Thursday, January 11, 2007


Our Man in LA spies some entertainment

So here we are again, back for lesson 3 of Our Man in LA's long vacation from blogging. Like yesterday, this is kind of a fun one.

Let me set the stage. I'm back in Chicago for work in December, grabbing sushi with the Newton-Finches and the Rolnicks in Andersonville. As we always do, we start talking movies. Reggie and Sarah have seen CASINO ROYALE. They loved it.

"It's not heresy to talk about it in the same breath as GOLDFINGER," Reggie says. And I scoff. Which brings me to the entertainment section of these here lessons, and a big, fun LESSON #3.

Mainly this: It might be Jack Bauer's world, but James Bond is still pretty freakin' cool.

Or maybe that's cool again. See, I've been a big Bond fan since way back. Read all the Ian Fleming and John Gardner novels in junior high. Suffered through the dregs of the Roger Moore and Tim Dalton eras. Pondered questions like, "Seriously, which was more lame - A VIEW TO A KILL, MOONRAKER, or LICENSE TO KILL?"

Not an easy question to answer. MOONRAKER'S easy to diss, with the space travel and all, but the other two are currently playing at a Multiplex in the Third Circle of Hell.

I mean, did you guys see this one? Yeah, that's Grace Jones.

Even bringing Pierce Brosnan to the series wasn't enough. I started to wonder if James was past his prime. Do we really believe in British Secret Agents anymore? You know, if you're not searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, that is?

But worse for Her Majesty's Favorite Secret Service Agent, in the new century, I've been getting my spy thrills from the super-cool CTU on TV's 24.

And no matter how hard Brosnan worked in movies like THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and GOLDENEYE, the plots there seemed lamer, less real, less intense and fun to watch. Sure, 24 might strain credibility sometimes, but didn't one of the recent Bond movies feature Denise Richards as a rocket scientist?

Plus, Jack Bauer and Tony Almeda on 24 might not be able to save the world by themselves . . . but I'm pretty sure that they could shake and stir James Bond and Felix Lieter from Monte Carlo to Montenegro.

Jack Bauer. Maybe he could kick Bond's ass, but he DOESN'T HAVE TIME! HE'S GOT TO SAVE AUDREY! AND HIS DAUGHTER! CHLOE, ARE YOU ON THE LINE!

Or so I thought. Then I saw CASINO ROYALE.

And here's the thing. Reggie was right. It is super cool. The best Bond movie in decades. Great set pieces, great plotting, hot Bond girls, and real acting by the lead. Acting! In a Bond movie!

Not just that. Daniel Craig actually plays 007 as tough enough to live in Jack Bauer's world. Who'd have thunk it? This isn't just some lapdog from Tony Blair's England, no sire. The new Bond is tough, cool, and a man on a mission.

Just the way he ought to be.

So if you haven't seen CASINO ROYALE, do. I know it's been out since Thanksgiving, so it might not even still be playing in your town. Get the DVD. It's that cool.

How cool? Cool enough that I'm not embarrassed to know trivia about Agent 007. Stuff from the books like:

* That Bond's not really British. Nope. His dad was Scottish, his Mom Swiss. He was orphaned as a pre-teen, flunked out of the prep schools in England, and ended up in the military.

* His birthdate. According to the books (mostly written in the 50s and 60s), November 20, 1920 or 1924.

* That he's got a kid. His baby mama is Kissy Suzuki, the main Bond girl from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.

Stuff like that. Usually I keep my perfect trivia recall under wraps. But now that Bond is cool again, what the hey?

thanks for the props. told you it was good.
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