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The 007th Minute: SPECTRE

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#31 Jim


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Posted 12 June 2016 - 11:21 AM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 19: A Barrel of Laughs. Or a Pipette of Mirth.
In which two drunks get into a fight on a train. It’s like the Monday morning Pendolino from Crewe.


She: So this Mr White went every year to that hotel?
Me: Yes.
She: And every year bashed through into his secret room, then plastered it up again.
Me: Looks like it.
She: Most hotels object to taking your own food in. No-one stopped and asked him why he was taking plasterboard up there? Every year? Or about the overalls? Not a summer look. And he wasn’t the most practical man, was he?
Me: I don’t think we’re meant to ask. There are always plot holes in these things, although they tend to move more quickly so there’s no time to think about them.
She: Or they used to be made when they could get away with it, and The Tragics could only enjoy the films as diversions from things that matter, rather than dissecting them relentlessly on the internet and treating that as a thing that matters. Which it isn’t.
Me: Um.
She: I’m not sure the internet improved us as a species. Specious, yes. Species, no.
Me: Smash thee that loom, my honey darling; smash thee that loom.


The film train ambles along. Even the music yawns. Meanwhile, Gary is dining alone, which probably happens to him a lot. Suddenly! He’s interrupted by people he should have fired several days ago.


Me: Good spycraft from Gary, sitting with his back to the door.
She: Spycraft? Grow up.
Me: It’s like macramé, but with fewer stranglings.
She: He’s wondering who’s being referred to as “Sir”, then remembers it’s him. Surprised and disappointed. He’s not alone.
Me: He is alone. Saturday evening in Rules and no bookings. Likely?
She: They serve veal, so yes. Surely he has some security?
Me: They guard people worth guarding. Although dining alone is a pleasure. Good book, glass of wine, alone with one’s thoughts.
She: More likely to be mediocre thriller, bottle-and-a-half of wine and thoughts not worth thinking, isn’t it dear?
Me: I can get that at home.


“If you look at the satellite blow-up, you can clearly see this!”


She: See what? What am I meant to see? Couldn’t see it.
Me: A “lair”. It is just a Bond film, y’know.
She: At least Moneypenny’s remembered her lines this time.


“We can’t help him”.


She: How true.


“C is watching everything we do.”


She: He’d have turned off by now, bored.  Let’s be C.
Me: No.
She: Worth a try.
Me: Odd how Gary’s attitude to Bond has changed considerably despite the fact he hasn’t seen him since the opening bit.
She: Presumably Q’s filled him in.
Me: I don’t think they’re that close.
She: Q did say Gary was after his balls, though.


“We can’t just desert Bond.”


Me: Desert. And Bond’s in a desert. Pun.
She: Wasn’t deserting Bond exactly what they can and should be doing? There was three hours of that, earlier.
Me: They do seem to have fallen in quickly with a belief that Bond has a plan to do… something. Without evidence that Bond is doing… anything.
She: Well, Q knows about Bond’s ring, so doubtless debriefed Gary at length.
Me: Hmm… yes, but that was Bond investigating an evil organisation. Totally separate from Gary’s worries about C.
She: Unless… oh. OH COME ON, GARY. You really are crap.
Me: It’s unclear why they should suddenly consider the two stories connected, but this lot have decided they are, to bring them back onto Bond’s side for no discernible reason.
She: Other than to end the film within an average lifetime.

Me: Although Gary does know C's been recording Bond, so we have to assume that they assume that that was for a reason? But C was watching everyone so it can't really be that.

She: Assume makes an ass out of u and me.

Me: And there's a turd right in the middle of Saturday, which is equally meaningless. They’ve trouble enough sewing it together within itself. Wait until they try to connect this disjointed piffle to the previous three as well. It’s not robust enough internally for that to work. It does feel like stuff’s been cut out, here.
She: The thought that there was even more of this is quite chilling.
Me: But even if Bond succeeds in doing anything, does that help them? They seem to assume it will, so if that’s credible rather than convenient, they’re ignoring that they themselves have made the connection between C and what Bond is up to. 
She: So they could just go off and stop it all themselves, now?
Me: Yes.
She: Why don’t they?
Me: They have to wait for Mr Marvellous to return.
She: Why?
Me: He does explosions. And he’s co-producer.
She: Alternatively the Secret Service is trying to get credible evidence before taking aggressive action.
Me: Back into the realms of fantasy with that one, then.


“We only make him weaker.”


She: That they’ve got right.
Me: Look, there were others in the restaurant. They just didn’t want to sit near Gary. The stench of failure puts one right off one’s veal.
She: Stench of his still wearing the same shirt.
Me: Given the opportunity to go out there to meet Bond and find out what’s going on, Gary decides not to. Another golden chance to end it goes gadding by.


“Delete all the Smart Blood files.”


She: Another waste of public money.
Me: Seems pointless, as the baddies are about to find Bond when, oddly, when the Smart Blood was working, they couldn’t.
She: You’re surely not suggesting this wasn’t thought through?


“He’s on his own.”


Me: He always is, these days.
She: If this is the best that musters as support, he’s better off that way.


It rains on Gary. It always rains on Gary. Life rains on Gary. Because he’s rubbish. Meanwhile, on a night train across Morocco…


She: Very pretty.


Talking of very pretty…


She: Still cuts a fine figure of a man. Despite the fact you can barely see him.
Me: It’s going for retro, even further back than the old Bond films. It probably looks good in black and white.


We try this. It only bloody does. Do this: it’s spectacular. Adds a dimension to it. Not a joke.


She: OK, I get it, Morocco, Casablanca. Very clever.
Me: A pre-Bond film reference. Might be a reference to the sort of milieu of the Bond books.
She: Milieu? You really are a pillock, aren’t you?
Me: I read it on the internet.
She: I’ve seen some of the things you’ve written on the internet, so don’t go using that excuse.


In walks “Still Basically a James Bond Film”.


She: Wow.
Me: You can see what she had for lunch.
She: Made him stand up straight.
Me: He might have trouble sitting down again.
She: He’s remembering his manners around this woman, though.
Me: Is the idea.


“You shouldn’t stare.”


She: And now she’s all friendly?
Me: Ten lines ago she was threatening to shoot him.
She: But now he’s back to being sexually aggressive.


Dr Swann smiles, knowingly. Probably drunk.


She: I’d have punched him, for saying that. I was expecting her to punch him. This is a very troubled relationship already.


An admission of alcoholism.


She: The actress, whoever she is, is probably doing her best but they’ve given her a raw deal here. Is she her twin? Totally different character.


For a long time I went to bed early… a madeleine dipped in tea a Martini. An involuntary memory. Bond… on a train… in Morocco… mystified by the change in his female companion… because they’re twins… it’s DoubleShot. We’ve hit the homage to Raymond Benson. Robust characterisation and convincing dialogue are spot on. Who saw that coming? They’re geniuses, I tells yer. 


She: It’s nice to see him smile.
Me: He’s still playing it well, when he’s allowed to. She’s a stroppy mess, though.


“I have a question.”


She: Why am I here?
Me: How much of my character has been cut out of the film to make way for shots of trains?
She: When are you going to release me?
Me: Are you sure that white jacket is a good idea?
She: Where did we get these clothes from?
Me: Do I have to be in the next one?


It’s none of those.


She: I wonder what other options she thinks he does have?
Me: Binman?
She: Phwaorr. I can see that.
Me: Hm. The idea is she’s testing his limits far more than the “adventure” has. It’s time to go. He looks far more discomfited by this than anything else. The rest of it, he’s just complacent, as is the film. Mass destruction, killing orphans, even takes phone calls during a car chase, getting fired, all totally inert. It’s an unusual idea, considering those things are, I think, meant to be exciting us.
She: So his flippancy is deliberately unfunny? He’s run out of road in this life.
Me: Luxurious surroundings but going nowhere. Hmm. Film’s waving insolently at us all, now.
She: Not waving, but drowning.


“Is this really what you want?”


She: They’re laying it on as thickly as her lipstick.
Me: She seems quite excited by her disapproval of it, though.
She: They’ve a good idea here, Bond quits to save his soul, but they’ve rushed to it, whilst wasting a hell of a lot of time on other nonsense in the process.


“Answer the question.”


She: Which one? She asked nine.




Me: Ninety minutes in, here comes the point.


“I don’t know.”


She: He’s pathetic, isn’t he? Hateful and ignorant for the most of it, and tragic and hollow now.
Me: A $300 million-dollar exercise in absolute contempt for James Bond.
She: Such a weird film.
Me: They could have saved the money by not making another one, instead of this – what? – embittered catharsis.
She: A really sour vibe to it. 
Me: Although strangely enough, Fleming got this way towards the end. Possibly a reference to him, but if so, an odd one to emulate.
She: Is this the end?
Me: I don’t know where they go from here, credibly.
She: I meant of the film.
Me: So did I.


The drinks arrive very quickly. Suspiciously quickly.


She: She does look sorry for him. He looks upset.
Me: This is better than I remembered it.


“We always have a choice.”


She: Ok, OK, we get it now.


Uh-oh – it’s Jennifer! Somehow. Best not ask.


She: He kicked that table into her face!
Me: Mm-hm.
She: I can’t believe they kicked a table into a woman’s face!
Me: Looks like it.
She: She’s going to be badly injured. They kicked a table into her face!
Me: I know. You said.
She: Where’s Jennifer come from, anyway?
Me: It was time for a fight. These things have a rhythm. There had been a lot of words. It’s a ratio.
She: They kicked a bloody table into her face! She’ll be badly concussed, at least.


She isn’t.


She: Well, that’s just rubbish. Her mandible’ll be shattered, for a start.


Where’s everyone got to now?


She: This is vicious.
Me: Good, though.
She: If you’re nine.


Dr Swann administers anaesthetic by wine bucket. It doesn’t work. Jennifer administers anaesthetic by fist. Marginally more successfully.


She: They’re really slapping her about, aren’t they? That’s two serious head injuries so far. I still can’t believe they kicked a table into her face.
Me: You wouldn’t believe it: it left no mark.
She: Abused and of undulating temper: she’s just a scribble of a character, but I don’t know if that’s good writing or bad writing. Or no writing.
Me: She’s meant to be Tracy Bond; this is how the book has her. All over the place, not particularly sympathetic, unstable and of mystifying allure.
She: Yes, but that was written by a mad, drunken bigot, wasn’t it?


The fight continues. It’s a good fight, insofar as that’s not utterly oxymoronic.


She: So does Jennifer maim him, or poke his eyes in, and then the rest of the film is a brain-damaged doctor and a blind Bond wandering off into the desert to die?
Me: No.
She: Missed opportunity.
Me: Look, there are other people still there.
She: Why doesn’t the barman pull the communication cord? Where’s the guard? Southern Trains kick you off for putting your feet on the seat, let alone demolishing it.


And now, Jennifer’s on fire.


She: This is really graphic.
Me: Great.
She: Hmm. Bond threw a candle. Don’t annoy James Bond, or he’ll throw a candle at you. Or one of his brown scatter cushions.
Me: Jennifer seems to have forgotten about his thumbnails.


The fight continues. No one else stops them. Perhaps they’re embarrassed. It can be awfully awkward, witnessing an argument in a public place. Bit like the cringe reflex you get reading this nonsense, for example.


She: How come there’s nobody in the kitchen? It was dinner. Where have they gone?
Me: One reading has it that when he is violent he is alone and isolated…
She: Well, he’s not alone, there’s a besuited giant testicle clobbering him, didn’t you notice?
Me: …and when he is around Dr Swann, he safely enters society.
She: That’s the excitable and regrettably undergraduate reading, isn’t it?
Me: You interpret it, then.
She: They didn’t want to insure anyone else.
Me: You win.


Jennifer is about to throw Bond from the train, when suddenly…


She: Come off it, she’d be totally disorientated.
Me: It’s deep. She is rescuing him both emotionally and physically.
She: And drunkenly.


Bond falls down in a very amusing way.


She: She’s just going to get hit again.


Au contraire. Jennifer opts for throttling her instead.


She: Hmm. She’s been roundly beaten up, here. Distasteful. The violence and menace shown towards women in this film is really seedy.
Me: A woman produced this.
She: So what? A woman produced Hitler.


Given this is an argument recorded on the internet, I was wondering when he’d get a mention. Slightly gratuitously, Dr Swann’s whacked into a metal wall.


She: That’s terrible. She’d be dead by now. There’d be internal bleeding. Brain like couscous. Punch-drunk, poor woman. Intra-axial haemorrhage, at the very least. Mixed with all the booze. 
Me: So, far from being an underwritten, inconsistent cipher, this character is actually a devastating insight into the pitiable wretchedness of relentless psychological and physical abuse.
She: She’s going to blow. These are two very, very broken people. Why are we watching this? It’s cruel. She’ll suffer atypical motor responses.
Me: Still, she can diagnose her own post-traumatic stress disorder.
She: She just keeps coming back for more, despite being repeatedly beaten about. It’s a textbook case of dependent abuse.
Me: Perhaps she’s a Bond fan.
She: Top marks for trivialising the cruelty. It’s an attitude like that that lets these absolute bastards get away with it.
Me: Abuse isn’t the sole preserve of men, scrumblenumpkin.
She: I was talking about the people who made the film.
Me: Bu..wha…bu… Oh, I give up. I just don’t get the rules any more.


Bond does something clever with barrels that might be a double-level “Jaws” reference. Might be.


She: They only gave Jennifer one line?
Me: Yes. And it was a naughty word.
She: Wouldn’t that have ripped his head off?
Me: They have a certificate to achieve.
She: Whereas relentless smashing about of a young woman is fine. I’ll miss Jennifer. He was a barrel of laughs.
Me: Oh, not fair. I had that one prepared.
She: Grow up. Rather than sideways.
Me: Oddly, Bond doesn’t quip.
She: Knackered, the poor old soul.
Me: If they wanted to make a Bond film – although it’s still unclear what they wanted – he would have quipped.
She: Quipped not in the script.
Me: You did a rhyme.
She: Did you buy that degree from the back of a magazine? He could say “And that’s what happens when you hit women.”
Me: There’s a body of opinion on the internet that there’s a feminised agenda in these current films.
She: There’s a body of opinion on the internet that thinks raping children is fine, too.


“What do we do now?”


Me: Get thrown off?
She: Is that a euphemism?


I do hope so.


She: Get medical attention?


Not as such.


She: An appealing message for a young lady; get beaten up and you too might get sex later. Such a sinister film. Buy her a drink, whack her round the head a bit, easy lay. Did the writers go to American universities?
Me: I think Robert Wade went to Kent. He appeared on University Challenge, the celebrity one.
She: Is he a celebrity?
Me: He’s achieved more than many have.
She: You don’t say.
Me: Considering he went to the University of Kent, he deserves fame through having survived that ordeal.
She: She looks feral.
Me: He’s excited her by the violence she claims to have shunned.
She: He’s corrupting her into his dirty, shameful world. He really is despicable.
Me: Time to hurl his drip.
She: Really doesn’t work, does it? Nice music – is the squeaky man going to sing again?
Me: I think he’s still recovering from his first go.


We cut away.


She: So violence is allowed, but an element of tenderness isn’t? It’s odd to be so coy when we’ve had eye-gouging, immolating and birds picking at a man’s face.


