Monday, December 12, 2011
Spy vs. Spy
As a part of my recovery from the NaNoWriMo bender, I've been working my way through the genre of spy movies. (Every day it becomes clearer it was actually not a great thing for me to dive in head-first. But it's over now. Krikey!)
Netflix always makes James Bond films streamable (is that a word?) during the holidays. After January 1, to see the suave, debonair, womanizing Sean Connery, you have to put the film in the DVD queue. I of course love James Bond - I mean what's not to love about those movies? James Bond is an icon, an archetype. It's instinctual to love the clan chieftain/warrior superhero patriarch who will vanquish evil. The archetype has been interpreted by many different actors. Each guy gives the archetype a slightly different spin. My favorite is Roger Moore, such a classy British gent. In most of his films, the inevitable car chase is replaced with boat chases. Very fun alternative if you ask me. I always love the ski chases, too.
James Bond movies don't pose any kind of puzzle, so they can't accurately be called thrillers. You know he will prevail and in the meantime be strapped so some kind of device intended to kill him slowly, but of course he will escape, and save the girl, too. You know he's going to bed with at least two women, probably more, all with terrible names. The films are funny, but hardly intriguing. That's why I loved the Austin Powers movies (only saw the first two). When I watch Mike Meyers in those films, I think, Is that what it looks like to those who weren't of age in the 60s? Very interesting! We were extremely naive then.
I'm also watching a bunch of "classic" spy films. I watched "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" with the splendid Richard Burton. I could stare at his face for days - what a face! I watched the movie twice, mostly because I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. But I found it incredibly depressing. Equally depressing was "The Falcon and the Snowman." Such a cynical, hard-hearted movie.
Last night I watched "The Quiller Memorandum." There was no memorandum in the movie, but other than that, it's top notch. Harold Pinter wrote the excellent screenplay. Though I was unimpressed with George Segal's wisecracking character, the rest of the acting is superb. I love me some Sir Alec Guiness! And Berlin in the 1960s, still haunted by Nazis, living and dead - very spooky! Poor Max von Sydow. Has he ever played a good guy?
So it goes, my recovery from the free fall of NaNoWriMo. I was swallowed alive, but I emerged somehow or another. Probably it was a matter of angelic intervention, or so the Sufi acupuncturist would say. I'm still working to get myself all the way back from The Tell. For instance this morning I saw a story in the New York Times about conflict and fighting in a small town in Yemen. I thought, If only I can get Vega back there to help ...
Then I remembered, oh yeah, I just made her up!
Tonight: "From Russia with Love." C'mon Sean Connery, take me one step closer to a full recovery, yes? I say yes.