enjoy them.  All kinds of people go to the movie theatre.

I chose this film, not just because I thought it had unfairly been branded as irredeemable, but because I wanted to test my powers of rhetoric in arguing for a very hard film to sell.  And, in doing so, I have failed.  Like Icarus, I have flown to close too the sun.  Or, like Kid Icarus for NES, I almost beat level one.

But, I have made Jason Fischedick watch Jingle All The Way, and that has made all the difference.

– John Rice

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James Bond Review Part 9: Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die AKA James Bond VS All the Black People in the World

Authors Note: As we are now entering the Roger Moore Bond era, there will be a few tweaks to my rating system that you need to be aware of. 1) The films of this actor will not be rated out of vodka martinis, as Roger Moore barely, if ever, orders one in his stint as 007. Instead, he will a get rating between one and five cigars, as Moore smokes more tobacco penis symbols than Sigmund Freud. 2) The Rapey Meter will be a lot harsher, deducting points for things I probably would have glossed over Connery for (if not applauding his restraint). Moore is less sexually aggressive and more flirty than Connery, however the portrayal of women in his movies are a bit more sexist, so the bullshit algorithm I use, though staying the same, will be recalibrated with this in mind. Now to the movie!

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“This never happened to the other guy.”

1) Cold Opener: The name of the game is assassination. Open on New York City where a very boring meeting of UN delegates is happening. A black man sneaks into the translator booth and replaces the British delegate’s feed with ear dynamite, which he uses to kill him. Jump to the French Quarter in New Orleans. A parade of black people are having a somber funeral procession while an innocent white agent looks on. Touched by the event he asks a strange black man who’s funeral it is and is stabbed to death. The procession than becomes a lively party that scoops up the dead agent into the coffin and dances away with him. Jump to San Monique AKA an island in the Caribbean. A scary gaggle of black folk are all going crazy with their uncivilized voodoo rituals. If that isn’t enough to terrify the average white man, a wild-eyed voodoo priest comes dancing out, looking like a character from a Dave Chappelle sketch, holding a ridiculous green snake. Not scary enough, Jive Turkey? Well dyn-o-mite, there’s white guy tied to a wooden stake who gets sacrificed by these colored savages. Now I know this is a send-off to Blaxploitation movies, but all I can say is “too soon, guys” and give a half cigar for this for the offensive racism and lack of James Bond. It does get the half, however, because of the ear dynamite.

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Dave Chappelle’s last Chappelle show sketch.

2) Opening Credits/Bond Song: Overall, this is a really cool sequence and a fantastic song. We get Sir Paul McCartney, a year after the breakup of the Beatles, writing and performing an out of the ordinary, more rock than usual, Bond song. In the background, attractive black women brandishing guns (and sometime voodoo body paint) are sharing the screen or are engulfed in flames, with a cool effect of one woman’s head becoming a fiery skull to a key tempo change in the song. I’m not only giving this a full five cigar opening, but I’ll use the flames from the credits to light the round.

Live Opening

Only you can prevent forest fires.

3) The Villain: So we have Yaphet Koto, an actor I love, at the evil helm, playing the dual roles of Kananga and Mr. Big. By day, Kananga is a mild-mannered UN delegate, but by night he is the nefarious gang leader/burn victim Mr. Big. Call him what you will, but at the end of the day he is a bad ass voodoo wielding, drug smuggler with a one armed henchmen (Tee Hee), and tarot reading Bond girl (Solitaire played by Jane Seymour) and the ability to mobilize every black person, except one, in the entire world. On his coolness alone, I’m lighting five cigars.

Live_and_Let_Die_Characters

Can you guess who the villains are in this picture?