The train rumbles on. It’s dawn. Sunday morning. As in “Easy like”. If craving a shorter audiosynchronous version of where the rest of this film is likely to get to - I dunno, perhaps you can’t read, or have simply had enough of this rubbish - consider that ditty in which Lionel Ritchie (I believe he is “with-it” amongst preening irony hunters of today) sings about things being easy like Sunday morning, or your Mum, and halfway through emits a sound as if his microphone mated with an overripe durian fruit. That.


She: Even if only for the welfare of the other passengers, you’d think they would have stopped the train. Or kicked these two violent trouble-makers off.


Wish/command interface paradigm scenario.


She: More clothes out of nowhere. The virginal white’s not kidding anyone, lovey. We know you’ve been rutting.
Me: He wore white before the [sausage roll], and she wears it afterwards.
She: Is that significant?
Me: Some idiot will think it is.


End of Chapter Nineteen.


She: Institutionalised inertia and cyclical abuse.
Me: But Christmas dinner was months ago.
She: With ejector seats and daft jokes. It’s like making a Carry On film about Jimmy Savile.
Me: Carry On Up The Children?
She: You can't seriously think that's acceptable? I’m not sure that comment does you justice. No, my mistake, it absolutely does. I suppose, if Bond is the Best of British, whatever that means, then this is savagely using it as a unexpected and dark allegory on the evil and rottenness at the heart of the Establishment.
Me: I think you’re taking it too seriously.
She: Who’s the one wasting their life picking fights about this rubbish on the internet?
Me: Stepped up and scored the Golden Goal with that one, didn’t you?
She: Why do you do that, anyway? Why, given every other possible option, does a man choose the life of an anonymous smart-arse?
Me: Well, it was either that or suing the priesthood. 
She: I’m serious. Is this really what you want?




Mrs Jim will return.

#32 Jim


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Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:18 AM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 20: Things that rhyme with “Crater” - Number 1: Woman hater. Number 2: Lowest common denominator. Number 3: Cynical regurgitator. Number 4: Manipulate her. Number 5: Wine waiter.
In which all of the above happen. You can skip this one, if you want; you might not miss much.


She: Is that the Donald Trump hair farm? I was reading about that Trump University thing. Very odd.
Me: Any odder than Kent having a university?


Right, political balance (apparently required). Here goes. SPECTRE promised a lot, there was a lot of goodwill and anticipation, but ultimately despite all the time taken it’s unclear what’s been achieved, where the money was spent, it’s a bit pompous and smug, the message is terribly confused when picked apart and it’ll probably be written off as ultimately disappointing by those who don't understand how the system works but those who do will recognise it faced unrealistic expectations and was doubtless compromised by too many uncontrollable competing interests so some sympathy ought to be extended. Yes, it’s the Barack Obama of Bond films.


Or something. Clumsy and contrived? Yes, granted, but I’ve been watching this film for something approaching a geological era now, so it’s bound to have some influence.


She: I like this bleached out look they’ve gone for.
Me: He’s drawn her into his isolated world of danger and… stuff.


“This might be a long wait.”


Me: One or two such comments would be OK, but characters keep saying this sort of thing and you wonder if it’s taking the piss.
She: They don’t seem particularly close.


“Are you having second thoughts?” / “Too late now.”


She: Yep, too late, you’ve done the grumble. Not the most ringing endorsement of Bond’s potency.


Later. Probably much later, and we should be grateful they edited it down a bit, Bond and Dr Swann wait for something to occur. In the absence of giving either of them any appealing characteristics, it’s one way of gathering audience empathy. Bond surveys for signs of life. We feel his pain.


“What’s that?”


She: What that is, is a rip-off of Lawrence of Arabia.
Me: In The Spy who Loved Me, they played the theme tune.
She: How very uninteresting. How does he know the age of the car?
Me: Bond knows cars; always a character point in the books.
She: He’s just a weaponised Clarkson, isn’t he?


A very pretty image of the car reflected in Bond’s sunglasses. Bet that cost a fortune to do.


She: It’s very stylishly filmed, but it is yet more travelling, isn’t it?
Me: To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.


Never a truer phrase, considering where this film decides to take itself from this point onwards.


Me: The last time they didn’t have a settled script, they covered it up by filming it frantically and making it very short but people didn’t like it all that much. This time, they’ve gone the opposite direction and seem to be hiding in plain sight how drawn out it all is. Nothing might happen, but at least you can see nothing happening rather beautifully.
She: Is this tactic any more popular?
Me: There are grumblings.
She: That might be me. Seems ages since dinner. And prune risotto; really? Not that I’m saying it was anything other than… interesting.
Me: It was supposed to be prawn but we didn’t have any in. I made it up as I went along.
She: Theme of the evening.


We approach a crater, again filmed nicely but again filmed… quite slowly.


She: I’m not surprised she’s scared. Probably amazed she’s still got the use of her legs. I’d have her in for a MRI scan.
Me: She thinks she’s going to be trapped in this film forever.
She: I know how that feels.
Me: He’s too manly to show it.
She: At least he held her hand. He’s coming along, a bit.
Me: She’s now desperately in love. Obviously.
She: She seems to have forgotten there’s no particular reason for her to be there. Why have they sent this car for them, anyway? Surely Jennifer was trying to kill them?
Me: A popular theory is that Jennifer was on a frolic of his own. 
She: It doesn’t make much sense though, does it?
Me: No.


We enter the complex. Just at the point the film becomes facile. Oh, very clever, Mr Mendes.


Me: Apparently that’s a real house.
She: In a crater?
Me: No, I think that’s computer trickery. It’s where some of the money went.
She: Not too worried about a hosepipe ban, are they? They must be evil. The sort of people who put mint in salads.
Me: Is that evil?
She: If it’s a Tic-Tac, yes. So, no-one knows where this thing is, apart from the builders, the employees and the people who laid out the two roads leading to it?


A la recherche du Docteur Non.


Me: All a bit knowing, this.
She: It’s what folks expect, though, surely?
Me: Bit more timewasting, really.
She: You just don’t know what you want. They made this for you and you’ve rejected it. Imagine how hurt they must be.
Me: I’m imagining it. And now I’ve come to the end of imagining it.


A deft Ken Adam pastiche ensues. One thing worth referencing (RIP).


She: I like the room.
Me: They used to do this a lot in the Connery films, Bond checking out his surroundings. The last five minutes have basically been Dr No, or at least enough of it to trigger a recognition. 
She: Right, I might have seen that one.
Me: That does worry me a bit – that one gets the impression they try to reach out to a wider recognition of these films than the likes of… well, the likes of me, and yet that wider audience actually doesn’t give a damn, really.
She: Worry about something else. I do.
Me: Although I suppose it does mean that if the wider audience doesn’t necessarily recognise the references, it can pass off as something new. So recognise it, don’t recognise it, do what you like but give us the money anyway.
She: You’re surely not suggesting dead-eyed cynicism drives the whole enterprise, are you?
Me: I think for safety’s sake, when I type this up, I’ll show it was you who said that.


Damn; forgot to do that.


She: Is that actually a photo? It looks more like a painting.
Me: See how the other lad is kept at a distance.
She: Yes, I can see where this is going.
Me: And?
She: As you say, better never to arrive.


With Dr Swann. Apparently we’re meant to be looking at the dress on the bed but it can’t be accidental that her bottom takes up an amount of the view for a longish time.


She: I like the room. Where did the photo come from? I thought the villains didn’t know where or who she was.
Me: Unless they knew all about the secret room in the hotel and planted all the evidence to lure Bond onto the train so Jennifer could have a pop at them, or if that failed, kill them both here anyway.
She: So that mouse, the one that showed Bond where the room was, was working for SPECTRE?
Me: The mouse wasn’t Blofeld, before you ask.
She: Obviously not, you stupid man. His cat’d eat him. But if they’d been killed on the train, all this effort would have been for nothing.
Me: An organisation as wasteful and profligate as the film that bears its name.


More walking. Seriously – cut out all the scenes of people walking and this film would be considerably shorter.


She: That’s right, take James Bond on a tour of the weak spots.
Me: Yet another suit.
She: So the drycleaner knows where this place is, too.




Me: She’s looking at those glasses with more lust than she’s ever looked at Bond.
She: That’s right Bond, you just take control and don’t let the little woman speak. You’re so masterful.
Me: An odd little scene. Is it meant to be funny?
She: The last thing she was allowed to say was that she was scared, now she’s mute and Bond takes charge. I’m not sure that’s funny at all.


A darkened room.


She: What’s that? A big egg? Is Blofeld inside it? Is it Blofeld’s egg? That’d be good.
Me: No, it’s not Blofeld’s egg. That would be stupid.
She: Is that the threshold, then? Hm.


“I think we’re meant to be impressed.”


Me: Sums it all up. Every other line spoken is some sort of comment on the film. These are clever - well, University of Kent level clever, anyway - and able people making the film and one does wonder whether they’re rubbing our noses in it.


End of Chapter Twenty.


Me: Solid “Bond arrives at the lair” scene, that.
She: All false politeness, suspicion and suppressed contempt. I suppose a Bond film needs it. Although you get much the same checking into any hotel in Paris.
Me: Does one?
She: I said “you”. And I meant “you”.


Mrs Jim might return, but if she’s going to be like that, she might not.

#33 Jim


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Posted 16 July 2016 - 02:27 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 21: Daddy Issues: Part One.
In which the suspicion builds that the ones with Daddy issues are the producers. A la recherche du Bond perdu.


She: Your little friend doesn’t say much, does it?
Me: Don’t think it can with the dog’s jaws clamped around its face like that.
She: Didn’t contribute anything anyway.
Me: True; odd. Might have said more had we been discussing what music we were listening to today.
She: Why would we want to do that?
Me: No idea.


Talking of silly conceits that can’t sustain themselves, SPECTRE’s still on.


She: Her dress is acceptable. She doesn’t say much either, does she?
Me: Overawed by the set design.
She: Overawed by discovering she’s playing a nothing character whose only purpose is to give Bond someone to talk to otherwise he’d look madder than he already is.
Me: Not entirely fair. She’s also somewhere for him to hurl his drip.
She: I admire your persistence. Tell a lie, no I don’t.
Me: She’s a vital character study in the cyclical corrosive imprint left by abusive psychopaths and also Bond’s equal and able to hold her own and not a Bond girl but a Bond woman.
She: You don’t really believe that, do you?
Me: They always say that. One time they’ll be telling the truth. Don’t stamp on my dreams, honeylump. We must live in hope, for what else is left to us?
She: Reality, obviously. 


Blofeld invites Bond to “Touch it”.


She: I bet he’s said that to Bond before.
Me: Probably the source of all the trouble.
She: Maybe his father said that to Bond?
Me: Smidge unnecessarily dark now, dear.
She: It’s a film plainly about abusive relationships; it’s consistent. Explains a lot.
Me: One could argue that absent parenting has brought each of them to this point.
She: The consequences of inconsiderate fathering, anyway. Can see why you’re not keen on the film.
Me: Oh, moo off.
She: Are you sure he’s not inside the egg?
Me: It’s not an egg. However, the more you say it, the more I like it. Watching him emerge all covered in glop would be fun.
She: At least they’re letting her speak again.
Me: She did a bit of science there. Watertight characterisation.
She: What did you expect?
Me: A little more, of late. Not saying she can’t act her way out of a paper bag, but on this occasion, a paper bag is pretty much all there is to act.


“So many years up there, alone, silent…”


Me: Just look at the filming on that. Phwoarr.
She: Don’t be eccentric. Suggesting a meteorite has a choice is a touch suspect.
Me: At least Bond’s being rude to someone who deserves it, this time.
She: Subtle character progression. Where are all Blofeld’s lackeys? Previously he couldn’t even work a microphone. He’s not wearing any socks. He can't even dress himself.
Me: It’s a hot country.
She: Yes, but if you don’t wear socks, your feet smell terrible.
Me: Well, one of them is rubber, dear. You once likened them to a tramp dipped in goat’s cheese.
She: Must have been one of my off days.
Me: He’s chosen this moment to reveal himself to Bond.
She: Bet he tried that before. So he’s starting with a set of shapely ankles? What next?
Me: His giant rock-hard projectile? He keeps wanting to talk about it.


Blofeld steps from the shadows “imagery”. Yeah, yeah. In accordance with the film’s predisposition to being all walk and talk, some more reminiscing occurs.


Me: So that’s a reference back to the incident she mentioned, the one about the bleach. But she said she was upstairs playing with toys, and yet her Dad was a villain, onside, as recently as 2008.
She: Which makes her now about… what… fifteen?
Me: It does chime a bit… odd.
She: He’s very sinister.
Me: Consensus is he’s a bit weak.
She: The consensus of that website you linger at?
Me: Not just that one.
She: You’re all wrong.
Me: That’s that solved, then.
She: Unless you think you have any further insight or expertise simply by writing nonsense about it? You’re about as legitimately involved and associated with this Bond nonsense as I am, ultimately.
Me: Self-esteem says “ouch”, dear.
She: What has it achieved?
Me: I’ve been entertained by it.
She: Yet all you do is snidely whine. Do you like it or not?
Me: On occasion it gives me reason not to.
She: Oh, I see, it’s the victim’s fault. How noble. There I was thinking that it’s the responsibility of the bully to temper their behaviour but no, I now see. I’ve been so blind.
Me: Cyclical, as you suggested.
She: So now it’s my fault?


There follows a deleted scene in which this argument was resolved with my winning it and I get to behave exactly as I have always done. Yes it was. Yes. It. Was. Anyway, I’ve erased all records of it so it’ll join other fabled and irrecoverable Bond deleted scenes such as that one where Lazenby chases a man around the rooftops of London, or Pierce Brosnan acts.


She: He’s really creepy. Although if he wanted this reunion, why has he kept trying to have Bond killed?
Me: I suppose, on reflection, he’s no better or worse than any of the other Blofelds we’ve had to endure.
She: Chosen to endure.
Me: Perhaps too great an expectation.
She: But if the others weren’t that great, what expectation?
Me: Perception, then. A popular perception that Blofeld will be this magisterial hyper-villain when he’s never really been portrayed as that, or at least successfully as that. This might in fact be closest to the idea that he’s very powerful and some all-knowing dominant overlord.
She: You should be happy, then.
Me: Exactly; I should be. That’s possibly why it’s so disappointing. I accept all charges of wretched ingratitude.
She: What’s the punishment for that?
Me: I have to watch this again at some point.
She: You’re going to claim you won that argument we just had, aren’t you?


“Information is all, is it not?”


She: Film could have obeyed itself, there. What’s he going to do with the information?
Me: Don’t know.


“You must by now know that the 00-programme is officially dead.”


Me: There’s no way Bond could have known that. Q and Moneypenny were told not to contact him.
She: He’s just teasing. He knows Bond knows he knows Bond doesn’t know. I think. Moneypenny wouldn’t have been able to tell him anyway; they won’t have given her any lines.


A weird, slightly off delivery of a duplicated line about why Bond came. For a reason I can’t put my finger on, this irks. I accept that the Bond films have given far greater reasons for irk than this – the Unmagnificent Seven Years 1995-2002 spring immediately to mind – but it just seems rhythmically odd. Ooh, look at the words on him.


“And I thought you came here to die. / Well, it’s all a matter of perspective.”


