Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10 Things I Learned From Watching "Skyfall"

Well, I tried to cut this for spoilers, but I can't get the dang cut to work.  So let me do this the old fashioned way and say


There's some spoilers here.

So probably you should see the movie first.

With that said...

10 Things I Learned From Watching "Skyfall"

1. If a female agent has a hard time driving big cars and assassinating bad guys, she'd probably be happier as a secretary.

2. Corollary to #1: if you have to fire a woman for gross incompetence, make sure you replace her with a man ASAP. 

3. Flicking your cigarette butt into a coworker's drink is a fun way to show how you respect her as a colleague and an equal.

4. Surprising a rape survivor in her shower is a great way to get laid.

5. Using a woman for target practice is *definitely* a waste of good Scotch.

6. Homosexuals are bad people who will molest you at the first opportunity. 

7. Corollary to #6: any good guys who happen to be homosexual will have the decency to keep that to themselves.

8. Nerds can type on their little keyboards all they want, but if you need to crack the unbreakable computer code, let a real man take a look at it.

9. Corollary to #8: you probably shouldn't have let Poindexter play with it in the first place - he's only going to make a bigger mess.

10. It's okay to be a physically and mentally unfit alcoholic pillhead who botches jobs and gets people killed, as long as you get the bad guy.

Look, I know it's supposed to be a fun spy movie, not a monumental step forward in the quest for diversity and social progress.  And I get that this is the James Bond franchise, not the MI6 Justice Friends.  He's the hero, so he's supposed to do most of the cool stuff and have all the deep and interesting flaws.

But that's exactly the problem.  If James Bond is a flawed hero, then I'm supposed to ride along in his head and root for him while he makes terrible decisions and treats women like garbage.  If he's a fundamentally broken anti-hero and we're *not* meant to identify with him, then this is basically a story about a guy who is rewarded for being a terrific asshole, mostly by virtue of being the least incompetent person in the movie.

I dunno.  This thing is currently sitting on $260 million and 92% on the Tomatometer, so it's clearly given a lot of people some solid entertainment.  But I'll say this much: anyone who still wants to lament America's descent into a dark age of political correctness needs to clam up and catch another matinee.

What do you say about a man like that?


  1. James Bond is awful, terrible, just plain bad at being a secret agent. He fails every single task assigned to him in the entire movie, and kills multiple innocent people along the way.

    His one saving grace is that he apparently has the power to fall in a frozen lake and emerge not only warm and fully functional, but completely dry.

  2. I've never liked the Bond franchise, other than the theme song.

  3. Y'know Matt, maybe you're on to something there: here I've been ragging on Bond for not acting like a decent human being, but maybe that's because he's not actually human at all. Great Heavens, he's some kind of wizard!

    (And Pam, I must agree about the music. I've liked a lot of the themes from the recent movies - and more importantly, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have the Incredibles soundtrack without ample Bond precedent.)

  4. After reading this post, I can see that it's still the same old James Bond franchise in its fundamental essence, that is, the misogynistic stuff that turned me off in the first place. You have validated my decision not to see it, and for that, I thank you.

  5. Y'know Cynthia, I didn't watch many of the old movies (I think "The World is Not Enough", with Pierce Brosnan, was the first one I really tuned in to.) So I don't have a whole bunch of canon to compare it with. I remember liking a couple of them pretty well.

    What was weird for me with this one was that it broke the illusion that the hero saving the day just HAPPENED to be a hetero white guy but could just as easily be someone else. This one seemed to go out of its way to aggressively demean everyone else (and to a lesser extent, Bond himself.) Just left a real nasty aftertaste.

    I'll be interested to see what they do with the next one, though - here's hoping, anyway!

    1. I love James Bond. This film you so harshly criticize was made specifically to be seen and appreciated in an IMAX theatre where the landscape scenes are so breathtaking, so worth seeing repeatedly that even if the characters have a few itty-bitty flaws, such as the tiny ten you listed, one will return to IMAX and pay exorbitant prices to see those flaws displayed in unforgettably gorgeous settings of sublime beauty -- oh -- and one will buy the DVD because James Bond is hot, hot, HOT!

    2. Hahaha, I do know that feeling. When Avatar came out, everybody was like, "It's Dances With Wolves in space, and trots out every disgusting trope in the book." And I was like, "yes, but it's so PRETTY."