The 007 Project: Octopussy

Previously On The 007 Project: I got back in the general swing of things and so did Roger Moore! For Your Eyes Only was a wonderful return to form

Who’s Our Bond: We’re still on Moore and I like him more than ever in this run. Seriously, the movies are keeping their lightness, but have lost their Smokey And The Bandit style zaniness, and are all the better for them. I’m hoping that we enter a similar tone coming up soon in this franchise, but we’ll get to my hopes for the future in the great beyond of someday when No Time To Die comes out. Anyway, Roger Moore, still very good. I know I’ve only been through 3 on this project, but he really is my front runner favorite.

What’s The Plot: A fabrege egg has been stolen and replaced by a fake! Also the Russians are trying to get Western Europe to disengage on a nuclear level, so that they can bomb the US without reprisal. Standard Cold War shit. While tracking the assasination of 009, Bond finds himself caught up with some jewel smugglers and a weird cult, led by the Octopussy, a poweful business woman, with a stupid name. She and Bond have several, “we’re not so different, you and I,” moments and obviously wind up in love.

It is quickly learned that the fake egg is a nuclear device of some kind, and there’s some nonsense with a circus and the American base in West Berlin, but basically Bond solves the case, and he and Octopussy float off together.

Tell Me About The Girl

I really enjoyed Octopussy, as played by Maud Adams. I like that she was more mature, that she had her own concerns outside of Bond and the mission and I hate her stupid name, but otherwise, this is a real step forward, Bond Girl wise.

The Song Is The Thing

“All Time High” is actually a really rad song, performed by Rita Coolidge and hey Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. (I am, if you followed my travails in the past year, a fan of Sir Tim’s work! The Lion King! Evita! Chess!) I think it’s funny that they realized they couldn’t call the song “Octopussy” because it is such a stupid name. So stupid. I hate it so much.

Overall Thoughts

While hating the title is a big thing for me here, I genuinely enjoyed watching this movie. It’s fun, breezy, and well performed. I’ll get into it more next week, but I very much appreciate that Moore was able to ride out his tenure on a high note of three good movies.

Which brings us to next week! A View To A Kill! Christopher Walken! Tanya Roberts (RIP)! Grace Jones! Very Exciting

The 007 Project: Moonraker

I took The Holidays off from blogging. I’m back in the new year! Usually I dive into the new year with a fun new concept. This year, alas no. I’m starting new work in the next few weeks and I don’t know how much time I’m going to have so I don’t want to commit to anything. We’ll keep going with the Bond stuff though.

Previously On The 007 Project: While I am still charmed by Roger Moore, but I think the shine may be coming off soon. I also reiterate my enjoyment of Bond being in Hitchcock style romantic films.

Who’s Our Bond: Still Roger Moore. He’s starting to show his age and his boredom. I really think he brought it for The Spy Who Loved Me, but this is back to coasting. At least, fucking Sherriff JW Peppah doesn’t show up this time. I’ve discovered that the extended comedic chase scene is the thing I like the least about Moore’s tenure.

What’s The Plot?

The RAF and NASA have lost a rocket! OH NO! Only James Bond can find it. It turns out that the rocket, The Moonraker was stolen by the sinister aerospace billionair Drax, who also hired Jaws to fight Bond. Bond is aided in his search for the rock by Dr. Holly Goodhead. (SIGH) Drax wants to start life over on the moon, with himself as the sire of a master race. (COOL) Doctor Goodhead and Bond get shot into space, and they defeat Drax and that’s kind of it. (I actually got really bored watching this movie so I didn’t pay super close attention).

I’m Addressing The Problematic

I didn’t notice anything, but as I said, I was pretty bored and not paying close attention.

Tell Me About The Girl

Lois Chile plays Holly Goodhead, and, LORD that name makes me want to gouge my eyes out, but at least she’s a Doctor and she thinks Bond sucks (you know, until she doesn’t)

The Song Is The Thing

Shirley Bassey is back! Hooray! The song is not as good as “Goldfinger” (nothing is), but it’s servicable. There’s something about Bassey’s throaty belting that feels like James Bond.

