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The Bondium – James Bond Rankings

James Bond Rankings

  1. Daniel Craig
  2. Pierce Brosnan
  3. Roger Moore
  4. Sean Connery
  5. George Lazenby
  6. Timothy Dalton

Daniel Craig is the best Bond simply because from his first scene, he shook, not stirred, the concept of James Bond. He is also the star of, in my opinion, the two best Bond movies of all time. (see below) The Daniel Craig canon also incorporates an incredible amount of homage to the previous Bond movies. (Again, see below)

Many may scoff at my choice of Pierce Brosnan as the second best Bond. I welcome those arguments, but say this; without Pierce Brosnan, we may not have any Bond films today. The Bond franchise was totally wrecked after Timothy Dalton, a choice made because Pierce was not available (see: Remington Steele), took on the mantle. He resurrected the franchise before franchises became the currency of Hollywood blockbusters.

Roger Moore has the distinction of starring in more Bond movies than any other actor. Most, if not all, of his movies carry more than a bit of camp, but (mostly) hold up over time as some of the most enjoyable films of the franchise.

Yes, Sean Connery is the fourth best Bond. While I am always a connoisseur of the original being the best, I have found a number of problems with Connery’s Bond. The first is his character rapes Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. The second is the racism of Bond being camouflaged as a “Japanese” in You Only Live Twice. While both films contribute a great amount to the Bond oeuvre, they do not hold up well over time.

George Lazenby play James Bond once. However, that one film is better than most of the Bond canon. It is the only movie where James Bond gets married, and it featured the first “Bond Girl” who not only held her own against the secret agent, but could kick some serious ass. Diana Rigg (aka Mama Tyrell for you Game of Thrones), we applaud you.

Timothy Dalton is without a doubt the worst of all Bonds. I must admit, I LOVE License to Kill. However, The Living Daylights is the absolute WORST Bond movie of all time. It’s so bad, I skipped it during this past binge.

The Bondium – Pierce Brosnan Film Rankings

I credit Pierce Brosnan with saving the James Bond franchise. After Timothy Dalton, it took six years, the longest gap between any two Bond movies, for producers to finally resurrect James Bond for a 90’s audience.

Pierce Brosnan Film Rankings

  1. Goldeneye
  2. Tomorrow Never Dies
  3. The World is Not Enough
  4. Die Another Day

The Pierce Brosnan movies ushered in an era of higher production values for the Bond franchise. For one, they feature two Oscar winning actresses, Judi Dench and Halle Berry; and another nominee, Rosamund Pike. It’s ironic the movie featuring all three is the worst movie of Brosnan’s tenure.

Goldeneye is the Goldfinger of modern Bond. It creates a wonderful storyline of conflict between 00’s, while adhering to the tried and true James Bond formula. You have Famke Jansen playing Xenia Onatopp, Desmond Llewelyn as Q, and the introduction of the the first female (and BEST) M. Oh, and let’s not forget Tina Turner’s AMAZING song.

Tomorrow Never Dies is ALMOST as good as Goldeneye. After one Bond film, Pierce Brosnan settles into the role, combining the beguiling charm with a respectable amount of humor. In an early scene, Tomorrow Never Dies delivers two of the most Bondian lines of all time:

“I’m just brushing up on a little Danish.”
“Oh James, you were always a cunning linguist.”

Jonathan Pryce is glorious as a media mogul bent on world domination. As a lover of an iPad, this film always delights me with a scene predicting the idea of such a device.

The World is Not Enough is the Bond family motto. It was originally mentioned in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Honestly, I would place this above Tomorrow Never Dies as its plot is one of the best in the franchise, but it suffers from Denies Richards’ Christmas Jones. A regrettably terrible Bond girl and character. Nevertheless, its villain is one of the best of the series.

Die Another Day should have been a great Bond movie, but loses itself in a terrible premise and writing. Still, it did bring back the Aston Martin.

