Thursday, September 25, 2014

the complainist returns! the complainst vs. 007


I am not yet prepared to read more 50 Shades so I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer for that. The more you read of EL James, the lower your sensitivity gets, so on the advice of my doctor, I am continuing my sabbatical.

BUT I've gotta put something up here for the international spam robots to read. (Editor's note: we presume that most of our traffic is from spam robots. Feel free to prove us wrong by saying hi or whatever.) So the question is this: whither the complainist? 

Not that long ago I thought it would be fun to re-watch all the James Bond flicks, starting at the beginning. And while I knew I'd seen most of them, I also was pretty sure I'd missed a couple here and there, so why not catch up with the full run?

So I started doing it and you know what? James Bond movies are almost exclusively terrible. Sometimes charmingly so, but often not. Often just regular terrible.

Typical crimes of early the early JB:

  • These plots? They just ooze in all directions. When I was a kid I thought maybe the stories were just complicated and that's why I didn't always get them. Turns out I still don't really get them. The plot feels like it's being made up in real time. It also just sort of feels like JB launches himself places blindly, but always ends up in the right spot based on dumb luck. 
  • I should've put this first: they're even more sexist and racist than I thought they were going to be. I mean, we all know about the sexist tropes like the "Bond girl" but they're weirder and grosser than I recall. And also there's one where JB pretends he's gay so he can catch a villain / sleep with a bunch of ladies. (Editor's note: this is a real thing from a movie! Not a joke!)
  • The action early on is super mediocre. You know how contemporary action stars look all actiony? Early JB just looks like somebody's well-dressed dad. He looks like he works at a bank and plays golf on the weekend. As in, I mean you wouldn't call him out of shape, exactly, but you don't see him and say, "Hey that is a man who can punch his way out of a situation." Because that's not how you see him. You see him and say, "Hey, when I'm fifty, maybe I could look like that. That wouldn't be so bad!" Right? That is not the thing I say when I see Daniel Craig. Also note that I said "fifty." Early JB seems decidedly middle aged. JB basically never seems young, per se. He always seems like his best days are behind him.
SEGUE: that is not how the new movies seem. Full disclosure: I really like the Daniel Craig James Bond movies! I think they're super fun! So I'm not coming into this as like, a pure hater who rejects the whole idiom. And probably I should! Probably I should hate the whole lot of them, but I don't. And can't.

That leaves a bit of a reward for me at the end--eventually, if I stay with it, I'll get to movies that I actually enjoy. So very different from 50 Shades where it just keeps getting worse. Over here, it's going to start out prettttttty bad, but I know that better times are ahead. Sort of a reward for myself, right? That's fair!

Also? I remain a little uncomfortable with my weekly lambasting of 50 Shades. On the one hand, it's a weird thing to do in 2014 because nobody gives a shit anymore. Maybe there will be some renewed interest now that there's a movie forthcoming, but I'm pretty late to the party. And, it's kind of unfair to tear into somebody else's entertainment. Because let's be real: of course I don't like it. It isn't for me. Now, I don't think that that means it should get some kind of "pass" from me or that I'm not entitled to an opinion. But JB is just right exactly in my white man wheelhouse. And that means that I never have to feel like maybe I'm being unfair, or maybe I wasn't supposed to like it and that's why I don't like it. Because I am supposed to like it, and sometimes, I do. 

But these early ones? It is amazing to me that the franchise lasted. It is amazing to me that they made more than like, three of these things because they are rough. Just very, very rough. 

So let's talk about that next!

I think I'm going to try to do this monthly. I don't think that anyone would be interested in reading multi-part essays about these flicks so I'm not going to divide them up. Just one entry per movie. And based on my track record, they're probably going to be pretty long entries and not the sort of thing I could crank out promptly. So I'll try to do one a month and maybe figure out some other things to do on some or all of my off weeks, but I don't know what. 

But anyway. James Bond. First? Dr. No. JB has a super-sweet introductory scene, and then it's down hill from there. Wait the parts before JB shows up come off kinda racist, if I'm remembering correctly, and then he shows up and you're like, "Dope. This is going to be tight." And then it's not. Not tight at all. 

Fun, right!


Anyway. Fingers crossed that I finish up with Dr. No in time to post next week. I might! Watch it yourself if you want! Bad news: it's not streaming anywhere in like, a legal sense? But who's going to tell you not to torrent it or whatever? Not this guy! "Srsly don't torrent it tho," said this guy. "Or do," said this other guy. Ugh. Now you won't know who to trust!

Until next week, though! Dr. No. 


mkeagle said...

I'm very happy that you've picked something that will (hopefully) make you less miserable. And I like your rationale a lot--as fun as it is to read your take on EL's horrible writing, it is much, much more fun to go at entertainment you (and I) actually enjoy.

A weird thing: I've discovered that whenever I stumble upon a Bond movie on TV, I can instantly tell which actor is playing JB even if I barely remember the movie/could not have otherwise told you what that dude looks like. I suspect this is part of some manner of insidious programming from our youth.

Alden Eagle said...

So far it's more fun for me, but I'm not sure it'll be as much fun for anyone else. But maybe it will be, like if I make it as far as the super crazy 70s movies. James Bond in space?!?!?