Me: The perspective being that he has come to kill this blighter, then he can lay being James Bond to rest too, and go off and have a normal life with Dr Sulky.
She: Yes. Yes, I got that, thank you.
Me: Still seems an odd message for the film, that being James Bond is… basically crap.
She: He does look very sinister, this man.
Me: Right up to the moment he starts flapping his hands about like that.
She: It’s a regression to childhood. Behaving as he did at the age he last saw Bond.
Me: Hmm… not very dignified, is it?
She: He’s not wearing any socks. Dignity’s not top of the agenda.


We enter a long, deep chamber; the “perspective” joke is probably intentional. Well, I laughed.


She: I was right, it is Facebook. Or Google.
Me: We didn’t have to vote for those. So they’re even more sinister.
She: I like your comment. You have commented in a way I like. I like that. That is something I like. Please pay me attention. This whole scheme is just about Blofeld getting Bond to like him, isn't it?


It’s now 16.20 GMT on… Sunday? I think we were on Sunday. Gary’s office is weirdly busy, for a Sunday. 


She: So if Blofeld can already spy on them, why does he need the Nine Eyes thing at all?
Me: … erm…
She: I mean, all this lot, the computer spods, they’re already employed and engaged with spying on people even without the thing having gone live. So what possible upscale is there when it does?
Me: They’re allowed to bring in cake?
She: Maybe Blofeld gives them a touch of his special ring. This operation already looks more efficient than anything Gary can muster.
Me: I suspect that’s the ironic parallel to be drawn – that spying is actually really sinister unless the right people are doing it?
She: Lightweight Gary, Woolly Hat Q and Rage-fuelled Rudey Bond? How are they the right people? I think we’re better off with this Blofeld and his well-groomed computery youths.  They all look like they have a proper diet, and exercise regularly. 
Me: But they kill people?
She: And it’s James Bond, licence to tickle, is it?


“With any luck, we leave something behind.”


She: Yes, the reassurance to anyone following that they can’t do anywhere near as bad a job as you.


Some little sideways looks between the three principal actors that I missed on first viewing (I think I had my head in my hands at this point, so it’s excusable), but suggest this nonsense may be being better acted than I initially acknowledged.


She: Oh dear, Gary, not much clapping. They didn’t love you. You couldn’t lead them. I bet the collection was on the low side.


Chat about voyeurism, standard issue Bond riling the villain stuff. Not particularly subtle, on this occasion. He’s gone straight for sexual. It’s a bit sixth-form.


She: Daniel Craig isn’t that big, so this guy must be teeny.
Me: Should have stayed longer in his egg.
She: I wonder if he watched his father and Bond?
Me: Bit too dark, dear.
She: It does explain the whole thing, though.


Bond proceeds to deliver the plot in two lines when the film’s taken about two months. “Not that sophisticated”.


Me: Self-aware comment number… oh, let's say one billion.


Blofeld proceeds to knit this one and the previous three films together. Strangely enough, it doesn’t really convince. Does it need to happen at all? Is it a step backwards? What music are you listening today? Etc. 


Me: Everything leads here, apparently.
She: But haven’t all those people been trying to kill him? Not much showing off you can do to a dead man.
Me: The linking is… tenuous, at best. It’s feasible, though, which is probably the most annoying thing about it. It’s more unnecessary than impossible.
She: So this is one big story, then?
Me: Is the idea.
She: One worth telling?


“Or did you think that it was coincidence that all the women in your life ended up dead?”


Me: That, or melodramatic scriptwriting every few years.
She: He’s been killing the women so he can have Bond?
Me: Not all of them did die, come to think of it.
She: Moneypenny’s pretty much dead from the neck up, so that sort of counts.
Me: Problem is, all this trying to create a skein, a through-universe, just shrinks the world rather than expands it. Bond used to be about this annoying man turning up every couple of years to frustrate the evil schemes of people who had never heard of him and who would be getting away with it otherwise; that seemed to be the point. Even in the books, Blofeld barely registered that this was the same man he had been doing appalling things to, so lofty and high-minded was he. That made the world huge, grand schemes affecting us all with this one stone in the shoe rocking up to disrupt everything. Making it all about Bond and some other chap brings it down to a paltry, domestic level, a spat involving about eleven people. Want to see Bond in the world, not Bond being the world. It hems it in. It’s the pernicious influence of GoldenEye and why every copy of that godawful rubbish should be taken out and shot.
She: Your high horse has mange, dear.




She: God, look at his eyes. He looks demented. He’s very good.
Me: Yep, he’s considerably better than I remembered him being.


“The author of all your pain.”


She: Oh dear.
Me: It was too good to last.
She: He might be lying.
Me: Collect information, spread disinformation. It’s a built-in reset button for them to suggest that, given how unpopular this turn of events is. Just making it all up to rile Bond, childishly. Oddly, that would all still be consistent and perhaps, of the two options – this is true or it is untrue – it's the one that is the least annoying.


“You’re a brave woman, my dear.”


She: Brave. If mute.
Me: I suppose the idea is that she is trapped – In More Ways Than One. Duh-Duh-Duuuh.
She: Yes, that’s really very obvious. Have you ever watched a film before?


Blofeld presses a button and the expendable extras all stand to attention. It’s unclear why, but moaning about the clarity of any of this piffle seems redundant by now.


She: Are they going to sing the office song?


They don’t, even though there’s quite a lot that rhymes with SPECTRE. #We’re all in SPECTRE / And Blofeld’s our director / And he’s a death collector / A bit like Hannibal Lecter / But not like Jody Scheckter / Who is now in the biodynamic farming sector #


“He didn’t lose his mind, he was just weak.”


She: He didn’t lose his mind, he blew it out.
Me: I don’t think they would use that line. They have censors to please.
She: They must have been very pleased with all the sexism, then. 


“A terrible event can lead to something wonderful.”


Me: Leaves me a glimmer of hope for Bond 25, that.


Blofeld proceeds to taunt Dr Stroppypants, exposing Bond’s failure and the horrible mess she’s got herself into. Although she’s not saying much, she does look terribly unnerved and upset. Ignore the provocatively poor plotting, and there’s been some solid acting going on, y’know.


She: Is she going to kill herself then?
Me: Why do you say that?
She: She’s moved on from her father to Bond, who isn’t much better anyway and considerably worse if he leads her to this danger when her father protected her from it. Not much future, lovey, and we’re all now prepared for you to die, Thingyman just said so.


“Turn it off.”


She: Good call.
Me: No.
She: Worth a try.


A moment passes between Bond and Dr Poutington when, the good lady turning away from her father and choosing Bond instead (‘tis deep), both of them realise they’re horribly shackled to one another from hereon in and it’s all a bit really very yucky terrible because Bond’s really no better. It’s quite intense and still promulgating this peculiar notion that Bond’s actually a very bad person indeed. Ooh, my hero.


Bond is cracked on the head. It rings out a metallic sound. Really oddly.


She: He has a metal head?
Me: Probably a lithium plate in there.


End of Chapter Twenty-One.


She: The acting's very good. It’s improved.
Me: You say that just at the point when the received wisdom is that the film hurls itself beyond rescue.
She: This is the received wisdom of that Bond website?
Me: Not just that one, all of them.
She: Don’t tell me you’re spending your time – your fairly limited time – on more than one?
Me: On one of them quite openly. As for the others, they came across me so many times and yet they never saw me. Cuckoo.
She: Jesus wept.
Me: So many years up there, alone, silent, building momentum until I choose to make my mark. A huge unstoppable force.
She: A huge unhealthy belly.
Me: Iinformation is everything, is it not? I am the author of all their pain. And all their threads about […no, not revealed yet. But soon].


Mrs Jim will return. Jim, however, is already here. He’s everywhere – everywhere! He’s sitting at your desk, kissing your lover (who’s bored of you, by the way) and eating dinner with your family. Pass the rissoles.

#34 Simon



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Posted 18 July 2016 - 09:40 AM

Was hoping this hadn't died a death due to dwindling numbers.


Nine Eyes redundancy due to Blofeld already replete with computer spods doing their thing.  Hmm.  Not sure I had thought this through at the time but now wondering if in fact Blofeld had access to all the UK originated stuff via C and his already being on board.  But that the rest of the world would be unknowingly sending their feeds to Blofeld subsequent to Nine Eyes going live 'cos C was such a rascal.

#35 AMC Hornet

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:48 PM

I'd love to have a recording of this transcript, to play like an audio commentary while watching the film. It would be even more entertaining than Sir Roger's memories of making The Wild Geese.

#36 Jim


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Posted 05 August 2016 - 06:03 AM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 22: Daddy Issues: Part the Deux.

In which one contemplates that even John Gardner was ending his habitually drawn-out Bond product by around Chapter 22, whereas this has still so much...fun left to… extrude.


She: Well, he is in a fix, isn’t he?
Me: Correct.
She: Needs a mouse.
Me: Y’wha?


All that education. Sigh.


She: The mouse helped him last time. It found the secret room. More assistance than she was, whammed off her mummylumps. If he hadn’t seen the mouse, they’d still be in that hotel. Emphasises how semi-detached and useless she is. He’d have found the hotel anyway, he’s a spy, but he definitely needed that mouse.
Me: May I say reference?
She: No, you may not.
Me: It’s a reference, to For Your Eyes Only, in which the girl is equally deparented, sulkheaded, inexplicably French, joyless, expedient of character, chemistry-light and ultimately redundant, and everything eventually depends on the timely intervention of a talking parrot.
She: So you’d say it’s viable as a plot point because it happened in a previous Bond film, not that it’s viable as a plot point because it bears any relationship with credibility.
Me: The series relies on its internal logic.
She: No excuse. They’ve tried to have us engage with real world issues, and then they go and rely on something like that. SPECTRE. The film in which James Bond is assisted by a comedy animated mouse, to which he talks.
Me: You’re really not improving my opinion of this, y’know.
She: Yes. I know.


Bond awakes, in a blurry white light. Perhaps he’s dead. That was a really vicious crack on the head, and he’s not a young man any more.


She: They film these better now, don’t they?
Me: Covers up that all they’re doing is refilming prior Bond imagery, if more artistically, rather than come up with new material however well or badly filmed.
She: Is he going to be tortured?
Me: Yes. Us too. There is, though, a theory that everything that happens from now on is just a hallucination of a man dying from being hit on the head.
She: Is this an internet theory? Like the one about [redacted: we’re not that stupid].
Me: Yes, OK, pinch o’ salt I accept, but it does explain the unstructured, meandering, addled nonsense quality of what happens from hereon in. Goes something like this: it gives them a reset button. They could start the next film from the end of the previous scene and all the awfulness about to happen never does. Bond wakes up n years later, has to spend half a film working out who he is, is horrified by all that, then half a film chasing after Blofeld and the woman, who has turned to Blofeld’s side, and Bond ends up destroying them both; hurrah!
She: She won’t be very happy about that.
Me: Not a stretch.
She: And this is the sort of thing you discuss on these websites?
Me: Yes.
She: Seems too much like one of those Jason Burns films.
Me: That too is discussed.

She: Or you could just cope with the film as it is and move on.


The film is out of focus. That observation just wrote itself, didn’t it? A lizard climbs a window. Time is not flying.


She: Is that cat computer-generated as well?
Me: That’d be stupidly expensive, dear.
She: I refer the dishonourable gentleman to the question I posed some moments ago. This film, it’s just roadworks, isn’t it?
Me: You mean “car crash”.
She: You’d know. No, roadworks. Get to the end of the financial year, dig up the roads pointlessly and spend the money otherwise the budget shrinks next year. They’re just spending all this cash to try to prove they have to, to be able to produce something this… this This.
Me: Cat’s just a shorthand for this being Blofeld. Which we already knew and Bond doesn’t really care about.
She: I suppose seeing the pussy pleasures someone.


Mrs Jim is filmed before a live studio audience.


She: I can’t quite hear what Sockless Sid is saying.
Me: Apparently it’s chunks of material from Colonel Sun.
She: Normal person does not understand.
Me: A Bond novel written by Kingsley Amis.
She: I thought it was Ian Fleming who did them?
Me: There are more continuation books than Fleming ever wrote.
She: Why?


Don’t look at me, I don’t bloody know.


Me: It might be this bit that’s taken from the book, or a later bit. I could check, but it’s slightly boring. Anyway, symptomatic of the film’s warped attitude: give the fans something like that, something fairly obscure to appeal to their enthusiasm, and then in a couple of minutes, do something that’ll really piss them off. Love/hate/pay for it anyway.
She: Keep telling you; it’s about abusive relationships
Me: The one between Bond fans and the people pushing them their tepid fix being the cruellest of the lot.
She: Those are very thick soles to Bond’s shoes. Have they been built up?
Me: He’s not that tall.
She: They look like medicinal clogs.


Blofeld addresses Dr Swann as if she possesses some medical knowledge. He’s more deluded than he appears, and it adds subtlety to the performance as a result. Well, potentially.


She: Torture, then. Is this going to be like that one where his willy was knocked off?
Me: It’s possibly even more upsetting.
She: Not half as upsetting as the giggly man’s naked, pale shins. He’s not very magisterial, is he?
Me: They gave up on having him a brooding presence, and now it’s just Blofeld childishly dicking about.


“I’m going to penetrate to where you are.”


She: Which he’ll have said to Bond before.
Me: It’s not all double-entendre, y’know.
She: Why not? Those Roger Moore ones were. They were fun, and at least they were consistent.
Me: Or flat.
She: Maybe, but this is all over the place. It’s like, I don’t know, having Roger Moore stop the Holocaust.


Are you going to tell her about Moonraker, or am I? No, you do it. I’m just not that brave any more.


He: He’s literally going to get inside Bond’s head.
She: Not literally, dear. Unless he’s going to shrink himself. Although if he does, his trousers might then fit. Woman’s not doing much, is she? Go on, his back’s turned, hit him one.
Me: She’s a junior doctor. Perhaps she’s on strike.


Time-bound weak satire aside, we are presented with sundry threats of dubious medical veracity.


She: What utter bollocks.
Me: What would happen to him, then?
She: I don’t know, I’ve never seen fit to go at anyone with a drill. Yet. Blofeld seems nice, chatty.
Me: That’s this Waltz chap’s thing. Trouble is, relying on that but little else, like – perhaps – a character or proper dialogue, is terribly lazy.
She: It’s a Bond film, darling; it’s an exercise in reassuring complacency.


Whilst I contemplate that in a bit of a miff, the drill starts up.


She: I don’t think this is very suitable. Who’s this film for?
Me: I don’t think anyone knows.
She: Children might like the car chases and then see something like this?
Me: Not many children will have torture chambers though, will they?
She: When did you last ask any of them?


We see torture happen. Ish. The drill is removed, and drips.


She: That’s going to hurt. A lot. Even more than that.
Me: The film’s sufficient anaesthetic.
She: Careful now; there’re lots of nanobots in that blood of his. Very expensive blood.
Me: They appear to have forgotten about that.
She: There’s probably all sorts in it, to be honest, after all these years. Might corrode the drill.


“Why are you doing this?”


She: Kills time, I guess.


The explanation. That explanation.


She: Oh, that’s very crap.


“He soothed the wounds of the poor little blue-eyed orphan.”


She: So all this massive crime network and multiple deaths and misery comes down to a childhood spat?


“My little… brother.”


