While mingling at a party a few weeks ago, a group of us started chatting about gender differences.
A friend loudly proclaimed, “Ha, you're more like a guy than not.” Me? Possibly – this explains my taste in movies.
James Bond amply fills a checklist for male idealism.
- Swanky, good-looking
- Operates, and continually crashes a multitude of transport vehicles
- Kill a man with his bare hands
- Beds gorgeous ladies with funny-sounding names
- A man of few words, but oodles of action
So, why have I watched every single Bond movie to date? He's a traveler, simple as that.
Every Spectre agent he hounds, woman he charms, and gadget sprung on his opponent is set in an exotic, scintillating locale.
As a gal who covets adventure, watching Bond makes it easy to slip myself into his shoes. Well, except the bedding ladies part. There would have to be a switcheroo.
Bond's adventures have taken him to over 60 countries, introducing him to 50 women, the guy has a solid track record.
With Bond 23 arriving at theaters in 2011, more espionage travel is on the way to reinvigorate the imagination.
Best Fight, Diamonds Are Forever, Vegas
Imagine Vegas winding down its heyday of the Rat Pack era.
The Vietnam War rages on, the disillusionment of youth culture continues, and women's liberation begins to take shape.
How fitting for Sean Connery's last turn as Bond to confront two able-bodied women.
On the hunt for his arch-nemesis Blofeld, Bond attempts to infiltrate a diamond smuggling ring, which is only a piece in Blofeld's plot to construct a giant laser satellite.
All clues lead to the Whyte House, a happening casino.
While attempting to rescue a kidnap victim, Bond encounters Bambi and Thumper, lethal bodyguards of Blofeld.
His usual effect on women falters, as both ladies double-team him with lithe acrobatics and martial arts.
Naturally, he subdues them, but not without a little sweat on the brow.
Best Chase Scene, Moonraker, Venice
M sends Bond to sniff out Hugo Drax, a wealthy industrialist suspected of stealing a space shuttle.
Drax's dastardly plan involves infecting the human race with a virus extracted from a rare South American plant and shooting the next master race into space to repopulate earth later.
With that in mind, Bond's detective skills take him to Venice.
While sizing up an attractive scientist (Dr. Holly Goodhead), he's chased through the canals of Venice by Drax's goonies.
In pure flabbergasting form, his gondola morphs into a hovercraft, allowing him to escape, giving tourists something to gawk at as he glides across the Piazza San Marco.
I could create a complicated algebra equation based on the numerous times the canals of Venice were used as a romantic setting for films or a Madonna video.
Still, Bond re-imagines a different Venice, one full of action and fantasy.
Best Foreign Girl, Quantum of Solace, Bolivia
Gone is the cheeky Bond, as Daniel Craig turns into one mean mutha.
Bolivia's landscape invokes feelings of isolation, an unsettling wave of rugged terrain.
In other words, be ready to struggle and fight. Revenge is on everyone's lips in this film, and Bond's female counterpart, Camille Montes, is no different.
In a quest to avenge Vesper Lynd's death, Bond unearths a phony environmentalist (Greene) and a corrupt Bolivian general (Medrano).
In a parallel side story, Camille also seeks revenge, but for the murder of her family at the hands of Medrano. She is the new wave of Bond girls, a woman who doesn't quit, even when circumstances seem dismal.
A hellcat able to clock a man with force. A gentle soul containing a world of pain. And you got to admit, she does it all looking damn fine.
My favorite scene is when she finally confronts Medrano alone.
A bit of trivia, she's the only Bond girl who doesn't meet him between the sheets, receiving an adrenaline-charged kiss at the end.
Best Villain, Goldeneye, St. Petersburg
After Bond's six-year hiatus, I was curious about how the creative team would reshape his character in the Post Cold War era.
Most of all, what kind of villain could add to the previous repertoire?
Pierce Brosnan's first try at Bond brings him to St. Petersburg, a city built by Peter the Great but animated by the aesthetic notes of Catherine the Great.
Crowned the “Slavic Venice” by travel aficionados, the baroque styling, majestic cathedrals, broad boulevards, and canals serve as the backdrop for Russia in the 1990s.
And that Russia has mostly reverted to the Wild West, swimming in unstable currency and gun-toting Russian Mafia enforcing cutthroat methods to build a black market empire.
A stark contrast of a breathtaking city against a criminal underbelly, but that's the tone of this film, nothing is as it seems, which is why Alec Trevelyan embodies this new stage of Bond.
A villain without the flash of sleek white cats or prosthetic hands that crush metal, what Alec exudes is cunning, sealing the betrayal of Bond when he fakes his death as 006.
Add revenge and greed to the mix, and we've got a recipe for unchecked evil. Best Alec line, “Why can't you just be a good boy and die!?”
Best Mode of Transportation – The Spy Who Loved Me, Sardinia
As Bond trots the globe, he's continuously handed vehicles or stealing one in an attempt to evade enemies.
You'll be surprised to know my favorite isn't the BMW or Aston Martin, although remarkable cars.
What turns my crank is the Lotus Esprit S1. Q personally delivers the Lotus to Bond at the Mediterranean soaked island of Sardinia, as he pursues Stromberg, a megalomaniac focused on destroying life above water to establish a colony undersea.
Jaws doggedly chases Bond and sexy Russian agent Anya Amasova in a helicopter stockpiled with weapons and a blinding hatred for 007.
The spectacular chase culminates when the Lotus dives off the shore. Come on! A car that doubles as a submarine?! Utter genius.
Could be my mermaid obsession or that time I wanted Aquaman to be my boyfriend, either way, that's the spirit of James Bond.
He symbolizes a zeal for life, openness to sensory detail, and a thirst for travel.
My name? Mark. Jeannie Mark.