Sunday, November 11, 2012

F This Movie! - Skyfall

Patrick and JB talk Bond 23 and look back at 50 years of 007. This discussion of Skyfall is spoiler free until it isn't.

Download this episode here. (30.2 MB)

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Also discussed this episode: Seven Psychopaths, The Man with the Iron Fists, Flight

Assume there are SPOILERS in the comments below.


  1. Still listening to the podcast. But need to comment. I too pointed out the "Cuff Check" in the trailer when I saw it with my buddy a few weeks ago.
    The gun barrel sequence that's at the end but normally at the beginning was at the end of "Quantum of Solace" too. Need to double check "Casino Royale" but don't think they did the same thing there, I know it wasn't at the begging though.
    And I saw "SKYFALL" at 2:20 pm on Friday, and when the garage door opened and the DB5 was sitting there, like JB I gasped. I was by myself and the people next to me looked at me odd.
    I noticed the Dark Knight beats too. I also thought the island reminded me of the end of Inception.
    Did you guys notice that Bond's father's initials were AB? Albert R. Broccoli?
    I also thing this was a continuation of the reboot like it was a trilogy of sorts.

    I loved the movie and I love the podcast guys.

  2. I was wondering with the movie opening in Turkey, if it has anything to do with Moneypenny saying to James in the beginning of "From Russia with Love", that she's never been to Istanbul?

  3. I liked Skyfall a lot too (although it's no Jack Reacher, btw...that looks like a fake movie).

    I still prefer Casino Royale but it's pretty close in terms of my favorite Bond movie with Daniel Craig.

    Good call on the reboot aspect. I was puzzled why Skyfall was trying so hard to root itself in the past when it's been going out of its way in the last two movies to make Bond more modern. I'm not sure what they're driving at - I hope the dual personalities of the approach doesn't affect later installments.

    When I walked out of the theater the 'fan service' aspects really bothered me but then I was thinking isn't it permissable for something like Bond? The whole franchise exists as fan fiction.

    1. I agree, but that's part of what makes the thing at the end even stranger. SPOILERS If they're doing the "Moneypenny" reveal for the fans, we ALREADY GET IT when we see her behind the desk. If they're doing it for the uninitiated (and it seemed a little bit like they were), the name Moneypenny has no significance. So it ends up insulting the intelligence of the devoted in the service of a reveal that means nothing to the general audience.

      This is a stupid thing for me to be hung up on, because I loved the movie.

    2. To your "Moneypenny" point, I'll offer the ejector seat gag when Bond and M are driving in the original DB5. M says something about the ride being uncomfortable, and Bond flips open the shifter lid revealing the button. Those who know, chuckle to themselves. But then, a SECOND LATER, M says something like, "Don't EJECT ME." GET IT? GET IT? GET IT? GET IT? Blurg.

  4. Yeah! You got it!

    Okay, I do have more. First, JB's trip to winky winky land during a movie over the weekend reminded me of a friend about 10 years ago who would go to movies for a little "me" time. Whatever that meant (hopefully not masturbation) he would go there for a place to get away from the world and be all alone so that he could think, sleep, or just chill. For him, movie theaters were a place he could get away. So...that's kind of eccentric, right? Of course, tickets were only about 7 dollars back then, but still. That's why libraries exist.

    On to the movie, I'm really pleased with the coverage and the opinion you guys have of this movie. Like you, I think Skyfall is fantastic and a welcome return to Bond as he should be after Casino Royale (the newer one), but I'm getting really tired of internet hyperbole about EVERYTHING under the sun, either absolutely loving or absolutely hating something, so I was pleased that you guys recognize that it is way too soon for such statements and instead just say that it was great and that it is probably in the top five. I agree. In a culture that is quick to brand something the best (LOVED IT!) or the worst (HATED IT!) you guys say "it's really really good. Let's give it some time." That's one of several reasons I am so thankful for F This Movie and the culture that has sprung up around it, which is largely free from such people. Did you ever think you'd be the thinking man's movie podcast? Because that's essentially what you guys are.


    Patrick, my thoughts on why they killed off Judi Dench are that they were trying to show that this is a world where you don't get to just walk away, even when you're higher up. I know Moneypenny defies this to an extent, but it seems like in this universe no matter how high or low you are on the totem pole, the only way out is death. Mallory said something along these lines to Bond when they cleared him for duty, that he could have stayed away and taken a way out that most people aren't given, why did he come back? For me, I think they shot Dench to make it clear that the stakes of this world are incredibly high.

    Also, I want two more Daniel Craig movies too. Something I've become accustomed to as a Doctor Who fan is seeing people constantly playing the what if game. Idris Elba was a fan favorite for that franchise, too. I'm not sure why people can't just chill out and enjoy things as they are presented to them...I suppose as humans we're both hopeful and unsatisfied at the same time. We're always looking to what we don't yet have, and as soon as we get it we're on to the next thing. As I write this, Huffington Post has just posted an article about 50 people who could be the next Bond. I vote for as much Daniel Craig as possible. I'd even love to see him renew his contract, as unlikely as that is. It's not about the actor for me, it's about the story and the movie itself. I'd rather get more Daniel Craig in this incarnation than any actor with Die Another Day. As long as the focus is on making the best movie possible, Bond will last another 50 years.