She: Are they brothers in the books?
Me: Nope.
She: It’s rubbish. Cheap.
Me: Worse than that. For what is basically the massest of mass-market entertainment, it makes it all perversely inaccessible. Challenges, contradicts – possibly offends – things that have happened before, to irritate those who have taken an interest up to now, and at the same time presupposes some level of knowledge of Bond for all these references and ostensible twists to mean something. Ticks a box, nails a coffin.
She: Or you could un-pseud that and just say “It’s bad cack”.
Me: It’s bad cack.
She: So it’s gone from giving you and your little playmates something from Dr Sun…
Me: Colonel Sun.
She: Unimportant. So something from Dr Sun to beckon you closer, and then it hits you round the face with this stuff. Told you it was abusive. On the one hand, it’s allowing you to feel as used and wretched as its characters. On the other hand, it’s really… sinister. This isn’t just a bad film, it’s a bad film.


“Responsible for the path I took.”


She: Yawn. You made me, I made you, there’s no-one else on Earth. Can we press the reset button now?
Me: Regrettably not.
She: That’s it, is it, the twist?
Me: More of a wrench. But yes.
She: Oh dear.
Me: Yes.

She: I assume this isn't a popular move.

Me: Correct. The common complaint is that it lifts this from Austin Powers.

She: Yes, that does sound quite common. I almost feel moved from my usual pity for you, to actually feeling sorry.
Me: Thank you.
She: Almost. It seems so… desperate.
Me: It might have been. Their script was leaked and this might have been the best they could do to repair things.
She: Does it matter if the script is leaked?
Me: I suppose they consider it would ruin things? There are wider commercial concerns.
She: If not artistic ones.
Me: I don’t know, I never did read what was leaked.




She: There you go, then. And you’re interested in this rubbish.
Me: But if people knew the story and the ending, would they go to see a film?
She: Why not? The ones from the Sixties, the good ones, they were based on books published years previously. People still went to see them.
Me: Fair point.
She: Gone with the Wind. Lord of the Rings. Titanic.
Me: Also names of films, yes. Good. 
She: Shut up. People knew what was going to happen. People went to see them. 
Me: Presumably to see how it was done.
She: Is this any different?  You said it yourself, it’s the same old thing, just filmed better. Surely by now it’s just “how are they going to do it this time”?  Do you – or they – really think we watch these silly things for emotional investment? Or surprises?
Me: No.
She: Because we don’t.
Me: No.
She: (On a bit of a roll, now. Might have had a drink). I mean, it’s not as if there’s a credible emotion anywhere else in this, is it?
Me: No.
She: There are no stakes in the relationship with… her, whasserface… and it’s such a scribble of tones… they wanted this to have an impact?
Me: Presumably because his simply saying “I have no idea who you are but I’m a supervillain and I felt like destroying someone and you’d do” is so insanely nihilistic that it would actually be a good idea, and utterly subvert this obsession with story arcs and development. If, come to think of it, a Joker rip-off.
She: Stuffed any way they turn, then.
Me: Pretty much.
She: Still, they don’t have to make them, do they?
Me: No.


“Do you know any other bird calls, Franz?”


Me: I’m thinking “turkey”.
She: He might try a gobble.


Blofeld reveals his identity. To… utter indifference.


She: I don’t see what any of this is trying to achieve any more.
Me: I think it’s meant to subvert expectation. I’m not sure it works. The audience, if they’re very stupid, might be surprised, but Bond isn’t so that just distances the two even more. So why would anyone care if he’s being drilled to death? The audience is over on the other side of the room.


“The faces of your women are interchangeable, aren’t they, James?”


She: They really do dislike their own films, don’t they?
Me: This isn’t a love letter to Bond; it’s a hate crime.
She: Healthy sense of proportion.
Me: Trolling it, anyway.
She: It does seem to have esteem issues. That, or it’s still trying to take the piss out of you lot.


“You won’t know who she is.”


Me: Won’t know who you are, either. All these years a ) waiting for him massively coincidentally to become a spy and b ) because you didn’t like him as a child, spend twenty years developing knock-off pharmaceuticals and people-trafficking, because… well, because, and c ) then waiting even longer for him to turn up here despite d ) various attempts to kill him over three previous films to make f ) you’re going to now make him forget about you too, anyway. Seems… profligate.
She: What happened to the e )?
Me: I think the dog ate it.


“He dies not knowing who you are.”


She: He doesn’t know who she is, anyway. Drawing this out, aren’t they?


Not the only ones. “I love you.”


She: Why? How? When? What?


“I’d recognise you anywhere.”


She: They’ve barely met; what’s this nonsense?


“Tempus Fugit.”


She: Not if you’re sat watching this it doesn’t.


“I can’t hear you, James.”


She: Turn the drill off then, you silly little man. What’s Bond doing with the watch?
Me: Remember he was told to be careful about the alarm.
She: Would an analogue watch like that have an alarm?
Me: Miles off knowing or caring. It’s either yes or no.


End of Chapter Twenty-Two.


She: Just a soap opera, isn’t it?
Me: It does seem… reduced by such a turn of events. That Blofeld did all these things to get back at Bond seems so petty. Not sure “specious adolescent grudge” is much of a plot for a Bond.
She: Can’t have been that successful a villain; he can’t afford socks.
Me: Perhaps his father gave little blue-eyed Bond all of Blofeld’s socks, and that explains it all. Maybe junior Bond masturbated into them all, I don’t know.
She: Lovely. It does send a signal out to fathers careless about the impact of their decisions. It doesn’t do to have favourites, Jacques.
Me: Which I don’t.
She: No, you seem to treat them all with equal contempt. I’m not sure that’s any more admirable.
Me: Less effort, though.


Mrs Jim will return.

#37 Simon



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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:43 AM

Thanks fella.  Really very good.


She: From pity to sorrow.  I did laugh.


This script and story writing thing (the thrust of the above) does amaze me though.  Dialogue aside, the construct of a story with a tightly held together 'cause and effect' does seem woefully absent.  And I don't know why as there are some supreme examples of international TV serials that have to create an interwoven story with multiple characters (not just three) over 13 hours of run time.  And they do it in ways that make you hard pushed to find a leak.


So if TV can produce tightly written stories over a number of episodes, sometimes, per year, why can't a two hour film per three years get it locked in?  Not that I am writer of anything more than the rubbish I proffer here and so clearly I couldn't do better.  But I feel the professionals could, and should.


Otherwise, it does just become a matter of asking oneself, How will they dress it up this time?  And I have long term agreed that knowing the ending wouldn't sway anyone from going to a movie of this ilk, for the 60's examples alone.  The Sixth Sense might not be an example of this, but, yunno.


Great job sir.

#38 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 05 August 2016 - 12:14 PM

The reason is unfortunately simple: the professionals are not allowed to just do their job, they have to serve too many kings with conflicting interests.  If everybody who has enough power can give ideas and demand that they are put in, the result will be a hodgepodge.  


One should rather say: if it weren´t for the professionals, those movies would not be made at all or a totally incomprehensible mess (which happens nevertheless too often, see SUICIDE SQUAD).


As for Jim and his magnificent wife: this "real time" commentary should be put on the DVD.

#39 Simon



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Posted 05 August 2016 - 12:43 PM

But if the professionals are not allowed to do their job in film, how are they (seemingly) allowed (in some cases) to do their job in TV?


As for Jim's magnificent wife, I do wonder if Jim is just playing the part of two people.  Two voices saying the same thing as that which was said in the past by one.  (I don't want an answer, btw)

#40 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 05 August 2016 - 02:05 PM

In TV there is a whole different system in place.  The showrunner does have the biggest power and therefore can create the show and rule the writer´s room.  Sure, the showrunner gets notes from the network executives, too.  But most great shows prove that less interference and belief in the guy who actually invented the particular show works much better than the "many cooks in the kitchen"-idea.


Yes, even in TV showrunners get replaced and interference ruins everything.  But basically, TV gives much more creative freedom to the people who write the shows.


Movies, however, mostly due to the way they are financed and thus pose much bigger risks, still are made in a system in which the writer is at the bottom of the food chain.

#41 Dustin



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Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:27 PM

Recent example: Liberace. It was one of Soderbergh's pet projects for years, it had a script and Douglas for the Liberace part - don't recall right now whether Damon was on board already - and they estimated a $ 38 million budget, which is next to nothing in today's business. So with that kind of info studios already could have had a good idea what they were going to get out of it. And yet no studio wanted to take the risk. They saw little room to impose much of their own ideas on the project, they considered the theme too risky and niché and not having enough box office potential. So even that modest $ 38 million was too much for them.

Personally, I doubt they would have made the film if Soderbergh had offered to do it for $ 17 million, simply because by now they don't do this kind of project any more.

#42 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 06 August 2016 - 06:40 AM

They really don´t, unfortunately.  And to make the situation even worse: they wouldn´t make FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE today anymore either.  That´s why every Bond film has to feature huge stunts and explosions because that´s what the big studios think the audience needs to see.


Maybe they are even right - after conditioning the audience for decades to expect a certain kind of spectacle...

#43 Simon



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Posted 06 August 2016 - 09:58 AM

Well, From Russia was made with spectacle in mind for the early 60's audience.  Not today's.  A couple of semi clad fighting girls and a smartly dressed chap wisecracking his way through the danger was a big day, in the day.


Goldfinger may seem to plod today, but yesteryear it thumped.


But I take your point

#44 Jim


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Posted 06 August 2016 - 12:18 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 23: Bang Bang Bang Bang.
The number twenty-three’s supposed to have special powers, nicht wahr? This is the twenty-fourth Bond film. Ooh, unlucky. Nearly. On the wire. Etc.


Time flies. Skids, really. And then, possibly metaphorically, the product placement blows up in Blofeld’s face.


Me: That’ll knock his socks off.


I rule.


She: Bit convenient, that. Stupid Blofeld, should have taken the watch off him.
Me: Classic villain hubris. Alternatively, just more of the wretched same.
She: Is that it, then? Is he dead?
Me: No.
She: Rubbish. DRTTTTT.
Me:… Go on, I’ll bite.
She: You’d better not. Dead Right There, There, There, There and There. Bits everywhere. We use it for motorcyclists. TTJ.
Me: Transfer to Jesus?
She: You’re learning.
Me: Fun game. SPECTRE?
She: WOFTAM. Has that killed the cat?
Me: Let’s hope so.


And with one bound, Bond is free! And not evidently feeling the effects of the torture. Surely, having been sat down for a time, his knees’ll ache like buggery? He’s over 40, it happens.


She: He needs urgent medical attention.
Me: Mrs Dr Thing seems interested.
She: Not what I meant. Man’s had a bloody drill through his neck. She’s a doctor. Check him out.
Me: She’s done that, too.
She: Why have they made this woman a doctor at all? They could have made her a poultry farmer and she would have done exactly the same things, or lack of them.


Patient shows admirable signs of recovery. He leaps about and starts shooting people. Keep under observation, if you can bear it.


She: This is preposterous. What next, are they going to bounce an anvil off his head?
Me: It makes Blofeld’s imminent survival more plausible.
She: No it doesn’t. It’s gone straight from video nasty to neutered cartoon. What a mess.


A mess to which Bond adds by shooting the place up.


She: Why does Blofeld need a base like this?
Me: He has to hang about somewhere.
She: No, I mean all steamy hiss and domes and turny wheels and pipes? He was just computers, not fracking. And why Morocco?
Me: Think it’s another hangover from the original story. It was some sort of solar plant, hence Morocco, and the access to all the information isn’t to manipulate it or use it but to turn it off, rid the world of information completely, not sure how that would work, or blackmail governments for release of it, let anarchy prevail, albeit that if anarchy prevails, it’s not anarchy any more. Anyway, new dark age with this solar centre the only point of light. Wasn’t a bad idea until one realises it’s basically mashing the plots of Diamonds are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun and GoldenEye and therefore should be hurled into a stinky pit and weed upon at one’s leisure.
She: I thought you said you hadn’t read any of the leaks.
Me: I read what others said they had read.
She: Not the most robust peer review. And no more impressive. You have to move away from this; you’re an intelligent man. Occasionally.


Hmm. Meanwhile, back at the noise, there’s some gunfight or other. It doesn’t go on very long because Bond manages to hit the sweet spot and the whole bloody place starts blowing up.


She: I’d call that a design flaw.
Me: Does seem a bit rushed. Not much of a challenge.
She: And unlikely that one gravely injured man could do all this damage.
Me: Still, Bond film, things have to blow up. 
She: Quite so quickly and down to one shot from one gun?
Me: My alternative would have been to have Gary, having used the nanoblood to find Bond, storm down the crater with a platoon of troops.
She: Gary’d fall over.


I still like this idea – Bond to Blofeld: “I’ll stop you” (or words to same effect). Blofeld to Bond: “You and whose army?”.  Bond to Blofeld: “Her Majesty’s.” Cut to soldiers appearing on ridge like the ninjas in You Only Live Twice, or whatever film it was they nicked that from. Bond theme goes silly, film comes to a conclusion without the need for the London element. Big pitched battle and Bond caves Blofeld’s face in with that meteorite of his and somewhere the phrase “information overload” is used for a cheap laugh. Still can’t work out how Dr Swann and C fit into any of this, but I’m not alone in that, am I?


Enough redundant rewriting; it is what it is. And isn’t what it isn’t. And what it is, is Bond being an amazing shot and picking off people from a ridiculous distance.


She: Are all the nice young computer people dying in there?
Me: Yes.
She: He’s a mass murderer. They didn’t need to burn. Yet more dead orphans; he really is a bastard. Hold on, if this is destroyed, that’s it, isn’t it?
Me: What do you mean?
She: Well, this is where Giggles was collecting all the information so if he can’t do that any more, game over, Moriarty Ladypart’s surveillance thing now won’t work at all, nowhere to feed the stuff to, no risk. Is this the end of the film?
Me: …No.


It’s a point, though.


Me: Presumably there’s a backup server somewhere.
She: Not watertight if you have to presume your way out of it. And if there is, why then have something as ostentatious as this place, if you can rely on that anyway?
Me: Throw Bond off the scent?
She: Seems extravagant to create a huge blind like this, staff it with youths and also fill it with easily combustible materials.
Me: Perhaps Blofeld knew that in the last twenty minutes or so, something has to blow up. This always happens.


Subsequent check – not in For Your Eyes Only. But then nothing happens in For Your Eyes Only. All the others, though, be it helicopters, supertankers, “stealth boats”, yachts, volcanoes, islands, space stations, private ‘planes, more private ‘planes, submarines, Hercules transporters, oil rigs, satellite dishes, hotels, water ballast support thingies in Venice, many oil tankers, blimps, Korean Demilitarized Zones, poppy fields, bauxite mines, germ warfare clinics or family homes… ka-blooey.


There is a moment of deadly quiet from Mrs Jim. Something’s brewing. And it’s not the prune risotto.


She: I’ve got it.
Me: True: unsightly.
She: Teat off. What you just said – Blofeld knows how Bond operates.
Me: He’s been watching him for years.
She: Like you.


I don’t like where this one’s going.


