To check the dubious reasoning behind these posts, check the original here:
In this new series of posts I’ll be selecting a Star at random from every decade (who was born in that decade) starting from the 1880s up until the 1990s to be interred in this land of magic and wonder, who will for ever more see their name set in stone far beyond the places where Gods dare to tread. Each name will have a unique star placed and statue built-in their honour. Often accompanying these additions will be news of a new store or museum to go alongside those stars whose work is of particular genius, and you too can visit and see the place of your dreams, simply by closing your eyes….
1880s: Florence La Badie: For contributions to Film. Almost no-one today would recognise the name, but for a while in the early days of silent cinema La Badie was an incredibly popular actress, appearing in close to 200 films. Her short life was tragically cut short before she reached 30, during her peak – it’s the sort of life that cries out for a Hollywood biopic and greater remembrance. Works include Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Cymbeline, and The Man Without A Country.
1890s: Mary Pickford: For contributions to Film and Theatre. Arguably the most important woman in cinema history, Pickford was one of the biggest stars of the Silent era and would later become an influential producer and businesswoman, co-founding United Artists and The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars), while also kicking off the career of many other stars. Her works include Ben Hur, Coquette, and Cinderella.
1900s: David O Selznick: For contributions to Film and Television. One of the most successful Film Producers ever, Selznick had numerous hits and Oscar wins, and is remembered for bringing Hitchcock to the USA as well as making household names of countless performers in works suc has Gone With The Wind, Rebecca, and King Kong.
1910s: Desi Arnaz: For contributions to Film, Television, Theatre, and Music. Better known as Ricky Ricardo in his relationship with Lucille Ball, Arnaz was already an established figure in music and movies, though his greatest success would come on TV in the fifties. His works include Too Many Girls, I Love Lucy, and Bataan.
1920s: Julie Harris: For contributions to Film, Televsion, and Theatre: One of the few people in history to have been nominated for an Academy Award (didn’t win), a Tony (5 time winner), a Grammy (1 time winner), and an Emmy (3 time winner), Harris was one of the most talented and versatile actors of her generation and is remembered for works such as Knot’s Landing, East Of Eden, and The Haunting.
1930s: Richard Donner: For contributions to Film and Television. Donner is a highly versatile director, making films of great success within the superhero, action, horror, and comedy genres, as well as being an accomplished comic book writer. His works include The Lethal Weapon Series, The Goonies, and Superman.
1940s: Fay Dunaway: For contributions to Film, Television, and Theatre. One of the few people to have won an Oscar (1 win), Golden Globe (3 wins), BAFTA (1 win), and Emmy (1 win), Dunaway beccame one of the faces to define the new wave of Hollywood in the late 1960s and appeared in a number of iconic films throughout the seventies before showing an interest in indie-level releases. She is know for works such as Bonnie And Clyde, Chinatown, and Network.
1950s: Cheryl Ladd: For contributions to Television and Music. Ladd came to Hollywood chasing a career in music and began picking up roles as the singing voice in TV series but quickly landed acting roles, leaving her singing career behind. She is known for works such as Josie And The Pussycats, Charlie’s Angels, and Las Vegas.
1960s: Vern Troyer: For contributions to Television and Film. Troyer has overcome adversity to become a readily recognizable and successful actor in a range of movies and shows including The Austin Powers series, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, and The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus.
1970s: Ashton Kutcher: For contributions to Television and Film. Kutcher is most famous for pranking celebrities in his hit reality show Punk’d, but has made an impact on a variety of other shows and movies including The Butterfly Effect, and That 70s Show.
1980s: Austin O’Brien: For contributions to Television and Film. O’Brien began his career in a number of successful movies before moving to the small screen in works such as Touched By An Angel, Last Action Hero, and My Girl 2.
1990s: Erin Sanders: For contributions to Television and Film. Although she has made a few appearances in indie films, it is on the small screen where she most frequently captivates audiences in works such as Zoey 101, Melissa and Joey, and Big Time Rush.
In addition to Stars and Monuments created for the performers above, the following attractions have been erected:
The Mary Pickford Women Of Early Cinema Museum: This museum is dedicated to all of the women who contributed to film in its earliest decades, and features memorabilia, artifacts, interviews, and an interactive timeline journey taking the visitor through the advent of film to the introduction of talkies and exploring the role of women in these years.
The Goonies Experience: A large indoor and outdoor complex encompassing swimming areas, waterslides, caverns, rides, and rollercoasters as well as a team-hunt game where you and your friends must outwit a band of crooks and deadly booby-traps to find One-Eyed Willy’s treasure. It brings together enhanced visions of various sets from The Goonies movie as well as additional attractions based on the film.
Which star above to you have most in common with, and which of their performances is your favourite? What sort of attraction can you imagine in honour of any of the people above? Let us know in the comments!
