Our winter of Bond-age

Casino Royale

This winter, we the James Bond movies.

All of them.

From Sean Connery’s first, “Dr. No” (1962), to the 1967 spoof, “Casino Royale”, starring David Niven and Peter Sellars, through the one-off George Lazenby (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”), through the cringe-worthy Roger Moores, the cold Timothy Daltons, the flashy Pierce Brosnans, and the uneasy Daniel Craigs.

I’ve never been a James Bond fan. Before this winter, I think I’d only seen a couple of the films (including, memorably, “Live and Let Die”, at the drive-in when I was about eight years old. My sister and I sat in the back seat of our parents’ car, wearing our pjs, digesting our fast-food dinner, pretending to be asleep, and being terrified for two hours).

But, we’d gone to “Skyfall” last November or December, and it was better than any of us had expected, and, aware of the long dark evenings ahead of us, one of us (and here I’m going to say it was M —Michael that is, not Bond’s boss, “M”) suggested we work our way through the rest. Randomly. As they were available at the video rental place, or via video streaming.

A few things I know today that I didn’t know last fall:

:: With a few exceptions, these movies are not about plot. If you fall asleep for half-an-hour while watching them, you won’t miss much. If you fall asleep through all of the Roger Moore movies, you won’t miss anything.

:: Cane chairs are more dangerous than you realized.

:: Goldfinger has an amazing rumpus room.

:: Going to bed with James Bond is usually a fatal act. You might think it’s worth it, but you should know the consequences beforehand.

:: Cigars are for heat. Ice cubes are for cold. And this is the best part of “Thunderball”.

:: If you are a villain, and you want to kill James Bond, you should just shoot him. Don’t capture him, drive him somewhere, tie him up, and leave him to be eaten by sharks or something. It doesn’t work. I’m sure you already know this, but you’d be surprised how many don’t.

:: The rules for playing baccarat are clearly spelled out in Ian Flemming’s novel, “Casino Royale”. If you use salt water taffy as betting chips, you win no matter what’s in your hand.

:: It’s a lot of fun to go around saying “Octopussy” with Sean Connery’s accent.

:: James Bond would be nowhere without “Q”.

:: Miss Moneypenny deserves better.

We watched the last two movies on our list this week. We’d saved a good one for last: Sean Connery looking young, lithe, and fresh in “From Russia With Love”.

M went to the video rental place yesterday to return the two DVDs we took out last weekend. When he got there, he saw a sign saying that the place was closed without notice. For good. As if they knew that our Bond binge was over and we wouldn’t be helping to keep their business afloat anymore.

Time for some new adventures, but I won’t say no to a very very cold Vesper Martini on the deck. Shaken, not stirred.

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