Presenting Week 3 of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon

The winners, the losers, the snubs, the backstories, the gossip, the players and the games… it’s all about Oscar!

31-Days-450x300The 31 Days of Oscar blogathon, hosted by myself, Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, and Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled, continues. We’ve had two great weeks of submissions covering a wide variety of films from the silent era to this year’s nominees. So if you need more Oscar, you can also check out Week 1 and Week 2.

And now…these are the brilliant Week 3 posts, listed with Twitter handles (where available) so we can all find each other and converse.

Check out my completely random, probably totally wrong 2013 Oscar predictions, including a mini-review of Zero Dark Thirty.

“Glorious to look at, enchanting to listen to – a romance to remember…” My co-host Aurora (@CitizenScreen) reviews Midnight in Paris at Citizen Screenings.

Michael (@le0pard13) from It Rains… You Get Wet was a projectionist for a while, which I think eminently qualifies him to revise Oscar snubs from the 1970s and then make 1980s Oscar wrongs right as well.

Rich (@ratzo318) of Wide Screen World loves a good song and dance…for instance, octuple Oscar winner Cabaret.

The Nitrate Diva (@NitrateDiva) explores the connections between “spiritual sisters” and Oscar cinematography winners Black Narcissus and Apocalypse Now.

The Focused Filmographer (T, aka @FilmsWith_T) spotlights two criminally overlooked Oscar-worthy performances from 2012, one in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the other in Les Misérables.

Paul (@LassoTheMovies) from Lasso The Movies discusses the similarities between 1940’s and 2012’s Oscar nominees, particularly the diversity of genres.

Pete (@FuriousCinema) from Furious Cinema reviews The Master, “another masterwork from visionary filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.”

The Gal Herself discusses “the first time Mr. Lincoln was in the house,” 1940 Best Actor race at One Gal’s Musings.

Angela (@MaterialGirl850) of The Hollywood Revue analyzes and assesses “Oscar’s Most Awkward Year,” 1928-1929.

Murtaza (@apotofvestiges) reviews The Master, “a multifaceted work of cinema that can be enjoyed at so many levels,” at A Potpourri of Vestiges.

Dawn at Noir and Chick Flicks explores why Blood and Sand (1941) won Best Cinematography.

Dan (@PGCooper) from PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews takes a look at 12 classic films that, despite being worthy of Best Picture and Best Director nods, received none at all.

Lê (@startspreading) at Crítica Retrô gives her take on Oscar and the surprising 1950s.

Joel (@joelrwilliams1) of Joel’s Classic Film Passion appraises three Oscar-winning or -nominated foreign films from the 1980s.

R.A. (@925screenings) at Silver Screenings briefs us on why Miriam Hopkins was perfect for the role of Becky Sharp.

Karen (@TheDarkPages) highlights 10 Oscar-Less Dames Their Oscar-Worthy Roles at Shadows and Satin.

Kimberly (@glamamor) at GlamAmor surveys Audrey Hepburn’s amazing, and non-nominated, wardrobe in Two for the Road.

Marlee (@MarleeWalters) of Spoilers bestows the First Annual Muse Awards to Ida Lupino, Gene Tierney, and Gloria Grahame.

All about “stingers”

“Stingers,” aka “post-credit scenes,” are those awesome little clips that reward the patience of that intrepid moviegoer who, resisting his or her comrades’ rush to the parking lot or the restroom, remains seated for the entire credits of a motion picture. Just when this film fan thinks it’s all over…a little gem of a scene pops up, giving much satisfaction and perhaps a slight feeling of superiority.

The term “stinger” is also applied to extra scenes or bloopers shown during the credits, which are also a ton of unexpected fun, but to me, they’re not as gratifying as true post-credit scenes.

A stinger is the sign of filmmakers who really love movies. I can picture these people wanting to share that feeling of not wanting to leave the cinema. The stinger becomes an in-joke between the makers of a film and its fans, and may also complete the story or hint at further developments taking place after the time included in the movie.

Text advertising the next installment of a movie series (“James Bond will return in…”) had been around since From Russia With Love (1963), but according to Wikipedia, “[o]ne of the earliest appearances of a true stinger” was in The Muppet Movie (1979). The earliest movie stinger I can remember is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which the main character, having demolished the fourth wall throughout the film, appears and says to the audience, “It’s over. Go home!”