Here’s a quick summary of my ranking of the major songs from Bond movies, all in one handy place:
26. Die Another Day – Madonna
25. We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong
24. From Russia With Love – Matt Monroe
23. Never Say Never Again – Lani Hall
22. Thunderball – Tom Jones
21. Another Way To Die – Alicia Keys and Jack White
20. Skyfall – Adele
19. The World Is Not Enough – Garbage
18. A Ha – The Living Daylights
17. Under The Mango Tree – Diane Copeland
16. Licence To Kill – Gladys Knight
15. All Time High – Rita Coolidge
14. Moonraker – Shirley Bassey
13. Goldeneye – Tina Turner
12. Tomorrow Never Dies – Sheryl Crow
11. Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey
10. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell
9. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
8. The Look Of Love – Dusty Springfield
7. The Writing’s On The Wall – Sam Smith
6. The Man With The Golden Gun – Lulu
5. For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
4. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon
3. A View To A Kill – Duran Duran
2. Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings
1. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
So there you have it, all the major Bond songs ranked and with a couple of bonus tracks thrown in. What are your favourites? Which ones are beyond mentioning? Let us know in the comments!
3. A View To A Kill (from A View To A Kill) – Duran Duran
Glorious stuff, 80s transcended, and probably the band’s best song. This one has the Bond blasts, a fast, rock oriented sound, and most importantly it has the melodies. The video is good fun too. I see that I’m picking a lot of Roger Moore film songs in the top end of the list, but then I grew up in the Moore era and many of his films my favourites. This one is super catchy and evokes plenty of moments from the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV4UqmbzIq4
2. Live And Let Die (from Live And Let Die) – Paul McCartney and Wings
Moore again, and McCartney partners with George Martin once more for another hit. I do feel the Guns N Roses version of this is vastly superior, but credit to the writers for creating this in the first place of course. The film always creeped me out when I was young, what with all the skulls and voodoo stuff, and the song was also able to send shivers up and down my spine. Those Bond blasts serve a duel purpose then – they are clearly supposed to call back the Bond themes of old, but are also clearly designed to scare – many moments of the song are just off enough to disturb the listener. The main riff is excellent, the song is filled with beautiful slow moments, there is a hell of a lot of chaotic moments too as instruments race and collide with one another. It’s a fantastic song all round, worthy of much more than simply being remembered as a Bond song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=784k3EEuZYA
Number 1. You Only Live Twice (from You Only Live Twice) – Nancy Sinatra
It has been slightly sullied by Dickhead of the Century – Robbie Williams, but even his worthless mitts couldn’t truly taint this slice of perfection. My favourite Connery Bond movie has a flawless theme which opens with some of the most gorgeous strings ever recorded. The song has an ever so slight oriental feel, Sinatra gives it the full frontal performance, the guitar copies the string melody, the lyrics are possibly the best in any bond song, and it’s one of a handful whose melodies are sublime throughout. It’s elegant, epic, and just the right length. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcIl_6amBvU
There you have it, my top 3 Bond songs. I’ll write a summary post showing my picks in a single post, but for now feel free to leave your thoughts on my picks in the comments below!
Official Nominations: BW: Darling. Morituri. A Rage To Live. Ship Of Fools. The Slender Thread. Colour: Doctor Zhivago. The Agony And The Ecstasy. The Greatest Story Ever Told. Inside Daisy Clover. The Sound Of Music.
My Winner: Darling. The Agony And The Ecstasy
My Nominations: Doctor Zhivago. For A Few Dollars More. The Agony And The Ecstasy. The Greatest Story Ever Told. The Sound Of Music. Thunderball. King Rat
My Winner: The Agony And The Ecstasy
Which film is your pick for the Best Costume
*Originally written in 2013 based on a free copy provided by Amazon
Us blokes of a certain age grew up with films of a certain quality, films which mirrored our own childhoods or which we wished we were real: The Goonies, Stand By Me, Eerie Indiana TV show, Back To The Future, and a host of other 80s classics. The coming of age movie has largely faded away for the new generations with barely any films of note in recent years. Super 8 was a fine attempt at recapturing the old glory, Son Of Rambow, was good, but the best ‘recent’ one I can think of is Now And Then, an underrated movie from the perspective of women and girls -from the mid nineties. I had heard a lot of positive feedback about The Kings Of Summer, but I made sure that I didn’t read too much about the plot – All I really knew about it before watching was that it was being compared favourably to Stand By Me. The comparisons are fair – quality wise at least, but they are two very different films.
The Kings Of Summer is the film debut of Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and focuses on a group of friends who each, for various reasons, are sick of their home lives, and decide to run away from home to create their own paradise. The majority of the film follows the kids, just shy of adulthood, but the story doesn’t shy away from showing the reactions of the respective families. I wouldn’t want to give away any more of the story that that – not that there are any surprises or twists, but it is better to come to this without knowing too much.