The Bondium – Other Bond Film Rankings

George Lazenby holds a unique distinction of being starring in a single Bond film. Timothy Dalton wasn’t the first choice when he became Bond, producers were hoping for Pierce Brosnan, who eventually took on the mantle long after Dalton’s short two film stint. Together, they are the Other Bonds.

Other Bond Film Rankings

  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  2. License to Kill
  3. The Living Daylights

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is one of my favorite Bond films. George Lazenby, taking over for the now legendary Sean Connery, performs admirably as the new Bond. The film itself adheres to the Bond oeuvre wonderfully, and introduces the first empowered Bond girl in Diane Rigg’s Contessa Tracy di Vicenzo.

Most fans today are more likely to recognize Rigg from her role as Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones. In case, Tracy holds another distinction as the only woman James Bond marries in the entire franchise.

Despite my poor opinion of Timothy Dalton as Bond, I must say I do enjoy watching License to Kill. It pulls out all the stops of a Bond movie with over the top stunts and and infamous death scene involving a decompression chamber. And it’s hard to forget Benicio Del Toro’s role as a zany assassin sidekick.

The Living Daylights is the worst Bond film of all time. I refused to watch it during my second time through, and doubt I’ll ever watch it again.

The Bondium – Roger Moore Bond Film Rankings

While I turned away from the Sean Connery Films, I found myself delighting in the campy schtick of the Roger Moore films. They do, of course, lather on more than a bit of misogyny. However, over time, they come off charming compared to the previous Bond.

Roger Moore Bond Films

  1. The Man with the Golden Gun
  2. View to a Kill
  3. The Spy Who Loved Me
  4. For Your Eyes Only
  5. Moonraker
  6. Live and Let Die
  7. Octopussy

Without a doubt, The Man with the Golden Gun is my favorite Roger Moore Bond film. Christopher Lee, as Scaramanga, plays one of the best Bond villains as an assassin who kills with a single shot from his eponymous Golden Gun.

He’s driven to prove himself the best assassin in the world by challenging James Bond to a duel. The Man with the Golden Gun is a rare Bond movie with a reasonably dramatic plot. It’s also a great example of how Bond movies regularly use emerging technology, in this case solar energy, as McGuffins in various films.

View to a Kill is a PERFECT Bond movie. It has everything that makes a great Bond movie: A totally insane villain played wonderfully by Christopher Walken, the filigreed setting of Château de Chantilly as the backdrop of a high stakes thoroughbred auction., a devious plot to destroy Silicon Valley, and one FABULOUS Grace Jones as the Amazonian assassin May Day. That doesn’t even cover it’s theme by Duran Duran, one of the best Bond songs of the franchise.

The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only are basically Roger Moore standards. Enjoyable if you like his Bond oeuvre, mostly tolerable.

Moonraker is an interesting entry in the Bond canon as it actually cut ahead of For Your Eyes Only because the producers wanted to capitalize on the success of a little movie called Star Wars.

Live and Let Die is actually a quite enjoyable, but suffers from some racist stereotypes, and the introduction of the Jar Jar Binks of the Bond films, Sheriff Pepper. He is an offensive take on a rural Louisiana sheriff, and the most forgettable character to appear in Bond films.

Finally, we have Octopussy. The name alone is enough to put it at the bottom of this, or any, Bond list. It also features one of the worst Bond girl names, the eponymous Octopussy. It makes most dialogue involving her character cringeworthy.

The Bondium – Sean Connery Film Rankings

The Sean Connery Bond films hold a special place in the world of Bond as they helped build a the foundation for a film franchise of twenty-four movies and growing. However, despite their vaunted status, I feel they do not hold up well over time.

Sean Connery Bond Films Rankings

  1. Dr. No
  2. From Russia With Love
  3. Thunderball
  4. Goldfinger
  5. You Only Live Twice
  6. Diamonds Are Forever

Goldfinger encapsulates how Sean Connery’s films do not hold up over time. While you can chalk it up to the way it was back then, it’s hard to watch James Bond rape Pussy Galore in Goldfinger’s barn about halfway through the movie. Goldfinger also personifies the basest misogynistic tendencies of James Bond. There’s even a point where he almost ditches his mission because a pretty woman passes him on the road.