4) The Plot: A bunch of stuffy white people are killed by black people and 007, now played by known stuffy Brit Roger Moore, must find out why. Accompanied by Felix Lieter (this time played by David Hedison) Bond traverses the globe from Harlem, to New Orleans to an island in the Caribbean, to figure out the mystery. The whole adventure Bond is stalked by a strange voodoo figure known as Baron Samedi who, though creepy, doesn’t do much. Bond shows up unannounced at Kananga’s door step and isn’t killed. Instead he lures Dr. Quinn Tarot Reader away from Kananga, who is more than happy to go, showing that a British penis is much more powerful than a black one. After being betrayed by every black person in the movie, except CIA agent Quarrel (who should have been playing Leiter, but instead gets killed), Bond loses Dr. Quinn and gets kidnapped by Mr. Big who literally rips his face off and reveals himself to be Yaphet Koto (record skip! Whaaaaaaaaaat?). After being handcuffed to a chair and told he would be killed if his white penis destroyed Solitaire’s fortune telling ability, Bond is released after Kananga confirms Dr. Quinn’s lack of powers. By the end of the movie, Bond has proven that voodoo is a black people silly superstition and Kananga reveals his plan: to produce and distribute heroin, for free, through his Fillet of Soul restaurants, until every other heroin supplier is out of business. Once he holds the monopoly (or at least Boardwalk) he will jack the heroin price sky high, both doubling his clientele and destroying his competition. It’s so crazy, it just might have worked, except Bond plugs a pump into him and blows him up like a floaty pool toy until he pops. The day is saved, Dr. Quinn needs to play doctor with Nurse Bond and they’re both getting ready for the dirty business in their train car when Tee Hee sneaks in and nearly kills them all with his claw hand. After being tossed out the window, Bond gets down to fucking and the audience is treated to an unresolved Baron Samedi gleefully riding on the front of the locomotive. This plot is messier than a six-year-old brat’s toy room and I’m leaving out the southern racist cop and black CIA agent to e-scared of voodoo to be a professional. All in all, one cigar is being lit here because, as much Bondsense that goes on in this movie, it is kind of fun.

New Orleans

“The hard part wasn’t planning this massive strike on Bond, but on getting our choreography straight.”

5) Rapey Meter: Remember the whole plot line I mentioned about Dr. Solitaire Tarrot Card Reader losing her ability to see the future after Bonding in the bedroom with 007? Well, he literally fucks the power and evil out of her, changing her from a villain with vision to a useless, doting little girl. Remember the black CIA agent (Rosie Carver) I mentioned who turns on him after a voodoo scare? He sleeps with her then threatens to kill her, answering her logic of him not being able to pull the trigger after said sex by saying “Well, I certainly wouldn’t have killed you before.” All in all, pretty sexist and more than a bit rapey so I’m making this a two cigar round.

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“Will you still love me tomorrow? Since we finished, I can’t tell anymore.”

 

6) Wild Card: Here’s where my review gets as convoluted as the plot of the movie, so do pay attention, Jive Turkey, and let’s count the pluses and minuses. First off I’m taking the whole box of cigars away for the uncomfortable racism in the film. When I said all the black people in the world are against Bond, I’m including the aforementioned CIA agent, as well as everyone living in New Orleans, San Monique and Harlem (including the cab driver who randomly picks him up and doesn’t know him from Adam). I’ll add two cigars because I’ve often bad-mouthed Roger Moore as Bond, but I genuinely like his portrayal here. I’ll add another for Tee Hee, who’s only issue is he needed more screen time, and still another cigar for James Bond’s Pitfall Harry impression by jumping on the backs of alligators to escape peril. I’m then removing two cigars for Agent Quarrel’s death, which does nothing to further the story, but robs the audience of a cool character who is black and not evil. I’m taking another cigar because the actor who played Quarrel would have been a great Leiter, but I’m adding a half of one because Baron Samedi is a cool character (would have been a full one if he did more.) Finally, I’m adding a cigar and half for the awesome, soulful cover of “Live and Let Die,” we see in the night club James is abducted from. This gives us a total of three cigars.

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“Just take a listen.”

 

7) So, when you were young and your heart was an open book, you used to love this movie (I know you did, I know you did, I know you did), but when this ever changing world in which we live in, makes you not rank so high, Live and Let Die (gets a total of two and half cigars). Don’t agree with my review? Visit my Gofundme page to contribute to my ongoing bribes to raise the Bond reviews because, honestly “For twenty bucks I’d take you to a Ku Klux Klan cook out.” – Cab Driver.

baron samedi

“I’m just gonna sit here a while.”

