(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
(#47) Casino Royale
Action • dir. Martin Campbell • 2006 • UK
I won’t presume you’ll find this either impressive or interesting but the only thing I ever read that flat-out changed the way I live in the world – like, I suppose, the Bible does for others – is The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I don’t much sit around wondering how or why, I just know, right down in my bones, that whenever I’m trying to figure something out about myself, odds are Emerson somehow got there first. (See, he even described that very – uncanny – sensation: “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”) But now you’re thinking I’ve gone a bit weird, aren’t you? And what does any of this have to do with James Bond? (Not cutting to the chase in praise of the ultimate boy racer: how ironic.)
Just try this out for size, is all. From Emerson’s Self-Reliance essay, first published in 1841: “The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word… But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this monstrous corpse of your memory, lest you contradict what you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then?” What a generous and liberating sentiment! You don’t have to be the same thing all the time! You can be at odds with yourself! You do not – say it out loud, people! – owe the world consistency. Put another way, you can love and look forward to the new James Bond film without minding how the whole franchise is a terrible relic of the past. No, I wouldn’t want my daughter to exist in the Bond world of gender politics, and, no, I wouldn’t want a future son to similarly fetishize females, gadgets, guns, violence, Queen and country. But meantime, like me, let them enjoy the shit out of it and find Bonds films, at their best, to be a glorious good time.