She: This Blofeld – he’s a skit on Bond fans.
Me: How?
She: An interest handed down parentally becomes a tragic obsession. Hides behind a pseudonym. Believes himself possessed of information but turns out gravely mistaken. Maniacal about finding things out about Bond. Socially dysfunctional, possibly psychotic. All that stuff Bond says about watching and not participating. A misguided belief that Bond’s important, somehow, or an influence on your life. Can’t be trusted to dress himself. Picks Bond apart to the nth degree.
Me: …Tried to impose continuity where there isn’t any…
She: Yes. Limited social skills, save for domestic animals. Crazed ideas that go nowhere. Blofeld’s Bond’s biggest fan. 
Me: Bit of a stretch, dear.
She: Not at all. You’ve been saying all along that they’re taking the piss, and they are. Bond meets his fandom, fandom tries to destroy him by suggesting all sorts of rubbish things but Bond proceeds to show how absurd they are and how he can continue on without paying much attention to them, thank you very much.
Me: ….gulp.
She: It’s a dark, dark warning from the people making the film – we don’t care if you think you’ve got the information, we don’t care if you think you’ve got a stake in any of this with your childish nonsense: we’re going to beat you anyway.
Me: In what way is this theory disseminated over the internet any less ridiculous than the ones you’ve been mocking?
She: How else is it going to be disseminated? Pigeon?
Me: Dickcissel.
She: That thing about authoring all his pain – hadn’t you been banging on for years about how empty Bond was with that dreadful Brosnan man and they should use character and incident from the books properly?
Me: Well, it wasn’t just me.
She: Exactly. Bond fans – authored the pain.
Me: I don’t really buy this.
She: I think it’s glorious. They hate you. Turns a nailed-on two-out-of-ten into about fifty-four-out-of-ten.
Me: As long as it makes you happy, that’s what counts.
She: As long as it makes you miserable, counts more.


We’ll be married 25 years next year. Imagine what it’s like when we don’t get on.


Moving swiftly on, largely because I cannot accept the possibility that Mrs Jim’s theory might bear a thimbleful of “poss”, the complex is ablaze. Bond and Thingy climb into view.


She: What did he say?
Me: Something about going home. He did mumble that line. 
She: Couldn’t he repeat it?


No. Not when things start blowing up in the same shot.


She: Well, there’s your explosion.
Me: Apparently it set a world record, biggest one ever.
She: Doesn’t look so big.
Me: Yeah – that’s the problem of the clever idea of having your actors in the same frame, the explosion has to be some way off. And they’ve their backs to us so we don’t see if they were scared or laughing and spoiled everything, meaning it all had to be set up again at doubtless massive cost.
She: They’re just standing there. I’d be running away.
Me: Yes, but that would involve some acting and what if one of them tripped over or fell about giggling? You two, just stand there, don’t move, you be watched watching it. Fall over and everything will have to be done again and it’ll cost millions to do. It’s a clever idea to have them there but the cleverness is at the expense of engaging us with it being dangerous.


“It’s not over yet.”


She: Surely it is. No-one survives that.


As the helicopter flies away, two cars are (just) visible driving away from the compound.


She: If you hadn’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have seen that. Blofeld?
Me: Presumably.
She: Plot by presumption again. Is there a version of this where we’re actually properly shown what does happen rather than having to give it the benefit of the doubt all the time?
Me: No.
She: Why doesn’t he chase them down in the helicopter? He’s got a gun.
Me: Not sure he’s seen them. I think it’s one of those things you’d be expected to pick up having paid to watch it again.
She: I haven’t paid to watch it at all, and I feel mugged.


In a bit more “clever” we fly up over the crater and then down into…


She: Yes. It’s obviously [mummy and daddy non-arguing time] London. Why are we back here?


For a fan reference.


Me: Hildebrand is a reference to a Fleming short story.
She: So what?
Me: People like that sort of thing.
She: The people who get it. And those who don’t, won’t care. Fine, you get it. Put it on your cv. I’m sticking to my theory.
Me: I think they’re called Easter Eggs.
She: Processed, artificial and more than one of them makes you sick?


Fair enough.


She: It’s Gary! What’s he been doing all this time?
Me: Waiting for Bond to show up.
She: But Bond might have died. What sort of plan is that? Deserved the sack. Where’s Moneypenny? Sorry, my mistake, night-time: she’s a-rutting.


There’s more walking.


She: Slightly showy place for a safe-house?


“It’s safe.”


She: But Gary still has no reason to trust Bond, does he?
Me: I presume Bond has phoned it in.
She: Like the script.


I am, however, wrong in my presumption. Bond only tells Gary the plot now, and seems to believe Blofeld is dead.


She: Well, that glues the two stories together for everyone. Eventually.
Me: Odd he gave Blofeld’s name such prominence when a ) he barely registered it and b ) he thinks he’s dead anyway.
She: So Gary has been waiting for Bond to show up without knowing what information, if any, Bond would be showing up with? This is bloody ridiculous.
Me: It does appear to fail as a documentary, yes.
She: I’m not expecting that, but surely something coherent would be good?


Bond informs on C.


She: Couldn’t he have told them all this earlier?
Me: Well, he is the star of the film; I’m sure it’s in his contract he has to actually be in the last bit.
She: Why not tell them the base of the operation has been destroyed, though? Surely that’s still significant to the thingy working at all?
Me: I think he just wants to do some more killing.


“It” – whatever the hell it actually is, still unexplained and still redundant whether or not the base has been destroyed - goes live “at midnight”.


She: Healthy sense of the melodramatic. So if Bond hadn’t got back in time, it would be his fault, and not Gary’s for having done nothing about it in the meantime?
Me: So this is either still Sunday, or probably now Monday.
She: Why do you keep going on about that?
Me: You’ll see.
She: The suspense is killing me.
Me: There’s got to be some, somewhere.


“If that happens, SPECTRE will have control of everything.”


Me: The same SPECTRE whose head you have just killed, and whose lair you blew up. Presumes there’s someone ready to take over but from all we’ve been shown, it was a key-man dictatorship.
She: Will they have control of dovecotes?
Me: No.
She: Will they have control of lathes?
Me: No.
She: It’s a total overreaction, then. Let them get on with it and we can all call it a night.


Bond clunkingly brings in Q’s aptitudes and foreshadows how this is going to end. Have you tried turning it on and off again?


She: Little Q’s just going to push some computer buttons and that’ll be it, won’t it?
Me: Pretty much.
She: You can always rely on Q to solve something that now doesn’t need solving.


“It’s good to have you back, 007.”


She: I thought he wasn’t 007 any more? Wasn’t that the point?
Me: Hmm. This is the first conversation they’ve had since right at the start, when they hated each other.
She: As did Dr Lady. He’s just going around collecting people who end up liking him for no readily credible reason, and the person who claims to hate him does so on an equally feeble basis.  No wonder he’s so messed up.


End of Chapter Twenty-Three


She: Why’s he brought her back into danger? If there is any. I thought he vowed to protect her.
Me: Dramatic reasons.
She: He does make life difficult for himself, doesn’t he? Why not drop her off at her mum’s? Actually, why come back at all?
Me: He has to put an end to C’s plan, in which he hasn’t been involved for one single minute up to now.
She: And she, even less. She really would be better off somewhere else, breeding chickens.
Me: Weirdly, that still works as an On Her Majesty’s Secret Service reference.
She: You’re now putting these Easter Egg things in yourself?
Me: What makes you think this is my first time?


Mrs Jim will return.

#45 sharpshooter



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Posted 07 August 2016 - 02:12 AM

Well, From Russia was made with spectacle in mind for the early 60's audience.  Not today's.  A couple of semi clad fighting girls and a smartly dressed chap wisecracking his way through the danger was a big day, in the day.
Goldfinger may seem to plod today, but yesteryear it thumped.
But I take your point

Indeed. You could easily make a satisfying Bond film on a low budget, but I think stunts and spectacle are very much ingrained into the Bond experience. Goldfinger really set the template for the franchise. Doing stunts for real and going all out should be a source of pride in my opinion. Be it bungee jumping off dams, breaking the record for the most cannon rolls in a car, or performing barrel rolls in a helicopter. It's this stuff that helps sets Bond apart from the pack.

#46 Jim


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Posted 20 August 2016 - 02:37 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 24: The Following Events Happen in Real Time. So Terribly, Terribly Slowly.
In which Mr Craig has a bag on his head. There are still some who would suggest this is an improvement. All a bit 2005, that. Time to move on. For all of us.


She: So just like Rome, London’s deserted at midnight? That's... nonsense.
Me: They’re about to explode bits of it. Bits of it stored in a computer, anyway.
She: Why? I thought the plot was done.
Me: There are still products to place and commercial compromises to satisfy.
She: Don’t you ever feel incidental to this industrial by-product? For a film that’s never evidently got going, it seems to have ended three times already.
Me: Might be a Bond film, after all.


Exeunt Hildebrand.


She: Was that Moneypenny?
Me: I think it was Q.
She: If he’s Q, where are L, G, B and T? Don’t answer that.


“James, I can’t.”


She: Act?
Me: Harsh.
She: Maybe. Been dealt a rough part, whoever she is. Totally different, one scene to the next. What a mess. Nice mac, though.

Me: Goes well with all the cheese.

She: I don't get it.

Me: Sorry, have to ensure this plays in somewhere like Boston.

She: Well, that won't work. We use big words.

Me: I mean Boston in the USA.

She: Oh, right.


“I’ll come back for you.”


She: Yes, she might be in a good mood by then. 50/50, though. I think even-numbered scenes, she's a stroppy madam but odd numbered scenes she's OK.


“I can’t go back to this life.”


Me: He looks genuinely perplexed. That, or they were so desperate for dialogue, someone just transcribed what Daniel Craig said one night over a flagon of nut brown ale.


“This is who you are.”


Me: I’m sure this Daniel Craig’s been in other things, but that’s nailed his fate right there.


“You’re a good man, James.”


She: Shaky evidence, at best. He did try to maim her with an aeroplane.


Bond chooses not to pursue her.


She: So this terribly deep relationship has gone from “I love you” to “[the old fur cough]” within – what – five lines?
Me: It adds drama.
She: Not if you don’t believe anything about the characters, it doesn’t. What a [fur cup*]. Why did she come back to London just to walk off again?


* ectually, even more filthy in context than what it tries to euphemise.


Me: That’s probably why he looks confused. You’re only telling me this now? After the food, the wine…
She: Especially the wine.
Me: …the ‘plane tickets and the lovely go on my willy? Bloody freeloader.
She: No, it’s a Discovery.


SIS also appears to use Jaguar Land Rover products too. Perhaps this is a subtle indication that the heroes and villains are all mixed up, not so very different etc yawn. Or sledgehammered product placement red in tooth and bore.


She: ‘Bye then.
Me: Odd choice not to stay safe inside but wander the streets of London, a city unfamiliar to you.
She: She’s going to get captured, isn’t she?
Me: Yes.
She: Is there anything they’ve had her do that’s remotely plausible?
Me: No. Everything could have happened without her existence. As you say, if Mr White had had a son, Bond might have been slightly delayed in finding that hotel, but not prevented. By far the most useless Bond girl I can recall.
She: I wonder why the actress did it?
Me: Money. And they don’t always disappear. They pop up in decent stuff, now and again.
She: That Diana Rigg was in that episode of Dr Who [youngest child] made us watch, wasn’t she?
Me: I said “decent” stuff.


Bond and M set off in M’s Jag.


She: I like that older style of Jaguar. Better than these fat-thighed ones they have now.
Me: Talking of fat thighs, Richard’s got one of those, but he’s desperate to get rid of it. Keeps getting scratched in car parks.
She: Might be because it’s Richard. I thought he had a Mini.

Me: No, that's just the way he walks. That and the fat thighs.

She: Why do they have to wait for Bond to come back? Moriarty Ladypart isn’t physically impressive, even Team Gary could take him.
Me: True, Gary is supposed to be ex-military.
She: Q could simper him to death. That Moneypenny, didn’t she have a gun in one of these?
Me: She usually shoots the wrong person.
She: Could be a running joke. Funny.
Me: She might shoot Gary.
She: Not without cause. He’s awful to her. Not singling her out, admittedly.


Dr Swann walks the streets. Interpret that as you will, but I’m trying to suggest a third dimension to the “character”.


She: That’s right, dear, reject that life of danger by wandering about and readily beckoning it right back in. Cretin.


Lots of driving about. This boring bit is brought to you by Jaguar Land Rover.


She: They’ve allowed Moneypenny to join in. Look at their little gang. Bless. Is that the Mystery Machine?
Me: Amazing WiFi reception, on the move.
She: At least Q’s admitted he’s trying to penetrate something.


Bond and Gary are diverted into a tunnel.


Me: Q’ll lose reception if they go down there.
She: Why doesn’t Gary just instigate a massive power cut? That’d stop it. They did that in New York, that time, to stop the invasion by Mexico.
Me: Who’s succumbing to delusional internet theories now?


Talking of which – a black limousine gets smashed up in a road tunnel. If they were (amazingly) still awake at this point during the World Premiere, I wonder what the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry made of that?


Me: Still no airbags.
She: Is Gary dead?
Me: No, but I can’t believe Bond survived that one.


“They” put a bag on his head.


Me: Probably to keep his brain from leaking out. Kindly.
She: You don’t really understand medical science, do you?
Me: It’s lovely special wizardry.




She: Where’s Gary?
Me: Four men and two vehicles and no-one’s seen him escape.
She: Probably apparated.


“They’ve seen us!”


Me: You’re in the only other car in the tunnel, don’t be surprised. Although, given that they haven’t seen Gary waddling off, perhaps surprise is justified.
She: Oh no! They’ve shot Q!


No they haven’t. They have, however, shot the window out.


She: How did Gary get there without them spotting him? He must have run past their cars.
Me: Maybe they don’t care who he is, either.
She: Why point a gun at a man who can’t see it?


Some more driving about. Because.


She: How did they find Gary?
Me: Horcrux.
She: I thought that window had shattered.


The 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport comes with optional self-healing windows. You’ll need them when your bloated smugness bursts out.


She: All of this money and it basically comes down to James Bond With A Bag On His Head.
Me: At least you can still see his watch.
She: I thought it blew up?
Me: They’ll need to sell another one, to the gullible and tragic.
She: If it’s that nice, surely one of these men would have pinched it? Ergo, it’s not that nice.


Bond kills both men With A Bag On His Head.


She: Um. OK.


Bond escapes his plastic tie cuff things With A Bag On His Head.


She: Um. OK.


He removes the bag. He is now With A Bag Off His Head. Film’s off its head, too.


She: I thought he might at least have regenerated.
Me: That’s the second mention of Dr Who in the last five minutes. You can’t do that to an educated adult male.
She: I’ll put a bag on your head in a minute.


Well, look where he is.


Me: I think it’s now Tuesday.
She: Enough: why do you keep on about this?
Me: Kinnear Junior said, when sailing down the Thames, that the building would be demolished within a week. That was a week last Saturday. Therefore this place shouldn’t be here at all. Should’ve gone bang at the weekend. For various reasons, with this among them, the next ten minutes shouldn’t actually be happening.
She: Is that it? Surely Thingyname was only being approximate?
Me: But it’s much more likely, given where it is, that it would be demolished on a weekend rather than disrupting the working week? Traffic round there’s bloody awful.


Bond goes in. Rather than trying to meet up again with Gary, or bother with Dr… Dr… no, forgotten her already. The memorial wall. More “remembrance” stuff. Trevelyan’s name isn’t on there. This means GoldenEye has been expunged from history. Finally, SPECTRE charms its way into my heart.