 

James Bond Review Part 8: Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds are Forever aka James Bond VS The Amazing Mr. Blofelds

1) Cold Opening: Despondent over the murder of his wife, Bond sheds his young Australian face for the old familiar grizzled Scotsman and literally punches a trail through all of Blofeld’s known associates until he reaches the man himself. After killing Blofeld while he’s taking a mud bath, Bond is left to face off with non-other than Blofeld. It is revealed that old Ernie has been using mud to create body doubles of himself and Bond makes sure to put the real Blofeld in the ground, literally, smothering him to death in a hot mud bath. You know by now I don’t like cold open shenanigans, and this Blofeld (played by Charles Gray) gives us nothing but that, with his game of will the real Slim Blofeld, please stand up. For that I’m taking two vodka martinis off the bar, but replacing one with a voucher for a buyback, because Bond kicking ass and taking names was way cool, leaving this as a four martini opening.

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“You too can have your very own Blofeld blowup doll for three easy payments of several million dollars in diamonds.”

2) Opening Credits/Bond Song: Right off the bat, I’m proclaiming this as a five martini opening. You get the amazing Shirley Bassie back to belt out a song that is arguably better than “Goldfinger,” to a credit sequence that fits the song and movie perfectly. You have Blofeld’s cat, pretty much walking us through the different uses of diamonds, after her right eye becomes a diamond itself. We see head diamonds, finger diamonds, belly diamonds, choker diamonds, pussy diamonds and cat diamonds, all modeled amongst the credits.

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“These are the cat diamonds. The pussy diamonds are exactly what they sound like.”

3) Villain: Hashtag spoilers, none of the Blofeld’s killed in the cold opener was the real one, leaving him as our main antagonist, which is of course not revealed until the end. I’m giving this incarnation of Blofeld three house liquor martinis, for a few reasons. A) He has neither the look of Donald Pleasance, nor the charisma of Telly Savalas. B) It’s explained he gets reconstructive surgery after the last movie, but last I checked you can’t grow back hair. If you could, I’d have thrown in with SPECTRE a long time ago to get my flowing golden locks back. C) He uses voice changing equipment, much like ghost face from Scream, to trick a billion-dollar company into smuggling diamonds for him so he can create a giant space “laser” (for the reference refer to my post about James Bond VS Austin Powers), which was inspiration for both Golden Eye and the Ronald Reagan mad scientist idea of Star Wars.

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Ronald Reagan stars as James Bond in “A Mind Half Gone.”

4) The Plot: After taking down the man who killed his wife, Bond is ready to get back out in the field so he can get to the fucking and killing we expect from a 007 movie. Sent out to investigate a large scale diamond smuggling ring, Bond takes a cue from Lazenby and goes undercover as diamond smuggler extraordinaire Saxby, whom he kills in front of his contact and brilliantly swaps ID’s with. Enter my two favorite characters Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, who are assassins with an unknown benefactor who kill anyone and everyone who come in contact with the diamonds. Bond shacks up with villainess Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) using the power of his mighty penis to bring her to the side of good. By the end of the film Bond is taken prisoner, switches the laser control key with a mix tape full of marching music, allows Blofeld to escape through a plot hole, destroys the laser and takes a cruise with Tiffany where the forgotten assassins (it had been about forty minutes since we saw them last) pose as boat staff and attempt to kill the pair with disastrous consequences. It’s a bit convoluted, but doesn’t have the usual scenes that drag the film down, so I’m pouring three and half vodka martinis.

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“You left out my drag show.”

5) The Rapey Meter: So for our last outing with noted wife beater/Bond girl rapist Sean Connery we have a film that has no rapey moments from 007 himself. He has one sex partner, Tiffany Case, through-out the whole movie. He almost sleeps with casino-fly Plenty O’Toole (seriously Peter, you name your daughter Plenty? For shame), expect she’s thrown out of Bond’s hotel window, into the pool below, before any consummation can happen. Blofeld, however, is super rapey as, after he abducts Ms. Case, he makes her walk around in a tiny bikini while she’s in his lair so he can ogle her and make crude remarks to guests. But this meter ain’t here to punish Bond for the actions of his villains, so we get a full five vodka martinis.

Case

“This is me being held hostage.”

6)Wild Card: I’m pouring five vodka martinis for the following reasons: A) Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are a gay couple, which are not portrayed flamboyantly, nor as comedy, nor is their sexual preference even a plot line/reason for villainy. They are simply two gay men allowed to be characters outside of being gay, which is more progressive I ever would have thought a Bond movie capable of. B) Q uses a Q Branch device to cheat at the slots in a Vegas casino, showing absolutely no interest in the money as he leaves a trail of unclaimed riches behind him, all in the name of science.