Comedy and action-adventure seem to provide the majority of post-credit scenes, although some horror films have them. The Avengers cycle has delivered a few of my favorites.

The Avengers (2012) actually had two stingers, one involving The Other and Thanos, and this one:

Recently I ran across MediaStinger, a site which exhaustively catalogs scenes that run during and after the credits in movies and video games. Consult this site before going to the theatre and you’ll never miss another stinger. Details and spoilers are thoughtfully hidden behind a link. Comments are not hidden though, so don’t scroll down too far if you want to preserve the surprise.

The most recent post-credit scene I’ve seen (I don’t think this is a spoiler anymore) is the very fleeting one in Django Unchained. What is the first stinger you remember seeing, and what are some of your favorites?

31 Days of Oscar update

Time for an update on the 31 Days of Oscar blogathon (full rundown at the original post). We’re a little more than a couple of weeks out from the first deadline. Publish your post and email me the link by any one of the following dates: January 31, February 7, February 14, February 21 and February 28.

The nominations were announced on Jan. 10, providing as much fodder for blog posts as any other’s, maybe more. Right away, I was aware of what I consider to be one major snub: Ben Affleck for Argo, and now that I’ve seen Zero Dark Thirty, I think Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed as well. Of course, the format of the Best Picture nominations, where 5-10 movies are tapped, virtually guarantees that there will be snubs. Is the Academy crazy, or crazy like a fox? Sounds like an idea for a blog post, speaking of which here’s some topic prompts (new ones at the end of the list):

  • Is there a film, performance or art or technical work the non-nomination of which you feel is a crime? Tell us about it.
  • Sometimes the Oscar seems to hinder, not help, someone’s career, including but not limited to the “Best Supporting Actress Curse.” Discuss.
  • Special Achievement Awards and Board of Governors’ Honorary Oscars…do you dare go there? Who should have gotten a competitive Oscar, and/or who might win an honorary Oscar the future?
  • Spotlight on sound editing and sound mixing, or any other unfairly neglected award.
  • Your favorite/the most influential Best Costume winners/nominees/should-have-beens through the years, or just focus on one.
  • Short films are often given short shrift…throw some love on your favorite.
  • Cinematography and editing vs.directing…the auteur theory, etc. Discuss, using Oscar-winning examples.
  • The Oscars still create the most hoopla, but should we be paying more attention to other awards, such as the Golden Globes or (fill in the blank)?

NEW:

  • The Academy’s rules for selection of the Best Picture dictate that any film receiving 5 percent or more of first place votes is nominated, so that a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 are in the running each year. This year there are 9 nominees, but there are still only 5 Best Director nods. Discuss the implications and ramifications of this set-up.
  • Judi Dench famously won a Oscar for her 6 flawless minutes in Shakespeare in Love. If there was an Oscar for cameos, who would be nominated, and who would win?
  • It’s generally accepted that actors and directors, and possibly other filmmakers, may receive an Oscar for a previous year’s, or an entire career’s, work, sometimes referred to as a “cumulative Oscar.” Do you think this is legit or totally unfair? Discuss.
  • Academy…why so serious? Certain genres are overlooked every year, generally speaking comedy, adventure, and science fiction are rarely given nods. Is this due to the overall age of the Academy, or other factor(s)?
  • Final Oscar ballots aren’t due until the Tuesday before Oscar Sunday; this year that is Feb. 19. Any answer to this question is likely to be pure speculation but: Do the other awards influence voting?
  • As reported last year, the Academy is overwhelmingly white, male and over the age of 60. Only 2% of the Academy is under the age of 40. Discuss.

If you’d like to participate, leave me a comment or email me at paula.guthat[at]gmail.com. So far our Oscar bloggers, in addition to myself, Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled, and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen are…

Fernando – Committed to Celluloid
R. A. Kerr – Silver Screenings
Ruth – Flix Chatter
Lê – Critica Retro
Kevin aka “Jack Deth”
Paddy – Caftan Woman
Vanessa – Black & White All Over
Iba – I luv cinema
Le0pard13 – It Rains, You Get Wet
Joel – Joel’s Classic Film Passion
Lindsey – The Motion Pictures
The Gal herself – One Gals’ Musings
Paul – Lasso The Movies
Ivan – Thrilling Days of Yesteryear 
Jessica – Comet Over Hollywood
Kay – Movie Star Makeover
The Lady Eve – The Lady Eve’s Reel Life
Kimberly – GlamAmor

Announcing the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon

The envelope please…

The winners, the losers, the snubs, the back stories, the gossip, the players, the games…this time it’s all about Oscar!

