Attempt to bond over 007 met with disinterest
Can we all just take a moment here and acknowledge that the fact they called that movie "Octopussy" is still kind of amazing?
I’ve been watching a lot of James Bond movies lately. Usually by myself. I can say proudly that I have raised my children to be the type of people who are not entertained by a Bond film. My wife has let me know she loves me more than she hates James Bond movies, so I’ve got that going for me.
When I get home in the evenings, I just want to shut my brain down. I’ll grab a beer, some supper and turn on 007 in an effort to stave off the despair of existence. That’s why movies were invented in the first place.
Oh, and I’ll say goodnight to the kids first. I mean, I like them and like talking to them. I even offer to let them stay up late on a school might to watch movies with me.
Kid: "What are you going to watch?"
Me: "Something Daddy wants to watch. Oh, look! ‘The Man With The Golden Gun!’ "
Me: "No, wait! This one is really bananas, and has Christopher Lee playing the bad guy, and the fact he had a third nipple is a plot point!
Kid: (Sigh.) I said ‘goodnight.’ "
And I’m the adult.
Keep in mind I went to see these movies in the theater. It was a big deal as a kid to see Roger Moore quip his way through two hours of Bond movie, representing a solid 35 minutes of entertainment.
Bond movies present the viewer with a Zen Koan, if you will, the paradoxical riddles used for Buddhist meditation. He’s an action icon starring in movies that are composed of lots and lots of talky exposition.
There’s the rank misogyny that comes off as part cheese and part reinforcement of old-fashioned values. There are the outlandish villains who always seem to have the dullest plans for world domination. Stealing gold? Really? And there’s the gratuitous violence that also manages to be somehow bloodless and lame.
Are the Bond movies entertainment, or a statement on the futility of a life of action?
Everyone has the Bond they connect with, a 007 spirit guide. When I was a kid, it was Roger Moore’s jokey and debonair take on the super secret agent. I still like the Moore Bond movies best, even if they are more campy than exciting at times.
And let’s face it, Moore might be the most out-of-shape actor to be Bond in the whole franchise history. He’s flabby. Very flabby.
Sean Connery’s semi-sinister take on Bond is considered the gold standard, yet his movies are just as goofy as anything Moore ever did, and that’s taking "Moonraker" into account.