Overall Thoughts

Oof, this one was rough. I kept meaning to rewatch it so that I would have more to say, but I couldn’t bring myself to. That’s why this is short. I’m going to return to the Wednesday posting here in two days, when I watch For Your Eyes Only. (RIP Tanya Roberts)

The 007 Project: The Spy Who Loved Me

Peviously On The 007 Project: I dig Roger Moore. Bond went to Hong Kong and learned Kung Fu.

Sorry I’m late this week! I got a new job! YAY!!!!! But I realized I hadn’t gotten this post done on Wednesday morning and I was already getting dressed to go to said new job so, this one is a bit rushed and late! Sorry again.

Who’s Our Bond?

Still Moore for the next few movies. I’m enjoying each Bond’s shot at a romance, if you’re Lazenby it’s your only shot, and so far they have been my favorites. Moore does well.

What’s The Plot?

When both a British and Soviet submarine disappear, Bond is called in on the British side to find it, on the Russian side Anya Amasova is brought in. They team up after some antagonistic flirting, and chase Jaws across Egypt. They also do my favorite James Bond thing during this section. (I have favorite things in this series now! Aren’t you excited, I definitely am) They hook up on a boat! (She also mentions Tracey and he shuts her down with the most withering of withering British glares)

They learn that the submarines were taken by a tycoon named, Not Blofeld For Rights Reasons. He wants to start society over underwater. Whatever, Anya and Bond foil him. But more importantly she learns he was involved in the death of the love of her life in a ski chase at the begining of the movie. Will she forgive him?

She does! Hooray

I’m Adressing The Problematic

I mean, it’s a depiction of the Middle East in the 80’s. Nothing glaring, but it’s not you know, perfect.

Tell Me About The Girl

Barbara Bach plays Anya. She’s sexy, smart and badass, not to mention she’s got her own axe to grind, ie getting revenge for her dead lover. I like her a lot. I like this movie a lot

The Song Is The Thing

The song is a Carly Simon song called “Nobody Does It Better” which I didn’t realize even was a Bond song, so, it’s not a great one.

Overall Thoughts

I liked this one! I like this plot construction, but the lack of Blofeld in the role that is obviously supposed to be Blofeld delfates things. The Skiing scenes are cool and I like Anya. I still dig Roger Moore.

Next week we go to the Moon, but not really with Moonraker, and in some good, I don’t have to do as much planning news, a bunch of the movies just dropped on Peacock! YAY!!!!!

The 007 Project: Diamonds Are Forever

Previously on The 007 Project: We got a delightful romantic comedy (That ended in murder) and a Bond girl with actual agency and personality.

Who’s Our Bond:

Connery is back baby! The time off did him good. He’s much more engaged in the material here than he was in You Only Live Twice, he’s still a bit too old and he’s put on some weight, but in general it works.

What’s The Plot

We open with a pretty brutal series of scenes where 007 is hunting down Blofeld and killing each source. Tracey is not mentioned, but is my presumed reason for the brutality. Anyway, Blofeld has been changing his appearance regularly to stay a step ahead. Bond catches and presumably kills him.

M then tells Bond his next job is to stop some diamond smugglers, which annoys Bond, because like, downgrade! But he takes his orders and follows a few contacts to Amsterdam, where he meets Tiffany Case, and then they wing to Las Vegas with the gems. (There’s also a whole set piece where he escapes a crematorium). In Vegas we learn that Blofeld is NOT dead and has taken control of a billionaire’s corporation to launch a nuclear sattelite. The diamonds figure into this somehow, though I’m not exactly clear how.

Tiffany and Bond thwart the plan (Felix is around too! HI FELIX!) and then whisk off on a boat.

I’m Adressing The Problematic

Beyond the usual Bond sexism, pretty tame.

Tell Me About The Girl

Jill St. John plays Tiffany Case, and while she’s not terribly distinctive, she does wear fun wigs, and keeps trying to make sure her connection to Bond keeps her out of prison. It’s a cute bit.