We’re back! Myself, Kellee (@IrishJayhawk66) of Outspoken and Freckled, and Aurora (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon a Screen are hosting a new, mammoth blogathon event that coincides with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar, February 1 to March 3, 2013. It’ll be a month filled with fabulous tales and screen wonders.

But this one is not just for classic film fare; we want to see and hear it all from the golden man’s more than eighty-year history, up to and including this year’s nominees. And you don’t have to stick to just Best Picture or acting winners. Posts about nominees or winners in all the other categories…Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Cinematography, etc….are more than welcome.

The details:

Let us know what you’ll be writing about by email [paula.guthat[at]gmail.com] or leave us a comment.

Submit links to as many posts as you would like by email or by comments in time for any of the following due dates throughout the month. Submissions should include as much information about you as possible: First name, Twitter username, link(s) to your site(s) and email address.

January 31
February 7
February 14
February 21
February 28

We’ll promote entries for an entire week after each due date. If you have a preferred promotion date, please make a note of that as well.  However, we welcome all submissions by any of the dates specified. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle if you have one.

This is the banner I created for the blogathon. We encourage you display it on your site to help promote this event and cannot wait to hear from you. Happy blogging!

31-Days-450x300

UPDATE: I have so many ideas for this blogathon, far more than I could ever tackle myself, so I offer these as topics for posts or inspiration thereof:

  • Is there a film, performance or art or technical work the non-nomination of which you feel is a crime? Tell us about it.
  • Sometimes the Oscar seems to hinder, not help, someone’s career, including but not limited to the “Best Supporting Actress Curse.” Discuss.
  • Special Achievement Awards and Board of Governors’ Honorary Oscars…do you dare go there? Who should have gotten a competitive Oscar, and/or who might win in the future?
  • Spotlight on sound editing and sound mixing, or any other unfairly neglected award.
  • Your favorite/the most influential Best Costume winners/nominees/should-have-beens through the years, or just focus on one.
  • Short films are often given short shrift…throw some love on your favorite.
  • Cinematography and editing vs.directing…the auteur theory, etc. Discuss, using Oscar-winning examples.
  • The Oscars still create the most hoopla, but should we be paying more attention to other awards, such as the Golden Globes or (fill in the blank)?

That’s all for now…I will add more when I think of them.

Christmas movie mea culpa

About a week ago I put together a Christmas movies poll, partially because I was curious, and partially because my husband and I are hosting Christmas movies at a café here. Wow, did I forget a TON of them! Slightly later, I put up a revised poll, and I still forgot a ton. Friends in real life and online suggested their favorites, which I’m listing here. Some I’ve seen…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I think you all know this one.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas – How could I forget this?

Going My Way – Bing Crosby’s Fr. Chuck O’Malley could give Spencer Tracy’s Fr. Flanagan a run for his money as the coolest priest ever.

The Bells of St. Mary’s – Fr. O’Malley is back, in the top-grossing film of 1945, clashing with Sr. Benedict (Ingrid Bergman). Will he convince her to lighten up? Is the Pope Catholic?

…and some I haven’t:

Young At Heart (1955) – “A cynical songwriter upsets the lives of three musical sisters.” With Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

A Town Without Christmas – A “little boy…writes that he wishes to leave this world so he will no longer be a burden to his divorcing parents, a race begins to find him before he harms himself.” [IMDB]

The Holly and The Ivy – Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson star in this “heartwarming tale of an English minister and his family reunited at Christmas time. Their story includes a remembrance of their WWII trials.”

We’re No Angels (1955) – “After escaping Devil’s Island, three offbeat prisoners [Bogie, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov] help a goodhearted family outwit a scheming relative.”

Holiday Inn (1942) – “The A[staire], B[erlin], C[rosby] of American musical comedy.”

I also have to mention Christmas Under Fire, a 10-minute film from 1940, which I’d never seen before, brought to my attention by @Filmatelist. I say with not one iota of irony: this is why the Allies won the war.

And I am sure there are others. I realize that this poll is deeply flawed. At the same time, I doubt any other Christmas film can top It’s A Wonderful Life, with a healthy 19 votes.

