James Bond Re-Watch: The Connery Era

With the release of ‘No Time To Die’ getting pushed back to November 2020 April 2021 October 2021, now seems like a good time to re-watch all 24 official James Bond movies. Might as well do something productive during quarantine, right? So below are my quick thoughts on each movie, rating both the film and the theme song on a 1-10 scale.

Dr. No
Re-watched: April 12, 2020

The first film based on Ian Fleming’s series of novels. It’s hard to watch this objectively without comparing it to all the films that followed. Sure, it introduces us to Bond himself and that theme song. But it’s slowly paced and it’s action sequences are underwhelming even for the time.

Movie: 6/10
Song: n/a

From Russia With Love
Re-watched: April 18, 2020

An improvement on Dr. No in almost every aspect. The plot unfolds in a much more engaging way, and actually has Bond acting as a Cold War-era spy. Enough lighthearted and humorous moments. Well-choreographed fight scenes, especially the brutal one on the train. But Connery’s Bond is still a creep, and can’t be dismissed just because of the time it was made.

Movie: 8/10
Song 6/10

Re-watched: May 7, 2020

Goldfinger is easily the best of the Connery era. Takes everything FRWL got right and adds a memorable villain and a legendary theme song. Bond is still a creep though, and it’s hard to imagine audiences even in 1964 looking past the barn scene. And Bond is still terrible at his job, getting captured at least three different times. But it’s the supporting cast and great action scenes that make this one a classic.

Movie: 9/10
Song: 10/10

Re-watched: May 23, 2020

Thunderball manages to solidify the Bond formula without feeling formulaic. The underwater scenes are the most ambitious action sequences yet. Another classic theme, too. I do have to mention that Connery’s Bond is still a total creep, though.

Movie: 8/10
Song: 8/10

You Only Live Twice
Re-watched: June 7, 2020

A spaceship that eats spaceships, a volcano lair, a secret ninja school, and the world’s least plausible disguise–You Only Live Twice is unrecognizably silly compared to the previous four entries in the Bond franchise. YOLT’s plot is barely anything more than strings connecting random action sequences. Mix in some casual racism with the usual sexism, and you wind up with the weakest entry in the franchise so far. On the plus side, Bond doesn’t sexually assault anyone in this one.

Movie: 3/10
Song: 3/10

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Re-watched: November 30, 2020

Coming off the ridiculousness that was YOLT, the relatively grounded OHMSS is a breath of fresh air, even if the specifics of Blofeld’s plan are still ludicrous. Lazenby holds his own as Bond. Add in some great action and a tragic ending, and it’s no surprise that this is the one the Craig-era movies borrow the most from.

Movie: 7/10
Song: 6/10

Diamonds Are Forever




92nd Academy Award Predictions

Doing it a little differently this year: going to do a “Will Win/Should Win” list. Whatever I have listed as “Will Win” means that’s what I think will win the award (and my pick for my various Oscars pools.). “Should Win” is my personal choice and what I’d have voted for if I was a member of the Academy. I’ll update with the actual winners after the show (★indicates correct prediction).

Best Picture
Will Win: 1917
Should Win: 
Actual Winner: Parasite

1917 is the safe bet: it’s a war movie, gorgeously shot, and has already won plenty of the other major awards this season. Parasite is the one that should win. Easily my favorite movie of last year, and the one that left the biggest impression. I’ve been describing it as a South Korean Coen Brothers’ movie: it’s a perfect blend of heartfelt drama, intense violence, and dark comedy. Though it’s ‘haves vs. have-nots’ theme transcends any cultural or language barriers, I don’t think the Academy is ready to award Best Picture to a non-English film.

Best Director
Will Win: Sam Mendes, 1917
Should Win: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Actual Winner: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Same rationale as above. Also, I can’t help but think the Academy voters category take into account the nominee’s full filmography (not just their nominated film) more so than any other category. With that, Mendes is the safe bet.

Best Actress
Will Win: Renée Zellweger, Judy
Should Win: Renée Zellweger, Judy
Actual Winner: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Honestly, I haven’t seen Judy yet. But from the trailers I’ve seen and the articles I’ve read, this should be a shoo-in.

Best Actor
Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Should Win: Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Actual Winner: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

I liked Joker, I really did. But it’s gotten way too much attention for no good reason. It’s not as controversial as some want you to think: it is an R-rated crime drama after all. Adults can handle moral ambiguity and glorified violence. And it’s not a particularly great take on the character of the Joker, either. It’s just the same angry white guy revenge fantasy we’ve seen in The King of Comedy, Falling DownFight Club, etc.–just dressed up as a clown. No, the real best actor this year was Adam Driver. Between The Rise of SkywalkerThe Report, and Marriage Story, Driver deserves at least an Oscar and a half. The supporting cast might have some of the more memorable moments, but it’s Driver’s performance alone that kept me from tuning out of what would otherwise have been a pretty boring movie.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Should Win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Actual Winner: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. Dern steals every scene she’s in. She’s cleaned up at all the other awards, and deservedly so.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: 
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Should Win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Actual Winner: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Another one that should be a shoo-in, not necessarily because of Pitt’s performance, but because of the lack of any real competition. Hanks as Fred Rogers is almost so on-the-nose it’s uncomfortable, Pesci and Pacino from The Irishman cancel each other out, and no one actually watched The Two PopesOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood was fun, and Pitt was the center of that fun. He deserves it.

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Yub Nub: A Star Wars Saga Podcast

A couple weeks before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released, my good friend Dave invited me to join him for a podcast to discuss all 9 Skywalker Saga films once we’d seen the final one. Barely a week after it’s release, Dave and I sat down for an epic eight-hour conversation about our favorite film franchise.

Dave’s done a great job editing our conversation into four episodes, each of which are streaming now.

91st Academy Awards Predictions

So this year’s Oscars is kind of weird. No host. No clear front-runner for Best Picture. Some pretty major snubs. Still feel pretty good about these picks though. (=Correct guess)

Best Picture ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Green Book
Actual Winner: Green Book

Actor in a Leading Role ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Actual Winner: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Actress in a Leading Role
Ryan’s Pick: Glenn Close, The Wife
Actual Winner: Olivia Coleman, The Favourite

Actor in a Supporting Role ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Actual Winner: Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Actress in a Supporting Role ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Actual Winner: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Director ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Actual Winner: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Animated Feature ☆
Ryan’s Pick: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Actual Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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90th Academy Award Predictions

You know the drill…

Best Picture
Ryan’s Pick: The Shape of Water
Actual Winner: The Shape of Water

Actor in a Leading Role
Ryan’s Pick: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Actual Winner: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Actress in a Leading Role
Ryan’s Pick: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Actual Winner: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Ryan’s Pick: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Actual Winner: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Ryan’s Pick: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Actual Winner: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Ryan’s Pick: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Actual Winner: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Animated Feature
Ryan’s Pick: Coco
Actual Winner: Coco

Continue reading “90th Academy Award Predictions”

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