The Song Is The Thing

Shirley Bassey is back for this song, which makes sense since a lot of this movie feels like warmed over Goldfinger. The song itself is fine, extolling how you can count on diamonds when people let you down, hence they are “forever”

Overall Thoughts

A middling Bond, very in line with the last few movies. The Vegas setting is super fun, I’m always happy to see 007 at a Casino, but the script is thin, the story tough to follow and Connery really really needs to be done. Which he now is.

Next week we enter the Roger Moore era. Hooray!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Chapter 10: “The Passenger”

So, first of all, I hope you’re all feeling good. Here the sun is shining, we’re all taking deep breaths because the future seems to be looking pretty good. The craziest election ever is over and now we get to exhale because some barriers have been broken and you know, it’s good. Also there’s promising COVID Vaccine news! Whoo!

Of course I knew none of this on Friday night when I watch The Mandalorian’s 10th episode, which did offer as a nice easy balm for the evening.

So, after getting Boba Fett’s armor, Mando and Little Baby Yoda go back to Mos Eisley, looking for more leads. Amy Sedaris and a Giant Ant get them a job with a giant Frog Woman who needs transport and might know something about the surviving Mandalorians. She’s trying to get to her home planet so that her eggs can hatch.

After an encounter with some cops (New Republic X-Wing Pilots) they crash land on an ice planet and also the whole time Little Baby Yoda has been just eating the crap out of those Frog Eggs. (As my friend Sara said, “That is some toddler realness!”)

On the planet, The Frog woman finds a hot spring, while Mando repairs the Razor Crest, and there are eggs for LBY there too! Unfortunately they are the eggs of a terrifying spider monster that definitely tries to eat them. Luckily they get the ship working and off they fly, after a confrontation with the cops. (One of whom is Dave Filoni!)

Look, it was a fun little episodic adventure. It is very clear that there was a price increase because once again the action finale is incredible, and it was directed by Peyton Reed so there are all these fabulous small comedy moments, that he’s so good at. And most importantly, BABY YODA RUNS AND IT IS THE CUTEST. America, we’re moving forward. It’s all very exciting.

The nerd commentary this time was quieter, but it was a lot of AWWWW, and being super excited about The Frog Woman, who is great, although we are disappointed in the uncreative name. GIVE A SPECIES NAME.

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the season so far and especially loving my group watches. I have great friends who I love. I love everyone today.

Cross your fingers for that vaccine my darlings!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 9: The Marshal”

As always, SPOILERS. You’ve had all weekend to watch the episode.

First things first. Baby Yoda remains a true treasure, who must always be defended. Mando, meanwhile, is just casually bringing him to Fight Club, like it’s no big thing.

Be a better parent Mando!

Yes, we start out with our intrepid warrior goes to a fight between a pair of those pig men who guard Jabba The Hutt, and talks with a gangster played by John Leguizamo. (Right off the bat The Mandalorian is killing it with the guest spots again) He understands said gangster might have information that could lead him to more Mandolorians which might then in turn lead to getting Little Baby Yoda back to the Jedi. Of course the gangster is just after the armor, but in truly badass fashion, Mando strings the guy up, finds out there’s a Mandalorian working on Tatooine. He goes, is greeted by Amy Sedaris (As glad to see her as she was to see LBY) and heads right out from Mos Eisley to Space Deadwood, I mean Mos Pelgo.

Once there, he enters the Cantina where the friendly bartender, played by W. Earl Brown , who played Barman Dan Dorrity on Deadwood, because this is an episode of Deadwood without the swearing. (Or alas, The Swearengen) As Mando questions him about seeing other Mandalorians and Baby Yoda makes cooing noises and the bartender asks if he means, “The Marshal” who then enters and is Boba Fett!

No, he’s not Boba Fett, he’s Marshal Seth Bullock, uh, I mean Cobb Vanth, played by Timothy Olyphant with an extremely attractive beard, who through a series of convoluted events came into possession of Boba’s armor (or “armpit” as my phone happily corrected it to.) He agrees to give the armor back to Mando if he helps free the town from a sand worm, err, a Krayt Dragon. (DUUUUNNNNNEEEEEE). They team up with some Tuskens to do so, and after takin’ a vote in The Gem saloon, erm, I mean the Cantina, they beat the dragon in the most astounding action sequence I’ve ever seen on television.