The Top 10 was as follows:

It’s A Wonderful Life 19
The Apartment 11
The Thin Man 10
Scrooged 10
Christmas In Connecticut 9
Love Actually 8
Elf 7
Miracle On 34th Street 7
A Christmas Carol (any version) 7
White Christmas 6

I was happy to see my two favorites, Scrooged and Christmas in Connecticut make the Top 10, I wasn’t really surprised to see Wonderful Life on the top of the heap. There’s many good reasons why. But that it’s a whole other post.

New-to-me photo of Gloria Grahame as Violet in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

EDIT: I forgot to say, someone suggested that I should have specified which Miracle on 34th Street I was talking about in the original poll. I completely forgot there was a remake. I love the late John Hughes, but for me, the 1947 version is really the only one.

Evil Dead and a greedy family haunt the Redford Theatre

Our friends at the Redford Theatre are treating Detroit horror fans to two frightening classics this weekend. On Friday October 26th only, there will be a midnight showing of Evil Dead (1981), the now-classic story of the doomed trip to an isolated cabin in the woods undertaken by a group of college students. The film has quite a few Michigan connections. Writer/director/producer Sam Raimi and star/producer Bruce Campbell both hail from the Mitten, and a rough cut of the film, then known by its working title Within the Woods, was shown to potential investors at the former Punch & Judy Theater in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Most importantly for Friday’s showing, Evil Dead was first shown at the Redford Theatre back on October 15, 1981, and went on to become one of the best-loved and most influential horror movies ever. Don’t miss this opportunity to see all the blood and gore (it’s rated NC-17 for a reason) on the big screen. The organ overture begins at 11:30pm. Tickets are $5.00.

936full-the-cat-and-the-canary-posterIf goofy monochrome horror is more to your taste, never fear, the Redford has you covered too. On Saturday, they’ll be showing the rarely-seen silent, The Cat and the Canary, starring Laura La Plante. Heirs to a fortune find themselves spending the night at a menacing mansion, where mysterious and eerie things happen throughout the night. La Plante can only inherit her old relative’s money if she is declared sane in the morning.

Tony O’Brien will accompany the film on the Barton Theatre Pipe Organ, and as a bonus, the silent short The Haunted House starring Buster Keaton will precede the feature. The evening begins at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for this showing are $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for children 12 and under.

TCM Week – Jan. 9-15


TCM Week spotlights a highly subjective selection of the week’s essential or undiscovered films on the Turner Classic Movies channel to help plan movie viewing, DVR scheduling or TCM Party attendance. All times are EST. 

Monday, January 9
I’m not a huge fan of either of the genres represented today — Westerns and Epidemics. Choosing strictly based on TCM summaries and IMDB reviews, I’d pick The Dude Goes West with Eddie Albert and Gale Storm at 4:30 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. the Epidemics begin contamination, led by The Andromeda Strain. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton and directed by Robert Wise (Somebody Up There Likes Me, West Side Story), it seems to be the least chintzy of the lot.

Benjy (Mark Linn-Baker) is in for a wild ride when he babysits Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole) in My Favorite Year.

Tuesday, January 10
Writer-director-producer James L. Brooks (of Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News fame, among many others) is tonight’s Guest Programmer, beginning at 8:00 p.m. with This Is Your Story, which I haven’t seen. I’ve not seen Prince of the City (2:00 a.m.) either. But I love Brooks’ other three choices. My Favorite Year (8:15 p.m.) is about a 1940s radio show writer (Mark Linn-Baker) trying to keep fun-loving actor Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole doing his best Errol Flynn) sober and vertical, at least until Swann can guest star on that week’s broadcast. Dr. Strangelove (10:00 p.m.) and Network (11:45 p.m.) are two of the most prophetic movies ever made — the former foreshadows the increasing dominance of the military-industrial complex, the latter prefigures the rise of reality TV and that medium’s overall “if it bleeds, it leads” ratings-first mentality.

