Image Problem

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.

Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot

There’s a new Kim du Toit book on sale.

 

Just be warned:  it’s nothing like my usual fare.

The idea came to me shortly after Connie died, and I wrote most of it while staying at Free Market Towers.

I’m still working on Skeleton Coast;  while it is completed (finally!), I have to reformat it the whole thing to make it work in both print and Kindle, which requires almost a line-by-line edit.  It should all be done by the end of next week.

Plus One

John Nolte provides a list of Clint Eastwood’s “offbeat” movies and characters, and I can’t really argue with any of them.

I just wish he’d made it a “top six” and added the much-ignored but superb Tightrope, wherein Clinty plays a New Orleans cop who is nothing like his Harry Callahan forebears:  he’s a single dad, vulnerable, a below-average cop who makes mistakes almost every step of the way.  He doesn’t even carry a .44 Magnum, but some teeny little .38 snubbie.

But the best part is that his investigation takes him into the murky world of deviant sex — which at first repels him, but after some time, and despite all his better instincts, starts to attract him and in so doing, draws him into his prey’s world, making him the hunted.

One of the most attractive features of Clint’s typical movie personae  is that he is strong in his beliefs, and when he straddles the line between right and wrong, he’s always aware of the line.  Not in Tightrope.  And his portrayal of the moral confusion and temptation to which he begins to succumb makes it, I think, one of his most compelling performances.

Watch it if you can get it.

Revelation

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.

Thrilling

I have very few novels in hardback on my bookshelves, other than some of the classics (e.g. Les Miserables ).  Of the modern genre, fewer than a dozen.

But the very first novel I bought in hardback — after destroying two paperback copies thereof — was Frederick Forsyth’s The Day Of The Jackal, which is quite possibly the greatest thriller ever written.  (If you’ve never read it, get a copy now;  you’ll thank me later.  My copy is leather-bound, by the way, and I think I’ll read it yet again, because it’s been years.)

The story behind the novel, of which I knew nothing, is equally astonishing.  And no, I’m not jealous of Forsyth’s success;  I’m just in awe.

Shoulda Coulda

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? )