Everyone has already posted their condolences on the death of Roger Moore, so I won’t try. Cancer sucks.
As usual, the debate of “who was the best Bond” arises as it does any time the Bond franchise is in the news, with the aura of a religious fervor and none shall be swayed. I won’t say Moore was my favorite Bond, but he was the first I saw, back when they re-ran Bond flicks in marathons every summer and I was watching them with my dad.
The Film Professor was partial to Sean Connery, of course, since he was the first and Film Professor saw them in the theater from the start. But Connery was a little too fond of smacking women around (and raping them). The linked analysis delves more extensively into it - and yes, 1960s movies based on post-WWII books, but let’s not pretend that we didn’t know what rape and lesbianism was in 1964. I barely understood either concept when I first watched Goldfinger, and yet I knew enough to know that scene was wrong in every way.
Still, Moore was my entry drug, and his suave enjoyment of his character gave me a fondness for the tropes of the series that lasts to this day. I count myself a solid Bond fan, with all the warts and glitches of the series acknowledged. I started catching them in the theater with Timothy Dalton (who doesn’t get enough credit for holding the franchise together through its hardest years) and every film since. Even Tomorrow Never Dies, which is the only one I refuse to ever watch again.
The surviving Bond actors (and Bond girls) gave their reactions in many ways, from Jane Seymour to Pierce Brosnan to Connery himself. But I thought it was Daniel Craig who gave the best eulogy. “Nobody does it better.”
In other news…
• In case you’ve been asleep all day and didn’t see the interwebs until now, it’s the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars. I cannot share a story of seeing it in the theater, because I was two years old and my parents sensibly left me with a babysitter. But I’d be nuts not to acknowledge the impact it has had on science fiction, on filmmaking, on American popular culture, on the economy… You can Google the retrospectives as well as I can. But as much as George Lucas has taken it on the chin over the years, no one can deny he created something that spoke to nearly everyone, beyond the boundaries of genre, something ultimately bigger than himself. What more can we ask as artists?
• Racist mouthbreathers are protesting the new Star Trek Discovery because *gasp* the captain is an Asian woman and the first officer is a black woman. Granted, any time someone tries to tie “fan reaction” to the comments on YouTube and Twitter, I am suspect. But worse is that the writers keep calling these idiots “Trekkies.” I challenge them to ask any of these genetically disadvantaged asshats calling Discovery “white genocide in space” (seriously??) whether they have ever actually seen an episode of Star Trek. The answer is no, because Trek pretty much pioneered diversity in mainstream science fiction before these morons were born. Therefore the word they are searching for is “troll,” not “Trekkie.”
• RIP Lisa Spoonauer, best known as Caitlin in Kevin Smith’s raunchy low-budget surprise hit Clerks. In one respect Clerks is vile toilet humor, the sort of film you watch when the kids are in bed and you’re sure no one’s coming over. And yet it spoke to those of us slogging away behind mind-numbing cash registers in the 1990s, a slice of our own lives there in grainy black-and-white film. No one has yet said what caused Spoonauer’s death at the age of 44, but her Clerks castmates have given their condolences and remembered her as a skilled professional who helped shape the film that launched Smith’s career.
• Book nerds who are wondering what the latest Amazon-vs.-publisher kerfuffle is about: Jason Sizemore of Apex Book Co. writes a clear and concise analysis of what it means for publishers, for authors, and for readers.
• An interesting reflection on the Cannes Film Festival’s haute cinema decision and how the blame for the film industry’s problems lies in Hollywood’s obsession with franchises, not streaming services hitting the production arena.
• Here, launch a fight! IndieWire attempts to rank the 25 best science fiction movies of the 21st century (so far). Spoiler alert: Children of Men is first. Um, not even close, boys. Let the battle begin!
• Speaking of movies, this weekend is Memorial Day, which used to be the launching point for the summer blockbusters. It keep creeping earlier every year. The big release this weekend is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which I truly hoped would not suck. Alas, the critics disagree; it’s at 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s still getting higher marks than Baywatch, also coming out this weekend, but let’s not damn it with faint praise. I really did not care for the fourth Pirates film, but I loved the first three, so I was hoping for a return to swashbuckling fun this time…
• In the category of (possible) bombs, literally no one has said “That Dirty Dancing remake was awesome!” It was three hours long, it was on broadcast TV, and everyone has said Baby should have stayed in the corner. Rolling Stone watched it so you don’t have to. Me? I had better things to do, like trim my toenails and wish Patrick Swayze was still around. (Note: There IS a Dirty Dancing Broadway musical, which I understand is pretty awesome and came nowhere near this mess.)
• And finally… Supergirl gives its nod to the upcoming Wonder Woman film. Tee hee hee. “Nice boots.” Go ahead and click, you could use the laugh.
It’s a big weekend here at stately CultureGeek Manor with a birthday, a graduation, a party and probably a great deal of rum coming, so I can’t swear there will be much in Monday’s Linkspam. Have a great holiday weekend, and stay nerdy!