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“It’s not cheating if it’s for science.”

7) That leaves this imbalanced, but perfectly fun Bond movie at a three and a half martini rating. And for a bit more on the nature of diamonds: “Hardest substance found in nature, they cut glass, suggest marriage, I suppose it replaced the dog as the girl’s best friend.” – James Bond.

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“I’ve never really liked dogs.”

James Bond Review Part 7: On Her Majesties Secret Service

On Her Majesties Secret Service AKA James Bond vs Matrimony

1) Cold Opener: A beautiful, deserted beach spans the horizon, with the calming waves lapping on the shore. The beautiful Diana Rigg runs toward the ocean, possibly looking to shuffle off the mortal coil. Enter James Bond, whose face hasn’t been revealed. Sensing possible poon-tang, faceless Bond leaps from his car and rushes to her rescue. After subduing her, and fending off unknown goons with guns, Diana Rigg wriggles out of his grasp, steals his car and escapes. Finally turning around, it’s revealed that Bond isn’t Sean Connery (record skip, whaaaaat?), but instead an Australian model named George Lazenby. Not wanting to draw attention to the change in actors, the studio never addresses the change in face, but does have Bond look square in the camera and state “this never happened to the other guy.” All in all, let’s pour a full five martinis for Diana Rigg in a bikini and the only instance of breaking the 4th wall in the franchise.

Lazanby

You know what also never happened to the other guy? Getting fired after one film.

2) Opening credits/Bond Song: Here’s where things get tricky: the credits are nothing more than “Last Time on James Bond,” showing literal clips from the previous five movies, with a straight forward orchestral score. This normally wouldn’t warrant more than one, boring martini made with house vodka, however there are two factors at play here. Number 1: The unofficial bond song of this film is a beautiful Louis Armstrong tune called “All the Time in the World,” which plays a heart breaking roll at the end. Number 2: the film maker felt the title was too long for a Bond song, without becoming comedic, which makes sense. So for now I’m going to serve up two house martinis for the bland opening and write my own version of an honest bond song, which I’ll add to this at the end. If you comment that mine is spot on my two martinis ruling stands. If you comment on my failure, I’ll raise the drink minimum accordingly.

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“Dr. No, I’m not in this movie.”

3) Villain: this is the second installment that features Ernst Stravo Blofeld, this time played by lollipop sucking, who loves ya baby, Telly Savales. His plan? To prove he is a descendent from a royal line, known for their lack of earlobes, all while using the brainwashed women from his mountain top rehab clinic to mount an offense at the world’s governments. This is a performance and plot so over the top I can’t help but breaking out the authentic Russian vodka, popping open the imported pearl olives and serve up five chilled martinis.

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“If super villainy doesn’t work out, baby, I think I’ll become a cop.”

4) Plot: it’s been three years since Blofeld slipped through Bonds fingers and MI6 is getting fed up with 007’s inability to track him down. After a temper tantrum and the threat of resignation, Bond is granted a three week leave to track down Ernie Bloe on his own dime. Going directly to the nearest casino, Bond runs into Diana Rigg, who bets a ton of money she doesn’t have on a losing roll of the dice. After covering her debt, Bond takes her (boom boom boom lets go back) to his room where she bangs and bails, reversing the 007 sex trope. Shortly after, her infamous mob boss father has 007 kidnapped and we get twenty minutes of Bill Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, as the mob boss trades Blofeld’s whereabouts for Bond’s compliance in breaking his wild stallion of a daughter (add in air guitar licks as necessary). Being a smart, independent woman, Mrs. Rigg has none of this shenanigans, forces her father to give up his information and attempts to send Bond on his way, being pleasantly surprised when he stays anyway to have a serious, committed relationship with her based on attraction and respect.

Emma Peel

There is no caption necessary here. She is just the most breathtaking Bond girl ever.

