Time to kill: How a James Bond film book club helped me survive foreclosure | James bond

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Bn March, right after the declaration of the first lockdown, I started going to the virtual pub every Saturday night with a group of six classmates. Most of us had not spoken to each other regularly for many years, so our weekly Zoom sessions were a valuable opportunity to share our thoughts on work and parenting, to exchange anecdotes from our school years. and to confess our hopes and fears for the future.

We didn’t want to discuss our situations, it turned out. We wanted to escape them. Within a month, real life was limited to the first few minutes of each conversation, and the bonds around Bond counted for the rest. In less than two months, we had assigned ourselves some homework. Each week we would watch a Bond movie and then debate its merits over beers and vodka martinis. At first we tried to vary the schedule with non-Bond films – okay, so, Carry On Cowboy – but that initiative was killed just as quickly as the untrustworthy Lt. Specter in Thunderball.

No story seemed worth analyzing if it wasn’t about a known secret agent everywhere he went. No question was as compelling as whether Octopussy was too far-fetched: We didn’t mind 007 dressing up as a clown before deactivating a nuclear warhead, but the backgammon scene from the same movie was beyond that. pallor. (“Bond takes the job when the Major has all his men on the board,” a friend complained on WhatsApp. “By the time they get to flirt with the dice, he’s got 11. Pure bullshit.”) the movie “book club” was launched, and it has been going on ever since.

What attracted us to these movies like the giant magnets from You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me? It could have simply been their availability: where would the ITV programmers be without them? We might be middle-aged men, and therefore susceptible to their macho fantasies – especially when the actor playing the ultra-manly super-spy was even older than us.

Then there was the pandemic factor. While we cooked in our apartments and homes, we could experience the Bond films as their original audiences did: marveling at the sunny, exotic places we couldn’t visit. And perhaps, on some level, we have been comforted by the sight of a global apocalypse averted by British jurisdiction. Edgy dramas were daunting in 2020, while comedies seemed too light-hearted. But colorful adventures in which the entire human race is threatened and then saved – well, you can see the allure.

Even if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, Bond films would be particularly well suited to a weekly “book club”. Their sheer numbers put them ahead of most of the competition – two dozen films spanning decades, so each one awakens memories of where you were when you first saw it. And each of them is a perfect cocktail of familiarity and variation. It’s reassuring to know what you’re going to get, but you can appreciate seeing how the music, design, effects, and politics have been redesigned and updated. You can, in short, dive deep into their treasures (copyright: Bond, James Bond). And if you end up laughing at fashion and wincing at sexism, that’s okay too. I can tell from bitter journalistic experience that some franchises are so revered that you can’t criticize them without risking your life or your body – or at least a few nasty tweets about your physical flaws. But 007 fans tend to be kind enough to admit that the junk splashes and rubbery reptiles make us love the series even more.

Now that we’re out of Bond movies, my only regret is that our schedule was as hit and miss as the plot of Moonraker: Craig one week, Dalton the next. At first, someone suggested that we start with Dr. No and go through the canon in chronological order. But it seemed absurdly too ambitious. There were 24 official Eon Bond films, plus two unofficial, which would mean half a year of Zoom talks. There was no way the pandemic would last that long, was there?

On an equally naive note, someone proposed that when the coronavirus is over and dusted off, we could all come together to watch No Time to Die in theaters … in November. Alas, our divination turned out to be more fragile than that of Solitaire in Live and Let Die. No Time to Die won’t release until April, and normal life might not return until later, so it looks like we can get it right: hit play on Dr No and watch it all again. It’s either that or the Carry On movies, after all.


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