Two nights, two liters of wine, and two very bad movies doesn’t always end well. The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day (let’s call them TWINE and DAD — with DAD being an especially appropriate acronym because of Bond’s creepy Dad-joke of a performance) gave me one hell of a cinematic bitch slap.
All my harping on Tomorrow Never Dies (TND) now seems premature in comparison.
TWINE and DAD honestly delivered such a wallop that not only did I hit the sack grumpy and unnecessarily drunk two nights too many in a row this weekend, but their combined brutality caused a crisis of conscious in me, rethinking that maybe, just maybe, the Roger Moore years weren’t so bad.
Where to begin?
TWINE starts off as one of the seemingly stronger of the recent movies. The opening segment is semi-competent and exciting, Act 1 delivers raises the stakes and even delivers mystery. Who is this figure who commands such fear that a woman would rather disintegrate herself (using propane tanks on a hot air balloon? I guess so) than take up Bond on his offer for protection.
Sounds like one scary m*th*rf*ck*r.
But then it really kind of goes nowhere; or rather, it goes places and nothing really happens; or maybe it goes places, things happen, but we don’t really know what it means. Basically, the mystery goes to far and as the audience we’re left watching all these bizarre set pieces that we honestly can’t piece together for the life of us.
It might not have been half bad had they not introduced us to Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist played by.. wait, what? Denise Richards? Denise cardboard cutout Richards from Starship Troopers? A woman whose physical beauty is only matched by her complete and utter inability to convincingly portray a human character on screen?
And now she’s been cast as a nuclear physicist?
Okay, as a Bond girl I can get it. She got down and dirty in Wild Things for us, she’s a sex symbol, but of all the bizarre professions for a Bond girl to have her portray…
Yup, and apparently her character has a PhD, because I don’t think they let physicists touch nuclear warheads — even in Kazakhstan — without them.
I mean why not another fortune teller? Yak rider? Imaginary friend? Nuclear stripper? It’s not like it matters that she apparently knows all this stuff about bombs, since she just delivers unnecessary plot device MacGuffins that any other character could just as easily deliver.
Not only is her performance unbelievable, but it also nearly destroys friendships.
I ranted about this scene to my room mate, and she flat out told me to stop being such a loser because we shouldn’t typecast certain types of people for certain types of roles. Under most circumstances, I would agree with her assessment and tell me to shut up.
But then I made her watch this movie and this same scene made her swear out loud and apologize afterwards.
More stuff happens, plots are twisted, and Mr. Scary Bad Guy — played by Robert Carlyle who deserves a few props — spends a really long time pushing a really phallic plutonium thing into a very yonic nuclear reactor before getting impaled.
Ultimately, the movie wraps up with the worst sex scene ever — “it’s getting redder” — proceeded by the worst pickup line ever “Isn’t it time you unwrapped your Christmas present?” and culminates with me stumbling to bed drunk on grocery store wine.
The next day resumes with DAD and that movie tried its best to beat me like a red-headed stepchild.
The first 45 seconds of the movie opens with James Bond surfing into a very Normandy beach-y North Korea. Less than four minutes later a man tells us that his hovercraft army will let him float over a minefield intact? Oh yeah? Let’s hear the science on that one, fourteen-year-old boy who wrote that line.
Where do things go from there? Tortune-porn scene unfolding over the opening credits meant to somehow raise the stakes (including bond using his method of torture to later swim through frozen water, no problem-o), to Bond with Jesus hair, to creepy Dad jokes, to magical power gloves worn by the villain that don’t do anything strangling a person couldn’t.
And Halle Berry was in this movie for some reason.
On the plus side, DAD officially records the only instance of a man who ever got laid by telling a hot bikini-clad woman on the beach that he was an ornithologist.
My room mate said DAD made TWINE feel like Citizen Kane — which in comparison then makes TND an uncanny masterpiece of Western Cinema, and GoldnEye, well, pure freaking Nirvana.
I think what ultimately made me so angry, drunk and disappointed with myself at the end of the night wasn’t that I bought a liter of wine for $8 at the grocery store, but that DAD could have been a wonderful turd, or even a decently watchable movie had it at least had inspired direction, cinematography or screenwriting.
Unfortunately, the final product came up short in all three departments, and the end result is an early 2000s movie that so desperately wants to be every 90s music video mashed into one — including overly dramatic slow motion, and Madonna acting sexier than any 50-year-old mom ever.
At least a lot of people brought home some epic paycheques after those ones.