Seen at Insty’s:
How about Unwatchable?
Seen at Insty’s:
How about Unwatchable?
I’ve always thought that the problem with Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond is that Craig doesn’t look like Ian Fleming’s description and characterization of Bond as a man with a cultured veneer, and a tough, ruthless man barely concealed just underneath. It’s why Sean Connery was so good:
…but the rest were too heavy on the “cultured” (Roger Moore) or else pretty boys (Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton) with no “rough” in evidence anywhere. This doesn’t mean they’re bad actors (I’m a huge fan of both Moore and Brosnan), but they were just miscast.
By comparison, Daniel Craig is the complete opposite: a street thug in a tuxedo, no sophistication to be found anywhere.
Which is why his swan song as Bond at the world premiere of whatever they’re calling the latest car on the 007 money train is so jarring:
The jacket’s too short by two inches, and… pink? No doubt the producers are setting us up for the next iteration of 007: Jamie Bond, from West Hollywood.
To make things even worse, his co-star Leah Seydoux looks like a man in drag, and the movie has been dubbed the “wokest Bond movie ever“… to the whirring sound of Ian Fleming spinning in his grave.
All this means I’m unlikely ever to see this movie, but I (and people like me) am no longer relevant to the 007 Marketing Department.
A couple Christmases back, New Wife admitted to #2 Son that she had no idea what animé was, whereupon he gasped in shock. I was a little scornful, because my only exposure to the genre had been the kiddie junk seen on TV during the kids’ childhood. And New Wife can hardly bear to watch cartoons, of any kind.
But the thought obviously rankled him, and being a thoughtful and considerate boy (okay, man: he’s now 31), when he came on Monday to visit us for his birthday week (family tradition, don’t ask), he brought New Wife an animé movie to watch. And so we watched it together last night.
What a revelation.
Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress is an absolute tour de force. The story is compelling, the time/space continuum jumps are seamless — the latter are better than any other movie I’ve ever seen, in any format — and the plot is faultlessly written. It is, quite honestly, a perfect movie.
#2 Son also revealed to us that his favorite Christmas (?) movie is Tokyo Godfathers (also directed by Satoshi Kon), which means it’s high on my list.
If you’re a fan of the animé genre, you’re probably laughing at me right now (and that’s okay); but if like me you’re an ignoramus of the genre, then you owe it to yourself to watch it — just as much as if you’d never seen a black-and-white movie before, you’d have to watch one of the classics made by Ernst Lubitsch, Elia Kazan or John Ford.
He’s left us a few others, carefully selected because he knows my taste in movies. I can’t wait to watch them.
Afterthought: I have to admit that this is not the first time #2 Son has done this to me: he also turned me on to Archer and Arrested Development, to name but two Needless to say, I trust his judgment a great deal. Oh, and one of his Christmas presents to me, many years back, was the boxed set of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’s dance movies.
John Nolte does an interesting service for all of us in examining which movies should have won Best Picture awards during the 1960s.
I only took issue with a couple (and I agree with his scorn for the Academy’s inexplicable yen for big-budget musicals like Sound of Music, West Side Story and [the weakest] Oliver! ).
Kim’s List of the Shoulda-Wons:
1960: BUtterfield 8 (over The Apartment ). Liz Taylor won Best Actress, and the movie was just as good.
1961: The Misfits (over West Side Story ). At the end of this movie, my emotions felt like they’d been pulled through a roll of barbed wire. Gable and Monroe, both unbelievably good.
1962: Lawrence of Arabia (which did win, and deservedly so). The only other possible contenders could have been Cape Fear and What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
1963: Lilies Of The Field (over Tom Jones ). This one’s not even close.
1964: Becket (over My Fair Lady ). Once again, not even close. The only other movie which could ever be considered that year was Zorba The Greek.
1965: Doctor Zhivago (over The Sound Of Music ). Or maybe The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, if we’re going to consider Cold War noir movies as Oscar material.
1966: A Man For All Seasons. Which won, and considering it’s one of the greatest movies ever made — bar none — there’s no argument from either me or Nolte.
1967: Nolte makes this a tie between In The Heat Of The Night (which won) and Bonnie and Clyde. I would fuzz the issue up by arguing for Cool Hand Luke and Belle Du Jour (even though it’s furrin; good is good, and it’s magnificent).
1968: This was the Year Of Oliver! — and while Nolte recommends Rosemary’s Baby in its place, I would choose The Lion In Winter (even though it’s really just a filmed play like Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet — also from 1968). It was actually a terrible year for movies, and the only other way to go is for the quirky (e.g. Lindsay Anderson’s if… or Once Upon A Time In The West ). That’s five alternatives to Oliver!, and each of the five is better that that syrupy slop.
1969: Midnight Cowboy won, and deservedly so. My only possible alternatives would be Anne of the Thousand Days or The Wild Bunch, but in truth, they’re far behind.
Lots of fun. Feel free to nominate your favorites, in Comments.
Afterthought: Nolte has done the same for the following decades, but they’re less interesting — both in terms of the movies themselves and how time changed the criteria for Oscar-winning films. (Braveheart? Titanic? Seriously? )
Here’s a quote from some young actor who is currently appearing in a TV show about homosexuals (which I’ll never watch):
“It is awkward, but the thing was, on the show we had people called intimacy coordinators and their jobs, they’re amazing, they’re jobs are to help with the sex scenes and everyone doing the sex scenes to feel safe and fine and not awkward.”
Here’s a thought: if your actors are requiring what is essentially psychological counseling just to get through a sex scene, perhaps you might just want to dial back the sexuality a tad?
Look, I love me a decent sex scene: Body Heat, Impulse, Zefferelli’s Romeo & Juliet, Don’t Look Now, Unfaithful and the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (not the rape scene, though) — all those and more have been fun as hell to watch, and even now are still quite titillating.
The problem is that as the sexual boundaries have been pushed back on screen, the sex scenes have become not only more explicit, but more intense — and along the way, more harrowing. Erica Jong once described porno movies as (paraphrasing) after the first ten minutes, you want to fuck somebody, and after the next twenty minutes, you never want to fuck again for the rest of your life.
Modern mainstream movies about sex are like that. I defy anyone to be anything but depressed after watching Gaspar Noé’s Love, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac , 9 Songs or Anatomie de l’enfer (to name the most extreme examples). In some of the modern French movies (e.g. Anatomie), I start to feel depressed during the first sex scene, which must be some kind of record.
I’m not suggesting we go back to the Hays Code era, where the husband and wife had to sleep in separate beds, and extra- or non-marital sex had to result in the death of one of the participants (which is downright sick, sicker than the taboo sex). But seriously: let’s just leave a little to the imagination, shall we?
Here’s a thought: if a sex scene means that the actors have written into their contracts that the acts must be performed by a body double, then dial it back and ditch the sexual stand-ins. And any sex scene which lasts longer than one (1) minute should be edited until it doesn’t.
Let’s keep it sexy, but also keep it subtle, and short. Sex doesn’t have to be spelled out — we all know what it’s about. Here’s an example, from Hitchcock’s North By Northwest :
Anyone remember what this scene cut to? Yup: here it is. Thirty-five seconds.