Vanth and Mando part noting they hope to meet again, and like The Judge on The Good Place, I very much hope they do because more Olyphant on my TV is a good thing, all the time.

The episode ends with Mando speeding away and on a hill, watching, a mysterious cloaked figure who is as it turns out Temeura Morrison! Morrison played Jango Fett and the Clones in the prequel trilogy, which means this is most certainly Boba Fett. It may also be Rex, or one of the other surviving clones. (God, I hope it’s Rex.) The smart money, though, given that it’s Tatooine and the appearance of his armor, that it’s Boba.

The most exciting thing for me this season, besides just so much good Star Wars content and Timothy Olyphant, is the Disney+ group watch feature, which allowed me and The Nerds to stream simultaneously and chat throughout our watch. Highlights from this week include being blown away by the visuals, thirsting after Timothy Olyphant and general Boba and or Rex related flailing.

I’m so glad to have The Mandalorian back. I love Star Wars so much, and I’ve missed it dearly.

The 007 Project: Goldfinger

Previously On The 007 Project: I really like From Russia With Love and everything else is going to have to live up to it. Remember how I got with Fantasia? Or Clone Wars? Or Winter Soldier? I think this is going to be like that.

It is with this context that I dive into what my friend John, (who is a huge Bond fan) calls “The Quientessential Bond Movie.” I’ll summarize more of his thoughts and our conversation below.

Who’s Our Bond

Still Connery. Still sexy, though he’s starting to show his age a bit. He’s also even more winky, this time around. He’s very aware of himself and the character, and he is having an absolute blast and it shows. He also wears a romper in one scene and turns a lesbian. We’ll get there.

What’s The Plot?

James Bond is on vacation in Miami and Felix Leiter approaches him to explain that an German? horse breeder who also smuggles gold, Auric Goldfinger is around and they need to get eyes on him. Bond gets eyes on him and also breaks up his gambling cheating and steals his girl. It’s all very cool. The girl, Jill Masterson is then killed to send a message to Bond. He gets the message. Also it turns out Goldfinger has a huge plot of some kind, so Bond is sent with many gadgets (WE MEET Q!) to Switzerland to infiltrate Goldfinger’s operation, he fails spectacularly at it and is instead kidnapped and flown to Maryland on Goldfinger’s private jet, by his stylish private pilot Pussy Galore. (We will talk about Pussy later but she’s great, and I love her) During his imprisonment Bond learns Goldfinger plans to drop a nuke on Fort Knox, thus rendering it’s gold worthless and making Goldfinger even richer. He gets the message to Felix, they stop the plot, he and Pussy have sex in a barn, eventually Goldfinger tries to kill Bond by shooting him in an airplane which DOES NOT WORK and gets him sucked out into the sky.

There are care chases and missiles and it rules. This movie is great.

I’m Addressing The Problematic

There’s less racism in this one, besides just like, everyone being white, except Odd Job, (who rules) and is Korean. But let’s talk about sexism, homophobia and the dubious consent of sex with James Bond.

So, Jill Masterson gets Fridged. We meet her, she’s pretty, she has fun sexy times with James Bond, she gets murdered so that he’ll understand Goldfinger is serious. This sucks. Kind of a lot.

Also, in the novel, Goldfinger Pussy Galore is a lesbian who then turns when James Bond pins her down and bones her in a barn. This is toned down because obviously the movie wasn’t going to be able to have be a lesbian, that would be ridiculous. Instead she just tells Bond to stop flirting with her and wears fabulous pant suits, so yeah, I totally clocked that she was queer. Then, James Bond chases her into a barn, she tells him she’s not interested, he kissed her a bunch, and she kind of is into it, but not? Dunno, but it’s not, um, super great.

The pants suits however, are excellent.