It’s for that reason I chose Dr. No as the best Sean Connery Bond film. It’s hard to argue against the original. It lays out the Bond formula pitting the suave, sexy secret agent against a maniacal villain bent on world domination.

From Russia With Love is a classic Bond movie. It introduces the infamous Bond nemesis, Ernst Blofeld, sports a ridiculously campy gypsy woman fight scene, and introduces the train as an iconic Bond fight scene backdrop.

Thunderball is, possibly, the first Bond film to introduce exotic locations as part of the Bond canon. This is nothing to say about the names of the villain, Largo, and his yacht, the Disco Volante.

You Only Live Twice suffers from a racist concept of trying to place James Bond undercover as a Japanese fisherman. The ludicrousness of the idea is only surpassed by its execution.

Diamonds Are Forever is the least unwatchable film from the Sean Connery era. It is mostly a footnote as Connery was brought back (in desperation?) after George Lazenby elected not to do another Bond film. It lacks any substance, but does claim the title of the best Bond Girl names in the entire franchise; Tiffany Case, Plenty O’Toole and Bambi and Thumper.

For my part, Tiffany Case is the most exquisite name of all Bond Girls. It’s a shame her character and the movie were so forgettable.

Daniel Craig Bond Films

  1. Skyfall
  2. Casino Royale
  3. Spectre
  4. Quantum of Solace

Top 007 Bond Films

  1. Skyfall
  2. Casino Royale
  3. Dr. No
  4. Spectre
  5. Goldeneye
  6. The Man With the Golden Gun
  7. Tomorrow Never Dies

Top 007 Bond Villains

  1. Blofeld (Multiple Films)
  2. Mr. Silver (Skyfall)
  3. Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
  4. Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun)
  5. Elektra King (The World is Not Enough)
  6. Dr. No
  7. Elliot Carver

Top 007 Bond Girls

  1. M (Multiple Films)
  2. Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale)
  3. Tracy (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
  4. Money Penny (Multiple Films)
  5. Pussy Galore (Goldfinger)
  6. Wai Lin (Tomorrow Never Dies)
  7. May Day (View to a Kill)

Top 007 Bond Songs

  1. Skyfall
  2. Writing’s On the Wall
  3. Diamonds Are Forever
  4. Nobody Does It Better
  5. View to a Kill
  6. Goldeneye
  7. Live and Let Die

Top 007 Bond Cars

  1. Aston Martin (Multiple Films)
  2. Lotus
  3. Scaramanga’s Flying Car (Man With the Golden Gun)

Top 007 Bond Gadgets

  1. Watch
  2. Pen (Goldeneye)
  3. Briefcase (From Russia with Love)
  4. Radio Transmitter
  5. BMW Remote (Tomorrow Never Dies)

Q Branch

M-sights

Houston Scared

Today marked the first time I found myself scared by a rain event in Houston.

My first hurricane was Alicia in 1983. I don’t remember much from it except for the stars of duct tape across my bedroom windows, and looking over the destruction wrought upon a neighbor’s weeping willow while the storm’s eye silently passed.

I was spared the devastation of Tropical Storm Allison as I still lived in Sugar Land at that time.

My first true hurricane experience came with Ike. I remember watching the a freight train of rain barrel down the street in front my house. I remember the glow of my phone’s screen as I watched the eye of the storm creep slowly by mere miles from my location. I remember the utter destruction it left in its wake not only in my neighborhood, but all around Houston. I also remember the great outpouring of goodwill from my neighbors, eager to pitch in to help each other in our time of need.

Hurricane Harvey was a different animal altogether. I lost a part of myself after that storm. A part I have yet to get back or replace. Like many Houstonians, I am permanently scarred by that storm.

All that said, Imelda may be the scariest weather event of them all.