The script is hilarious throughout, with all sorts of instantly classic one-liners, it doesn’t get bogged down by any sentimentality at any point, and only at one point does it give way to what I would say was a cheap soap-like turn of events to propel the plot to its conclusion. This moment which causes friction between the two main characters was easy to see from a mile away, but I was hoping that the movie wouldn’t go down that route given how refreshing the rest of the film is. That was the only disappointing moment, although I admit that is purely down to my own feelings and others will likely not be annoyed in any way. It is almost a perfect script for this type of film, finding the perfect balance between the kids and the older folks – both are shown to have their qualities and flaws, and both the love between both groups as well as the sheer generational misunderstanding. Parents of teens will enjoy this just as much as any teens. Not that I mean this is a movie for teens – I have no idea who the target audience, if any, would be – it’s simply a brilliant, very funny film. I also apprecitate how even the smallest character are both played wonderfully, but are not thrown in for sake of the plot – instead they appear as real people with their own quirks – truly it puts most other films to shame with regards to characterisation.
Special mention must go to the actors – each play their part well – some of them were familiar to me but I couldn’t put my finger on where I knew them from (the temptation would be to say from my own childhood). The main roles of Joe, Patrick, Joe’s dad are all perfect, as well as the aforementioned smaller roles, but the star of the show as this inevitably becomes a new cult favourite, will probably be Moises Arias’ Biaggio. Every line he gets is gold, and he plays the role with the perfect balance of alien and reality – again seeming like a real person rather than the typical ‘quirky type’ of person which Hollywood seems obsessed with recently, and gets completely wrong every time (and acting as a fine mockery to all those people out there who would call themselves quirky because the wear a T-shirt with GEEK written across it…).
I could drone on more about the flair, the cinematography, the soundtrack, favourite scenes etc, but there is no need – just go watch it for yourself. The making of documentary is also pretty funny, and presents what appears to be a group of friends having a great time making what they hope to be a brilliant film.
6. The Man With The Golden Gun (from The Man With The Golden Gun) – Lulu
Most people hate this one with a passion, but it’s easily one of the most catchy, fun, energetic Bond songs. It’s funky with a rock and disco manic edge, great guitars, a blistering performance by Lulu. We even get a bizarre, soft, slow brief break in the middle where Lulu does a Bassey for a few moments. I’ve never quite understood why people, or so many people despise this – it hits all the right notes in my ears. I love love love each ‘golden shot’ that she sings, great stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSbj2Mx2By8
5. For Your Eyes Only (from For Your Eyes Only) – Sheena Easton
I’ve always had a soft spot for this one, partly because it’s from one of my favourite films in the series, and partly because I’m a sucker for ballads. It may get awfully cheesy, but it still does the job for me. This one also gets deathly close to being dated due to the instrumentation. But it’s just so lovely and so tragic. The film begins with Bond visiting the grave of his dead wife, we see one of the series’ most brutal killers dispatch a number of other likeable characters, and a rare somber turn by Moore. I love the verse and bridge, but I feel the chorus vocals could have been reined in a little, or would be better with a different singer. I’d love to hear some covers of this – I’m sure I’d love it even more if sung by one of my favourite singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN1WBgS9u_E
4. Nobody Does It Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me) – Carly Simon
Beginning like a forgotten ballad by Queen, Simon again may not have been the best choice to perform this, but aside from that it’s a superb song and close to stealing that definitive Bond song crown. Naturally Radiohead’s version is better, but the song itself it so good that you’d be hard pushed to find a bad version of it. Again it’s super sexy, I love the combination of piano and violin, and it’s one of the few Bond songs that doesn’t have the typical blasts of string and horn – and doesn’t miss them for a second. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNA7DcVppEs Radiohead bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfmQe_eBvrc
Let us know below what you think of these Bond songs as I rarely see two of these in other lists of favourites.
*Originally written in 2013 based on a free copy provided by Amazon.
It has been a while since I’ve seen a new Johnnie To movie which really impressed and excited me – Drug War brings him almost back to his best with a tense action thriller which draws many comparisons with Michael Mann’s Heat. This has a large case of famous faces, inspired set pieces, numerous explosive gun-fights, and a weaving cat and mouse plot as a criminal mastermind and fierce Detective do battle. There are plenty of stylish visuals and violence, but at the core is a cold story with few easy answers and fewer happy endings for the characters.
Zhang is a no-nonsense Detective who pulls out all the stops to catch notorious Drug Lords, and during the course of the film we see him become more dangerously close to the edge, almost reckless, in his pursuit of taking down the bad guys. Sun Honglei plays Zhang with a lot of skill, morphing seamlessly from zero-emotion cop to jolly criminal impersonator. Equally, Louis Koo, playing the captured drug baron Choi is impressive at conveying grief, desperation, charm, and deadly cunning. Much of the film is a game of wits between this pair, and along the way we interact with a variety of cops and criminals, each with their own story to tell and part to play.
For those who like their action, we do get a few highlights – a factory attack and the final showdown outside a school are directed flawlessly – they serve the plot and do not seem over the top in a John Woo style but are more grounded yet no less exciting or adventurous. This is definitely one for fans of Hong Kong, Asian, or action cinema to enjoy.