Wednesday, January 11
8:00 p.m. The State of the Union (1948)
***TCM Party***
Frank Capra’s follow-up to the now-beloved flop It’s A Wonderful Life was made as Truman defeated Dewey and the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated Hollywood. It’s about a presidential candidate who gets mixed up in the dirty side of politics. Though Star of the Month Angela Lansbury was in her early twenties when she made this film, she was nonetheless cast as Spencer Tracy’s character’s fortysomething mistress.
Watch and tweet with #TCMParty

Just one frame of the amazingly beautiful Black Narcissus

Thursday, January 12
TCM’s tribute to cinematographer Jack Cardiff continues tonight with my favorite films of his, those he did with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, collectively known as the Archers. Cardiff was the foremost practitioner of Technicolor and an accomplished fine artist who — I can’t think of any other way to say this — painted with light. I don’t think anyone else could have done the beautiful work he did. Put that together with the excellent direction, writing, art direction, acting, etc., and you have some incredibly fascinating and moving films.
8:00 p.m. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
11:00 p.m. Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)
We are lucky to have this excellent documentary as it seems as if Cardiff passed away not long after it was completed. But if you haven’t seen tonight’s films, my advice is to record this or wait until it’s rerun next Thursday…seriously. You want to experience the magic before you see how it was done.
12:30 a.m. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
2:30 a.m. The Red Shoes (1948)
5:00 a.m. Black Narcissus (1947)

Greta Garbo is a Polish aristocrat and Charles Boyer is Napoleon in Conquest

Friday, January 13
8:00 p.m. Conquest (1937)
Director Clarence Brown guided Greta Garbo from the silents into talkies and was a favorite with the star, apparently because, he said, “I had a special way with her. I never gave her direction in anything louder than a whisper.” This was the last film they made together, the story of a Polish countess (Garbo) who gets involved with Napoleon (Charles Boyer).

Saturday, January 14
10:30 p.m. Adam’s Rib (1949)
I’ll be setting the DVR for this one as I’ve never seen it, but with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn starring, and George Cukor directing — he also directed Hepburn in my favorite movie of hers, The Philadelphia Story — it should be good.

Sunday, January 15
Abbott and Costello spoof scary monsters and the horror genre beginning at 8:00 p.m., in a block that includes Abbott and Costello Meet FrankensteinAbbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man, and Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy.

 

Metro Detroit Classic Movie Fan – Julian Bond

Bond…Julian Bond…is a huge movie fanatic. When he isn’t managing the Detroit Medical Center’s social media, or hanging out at metro Detroit’s cool spots, he’s writing his blog titled — “no surprise here” — Not Quite 007.  While attending University of Michigan-Dearborn, he was a feature writer forThe Michigan Journal student newspaper.  Says Bond, “I’ve always been heavily into movies, and I was happy to write about them at U of M-D. The best part of that gig was interviewing a few stars including Chris Rock, Tom Cruise — post Oprah couch jumping incident — and my epic face-to-face with the awesome pro-wrestler turned actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”

Sharing a last name with the most famous spy in the world has been “very interesting, to say the least,” Bond says. “All of my Dad’s family, the Bonds, were named, no joke, with the letter J. So every single one of us has gotten the ‘Are you related to the real 007?’ question throughout our lives, and we’ll never get tired of it. Back when I was in grade school, my dad actually legally added “James” to his whole name (which is really Joel), and started using that for postal addresses and even our caller ID. My friends would always get a big kick out of seeing “James Bond” popping up on their phones.”

Even before the start of filming on Skyfall (Bond 23) was in the news, of course I was asking Mr. Bond about his famous “relative.”

Who is your favorite James Bond actor, and why?

I have to go with the original Bond…Sean Connery. Pierce Brosnan is pretty good, Daniel Craig is surprisingly one of the best with his more realistic portrayal. But Connery will always take the win as favorite at the end of the day. Every time I see him in interviews or in other movies, it seems like he’s actually a real-life James Bond, 24/7.

Telly Savalas and George Lazenby in the criminally underrated On Her Majesty's Secret Service

What are your Top 5 James Bond movies?
Such a hard question and I have to cheat just a little bit.