She: Would there really be a spy called Jules Pye? I mean, it’s got the word “spy” in it.


Bond approaches his own name.


She: Still can’t see it when it’s big and bold and red, poor old sod. That’s right, follow the arrows into the obvious trap.
Me: It’s a path through his psyche; the sign said James Bond, and following that sign we are now wandering through his crumbling subconscious to arrive at Blofeld at the centre of it. We’ve had Blofeld inside his head on one level already, and now we all are. He’s living the dream, a desperately clever manifestation of the idea. Look at how clever it is. Look. Oscar-winning director, y’know.
She: For this?
Me: God no.


End of Chapter Twenty-Four


She: Why didn’t they just end it with them walking away from one another?
Me: Sometimes the books do end that way. But then the books don’t have watches and SUVs to sell.


Mrs Jim will return.

#47 Simon



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Posted 20 August 2016 - 06:23 PM

I know I am doing fan-boy nonsense, making up a storyline to fit a difficult sequence of scenes, but maybe, Dr Swann needed the length of time back to London to Realise she didn't want this life - before walking away to be recaptured.


Would have been a bit short cut after a quick tumble and a rescue and an 'I love you', to say, 'But on second thoughts, nah.'


Anyway, thoroughly looking forward to next bout of dripping cynicism.

#48 Jim


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Posted 03 September 2016 - 01:34 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 25: C Stands For Nothing
In which we thought we were numbed to the silliness and nothing would now surprise us but, no, we were badly wrong. Naughty us. Ultimately it’s our fault for wanting them to make another one.


She: What’s Richard doing hanging around in car parks, anyway?
Me: Parking his car?
She: An unlikely story.


Upon which…


She: She might be concussed, though.
Me: Who?
She: The doctor woman person.
Me: Oh, her.
She: That’s why she can’t make her mind up. She was badly injured on that train. Head’s cracked like a nice chucky-egg. That was only at best a couple of days ago by your reckoning. Perhaps she’s gone to check herself into St. Thomas’? That would make sense.


Accordingly, that obviously won’t happen. It’s about to be confirmed in a most implausible way that no-one ever needs medical attention.


She: Exciting music. Is something going to happen?


It’s slightly overenergetic music for “man enters his place of work”, admittedly.


She: I thought he was watching them and would know where they were. I thought that was The Plot.
Me: Well, they’ve escaped and the main base of operations has blown up, so he has to resort to this method.
She: You’d think he’d realise it was futile, then? Surely best to let his thingy go live and then he discovers it doesn’t work anyway because Bond blew up some piping in the desert? All that money wasted on something that can’t work.
Me: Gary could say “You want to run Britain? That’s what it’s like, mate”. And then Gary and Moriarty would kiss, and people would laugh.
She: Would they?  Where’s he been? With a few minutes to go until he Takes Over The World, or whatever, wouldn’t he actually be at his desk rather than… wandering off.
Me: Went for coffee?
She: At midnight? In this deserted city? If part of the idea is to kill loads of people with the… whatever it does… he needn’t bother; there’s no-one around. Except in Mexico, and they have Lesbian Daleks to defend them, so good luck. No wonder that Trump individual is terrified of Mexicans.


Those Lesbian Daleks will just fly over that wall of his, anyway.


“We need them both.”


She: Why? Why does he need Bond?
Me: Fair point. Unclear how anything Bond has done has intervened in this side of the plot. I suppose he told Q all about… something.
She: That was about a week ago. Nothing Bond has said or done since has impacted this in any way.
Me: I suppose Gary became increasingly suspicious of C.
She: But why wait for Bond to return to do anything about it? And anyway, all that was about suddenly trusting Bond for no readily apparent reason and waiting for him to do something which might not have helped anyway. All it does is reinforce how unnecessary Bond is.
Me: Half of me thinks that’s precisely what they want to say. Skyfall was overt elegy. This is sly eulogy. Coming not to praise James Bond, but to bury him.


C arrives at his desk.


She: Can he only log in at his desk, then? Surely he’d have an app for that? He’s meant to be all modern and electric. So he’s this surveillance and security genius and he keeps his laptop open with the username and password completed?
Me: At least he didn’t leave it on a train.
She: That’d be a funny Bond, running around trying to retrieve a lost laptop for someone only to find out he was the villain and Bond’s helped him.
Me: Would make Bond look foolish, though?
She: Bit too late to back out of that idea now. You’d think with this ostensibly beneficial Private Finance Initiative coming onstream, there would be more of a crowd standing about, ready to toast it? Surely he wants applause?
Me: He looks like someone demanding a dose of clap.
She: That doesn’t work.
Me: There’s nothing remotely suspicious about “We’re going to turn it on, but no-one’s invited to witness it”, is there?
She: There’s no other staff, either.
Me:  No overtime budget. 


“Not a good feeling, being watched, is it?”


Me: Film reaches peak self-aware. It talks to me. And me alone.
She: So Gary and his little gang could just walk into this epicentre of world security? Right.
Me: If Moriarty Ladypart hadn’t wandered off, this wouldn’t have happened.
She: Goody gumdrops, they did get awfully lucky, didn’t they? He’s only got himself to blame.


“He’s extremely talented.”


She: For all the money, for all the walking, it’s just another film when it all gets solved by someone doing things with a computer, isn’t it?
Me: Yep.
She: Sonic Bloody Screwdriver saves the day. Whoopdy-meh.

Me: I've no idea what you're talking about.


“You’re trespassing.”


She: Ooh, you bitch. They are so naughty, aren’t they? Where’s Moneypenny and the little fat bald guy?
Me: Best not to ask.
She: Dirty Moneypenny. Are they the Fred and Daphne of the crew, mysteriously wandering off with each other whilst leaving the dull one and the dog to sort it all out?


Meanwhile, back with Shaggy…


She: OK, why are we still walking around here?
Me: We’re being shown how Bond will get out, in due course. So no-one can complain about that.
She: There’s nothing else to, obviously.


And meanwhile meanwhile, back with Scooby-Q and the dull one…


She: Was that it? Bond walks around a bit?
Me: No. A lot.


“Take a look at the World. Chaos.”


Me: Take a look at the script. Chaos.
She: He says that things aren’t being done the way they should be, but doesn’t actually tell us how they should be.
Me: He’s a politician. You can’t expect him to actually have a plan.
She: That’s all this guy’s motivation is, then? How would giving power to Blofeld achieve anything? Unless it is just about prostitutes and drugs.
Me: There are worse ways to run a World, I guess. In the books, Bond fantasised about both, so it’s open to interpretation as a positive lifestyle choice.
She: If you’re sufficiently mentally underdeveloped to think James Bond is to be emulated.
Me: I’m not sure appealing to Gary’s sense of democracy is going to get him anywhere. Gary was in charge of one of the least democratic concepts in history – the licence to kill.
She: Or not to kill, don’t forget.
Me: I mean, Gary got his job in a ruthless takeover by allowing his predecessor to be kidnapped by an unfit agent and taken to a place where her chances of death were increased fifty-fold.
She: I thought she died accidentally?
Me: Yes. Which makes Blofeld claiming credit for it even more bizarre, really.


“And now we know what C stands for.”


She: Ha ha ha. Do they let children watch this?
Me: It would have been a great joke, had Bond not already done it in the first fifteen minutes. Some lunatic will claim it shows M and Bond finally thinking as one and a development of trust between them. Or it’s just a cheap [piggy bank] joke.
She: Gary should be careful; it might stand for “Competent”.
Me:  That’d bring the house down.


Talking of which, back at the demolition site…


She: Still this?


Lots of wiring – suggests a “web” – and the targets have Bond’s face on them.


She: Oh come on, get on with it.


Q is doing something with a computer. A thing goes wrong. It’s as gripping as that sounds.


She: Oh just press the buttons and end it. Unplug it, or something. Control Alt Delete the ["Careless"] and let us go to bed. Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Me: Like Mr [redacted]’s life support machine?
She: Shut up.


Bond is still walking about, past what seem to be cells or shower cubicles where we espy promotional headshots of Le Chiffre, Silva, Vesper, White and M The Dead. We are accompanying him through his crumbling psyche, which is ready to blow. To an extent, to recognise this is consistent with the character’s largely reprehensible behaviour throughout the film. However, it is an analogy stretched as tightly as his suits, or the magnificent Sir Roger Moore’s face circa 1985. At the centre of the “web”, filmed as both literal due to the wiring, and metaphorical because these are Award-Winning Proper Ar-Tistes y’know, none of your inwardly-promoted rush-job lackeys here, more’s the pity, stands Blofeld.


She: How’s he able to stand up? He was bombed in the face. He’s severely injured.
Me: It’s quite clear now this is cartoon violence.
She: But all this internalising?
Me: Because the torment of the soul is much more injurious.
She: Bluerggh. You’d feel pretty unwell with half a head, I assure you. All the Germolene in the World's not going to solve that.


Bond shoots at Blofeld.


Me: See how the gunshots form the octopus symbol.
She: Is that a thing, then?
Me: Quite an expensive one, I expect.


“You’re a hard man to kill, Blofeld.”


Me: At least he’s calling him Blofeld now.
She: He’s a bloody impossible man to kill. I’m wondering why a seriously injured man, someone who had half his face burnt off only a few hours ago, spends time cutting out photos and gluing them to the wall. Bit early for rehabilitative therapy. I wonder what he’s used to stick all the photos up?
Me: Pus from his wounds?
She: More pleasant a secretion than I had in mind.
Me: Was it on the tip of your tongue, dear?
She: Reassuringly disgusting, thank you.
Me: Perhaps one of his henchmen, the one remaining that Bond hasn’t burned or shot, did it.
She: Bit of a comedown. Doubt that’s what they were expecting to have to do when they signed up.
Me: The C in SPECTRE stands for “Collage”. The R stands for “Reprographics”.
She: What about the other letters?
Me: Don’t care. The film has corrupted me into intertia.
She: Just got this image now of Blofeld trying to undo a paper jam. And getting most irate.


Blofeld is reflected over Bond and this is “heroes and villains all mixed up” and it is ART. You didn’t get this with Guy Hamilton. You did get entertained, though.


She: So what would have happened if Bond hadn’t killed those men?
Me: You mean, when he had A Bag On His Head?
She: Yes.
Me: Presumably they would have brought him here anyway.
She: But not with a bag on his head?
Me: You’re meant to say that in Capitals.
She: Don’t be weird. If he had a bag on his head, though, he would have missed Blofeld’s art installation. And Blofeld would have been most put out. He’s voluntarily walked in here. Didn’t really need to kill those men, did he?
Me: He’s walked in here on his own terms.
She: And now he’s been captured again. C stands for James Bond.


“My wounds will heal. What about yours?”


She: I think they’ve made this point already.
Me: Several times, during Casino Royale, and it was overdone even during that one film. Three films on and we’re just back at the same. It’s not a bad idea, but when it’s the only idea, it’s a grind.


“This is what’s left of your world.”


Me: Is again commenting on the nature of the whole enterprise. Whole film’s demolished a lot about James Bond so it’s only natural that they end up here. A Bond film telling us what a ruin all of James Bond is, by ruining it some more.


“Why are we here?”


She: Good question.
Me: Not long to go now.


“Where is she?”


She: What does he care?
Me: She’s his pretext for leaving. A convenient get-out. That’s all she is. Could have been anyone.
She: A proper film would have her dead already, and Bond trying to find her totally futile. Then he simply allows himself to be buried under the building and they never find the body so can recast Bond and start again. Is that what happens?
Me: Wait and see.
She: It’d give her some purpose, beyond Mopey Redundant Tag-Along.


Can’t help feeling that sounds better than what does occur. It probably doesn't sell too many watches, though.


“That’s for you to find out.”


She: So Blofeld’s going to allow Bond to rescue her? Isn’t that slightly… contrary to what they’ve been trying to say he’s been up to, killing all Bond’s women?
Me: Yes.
She: She’s in the building isn’t she?
Me: Yes.
She: Despite what Moriarty Ladypart says, putting this man in charge of anything would just lead to greater incompetence. He can’t even stick to his own evil plan properly.
Me: He probably doesn’t believe a word of it, either.


End of Chapter Twenty-Five.


She: I can’t believe Blofeld is in any fit state.
Me: A lot of people agree with you.
She: And all this cod-psychology.
Me: It’s like watching Bugs Bunny fall off a cliff, dust himself down, but immediately torment himself with very searching questions about why he wears a dress every now and then.
She: I suppose to make Little Miss Sunshine a doctor is meant as a joke. James Bond don’t need no doctor. And her complete pointlessness reinforces that.


Mrs Jim will return.

#49 Pierceuhhh



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Posted 04 September 2016 - 03:50 AM

When you watch Spectre from start to finish, you're usually so restless and bored by this point that it all washes over you.

But when you watch it in fits and starts like I often do, you realise that HOLY COW Bond is walking around the building for like 5 minutes! And NOTHING is happening! It's the most stunning longeur since the Vulcan hijack in 1965!

Stuart Baird's presence is sorely missed in this movie. He's exactly the sort of bread and butter dude that should be working in the Bonds. Lee Smith should go back to making Nolan's movies big dumb galumphing messes.

Did Cubby leave behind some weird contractual edict which prohibits future Bond producers from having a spectacular finale? Just when you think they couldn't do any worse than TND's video game nightmare ending, along comes TWINE's wet fart ending. Spectre's ending is RIGHT UP THERE in terms of NOTHING OF ANY CONSEQUENCE happening.

#50 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 04 September 2016 - 09:30 AM

I wonder: What would Mrs. Jim say about the post above?

#51 Jim


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Posted 04 September 2016 - 12:51 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 26: Bond in Ruins
In which another Guinness World Record is broken; “Longest Three Minutes Ever”.


She: Blofeld’s back at work quickly despite suffering a permanent disability. I can see why the Government likes him so much. How did he get access to the building?
Me: Presumably C let him in. That’s why he was away from his desk.
She: Dangerously close to plausible, that. Maybe little C helped him stick the pictures to the wall.
Me: Two heads are better than half a one.


Mr Waltz explains the Big Black Button. All this expense and it basically comes down to a villainous foreigner pushing a Big Black Button. Postmodernism or desperation? Take your pick. And smash the writers’ laptops with it.


She: The button to demolish the building is inside the building to be demolished?
Me: It’s a Special Executive, not the Health and Safety Executive.
She: Doesn’t seem likely.
Me: Film gave up on “likely” some time ago.
She: Or wise.
Me: That too. Although if one’s coming to a Bond for likelihood and wisdom, I suppose one’s setting hopes up way too high.
She: Why give him three minutes? Whole point of this is he knows Bond, so he’ll know that’s plenty of time for Bond to be Very Bondy.
Me: Well, he’s got to get out of there himself.
She: No, he’s obviously indestructible, he could blow it now and he’d skip merrily away.
Me: “Blow it”. Fnarr.
She: Stop putting words in my mouth.


Run! She’s found out!


Me: Only thing I can put there, these days.
She: …Well, that was absolute filth.
Me: You’re watching a film in which a character is called “[clunge (admittedly not much better)]”, part of a series where at least a couple of women have had blatantly sexual names, so giving one to a man is progress, I guess, and yet you accuse me of filth?
She: Yes. Yes I do. Does M stand for “minge”?
Me: Surgical term, dear?


Blofeld gives Bond a choice.