Eventually Bond hightails it to Blofeld’s mountain top rehab clinic, donning a kilt and a Scottish accent, performing a task no previous Bond ever had: pretending to be someone other than superspy James Bond. Under the guise of Sir Hilary Bray, family tree expert, Bond infiltrates Blofeld’s retreat to uncover his dastardly plot. Ignoring the gaping plot hole that Blofeld should have recognized Bond from the time he blew up his super-secret lair, foiling his plans in the last movie, it is refreshing to see actual espionage. After sleeping with a few English patients, getting caught and imprisoned, escaping and having a long ski battle scene, Bond thwarts Kojak and has a very touching wedding ceremony, joining in holy matrimony with the only woman who he ever saw as his equal: Mrs. Peel from The Avengers. On the way to their honeymoon, however, Blofeld performs a Compton style drive-by, killing Mrs. Bond. The movie ends with Louis Armstrong playing over Bond cradling his murdered wife, assuring himself she was fine because they had all the time in the world. Obviously this is a five martini plot, if for no other reason than when a Bond movie makes you teary-eyed you need to drown those sorrows quickly and get your male bravado back up and running.

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“Edina, darling, once I’m out of Blofeld’s rehab we’re gonna go on a two decade bender that will be absolutely fabulous.”

5) Rapey Meter: We have some close calls here, but I really feel this is one of the least Rapey 007 films in the franchise. First off, it’s implied Diana Rigg only sleeps with Bond the first time to repay her gambling debt, but after she pulls her bang and bolt she leaves Bond with an envelope full of cash that says “I always pay my debts,” making it clear that he was the one used in this scenario. Next, he sleeps with two woman in the rehab clinic, in the same night, who practically attack him because he’s the first man they’ve seen besides Kojak in months. Full disclosure, they do think he’s gay and, instead of setting them straight about his sexuality, Bond quips about not usually doing this, but the girl in question being special. While deceitful, his feigned homosexuality was more for his mission and played no part in the seduction. Couple that with the fact that Tony Curtis’ similar ruse in Some Like It Hot, is much more rapey and he’s not even doing it for king and country. Not only will I serve up five full martinis (a rarity on the rapey meter for a Bond movie) I’m also pairing it with a nice steak and seating you at bridesmaid’s table in the Bond wedding.

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“If anyone is getting a walter PPK holstered in their Moneypenny,” it’s you Mr. Bond. Now bend over.”

6) Wild Card: I’m giving this a full five martinis for the wild card, but to be clear, it is not because this is one of my favorite Bond movies. It’s not because I think Lazenby is underrated, nor is it because it gives a personal, emotional depth to a character that usually a walking hard-on. It’s not about seeing Bond in a kilt, or seeing Bond actually spy. It’s not the appearance of Joanna Lumley, AKA Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. I’m ignoring Telly Savalas as Blofeld, and the reveal of the Bond Family motto “The world is not enough.” I’m not even removing any martinis for the racism present during the rehab dinner scene where the Asian girl eats a bowl of rice and the black girl eats a banana (yeah, it was uncomfortable). Instead, I’m basing this rating solely on my love for Diana Rigg, AKA Tracy Bond, AKA Emma Peel.

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Why couldn’t the Bond family motto have been a good movie?

7) All in all this is a solid four martini movie, missing that last one because of the shoddy opening credits. But don’t let that deter you from seeing this unsung classic of the Bond franchise. It might be one of the longest installments, clocking in at two hours and twenty-two minutes, but as Bond says in the end of the film “It’s all right. It’s quite all right, really. She’s having a rest. We’ll be going soon. There’s no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.”

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I’m just gonna leave this here and let you all share my uncomfortable feeling.

 

 

On Her Majesties Secret Service

Music and Lyrics by Jason N. Fischedick

Chorus

On her majesties secret service

We fight for king and queen.

On her majesties secret service

We always make the scene.

Whether looking for a Lektor

Or preventing world war two

We’ll be fighting against SPECTRE

Terrorism they will rue.

 

Verse

But there’s always time, to bed a few chicks

Drink some martinis, and never get sick.

We’ll sample the food, from all over the world

We’ll lick all the goodies, I’m talking ‘bout girls.

 

Chorus

On her majesties secret service

We fight for king and queen.

On her majesties secret service

We always make the scene.

We can fight sharks, underwater

We can save the gold reserve.

Kill assassins, kiss some daughters

Throw a quip and strike a nerve

 

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.

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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)

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“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

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“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.

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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.

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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

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?

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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.