Do I Like Anything Anymore?

The lovely Deb and I saw Spectre last night.  Now, I am a James Bond fan since…well, since I was very little.  My dad was a huge Bond fan, in the Connery/Moore days.  He had all the Fleming books–still does, the original sixties mass-market paperbacks–and we kids and my mom were taken to every new Bond film that came out.  I have a great love for those old Bond films.  Connery was and will ever be Bond, but Moore (early on at least) was a pretty good Bond.  Dalton was a great (if prickly) Bond, Brosnan was a good sort of cheesy Bond.

When Daniel Craig came along, I was a little skeptical, but Casino Royale wowed me.  Quantum of Solace was somewhat of a letdown, not Craig’s fault.  Skyfall…well, I didn’t like Skyfall much.  But compared to Spectre, Skyfall is a classic.

Spectre is two and a half hours of bad exposition, long, boring chunks, and characters doing stupid things to advance the plot, all strung together with manic action sequences.  This time, though, Craig seems bored, diffident, as if he’s just walking through the scenes.

And the idiotic things that are said, the idiotic things that are done, the supremely lazy and stupid writing of this story is almost insulting.  What they’ve tried to do–and this is going to get necessarily a little spoilery–is tie up all of the villains and stuff that’s happened in Craig’s previous three movies into one nice little package.

Great idea, potentially, but not here.  Instead, what we get, is the introduction of a classic Bond villain, but this time given a personal spin relative to Bond…somewhat literally.  But the motivations for the villain’s deeds are murky and ill-defined, to say the least.  And really, they seem small and petulant when examined outside the framing of the film.

The end, as with Skyfall, is stupid, and is predicated completely on (again as with Skyfall) people doing stupid things so that the plot can advance.  Oh, and the other thing, the secondary villain driving much of the Double-O Program’s existential angst is so transparent and ridiculous, that if you don’t guess what’s going on in the first 10 minutes or so, then you’ve pretty much never seen a Bond film.  Or a spy film.  Or a film.  Period.

This could be Craig’s last outing as Bond, and that would be too bad, as he does a good job when he’s engaged in the plot.  But the current franchise has been a slow ebbing away from the kick-off of Casino Royale.  Hopefully, if he comes back, it will be to send his version of Bond off on a high note.  Then, let’s get Idris Elba in as the new Bond.

Now, the headline.  I feel as if I complain a lot about things.  Many, many movies I see (and I love to see them) leave me cold these days.  My mother says that Deb and I don’t like any restaurants, because we’re constantly going out and not liking places.  I guess this can be construed as getting old and cranky or really, really picky about things, or just being a chronic complainer.

Well, I am getting old, and I am fairly cranky.  I also am not embarrassed to say that I am pretty picky if I’m laying down money for something–whether it’s a meal, a movie, a book, an album or whatever.  Why shouldn’t you be?  If you’re spending real American dollars on stuff and it’s not up to par, why not be honest about it?  Why is it such a big deal to some that you might have the temerity to ask for a little quality in the things you consume?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Now, get off my lawn.

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About John F.D. Taff

John F.D. Taff is a writer, published author, raconteur and wrangler of angry stoats. He has more than 80 short stories and 7 novels published. He lives in the great, unspoiled vastness of the Midwest. He has a tremendous wife named Debbie, three pugs, Sadie, Tovah and Muriel, and three great kids--Harry, Sam and Molly. View all posts by John F.D. Taff

4 responses to “Do I Like Anything Anymore?

  • Melen (@Mindcryme)

    Hi John,

    I totally feel the same way. We may be older and crankier, but I think it’s also that everything is mass produced shit. I can’t stand going to a restaurant (not a fast food place, a “real” restaurant), ordering something, and when the food arrives it’s obvious that they used something frozen they bought from Sam’s Club. Since when is that “cooking”? Servers are rude, and everyone is constantly checking their damn phones. When did businesses start allowing employees to be on their phones during work hours? It’s just terrible!

    I’ve never been a Bond fan, personally, but movies, and tv, these days usually leave me unsatisfied. WTF is up with movie/TV writers these days? Maybe they need to hire someone like you!

    When there’s an exception, such as with The 100 on Netflix (LOVE this show, season 2 was frickin awesome), I turn into a fan boy. I can’t help it. There’s so little to be positive about, or maybe I’m just a grouch(*)

    Also, didn’t Craig recently say he’d rather cut his own wrist then play Bond again?

    Hope you are doing well, old age notwithstanding. 🙂

    * Maybe, probably, most likely ….

  • John F.D. Taff

    Restaurants are a particular pet peeve of mine, Lenny. I mean they want you to come in and drop $50 or $75, and the food’s cold, the servers are inattentive and no one seems to give a shit. Hate that.

    I am well, finally back to about 90% from the sinus surgery, and working on some stuff. So things are cool. How are you and the lovely Lisa?

  • fatimasaysell

    I can’t comment on the films you’ve seen, as I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but I believe that as we get older we become more selective and know better what we like and what we’re prepared to put up with. I too find myself moaning more and more about poor services and standards, especially when I pay. Good for you for not accepting substandard goods and services, whatever they may be.

  • John F.D. Taff

    I think you’re right, Fatima. Deb and I find ourselves staying in more and more and entertaining ourselves. We’re pretty good cooks, so that’s good. Hope you’re well, my dear.

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