She: Yep, save yourself. She’s not worth it.
Me: He’s tried to kill her himself several times, anyway.
She: What does he owe her by now, anyway? I don’t get the stakes, here.


“You’re bluffing.” “Am I?”


Me: I quite like your idea that she’s already dead.
She: She was barely alive. Surely he should ask for proof of life? As far as Bond knows, she just walked away forever, anyway. Maybe Blofeld could dab his wounds with her bloodied mac, or something. Anything.


Mr Waltz does a giggly bit. It is awful.


Me: I dislike that. Behaving like bloody Muttley.
She: Probably off his half-face on painkillers, though.
Me: He was given to us as this aloof, controlling, sinister presence and he’s just a short chuckling berk.


“I’ve really put you through it, haven’t I?”


Me: Film’s now wholly self-aware and if it carries on much longer, will become Skynet.
She: You keep saying the film’s labouring its points, but it’s not the only one, is it?
Me: Bit of a cheap shot, darling?
She: It’s only you. The level of spend allocated was commensurate.


“That’s brothers for you…”


Me: [Can’t quite make it out on the recording, but I might have growled. It wasn’t the dog.]
She: And a literal button joke.
Me: Scene probably devised around that.


Bond runs about a bit.


She: Why’s he going to places he’s already been to? She wasn’t there.
Me: And… back at the entrance in about a tenth of the time he previously took.
She: Not much point shouting for her over that siren.
Me: Or the music.


Meanwhile, Q is “doing computers”.


She: The program has a “system eradicated” function? Seems counterproductive.
Me: I suppose it’s a nod to the old “self-destruct” buttons in the lairs.
She: Film’s self-destructing.
Me: Now who’s labouring a point?
She: Still you. So, story over, can we stop?


No. Blofeld climbs aboard a chopper. The euphemism is more appealing than the reality, given that this is on the other side of the river and somehow three minutes haven’t yet elapsed.


She: Three minutes? Plenty bollocks.


It appears that the helicopter is berthed (if that’s what one does with such things) outside C’s gaff. No-one seems to have noticed this before now. Gary really is “under-observant”, for a spy.


C and M engage in a Career Development Review process.


She: Now boys, don’t fight.
Me: By that sheer drop. Why’s Gary surprised by the helicopter? It was outside the building all this time. That might have been where C was; Blofeld allowing him a ride on his chopper.
She: Yes, yes, hilarious my love. Oh dear, it’s gone off in his hand.


Glass drops. Lots of it. Right on them.


She: That’d cut them open.
Me: They do look scratched.
She: Pfft. It'd eviscerate them. Should have been Moneypenny doing this.
Me: Why?
She: She could have said “One way to shatter the glass ceiling.”
Me: That’s better than the button-pressing joke, is it?
She: Yes.


Let the C fall. Plot, it crumbles.


She: Gary using his licence to not kill, then. That looked ridiculous.
Me: Music’s gone daft again.
She: Where was Q hiding?
Me: Perhaps he doesn’t like guns.
She: Isn’t he the armourer? Go on Gary, throw yourself off. Film’s so detached from medical reality, it won’t actually hurt.


It looks like it really rather might have.


She: I’m amazed Moriarty Ladypart didn’t just bounce up. What’s CNS, anyway?
Me: Committee for National Security?
She: [Velvet pockets] doing Naughty Surveillance?
Me: Clearly of No Significance?


Bearing in mind the Daniel Craig co-producer credit, it’s probably “Connery Now Sulking”.


IMAX shot of Mr Craig’s bottom as he runs up some stairs.


She: Lovely. Although the three minutes ended ages ago.
Me: Time flying about as well as that C chap.


Apparently barely over a minute has passed.


She: Rubbish.
Me: So Blofeld got out of the building, crossed Vauxhall Bridge, which is quite long…
She: I know that, thank you.
Me: …got airborne and all that happened before C and M fought because the helicopter intervened in that, and all of this stuff occurred in just over a minute.
She: Maybe time goes slower in spy world? So when they said Saddam could unleash WMDs in 45 minutes, they actually meant a month. Quite reassuring, that.
Me: I’m not sure why Bond doesn’t just run around the building, go in through the door Blofeld used, and turn the device off. The key’s still in it. Instead of leaping over fake holes.


Meanwhile, back at Central Nervous System.


She: Hooray! It’s Moneypenny. Doing… nothing. That glass ceiling repaired itself quickly.
Me: M and Q have taken the stairs, from about five floors up. I suspect only one second has passed.


“Any word on Bond?”


She: Git, springs to mind.


“I can hazard a guess.”


Me: There’s no basis for that guess, other than wanting the film to hurry up and end. Funnily enough, she’s right.
She: Funnily enough, she can’t be bothered to help him. Although he is horrid to her, so he gets what he deserves.


Still running about.


Me: He does look very cross. Vauxhall Cross.
She: Uh?
Me: Never mind.
She: I never do. Perhaps Bond can see her in the helicopter, laughing evilly at him. It would properly explain why their romance never convinced. That’d be a twist. Is that the twist?
Me: No.
She: But they did say that Blofeld was interested in women and children, and she ticks both boxes on that one.
Me: So when Blofeld came to her house n years ago, he corrupted her. Very dark, that.
She: Bit more interesting. Unsettling. And it would make him a real villain. Currently, he seems quite nice.


However, what we get instead of this suggested “probably not palatable to the watch shills helping with the budget” plot angle is… convenient muffled screaming.


She: [Go forth and multiply]. Why didn’t they drug her?
Me: They might have thought she was mute. She barely says anything.


Dr Swann is a little tied up at the moment. And disappointingly alive.


She: Wasn’t there a convenient railway to rope her to? Is it meant to be a spoof?
Me: The more I think about it, yes. It might be more enjoyable like that.
She: We must be about ten minutes in by now.


About two minutes fifteen seconds, in “fact”.


She: What luck they’d hidden her in a cupboard. How much did you say this cost?
Me: Roughly the GDP of Tonga.


Bit closer to the Marshall Islands, on reflection. It grossed in the region of the GDP of The Gambia, so it was probably worth doing for the money, if nothing else. There isn't any other reason for it.


She: And it comes down to damsel in distress locked in a cupboard.
Me: S’about it. So he can break his own binds with his bare wrists but slowly goes at hers with a knife no-one thought to take off him and which we didn’t know he had.
She: Is she not booby-trapped?
Me: Apparently not. Apart from the ticking time-bomb of her alcohol-induced character inadequacy.
She: Surprised you think so little of her, then.


“Do you trust me?” “Do I have a choice?” “Not any more.”


She: Sowing the seeds of dependency-culture domestic abuse right there.


Catch/fall, writing/wall etc. But no suffocation. Shame.


She: That was a good stunt. Was that net there before?
Me: Yes, they did show it. Bond stared at it for a few seconds earlier on.
She: Why would it be there?
Me: To catch falling debris?
She: But it would be inside the falling debris?
Me: I don’t know about demolishing things.
She: Tell that to a cheesecake, chunky.


They run away, and the camera slowly follows them through a doorway to show… nothing. Very weird, slow, nothing bit of absolutely nothing, that.


She: What was that for?
Me: I think they forgot to CGI in Jennifer Honeysuckle waiting there for them.
She: Didn’t his head get pulled off?
Me: Fnarr.
She: Although that wouldn’t mean anything serious, in this film.


M et al leave Crappy Nonsense Screenplay.


She: You really would think there would be someone else around. They’ve just been involved in the death of the Home Secretary’s best pal.


Blofeld says goodbye.


She: Is it sensible to fly that close to a demolition site?


The explosions go off around where Madeleine was found, The Dead M’s office and its… cupboard. However, from the outside, they seem to go off on the ground floor, which would appear much more robust and practical when bringing a building down.


She: Gary looks confused and upset.
Me: He might have swallowed some glass. He’s a bit clumsy like that.
She: They still don’t know Bond’s actually in there, though.
Me: Just when you might legitimately need and use the NanoBlood to track him down, you don’t. Or can’t. Or have forgotten completely about that dead-end storyline in pursuit of whatever all this is meant to be.


A handful of pedestrians on Vauxhall Bridge seem to notice what’s going on. Blofeld looks air sick; he’s a not a well man. The building collapses very quickly. Time seems to have sped up, all of a sudden.


She: Is that it, then? That would be a cliffhanger.


It would be, but it’s not. Everything that has been built up collapses. Film implodes itself into critic-proofing.


End of Chapter Twenty-Six.


She: Is there really much more?
Me: No.
She: I can see why it’s annoyed you. Your mouth’s doing that lipcurling thing.
Me: That’s the prune risotto. The film… the film’s just leaving me numb.
She: Perhaps it’s been going on too long.
Me: This last bit didn’t help, with the dodgy three minutes.
She: I meant the whole Bond thing. For you.
Me: You might be right.


Mrs Jim will return.

#52 Jim


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Posted 11 September 2016 - 02:19 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 27: Show me the way to go drone.
In which everything that has happened builds to a crisis of conscience that lasts about four seconds.


Me: Blofeld is revealed to be Bond’s step-brother and this sets off a chain of events that means a structure has collapsed in on itself and James Bond is believed to be buried somewhere underneath it. As a metaphor for the merits of the film and where the series finds itself, that’s hard to beat.
She: I think you’ve made your point now.
Me: (Sings. It’s unpleasant) I’ve even gone a bit too far to get the message home.
She: (Sings. If anything, it’s worse) Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a halt.
Me: …And?
She: And what?
Me: You’ve forgotten the last line of that.
She: Not at all. It’s because I remembered it, that I didn’t say it.
Me: I’m going to have that tune going round in my head all night, now.
She: You always did like musical theatre.
Me: What’s that meant to mean?
She: Why do you think it’s a negative? Paranoid heteronormalising buffoon.
Me: Sorry.
She: And camp old twat.


Yet, no, James Bond has survived to die another day, which is another terribly poor film but one that seems to embrace a breezy awareness of its inadequacy. This, however, Has Things To Say. What it lacks, though, are Things Worth Saying.


She: They missed a trick here.
Me: Mm-hm?
She: They could stop it there and have “Will James Bond return?” at the end.
Me: It’d be a fun thing, but I doubt the corporate product partners would be very happy unless they knew another film was a dead-cert.
She: It’s all about the artistic credibility, isn’t it?
Me: Always.
She: Well, look at that. They escaped. Oh good.
Me: I’m not sure escaping from underneath the explosions would really be a sensible strategy. If memory serves, she doesn’t have any more lines.
She: Not even “Thank you for rescuing me.”?
Me: I think she’s currently giving us her Scowl of Great Gratitude. Not so very different from her Scowl of Foul Attitude.
She: Not much range.
Me: Don’t think she’s been required to display it. She might be giving us this generation’s definitive reading of the complex role of Dr Whassface. It’s just that said role amounts to absolutely cack all.


Gary looks on, from outside Contrived Narrative Structure. He doesn’t look that happy.


She: Maybe he wanted Bond dead. Likes a nice funeral, does Gary. He’s insatiable when it comes to vol-au-vents.


The helicopter flies down river.


She: Why’s he flying along the river?
Me: Blofeld wants to take in the view?
She: He’s only got one eye left, what’s the point? All the pilot has to do is turn inland by ten degrees and that’s an escape right there. Bond’s in a [vigorous kissing] boat.


Bond gets ready to fire.


She: So she can pilot a boat now, can she? Useful skill in an alpine clap clinic.
Me: Useful in getting the plot through.
She: I know that, stronzo.


Bond fires his little gun at the helicopter which is about 100m ahead of him. Ah well, I like the Bond film with the invisible space station in it, so I don’t know why I’m bothering to moan about this development.


“Amazingly enough”, he manages to hit it.


She: Can that actually happen? That helicopter is a long way away.
Me: Don’t know. Don’t know about guns. I’m not a simpleton.
She: Let’s park that debate, and move on. So, he’s had two guns on him all along?
Me: And a knife.
She: They weren’t very competent, were they, those men he killed with A Bag On His Head?
Me: See, you can do it.


Now Lambeth Bridge is in the way but this doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to shooting down a large helicopter with a small gun.


Blofeld seems to notice what’s going on.


She: That eye make-up is very gruesome.
Me: I think it’s computer generated, like the wounds that man had in that Batman film.
She: Which Batman film?
Me: The boring, pretentious one.
She: Doesn’t narrow it down.


Meanwhile at the unboring and unpretentious SPECTRE, Bond has one last shot and manages to shoot his load into Blofeld’s hot little rearward aperture. It’s what the film’s about and don’t deny it.


She:  He’ll made an almighty mess of his big brother’s chopper.




Me: Remember Luke, the Force will be with you, always. Or as long as we can continue to fleece you.


The helicopter does some computer-generated stuff.


She: So Bond’s shooting down several tons of steel and aviation fuel over the Houses of Parliament. Hm. Why does this man have a job?
Me: I think – I hasten to say, think – that the plot is that he hasn’t.
She: Crashing aircraft around buildings of national importance. How spectacularly tasteful.


The helicopter veers about over the river.


She: Is it going to crash into the London Eye?
Me: No. That’d be fun though. Bond could say “An eye for an eye” and we’d all laugh.
She: Not all of us. Blofeld doesn’t look scared.
Me: As you said, he’d have to be off his pumpkin on Nurofen anyway.
She: Taken some of his own fake pharma.
Me: “Have a taste of your own medicine, Blofeld!”
She: Are you sure you have any credible stake in whining about the writing of this?


The helicopter comes into land, in much the way it would as an everyday matter of course were Mrs Jim the pilot.


She: Wasn’t there a real helicopter crash around the spy building a few years ago?
Me: Oh yes, that’s right.
She: Of course it’s right.
Me: I suppose that might have been an inspiration. Along with all the other stuff they’ve nicked.
She: Who’s the other chap in there with Blofeld?
Me: I think that was the butler from Morocco.
She: Why do you need a butler aboard a helicopter?
Me: It’s Blofeld. He overspends.


There’s obviously a “needs help with his chopper” comment in there, somewhere.


She: I’d understand it if it were a doctor. Bofeld’s had a rough few days.
Me: The Madeleine person is a doctor.
She: Madeleine?
Me: Dr Swann, the girl, the Proust thing.
She: Proust’s work is notable for its want of helicopter chases.
Me: Yep. Pity.
She: So is she Blofeld’s doctor?
Me: That would be a twist, wouldn’t it?
She: Perhaps those were his notes she was dictating right in front of another patient. That’s why he was so keen to kill her; good cause. Is that the twist?
Me: No.
She: It would have given her something to do, though, wouldn’t it?
Me: Yes.


Somehow, despite an impressively done crash, Blofeld is still alive.


She: Not a chance. He’d be paste by now.


Gary, and all the police who weren’t around fifteen minutes ago, turn up.


She: Gary runs very oddly. Perhaps he’s physically lame, too.


Bond shoves Madeleine out of the way as he bounds off up the stairs.


She: She should just sail off and find herself...
Me: Find herself what?
She: Just find herself. No-one’s yet done that for her, after all. Don’t stick around with this rude, shoving prat, dear.


Blofeld crawls away from the wreckage – I envy him – despite having been able to kick the door off the helicopter.


She: Is he wearing socks tonight?


M gets through the security cordon very, very easily.


