The Tie That Bonds

November is one of my favorite months, especially a James Bond November, like this one. With all the busyness that comes with the holidays and year-end chores, the chance to escape and enjoy a few fictional explosions is welcome.

Skyfall met all of my expectations, and then some. It was classic Bond, updated only enough to create a sense of realism. Though I saw it weeks ago, I was hesitant to write about it, because I was afraid I would give something away. I’ll be careful; I promise.

This movie was packed with action. It begins with a crazy… nope, I can’t tell you. And then, when Bond is… not that, either. But the best part is… I definitely can’t tell you that.

What can I tell you? Let me remind you that I am a HUGE Bond fan. I love ALL the Bonds. When Daniel Craig stepped into the License, I was skeptical, but he won me over right away. Some of my best friends found him cold and unlikable  but if you’ve ever read Ian Fleming’s Bond novels, you’ll see that Craig is true to tale.

One thing I can tell you about Skyfall is that, in my eyes, it brought the whole “departure” that some felt Craig’s character took all the way back around to the classic Bond films of the 1960’s. It still keeps the story true to present day, but with details like a super-creepy villain, the beautiful Aston Martin, a stylized coat rack and an upholstered door, this movie feels like Bond home. (Oh dear, I almost let a spoiler slip right there.)

If you like the new Bond, or if you’re more a Connery purist, you should see Skyfall. It’s incredibly fun and will keep your heart pounding till the very end!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Spoiled and I Know It

The Lord has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. I know this full well. Beyond a loving family and dear friends, I live in a beautiful house and drive a fun little car. I have three flexible full-time jobs that I love, and a few really fun extra-curricular activities that I get to enjoy often. But next month is special for me. November brings my birthday.

This year, as I turn 45 years old, I have much to celebrate.

A few days ago, a collector’s DVD set of The Carol Burnett Show—my all-time favorite—was released. At five, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “Carol Burnett!” and I meant it. Still true today.

The Friday after my birthday, Skyfall premiers. If you’ve read much of my blog before today, you know that I am a devoted Bond fan. I keep hearing critics say that this may be the best James Bond movie yet. Every time I think of it, I do a little happy dance.

Besides the fact that these are some of my favorite things, November is also National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been working on my outline for the sequel novel to the story I wrote last November. It’s really starting to take shape, and I can’t wait to revisit my characters again.

By the time the month ends, the holidays will be in full swing. Shopping, baking, and parties will fill my calendar for the rest of 2012. I know there are those who hate the season. I understand—there are plenty of things about it that I dread. But when I think of all the things for which I have to be grateful, I’m ready to do that little happy dance again.

I enjoy my movies, yes. For me, they represent a few hours of rest with my husband or kids or besties. I love my family and friends. Without the special times with my loved ones, the films I watch would lose their meaning.

I hope that you’ll take a break from the business of November and spend a few hours with someone you love. Make some caramel popcorn. Snuggle under a blanket. Giggle through a movie. Wander through a memory and make a new one to carry with you. Count your blessings and enjoy being spoiled.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Bond Girls Are Easy

What makes a Bond Girl? Is it the tight sweater? What about a bikini with a dagger in the utility belt? Maybe it’s all the concealed weapons.

I happen to believe that what really makes a gal a Bond Girl is the basic love of James Bond. In that respect (and pretty much only in that respect) I am one.

I confess I love all of the Bonds. Sean Connery is steamy, Roger Moore is charming, George Lazenby is loyal, Timothy Dalton is sensitive, Pierce Brosnan is handsome, and Daniel Craig is striking. I mean that literally and figuratively. I even enjoy the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale, in which just about everyone gets a turn being 007, including Peter Sellers, David Niven, and Woody Allen.

I love the character of Bond, created by Ian Fleming, who also wrote the book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I have my own theory about James Bond and Caractacus Potts, but I’ll save that for another blog.

I know that most Bond fans have a favorite. I understand preferring one over another, but as an eternal optimist, I can find something to love in each one. Perhaps that’s why Bond always gets the girl… or girls.

Every Bond movie has at least two or three BGs. There is the “Good Girl.” She can be another spy—British, American, or Chinese—like Goodnight, Jinx, or Wai Lin. She could be the girl with the problem, like Honey or Natalya. Some of the BGs are even disposable, like Jill, Plenty, and Strawberry.

When most people think of Bond Girls, though, they imagine the “Bad Girls.” These are the ones with the overtly sexual names like Pussy Galore and Xenia Onatopp. I blush just typing them.

There is another category of Bond Girl: “Other.” They are the ones I like best. Moneypenny is priceless, and Dame Judi Dench’s M may be my all-time favorite. She’s the one woman in the world who is immune to Bond’s devilish smile. (I sometimes think that maybe she’s not—but that’s half the fun.)

What makes all of these women vulnerable to Bond? What’s so special about a suave spy with a Walther and an Aston Martin? Well, apart from the broad shoulders and brooding good looks, Bond braves every manner of villain for king and country.

Does he suffer for his noble cause? Often. He’s beaten and tortured constantly, but he never gives in.

Is he ever tricked, misled, or just plain wrong? Oh yeah. He even admits it.

Does he need help from others? All the time. Some of his greatest escapes and rescues have come from the leading ladies.

My favorite escape is from Tomorrow Never Dies. Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh are chased through Hong Kong on
a motorcycle while hand-cuffed, only to face the blades of a helicopter! When the smoke clears, he not only likes her, but he respects her.

Maybe that’s why we love him. He’s not a robot. He’s not a super-hero. He’s just a man on a mission. He’s a bad boy, yes, but in the very best of ways.

I’m ready for my next date with Bond: Skyfall, November 2012.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!