I’ve wanted to be a guest on James Bonding, the podcast hosted by 007 “lovers, not experts” Matt Gourley and Matt Mira, since the first episode appeared four years ago. (The topic was Dr. No, 007 No. 001, and the guest was Paul F. Thompkins.) I’ve plugged the show on Pop Culture Happy Hour and on Filmspotting. I owe Gourley and Mira a debt of gratitude for getting my girlfriend interested in watching Bond movies by poking fun at them in the loving way that only a true fan can. Beyond that, I’ve been a huge admirer of Gourley’s work on his other podcasts, I Was There Too and Superego.
I went D.E.E.P. on the H.I.S.T.O.R.Y. of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. for this Atlantic essay chronicling the tortured-acronym-loving cabal’s bizarre contributions to the James Bond literary and film franchises. Anyone with enough interest in the Bond flicks to stick with this thing for nine paragraphs won’t be surprised by the SPECTRE spoiler found therein, but consider yourself duly warned.
Posted in movies
Tagged 007, continuity, Daniel Craig, James Bond, James Bonding podcast, Judi Dench, nerdery, Ralph Fiennes, Roger Moore, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Sam Mendes, Sean Connery, The Atlantic
I am always grateful for an invitation to rub elbows with the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew. All your favorites are there around the table this week: Intrepid host Linda Holmes! Indefatigable regular panelist Stephen Thompson! Inexhaustible other regular panelist and Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon! And then there’s me. The four of us merrily dissect the paranoid charms of Mr. Robot, showrunner Sam Esmail‘s much-discussed USA Network series about a brilliant but also probably off-his-rocker sometime-vigilante computer hacker involved in an anarchistic conspiracy.
I think I got to say more or less everything I meant to about the show, though none of us had seen the season finale when we recorded the episode, as it had not yet aired. Wait, no: I didn’t mention how clever I think it is that we, the audience, are cast as Elliot-the-hacker’s paranoid delusion. In voiceover, he addresses us as “you” while acknowledging that we’re imaginary. Smart. I also like that he disguises his data archives of the people he’s hacked as home-burned audio CDs. The fake labels he Sharpies onto them often suggest a connection between the album and the person: His psychiatrist’s archive is labeled as the Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues, for example.
You may recognize the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, featured prominently in Mr. Robot‘s pilot episode, from this very website. Continue reading
The soundtrack album for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the once-reviled 1969 James Bond film that’s enjoyed a critical reappraisal among fans in recent decades, isn’t a Christmas record, true. But the film, which starred George Lazenby — a handsome and hardy but unengaging Australian model with no prior acting experience — in his single appearance as 007, is set at Christmas.
Its soundtrack features some of the best music in the entire 50-year franchise. You’ve got John Barry’s kinetic opening title theme (reprised in Brad Bird‘s The Incredibles, among other places). You’ve got its elegiac love theme, “We Have All the Time in the World,” with lyrics by Hal David, beautifully sung by Louis Armstrong.
And as I discovered only weeks ago, you’ve also got Nina‘s (whose?) “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?”