Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Legendary Awfulness: Edward D. Wood, Jr.

There are those in cinema who are remembered and celebrated because of their genius: Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Fellini, Wilder, and so on. But only one filmmaker is remembered and celebrated for his lack of talent: Edward D. Wood, Jr., the mind behind such “classics” as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster. He was the Orson Welles of bad movies, writer, director, producer and actor, but if Welles is one end of the spectrum, then Wood is the other.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Icon. Cinema Icon.

It’s hard to find a person alive who doesn’t know who James Bond is. He has so permeated our society, that every spy movie made since his debut has compared itself to the franchise. He is the spy, while Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan and others are just spies. His name is also a genre unto itself; it’s easy to describe a movie as being “a James Bond film.” The only other character I can think of that has this distinction is Godzilla. (“It’s a Godzilla movie.” No further synopsis required.)

We can argue about what the best Bond movie is (Goldfinger) or the worst (Die Another Day), but in the end, we keep coming back to our gentleman spy, whether he is Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, Craig or (god forbid) Lazenby. What is the attraction? Is it the old cliché that “women want him and men want to be him”? Or is there something deeper? Is the James Bond series popcorn entertainment personified, or is there something about the alcoholic, womanizing assassin that speaks to our deeper subconscious?

Or is it simply that, while there are many imitators, there is only one Bond? As Carly Simon sang: “Nobody does it better.”