  5. Was I the only one who watched the opening and thought, "That gun has only one bullet?"

    A pro would take the first shot and if the target didn't fall they'd track them and shoot again, wouldn't they? There was time.

    (don't worry I'm not going to pull this apart as I did Prometheus - I liked it)

    The leadfootedness of the Moneypenny reveal could have been avoided if they'd had another character address her by name. But then John Logan had his hands on the screenplay at some point (even though every good movie bearing his name was re-written later by someone who didn't get screen credit). Logan's also big on "lifting" things from other movies to use in his scripts. Maybe the mirroring The Dark Knight was his idea?

    In fact, it's amazing the film was so good considering the two people most responsible for Star Trek Nemesis - Logan and Stuart Baird - worked on this.

    And one of the reasons for Dame Judi Dench's leaving the franchise could be that she's losing her eyesight due to macular degeneration. She's still working but perhaps Bond films are too difficult for her under the circumstances.

  6. Saw "Skyfall" this morning and liked it a lot, though not enough to crack my Bond top 5 (bottom of the top 10 maybe). It's the first Bond movie I've seen in theaters since "Die Another Day." Patrick, is this the first 'prequel' reboot (the end of "Skyfall" technically gets us back to the early Connery era, continuity-wise) that you'd say actually works? You complain that none of them do but, even with "QOS" dragging it, the Daniel Craig trilogy of prequel/reboots to me its a rousing success. The decade-long hole dug by "DAD" (remember the Jinx spin-off talk?) has been finally paved over.

    I too want at least two more Craig Bond movies, this time with the gun barrel signature opening in the front. We have new M (Judi Dench was the last on-camera legacy of the series to the Pierce Brosnan era), new Q, new Moneypenny. It's set! Time for some "Living Daylights"-style Bond flicks where we get to have fun watching 007 being good at his work without the weight of the world/life/past on his shoulders. Some random thoughts on "Skyfall":

    -No Felix Leiter (guess Naomie Harris takes Jeffrey Wright's 'token' black role) which saddened me because I thought he and Craig's Bond had real chemistry. The movie references Felix when the new Q mentions casually that they still have 'one or two friends at the CIA.'

    -I initially wasn't impressed by Javier Bardem's bad guy because he was too show-offy and mannered to be a 'normal' bad guy (closer to The Joker than Hans Gruber). But after M dies (from a bullet she took from one of his henchmen), it dawned on me that the villain in "Skyfall" actually wins. He had other motives, but Silva first and foremost wanted M dead and by the end of the movie he gets his wish (Silva would find fun in that irony he didn't live to see M die). Retroactively for me, M's death makes all the show-offy stuff Silva did in the movie (like arriving to Skyfall in helicopter like Col. Kilgore from "Apocalypse Now," soundtrack blasting) earned. Unlike many other Bond villains that talked big but went out like punks and bitches, Silva succeeded. That earns Silva a special place in the pantheon of Bond villains (and not because of Javier's acting eccentricities).

    -That said, aren't we a bit sick of the 'former undercover operative out on a personal vendetta to avenge wronged past' and 'list of spies that must be protected at all costs' plots in these movies at this point? I am. Bond's used it already (Alec Trevelyan in "Goldfinger," Bond avenging the killers of Felix's wife in "Licence to Kill," etc.) and other movies ("Mission: Impossible" and "Bourne") have also exhausted similar scenarios.

    -From the moment Bond "kidnaps" M it feels like a totally different Bond movie than the one we started. This depresses me because it means that, if they wanted to, the producers could give us the back-to-basics old-school Bond action but instead they've chosen this generic computer-enhanced generic action template for the Craig era.

    -I'll say this: Best directed action sequences in a Bond movie in a couple of decades where you can tell where and what is happening in relation to whom (the scene where Eve has to take the shot over the moving train is a perfect example). Kudos to the 2nd unit director (name escapes me), Stuart Baird (my favorite editor not maked Schoonmaker or Michael Kahn, because "The Omen") and Roger Deakins (The Coen Bros' favorite cinematographer) for a pretty and well-cut exciting piece of filmmaking.

    -The music while Bond chases Silva through London's 'tube' is some of the best background music I've ever heard: constant and tense but not show-offy. Bravo Thomas Newman.

    -Bond winking at Mallory in the middle of the gunfight? Too fucking cool! :-)

  7. How has no one mentioned Komodo Dragons during the podcast, or in the comments?!?!

    I loved that goofy touch in the middle of a mostly serious movie. "The circle of life". One of the best one-liners since "He had a lot of guts".