Tell Me About The Girl

Jill Masterson first, is played by Shirley Eaton. She’s very pretty and fun, and she gets to sleep with James Bond, but then she gets painted entirely gold and suffocates to death and it’s a cool set piece but a bummer, as discussed above.

Honor Blackman plays Pussy Galore and it rules and she’s great, and she’s queer coded, and I love that in my head she’s a bisexual, which I understand is like completely unthinkable to the people who made this movie but rules, if you’re me, a bisexual woman who loves James Bond movies. She’s a pilot, she runs an air circus it’s the best.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

This is our first really cool Bond Car! It’s Astin Martin DB5, and it has an ejector seat and rocket launchers which is cool. Here’s Joe’s facts about the car:

(I will edit and put this in when he gets back to me. I procrastinated asking about it!)

The Song Is The Thing

The song “Goldfinger” is performed by Shirley Bassey and won an Oscar and is SO GOOD. It’s a warning about a bad man who will always choose gold over love. Bassey belts the HELL out of this song and it’s a favorite and I have listened to it a lot over the past few weeks.

Other People’s Opinions Matter Too I Guess

My friend John Trumbull, who is a very funny comedian who also makes a great podcast about SNL that you should listen to and I chatted about Goldfinger, and I thought he said some interesting things. I have also previously been cranky about John’s Star Wars opinions and apologized a lot for that. (He’s wrong about The Force Awakens but I was being mean.) ANYWAY John likes James Bond a lot, in particular these early Connery movies, which he describes as “near flawless.” I disagree on Dr. No, which I think is kind of boring, but I get it. Here are some other thoughts from John and my conversation, summarized:

  • Bond’s crack about listening to The Beatles with ear muffs on makes sense for a grown man to say in 1964, but is a lapse in Jame’s otherwise flawless taste
  • John also likes that Goldfinger has to explain what a laser is to the audience because it’s 1964
  • In general, Goldfinger is much more time stamped than Dr. No and From Russia With Love which feel a little more free floating in the post war era. Goldfinger was made in 1964 and takes place in 1964 and that is abundantly clear.
  • Here’s a direct quote: “Goldfinger is basically the quintessential Bond film, it crystallized the formula the rest of the films followed.” I agree!

This portion of the project will recur but perhaps not every week, just occasionally.

Overall Thoughts

This movie is fun! I really enjoyed myself. I did not like it as much as From Russia With Love but I did like it a whole lot. This feels the most like the Bond movies that I know well. (Largely the Brosnan and Craig ones) And it is definitely the one most parodied.

Next week, we go to Thunderball, and we move to Wednesday! Because on Friday The Mandolorian comes back and I have recapping to write.

In The Shadow of Adaptation: Rebecca

“We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still too close to us. The things we have tries to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might in some manner unforseen become a living companion as it had been before.

Du Maurier, 5

I almost started this review with Rebecca’s famous opening lines, but I prefer the above quote, which I think sums up the story better. Rebecca is a story about people trying to both live with the past and outrun it at the same time, and it makes for a fantastic psycological thriller.

The new version on Netflix is not really that. It does star two actors who I have big crushes on, and does dreamy period romance and murder mystery well. It doesn’t however, do particularly well with the Gothic Romance elements of the story, which is probably my favorite part of the novel, as you can see in my review of it from a few years ago.

I’ll start with the actors. Our leads, Maxim DeWinter and his unnamed second wife are played by Armie Hammer and Lily James. Hammer has done hard work over the past few years winning me over. (The Man From UNCLE! Call Me By Your Name! Leaking kinky photos of himself post divorce! ALLEGEDLY!) and I have had a massive crush on James since she flounced into Downton Abbey with her modern ideas about fringed dresses and interracial romance. They both do well here. The movie really leans into the fact that these two very hot people want to be having sex with each other.

And they do have plenty of hot sex. And they wear gorgeous outfits and flit around Monte Carlo and that part of the movie is excellent.

