Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Top 5 James Bond Films

I have the privilege of being blessed with a wife who loves action movies. It was by her impetus that we watched all the Bourne movies together. We saw all the Mission Impossible movies a couple years ago. And last summer, I decided it was seriously time for her to watch some James Bond.

I originally got into James Bond as a teenager when my uncle bought me Doctor No for my birthday. In my sophomore year of college (13 years ago much to my dismay), my friends and I watched every one of the movies (including the terrible Casino Royale parody from 1967). But one forgets a lot in 13 years and most of my memories were just impressions of specific scenes. There are a lot of good movies in the Bond franchise and a lot of bad, cheesy movies too. So I thought I’d do a top 5 list of the best and most essential Bond movies for those who can’t be bothered to sit down and watch all 23 films in the series canon. Here they are:

1. From Russia with Love (1963)

This is the best Bond film ever made. The characters are interesting, the pacing is good, the adventure is big, and there are lots of exotic locations. Also, this one introduces Bond's longtime villain, Blofeld. And (this always ranks really high in my book) there were no ridiculous gadgets that are so often the bane of Bond movies.

2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Out of every Bond movie ever made, this is the most faithful to the book on which it is based. Contrary to popular prejudice, George Lazenby made a great James Bond. The story is great, Bond gets to be a real person for once, and there are, once again, no goofy gadgets.

3. Doctor No (1962)

This is the film that introduced Bond to moviegoers. Sean Connery is incredibly cool in his first iconic appearance at a card table with a cigarette in his mouth. As this is the first film, it had a lower budget, but was far better than some of the cheesier high budget movies that would come later. This one also improves upon the book. In the book, Bond battles a giant squid, which to me feels a bit too much like jumping the shark.

4. Skyfall (2012)
I'm a huge fan of what Daniel Craig has done with James Bond, bringing the series back to its roots. No exploding toothpaste. No car with a million buttons and guns attached. Just good honest spywork and fisticuffs. This one works as a tribute to the series as a whole, and is the best of the Daniel Craig movies so far.

5. The Living Daylights (1987)
This was Timothy Dalton's first outing as Bond, and while some parts of the movie feel pretty dated, Dalton was a great Bond. He was, in fact, the only one of the Bond actors who was a fan of the books before playing the part in a film, so he was consciously trying to steer the character away from the travesty that was Roger Moore's portrayal. Audiences at the time didn't like it, but Dalton was essentially trying to do with Bond in the 90s what Daniel Craig is doing now. Also this movie felt like the biggest sprawlingadventure since From Russia With Love.


Erica said…
Dr. No is great, but there is a spider. This is a problem.