  8. Saw Skyfall again in IMAX. And the only problem I had besides Q plugging in a nefarious computer into MI6's network, was a guy shooting rare depleted uranium rounds through a bullet hose of a gun.

  9. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS: this turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the year since I walked into the theater with just two hours to kill without expecting much than what the trailer sold: the same tired post-Tarantino school of bloody hitman mayhem mixed with cool 'with it' self-aware humor ("2 Days in the Valley," "Destiny Turns On the Radio," etc.). Alas, the brilliance and skill of writer/director Martin McDonagh's high-wire act is the injection of a healthy dose of Charlie Kaufman-type Hollywood POV structure to a story about movie people caught in the vibes and crazy plottings of a shaping-before-our-eyes hitman screenplay/story.

    Sam Rockwell (who steals the movie playing an annoying-but-likable character that gets on people's nerves, no easy task), Colin Farrell (whose leading man skills McDonagh brings out better than any other filmmaker) and even the tired-from-overexposure schtick of Christopher Walken lead an excellent cast that's game poking fun at their own bad-ass reputation. A surprise potential entry into my best year top 10 list.

    FLIGHT: literally five minutes before "Flight's" credits start rolling Zemeckis can't help himself and gives us an "invisible" SFX shot (like the one in "Contact" when young Ellie reaches for the medicine cabinet) just because he can and wants to put his considerable SFX expertise to work. Before that though (or whenever John Goodman isn't on-screen, which is a clear attempt to inject forced "Used Cars"-type humor into an otherwise sober and dramatic narrative), Zemeckis succeeds at directing an adult and grown-up movie about a flawed human being (Denzel Washington at his best; you root for his Whip Whitaker longer than you would if he were played/portrayed differently by a lesser actor) wrestling with inner demons that threaten to be exposed.

    "Flight" is being sold on a title and premise that only cover the movie's first half-hour; after that is an entirely different film that what audiences might expect, and we're all the better for it because of the necessary commercial evil of this bait-and-switch. It says something about how good the movie is that the hospital staircase scene is more compelling and intense than the already-intense scene of the airplane accident.

    THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS: awful, just awful fanservice tribute by co-writer/director/star RZA (who predictably gives the weakest performance amongst the principals) to not just samurai and chambara movies from decades past, but primarily to how Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth (the latter co-wrote and co-produced the flick) have re-interpreted these films for mainstream American audiences. It inhabits an awkward place where the devotion to its genre roots are too earnest and sincere to dislike, yet it's so amateurish and goofy in its execution you wanna laugh at it when you're not so bored you're seriously debating whether to doze off. Every actor seems to be in a different movie than the one they're in (good for Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu, really bad for Rick Yune and RZA), although I gotta say I was surprised at how effortlessly Dave Bautista steals the movie with his imposing screen presence.

    Save you time and money and rent/buy the really cool Japanse movies that inspired RZA to make "The Man with the Iron Fists," a flick whose sum total doesn't add up to the lameness of its individual parts.

  10. Say, can anyone who's seen Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale more recently than I answer as to whether that horrid little ceramic dog of M's was on her desk in those movies? It was a nice little touch in this one and I just wonder if it was around before.

    1. I can't remember if that was around before, but it was a good gag. Loved the punchline.

    2. And apparently the thing costs $70. Yeesh.

  11. SPOILERS: My thoughts on the death of M (rather than her retirement) is that if she were to retire or be fired, it would suggest that she was not a good leader of MI6. The whole question of her leaving centered on her incompetence, but as we all know, she's not. The shadows are dark places, and sometimes you can't see everything. I had assumed that M would simply go back to her job at the end of the movie, not retire. But if she dies, that rambling, pontificating bureaucrat doesn't win, and M is not seen as impotent.

  12. I believe the island was based on this

  13. I finally saw Skyfall (downloaded it from iTunes), and loved it. I think it's interesting that it takes elements from 3 different Brosnan Bonds and makes them so much better:

    Goldeneye - rogue MI6 agent
    The World is Not Enough - MI6 is attacked and M targeted because of an earlier decision she made
    Die Another Day - Bond is being doubted by M and has to be brought in "from the cold"

    With respect to M's death, I recall a scene from the Streep movie The Iron Lady, where at the end she is a shadow of her former self, washing a glass in the utter isolation of her flat. I have to wonder if M would rather go out "on the job," rather than face a long twilight of irrelevancy.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I had written this whole thing about how I felt the first time I saw it, it felt like a transition movie, only concerned with shedding old characters and introducing new ones, but after hearing how much the guys on the 'cast loved it Is gave it another chance. And loved it. It was less derivative and more clever than I initially gave it credit for, and after a year if bad spy films I appreciated it's stripped down plot. I might even put it above Casino Royale now.

      Still far behind Living Daylights though. ;)

  15. Hi Patrick, the download link isn´t working.