Then we come to Manderley. Maxim’s ancestral home. Things are still being run by the creepy Mrs. Danvers, played with chilly precision and Sapphic repression by Kristin Scott Thomas (Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca were DEFINITELY having sex and you will never convince me otherwise.). She is appalled by her new mistress. The only scenes that nearly touch the Gothic perfection of the novel and the Hitchcock movie are the scene where Mrs. Danvers describes Rebecca in her boudoir and when she tries to convince Mrs. De Winter to kill herself. The rest feels silly and perfunctory and it’s such a bummer.

The movie does handle the section of the story where Maxim is accused of murdering Rebecca perfectly. (He is, in fact, guilty, but Rebecca was a bitch who was cheating on him, so I guess it’s OK?) It handles the conspiracy and uncovering of Rebecca’s cancer wonderfully.

It’s just a bummer because that is the portion of the story that I’m just not particularly interested in. I like the early whirlwind romance and I like the Gothic horror aspects, and this particular adaptation is not as interested in that portion. Which is fine, there are several angles to take with this story, I just don’t think this take is for me, despite it’s appealing leads and lovely costuming.

The 007 Project: From Russia With Love

Previously on The 007 Project: I was getting nervous because I didn’t super enjoy watching Dr. No and I was afraid I’d made a huge mistake choosing this as my new watch project.

But I took a deep breath, and stuck with it and watched From Russia With Love.

And you guys? I really liked this one. It is a much more fun watch than it’s predecessor. It’s cheekier, Connery gets to do more of the stuff I liked from him in Dr. No, and it’s a little bit less racist and sexist. (I mean, it’s still really racist and sexist you guys. This is not a woke franchise.)

Who’s Our Bond

We’re still in Connery land and I still love him. He’s so much fun in this part. He’s just along for this delightful ride, smirking and quipping and practically winking at the camera. He gets that this is a ridiculous game and he’s having a ball playing it. He has a few more intense and emotional scenes which he also nails.

What’s The Plot This Time

A mysterious man who’s face we never see but has a distinctive white cat (Me as we see this, *SQUEEEEEEEEE* BLOFELD!) holds a meeting with two of his operatives and declares that SPECTRE is ready for their next step, further destabilizing the East/West Cold War tensions to rise to power in the chaos that will come. The plan is to sow some seeds of distrust in Istanbul, via a Russian agent defecting, and as a bonus, killing that pesky James Bond, who got the valuable Dr. No killed. The Russian agent chosen is Tatiana Romanova, who reaches out to M, saying she has a decoding machine that MI6 wants, and that she’ll only communicate with 007. Baffled, but very into this mission, once he sees a picture of Tatiana, Bond hops a plane to Istanbul, rendevous with Ali Kerim Bey, and then Tatiana. They get the machine and head towards England (with some fun set pieces along the way) and Bond learns that Tatiana is actually taking orders from Rosa Klebb, and Klebb has defected to SPECTRE. Tatiana still thinks she’s working for Russia and is pretty pissed she was used by the rogue organization so then she defects for real. Klebb is threatened by Blofeld (who we don’t know is Blofeld yet) that he will not tolerate another failure from her.

I’m Addressing The Problematic

Ooookkkaaayyy, let’s get started. So, there is a very racist section of this movie that could be cut entirely without losing much of anything. (Isn’t that always a bummer? I mean, a whole movie being super racist sucks, but when there’s just BOOM 20 MINUTES OF TERRIBLE RACISM it’s so jarring) While in Instanbul, Kerim takes Bond to a Romani camp, (though they use a commonly used slur for folks of Romani cultural background) where they watch a sexy girl dance, and then there’s a fight between two women to win the right to marry the son of the chief. When the Russians (actually SPECTRE) attack the gathering, and Bond protects them the chief says, “SURPRISE, you James Bond are my son now and also those girls, all yours.” It is, unsettling. And then, completely unaddressed.

But again, this is a 20 minute section that you could completely skip over and lose pretty much nothing except some weird racist shit.