  1. GoldenEye is easily my favorite film of the entire series. Picture-perfect intro (and killer theme song from Tina Turner), great simple story, awesome action scenes, and some pretty good acting. I can honestly watch it over and over without getting tired of it. It barely beats out Goldfinger as my number one pick because this was the first Bond flick that I saw in the movie theaters. The rest I watched on VHS or cable TV, and thus this one holds a close place to my 007 heart.
  2. Goldfinger and Dr. No are two of the best Bond films ever bar none. I think most fans have them on top of their list. Sean Connery is the best Bond, and these are easily the best villains of the series. They also set the high standard for all Bond films, parodies, and anything associated with the name still to this very day. Nuff’ said.
  3. I LOVE Quantum of Solace and don’t think it’s too soon to put it on a best list because it’s SO criminally underrated. I liked it a bit better than theCasino Royale reboot because it has a lot more action and a better villain (that crazy French guy). And as weird as this sounds, because it’s the shortest Bond film in history (running at less than 2 hours instead of the usual almost 3 hour length), there’s a lot of Bond goodness in a lot less time.
  4. Licence To Kill and The Living Daylights, likeGoldeneye, will always have a special place in my heart because they were the first Bond films I ever saw. As an ‘80s kid, I had not yet been introduced to the awesomeness known as Sean Connery. While Timothy Dalton is probably one of the least popular of all of the Bonds, I actually thought he wasn’t that bad, and can hopefully be forgiven for an ultra-corny action scene — fighting bad guys while sliding down a mountain on a violin case.
  5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is another underrated gem. I place it slightly above the 2009Casino Royale, because of its unorthodox style and one-time only Bond, George Lazenby. It also has the most shocking ending to a Bond movie EVER, with 007 getting married (?!?) and then the infamous drive-by scene shortly after (won’t spoil it here!). I know so many friends who are Bond fans and still have never seen this movie because it doesn’t star Sean Connery and honestly looks sort of odd in comparison to other Bond films, especially with the sight of Lazenby. But all true blue fans MUST see this one here at least once. Again….a CRAZY ending.
Roger Moore and Richard Kiel
Roger Moore and Richard Kiel duke it out in The Spy Who Loved Me

The Bond series is also known for its villains and love interests, any favorites of those?
My favorite villain simply has to be Jaws, the tall menacing dude with steel teeth. The man just would never die. I really disliked the films that he was in, especially Moonraker (James Bond…IN SPACE!!). But he seriously almost stole the show with his crazy appearance and attempts to bite off Bond’s head.

I’m pretty sure the Bond film series is the longest running one, at 49 years and counting. Why do you think it has endured for so long?
Besides the gadgets, the girls, and the guns, the series is always fun and never takes itself too seriously. Even with the edgier series with Daniel Craig, each film still feels like an escape into a cool world of spy fantasy.

If you could have one Bond gadget, which would you choose and why?
I loved the rocket-ppowered jetpack that Bond had inThunderball. It was so freaking cool-looking, even back in the ‘60s. All of the watches and cars were always cool, but the simple design of the jetpack made it seem like it could actually be a real thing. But I also do have to give a shout-out to the villians’ gadgets as well, such as the Golden Gun fromThe Man With The Golden Gun (one shot and you’re dead!), and weirdly enough, the explosive ‘milk cans’ that the bad guy used in The Living Daylights.

With Quantum of Solace, the movie series has used the last of the original Fleming James Bond material. (Some of it got used twice!) Where do you think the series will go from here?
For the next Bond film, I was so happy to hear that Javier Bardem will be joining as the bad guy because he could easily be the best of the Craig-era bunch. For the plot and overall material, I really hope that they expand on the entire Quantum international villain group. I thought it was really cool that they had story continuity from Casino Royale to the literal beginning of Quantum. They tried to do that with the older films with the group SPECTRE and “the guy with the kitty cat” (aka Blofeld, aka the Dr. Evil-looking villain) appearing several times. Then, sadly, they dropped SPECTRE and never mentioned them again. It could be a nice touch to the series to bring back the “guy (or gal) with the kitty cat”, and the entire Quantum group, and create a cool edgier feel with him or her.

Who do you think will be James Bond when Craig moves on? An actor we know now or an unknown…?
I don’t know. Seems like the Bond series has worked because they usually go with a relative unknown. If they chose an established actor, it would distract from the series (i.e., Leonardo DiCaprio as 007). When they get someone unknown, it essentially gives a deserving actor a chance to shine, as the awesome Craig has done so far. Here’s hoping that he has a few more movies left in the tank to keep the series going strong.

Do you watch any other classic movies? What are your favorite movies from the last 10 years or so?
Some of the classic flicks that I love include westerns like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and “new classics” like the firstStar Wars. I’m a huge fan of the first Tim Burton Batman with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton (sorry, Dark Knight). Some of the newer films that I love happen to be James Bond-influenced: The Bourne series, with its crazy modern-day spy hijinks; Inception, whose overall style and music score reminds me strangely of Goldfinger; and recently X-Men: First Class, which to me and many others was kind of like “James Bond with Mutants.”

So Bond fans, what do you think of Mr. Bond’s favorite films in the series? Who is the best James Bond? Where do you think the series is headed?