First, we must look at her development. Within a matter of hours, she went from an investigative area (invest) to a full blown tropical storm. Forecasters knew there was a likelihood for rain, but nothing near a tropical storm.

Eerily like her sister Allison, Imelda quietly entered the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast Tuesday afternoon, dumping a moderate, yet manageable, amount of rain. Houston, it seemed, had been spared the worst as Imelda slowly moved eastward. By Wednesday afternoon, things were looking up in Houston while a terrible picture started developing eastward. Still, Imelda lashed out at Houston that afternoon with a torrential downpour. Nevertheless, it did seem the worst has certainly passed.

Then came Thursday morning. Imelda became the petulant middle child between Allison and Harvey, throwing an absolute fit with the seventh largest rain event in U.S. history. This after losing Tropical Storm status almost immediately after making landfall in Texas.

Allison and Imelda are twin sisters of sorts. Two tropical storms whose greatest performances came AFTER we thought them gone. Imelda is the scarier sister as she literally came out of nowhere. At least Allison was polite enough to let her know she was coming to dinner, though she did come back after dessert to wreck the dining room.

I don’t know where that leaves us today, dear friends. It’s clear to me Houston is a dangerous place to live. In all this talk of storms, I didn’t even mention the Memorial and Tax Day floods.

I guess you could look at Imelda as the demon spawn of Tropical Storm Allison and those floods.

Flooding is a new reality in Houston, and that scares me because it seems Mother Nature has made a game of trying a new area of Houston to flood each year. While evidence isn’t conclusive on these events being linked to climate change, it is almost certain some kind of connection exists, and will only get worse.

Indeed, Houston has been the site of how many 100-500 year floods in the last four years? As we limp towards the next election in a few weeks, it’s important to see how our city leaders plan to address this unpredictable, yet frequent, threat.

It’s also a time to put aside pettiness and hate to realize we are all in this together, and we won’t make it through this or the next event without each other. Take care of your Houston, it’s going to need it.

Houston Fallgasm 2019

As Houston swelters in this first week of Steamtember, we patiently wait for the first cool front of the year when Houstonian’s have their annual Fallgasm.

The Houston Fallgasm is a phenomenon happening the morning of the first cool front after summer. On this special morning, Houstonians have an orgasmic reaction to waking up to a morning of low humidity with temperatures in the low 70’s or, hopefully, a chilly 69 degrees!

They moan their pleasure across all social media platforms, quivering in the enjoyment of the coming of Fall.

I’m here to announce, Groundhog Day style, my prediction for this year’s Fallgasm.

The 2019 Houston Fallgasm will happen on September 30th.

You must wonder how I can make such a prediction. I can tell you with certainty, how I know. The annual Houston Fallgasm ALWAYS falls the morning after a disappointing Houston Texans loss.

You see, the Kama Sutra of the Fallgasm is the Houston Texans schedule.

Depending on your point of view, this year shapes up to be a particularly strong Fallgasm, as its enjoyment is always tempered on the expectations the Texans build within their fan base before that, inevitable, first disappointing loss.

This season, the Texans play New Orleans (a Super Bowl favorite) in the Big Easy to open their season. They will win this game, and their fans will revel in the victory like a tourist chomping on beignets at Cafe du Monde the morning after a Bourbon Street one nighter.

They return to Houston to play divisional rival, Jacksonville. I lingered on this date for some time, but felt it was premature. However, I believe the Texans will destroy the Jags, only further stroking the hopes of Texans fans.

Then comes a trip to another Super Bowl favorite, the Los Angeles Chargers. This game too, they will win, pumping Texans fans into an ever more ecstatic lather as they return home to play Carolina.

However, they will return home only to be NEWT-er’ed by the Carolina Panthers. (Non-football fan NOTE: Cam Newton is the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.)

You see, the Texans have NEVER started a season 4-0, this is the foundation of the Fallgasm, constant disappointment tempered by the enjoyment of the advent of fall.

This is the fate of Houston professional football fans, but a boon to all Houstonians.