Tell Me About The Girl

Tatiana Romanova is played by Daniela Bianchi, and I like her a lot. She’s a loyal Russian intelligence clerk, who is chosen pretty much because of her unfailing loyalty to the state and also she’s super hot, and they want to lure James Bond and having a super hot lady around is a great way to do that. While there’s still a lot of pouting and looking pretty involved, she’s a pretty active (if reactive) character, who’s in control of her own mind and dislikes being used. She does however, enjoy sex with James Bond. (And who wouldn’t, really?) So when she defects for real, they head off to Venice and make out in a Gondola. Is great. I like it a whole lot.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

I had to do a little more digging to even ask Joe about a car this time, because there’s only one scene with the car. This movie is much more about boats and a train. Anyway, it’s a 1935 Bentley Mark IV, it was what Bond drove in the books and honestly? I kind of forgot to ask Joe about it. Because it isn’t really featured much in the movie at all.

The Song Is The Thing

This is the first time we get a Bond Theme Song, besides the iconic orchestral theme, which does indeed rule super hard. The song “From Russia With Love” is a cool loungey ballad performed by Matt Monro. The song plays diagetically as Bond picnics with sometimes girlfriend Eunice Grayson (who he met in the casino in Dr. No) and then over the end critics. The song seems to be about a world traveler who’s decided to hang up his hat and settled down with his sweetheart. It is pretty good.

Overall Thoughts

I genuinely and really enjoyed this movie and it totally energized me going into the project, which, Dr. No had gotten me a little bit freaked out about. I had an absolute ball watching this movie and can’t wait to move forward, because, if I’m remembering correctly, things just get more campy and fun from here.

Next week, we get into Goldfinger. I don’t remember much about the movie, but the song is good.

The Weird Bits That Made Me: The Rocketeer

Welcome To: The Weird Bits That Made Me, an expoloration of the idiosyncratic or obscure pop culture that I was into as a kid. I lived a strange suburban existence, with relatively young and somewhat hip parents and there were some real gems in the offbeat cultural stuff they exposed us to as kids. It hought it would be fun to once a week explore some of that

I’m not the only nerd of a certain age to talk about how the notorious Disney produced flop The Rocketeer, made in 1991 by director Joe Johnston, was a big influence on their taste. There are tons of blog posts and think pieces out there about this one. Mostly, because Johnston went back to the well in some major ways when he made Captain America: The First Avenger which I also love.

The Rocketeer tells the story of Cliff Secor (Billy Campbell, adorable) a struggling stunt pilot in 1930’s Los Angeles, who comes across an experimental jet pack, along with his trusty mentor and mechanic Peevy (Alan Arkin! The cast only gets more exciting from here folks). The pack was stolen from Howard Hughes (Terry O’Quinn!) by gangster Joey Valentine (PAUL SORVINO!) who has been employed by matinee idol Neville Sinclair (TIMOTHY DALTON! Who we will be talking about more eventually!) who is actually a Nazi spy. Sinclair becomes interested in Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny, an up and coming actress (Jennifer Connolly at her absolute hottest) and shenanigans ensue.

It’s a great movie. Fun, and funny and grown up without feeling tawdry, with clean exciting practical action and a “Gee Whiz!” energy that never feels corny. Johnston really excels at this, and I’m 1000% convinced that fond memories of this movie got him the Cap job. There are quite a few beats reused. (It ends with a couple of kids running around the airfield pretending to be The Rocketeer, which made me laugh out loud.)

We also watched this movie maybe every weekend growing up. It was my brothers favorite movie ever, and I can honestly say, my absolute love of this movie, is I think a testament to how oddly isolated to my family my childhood was. I spent most of my time with my siblings and cousins, and so we liked all the same things. When I was a teenager and referenced something like The Rocketeer, and no one knew what I was talking about, was the first time I learned that my references were just a little out of step. And when someone did know what I was talking about, I knew they were a friend.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended one of my nerd friends Central Park hang outs, (these have been sanity saving) and I mentioned watching it for this feature and got an explosion of, “I love The Rocketeer” from a few, and then describing the flick, a “that sounds awesome.”

The Rocketeer is a great movie and I hope more people discover and fall in love with it because of Disney +. It was also nice to do a movie after having done music based ones for the past few times. (Most of these are going to be music though, probably)