She: Isn’t the 00-Section over?
Me: Yes. And ostensibly a secret. Hence “Secret Agent James Bond 007”. Although I suppose that hearing thing in Skyfall would mean by now everyone has heard of it.
She: I thought he was chief of the whole of it, not just a dead bit of it?
Me: I think that’s what C was about.
She: But C only died about five minutes ago – although in the timing of this film, that could be a week.
Me: It does seem odd that random copper has heard of it all.
She: Gary seems to have reinstated himself very quickly. And very unilaterally.


Dr Swann runs up after Bond.


She: Flee, you hopeless fool!


Ah! The confrontation at last! Yay.


She: He’d crawled much further away than that. He was going at a hell of a lick a moment ago. He’s parked that in a bus lane, they won’t like that one bit.


Bond makes as if to shoot. To pop a cap in his ass, as t’were. Film’s still ploughing that furrow.


She: It won’t matter. He’s one of the undead.
Me: The dead are alive.
She: Hm?
Me: That’s what it said at the start of the film.
She: Yes, but that was hours ago, be fair. So Gary’s told the legitimate police to stand down so his now unlicensed to kill…
Me: … or not to kill…
She: … or not to kill, thug can do it instead? I don’t think this reinstatement is going to last very long.


“Finish it.”


She: Obey the man.


The point of the film, at last (apart from all that hot aperture stuff). Gary, Bond and Blofeld, Dr Swann, choices and bridges and yadda yadda yadda. How the hell has it had the nerve to spend so long, and so much, getting to this?


“Finish it.”


She: For the love of God, finish it!


“Out of bullets.”


She: Is that an impotence thing?
Me: Maybe. Or the series realising where it’s at.
She: No, but seriously, surely he has loads of bastard children kicking around the globe? Is that what’s next – we’ve had the bit about his Mum and Dad, now we’ve met his brother, is the next one going to be about his son? Or will you lot whine even more?
Me: Actually, he does have a son. That might have met with less hostility than what they did here.
She: He’ll just have to make do with someone young enough to be his daughter, then.


Now the choice. Lame Duck Gary or Loose [Duck] Madeleine? Not really Sophie's Choice level of trauma, is it?


Me: What’s interesting about this…
She: Be very, very careful…
Me: What might be interesting about this is that Bond stayed his hand before he realised Dr Thingy was there. So it has nothing to do with her at all.
She: Why’s that interesting?
Me: Future-proofing. She’s not significant in the choice he makes. So they can just bin her between films without having to say anything about it.
She: Whatever. I think they should move away from that burning helicopter a bit.


“I’ve got something better to do.”


Me: Spake truculent millionaire artiste Daniel Craig, walking away.
She: Is he doing another one?
Me: He’s still been the best thing in all this, by far, but that’s not saying much. So much of his dialogue in the film is quite laden, pointed.


James Bond does Dirty Henry*. Not slash fiction, don’t get excited (you’ve been “watching” SPECTRE, there’s no way you would get excited), but the hurling of the badge/gun thing.


*Until I meet him, it would be forward to refer to him as Harry.


Me: Camp throwaway, that.
She: As you’d say, boringly, “series in a nutshell”.
Me: Hmm?
She: A camp throwaway. At least he doesn’t throw like a girl.
Me: What’s wrong with that?
She: No dear, you’re all man. Every inch of you. Every millimetre.


Dr Swann still doesn’t get any lines. She last spoke about ten minutes ago. She does do kissing and that’ll just have to do. All she's there for, after all.


Meanwhile, in varying distance from the crash site, Blofeld does “some glaring”.


She: Yes, well, that’s her doomed.
Me: He did suggest that earlier.
She: She won’t be missed. Except by his gun. But then she’s proved herself indestructible as well. The threat level is negligible.


Gary arrests Blofeld under the “Special Measures Act”.


Me: That’s not its proper name and I’m not totally sure Gary has any actual jurisdiction under it, come to think of it.
She: Perhaps it’s a citizen’s arrest. This bridge is very damaged. Are they going to schedule this for demolition too?
Me: No.
She: I’m not sure the planning policy is coherent. What did Blofeld do, anyway? The building was scheduled for demolition, and it’s bloody Bond who’s caused this current mess.
Me: I suppose it’s because of “all the other stuff” he’s been up to.
She: Like?
Me: That stuff in South Africa.
She: Does the legislation cover that, then?
Me: The information-gathering?
She: That was government policy.
Me: The general “naughty”.
She: Bit hopeless, isn’t it? Gary has no idea why he’s arresting this man.

Me: Can't say they've been after him for years because a ) everyone thought he was dead until about five days ago and even then, no-one believed Bond really and b ) until about twenty minutes ago, Bond thought he'd killed him.


Blofeld looks singularly unimpressed, although he’s probably thinking “Is that it?” too. Bond Swanns off.


She: You’d have thought Gary would have tried harder to pull Bond in for a good debriefing?


We fade, as we all must, to black.


She: Odd ending.
Me: Who said that was an ending?
She: Is it not?


End of Chapter Twenty-Seven.


Me: Not much more left.
She: Has he resigned then? Resigned from a job he doesn't actually have, I mean?
Me: Deliberately vague. Options open.
She: Is he going off with her permanently, or just for a mucky moment?
Me: Deliberately vague. Options open.
She: Legs open, I bet. I still don’t get why he’s better than a drone. A drone wouldn’t have caused this much damage and then just buggered off for squelchies.


Mrs Jim, for one last time, will return.

#53 Simon



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Posted 11 September 2016 - 08:00 PM

Still love the film even if (now), I know deep down I shouldn't.


As for 'squelches', I would have thought by now I had heard the majority of terms for...  Well, good to know the world can still surprise me.

#54 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 12 September 2016 - 05:35 AM

How agonizingly perfect to spread things out and interrupt again for the last ending of the film...


To sum it all up prematurely, Mrs. and Mr. Jim: you have managed to transcend film criticism by actually criticize in real time what feels like surreal time watching SPECTRE.


Now, please, you two, watch TWINE and tell us all about it.

#55 Simon



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Posted 12 September 2016 - 11:13 AM

Now that Would be the ideal film for some cynical critiquing.  I actually believe the film was made with only this in mind...

#56 Jim


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Posted 24 September 2016 - 04:07 PM

The 007th Minute: SPECTRE
Chapter 28: Epilogue-a-blog
In which the work of several years has to come to an end.


Me: Impressions?
She: I do a bloody good Tommy Cooper.
Me: I mean of the film.
She: About two.
Me: Out of ten? Twenty?
She: It doesn’t matter. Two is a low number. What about you?
Me: I like a lot of what it looks like, Daniel Craig is reliable even if the character is suddenly despicable, some of the ideas are interesting. However, more of the ideas are weak and one of the ideas calamitous, and it just seems first-draft, never coalescing, that the amount of money they spent doing it is so wasteful. It never crystallises, the plot hovers above the film for hours, perpetually threatening to descend, but it never comes in to land. The girl is particularly dire, the threat is feebly articulated and absurdly easy to turn off ,and the twist, such as it is, is actively offensive. Something to try to please all fans and therefore it turned out rubbish. We gave you a gunbarrel. We gave you a more jokey Bond. We gave you Blofeld and SPECTRE. We gave you a long running time. We gave you all that, it’s terrible, so it’s time for you lot to shut the hell up, see what you made us do, and let us make the films we want to. They made a Bond film, possibly the most Bondy McBondfilm ever. And Bond films are rubbish. We’d outgrown them, we’d been allowed to outgrow them, and suddenly, boats against the current, we were borne back ceaselessly into the past. I feel cheated. Bond has eaten itself. And it's also evidently the case that these four films are the only missions this Bond was ever on, going from foal to glue factory without any thoroughbred years in between.
She: And more sanely?
Me: About two.
She: Presumably letting Scarface go was setting up a sequel.
Me: I’m not sure it’s a film I want to see.
She: You will, though.
Me: I might.
She: Don’t be childish. It’s just a film. Whether you see it or not won’t end the Earth, will it?
Me: No.
She: So you will go and see the next one?
Me: (Sniffs) Yes. Sorry.
She: Good. Behave yourself.
Me: Do you like seeing grown men cry?
She: Were there one around, then yes.


The Empire Strikes Back: ends inconclusively and everything that happens seems to revolve around the implausible significance of one family to all surrounding events, and a shock relationship revelation = Good (apparently; never seen it, never needed to). SPECTRE: ends inconclusively and everything that happens seems to revolve around the implausible significance of one family to all surrounding events, and a shock relationship revelation = Awful (apparently; seen it and wished I hadn’t). Odd, that.


Odder still is that the same point about ending inconclusively, obsession with one family as having any impact and distracting relationship issues is pretty much an apt description of this balderdash.


Meanwhile, back in London, although as we’re not told this we might irresponsibly think it’s Kabul. Sometimes we are trusted, sometimes we are not. Feeling’s mutual.


She: Is this the next day?
Me: Unclear. It’s A next day, certainly.
She: Plainly, on the basis the last bit was at night. Where is that?
Me: Kabul.


Told you.


She: No, it’s Horseguards or Whitehall Place somewhere, isn’t it?
Me: Mm-hm. Is obviously very early.
She: Didn’t the last one end a bit like this?
Me: Yes. The film does come across as someone having seen Skyfall and thinking that a mangled photocopy is going to pass muster.


Q’s at work; this appears to be the lab from before but that was expressly stated as not being near Gary’s lair, for reasons and reasons and reasons and stuff. On this evidence, it’s within a stone’s throw. His rebellion seems pointless. He’s doing a computer thing.


The lift descends. Q knows who it is as the lift music appears to be the Bond theme. Not sure about the security wisdom of that. Bet it annoys 009, too.


She: Oh look who it is. Fancy that.
Me: And do you?
She: Wouldn’t throw him out of bed for eating crisps.
Me: He does look the type.
She: He walks oddly, doesn’t he? A gibbonesque strut. Although it’s probably that drill finally having had some effect. Balance is all off.


“I thought you’d gone.” “I have.”


Me: So it might be a day later, it might be a month later, it’s a bit uncertain. It’s also hedging their bets on when all this returns, and who’s doing the professional suit-wearing, watch-selling and line-saying.


“There’s just one thing I need.”


She: Oh, Q. Realisation dawns. Look at his loving glance. Bond’s come back for you. That’s a really bold ending.
Me: One night of listless [investing in one’s family future] and he’s sick of her. Several days behind us, but at least he caught up.


It’s not that bold an ending. You can’t kill Bond. You can’t kill Dr Scowlybum. You can’t kill Blofeld. But most ridiculously indestructible of all is this [rigorous personal networking] Aston Martin.


She: Leather driving gloves. What a prat.
Me: His hand hesitated on the ejector button there.
She: Oh, it’s just her.
Me: She’s still not allowed to speak.
She: Why not drive off with Q? That would have been a better ending.
Me: It would have driven people absolutely mad.
She: And why? There was no chemistry between Bond and this woman. Except ethanol.
Me: You know full well why. And it would have been depressing to read people hiding their subnormal bigotry behind assertions that Fleming was obscenely homophobic in Goldfinger so they’re only being true to the initial vision and not actually expressing an odious view. I don’t really mind, they write, but it’s not true to Fleming so it shouldn’t happen. Vicarious cowardice. Twats by proxy. Same thing happens whenever any discussion of a black Bond hoves into view.
She: Hasn’t there been a black Bond?
Me: No. Would you care?
She: No.
Me: But Ian Fleming wrote him as a white man. I think.
She: Who cares?
Me: Admittedly he also wrote him as an emotionally brittle sixty-a-day junkie misanthrope with an egg obsession, a housekeeper, a WW2 background, beset by inverted snobbery and flamboyantly egregious attitudes. And we haven’t had much of that, either. Basic fact is, he wrote him as a member of the British Establishment of the 1950s, which was likely to be white. If rampagingly repressed homosexuals, funnily enough. These films aren’t set in the 1950s.
She: High horse needs a kindly vet. Time to ease its passage.
Me: You leave my passage alone.


It is, one admits, a very pretty car. But it is just another reference. Time to retire it. Time to retire all of it. Time to retire.


She: Hang on, wasn’t it a total wreck a week or two ago?
Me: Yes.
She: And that was still about however many years after it was blown up in the last one?
Me: Yes.
She: But a handful of days later, it’s in perfect working order?
Me: Yes.
She: I’ll know where to send mine next time.
Me: What do you mean, next time?
She: Go on, eject her. Everyone wants it. Everyone will cheer.
Me: It’d definitely be a character arc. Perhaps more a parabola, as she screams through the air. It’d give her something to do.
She: Fling her at The Cenotaph, throw a U-ey and come back for your one Q love.


This doesn’t happen. The film, finally, ends.


She: That was a bit odd.
Me: Off they ride, into the sunset.
She: No they don’t. It’s daybreak. It’s dawn. Off they ride, into the dawn.
Me: Oh, yes.
She: Sunset along there would be tourists and gridlock and the acrid smell of both. And possibly onions.
Me: I suppose they’d say it’s all a new dawn for James Bond beckoning. Oscar-winning film-maker bludgeons the subtlety in. Again, gives them the chance not to continue with this storyline, or even this actor.
She: Would you be sorry to see him go?
Me: I think this bloated mess would be a great shame as a last stand. But if that’s it, that’s it.
She: Is there another scene after this music, when she’s shot?
Me: No.
She: She really didn’t say very much, did she?
Me: There might have been some more things, but given the ghastly dialogue others are given, she might have simply chosen not to lose even more dignity.
She: Do these credits go on a long time?
Me: Yes.
She: I’m sure everyone did marvellously. Can we turn it off now?




She: You look grumpy. Grumpier.
Me: Not really.
She: If this stuff makes you unhappy, why bother?
Me: You might have a point.
She: What do your online chums think of it?
Me: Mixed feelings. Generally negative, I think. Not all. Some people like it. But then some people like guns and racism and lager.
She: And what have you gained from it all?
Me: Meaning?
She: Bitching about someone else’s work, online. For how many years now?
Me: Fifteen.
She: And what’s it brought you that not having done it would have brought you?
Me: …Um. It gets me into trouble. Makes me do crazy things.
She: Well, we can’t have that. I have a question.
Me: What’s that?
She: Why, given every other possible option, would you have filled your time with that?
Me: Haven’t we done this already?
She: I’m serious. Is this really what you want? Typing in the shadows. Trolling. Being trolled. Always looking for trouble. Always a moan.
Me: I’m not sure I do moan that much.
She: What’s all this rubbish been, then? Answer the question.
Me: I’m not sure I ever had a choice.
She: It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it?
Me: I don’t stop to think about it?
She: What would happen if you did?
Me: Stop?
She: Yes.
Me: I don’t know.


Let’s find out.


Mrs Jim might return.

Mr Jim… might not.

#57 SecretAgentFan



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Posted 25 September 2016 - 07:57 AM

But please do.


If possible, both of you.

#58 univex


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Posted 25 September 2016 - 10:23 AM

Very well done. Thanks, Mrs and Mr Jim. And yes, do return, both of you, as SAF said.

#59 Dustin



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Posted 25 September 2016 - 11:22 AM

Absolutely! As a team you two easily beat The Avengers. Send your wife little notes with "Mrs Jim, we're needed" on it...

#60 Simon



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Posted 25 September 2016 - 05:37 PM

Whether it Was a team, or just Jim writing for both, it was a very creative 'review', and a joy to read.


Thanks Jim.