Monday, August 22, 2016

The Coyote, the Road Runner, and the Secret Agent

Slept in a bit this morning. Started the day with breakfast and Wile E Coyote/Road Runner shorts. Most of the cartoons in the All-Stars set were from the mid-late 60's, shortly before the Warner Bros Animation Studios shut down for good. My favorites, though, were the modern shorts. The first three all looked pretty recent, given their well-done CGI animation, and they all captured the flavor of the original shorts very well. Two shorts from the 90's were also fun (especially "Chariots of Fur"). I know most Tunes fans are down on the Baby Looney Tunes series, but the short "Little Go Beep" was hilarious. I loved mini Wile E using toys to trap mini Road Runner.

Spent most of the morning writing. I didn't get far. Ben tells his adopted niece and nephew that Empire Industries is buying up as many properties as they can. They've offered to buy the Cottages, but he declined. Leia thinks there has to be more to this than dominating business on the island and is determined to find out what.

I had a quick chicken salad lunch before heading off to work. My first day back at work was mostly very busy and very annoying. I ended up in the register a lot more than I would have liked. I would rather have been doing returns, or at least spending a nice day outside. I rounded up carts for about 10 minutes before they pulled me back inside to take customers again.

Did a little grocery shopping after I finally got off. I mostly needed fruit - grabbed peaches, the cheapest fruit I could find. The Acme's huge clearances continue. I picked up the Pillsbury Cranberry Quick Bread Mix Dad loved for Thanksgiving, a dark chocolate cake mix, and something called "Perfect Portions," a small cake for one or two people, complete with frosting and cake mix. I went with Lemon Bliss.

Got my schedule for the rest of this week as well. I have tomorrow off, then work more four-hour shifts either early in the morning or in the mid-afternoon. All fine and fairly normal for this time of year. The later shift on Saturday will allow me to get to the Collingswood Farm Market.

Since I didn't get to have my usual Sunday pancakes, I made Maple-Chocolate Chip Pancakes for dinner. I wish I hadn't burned one side of the first one. The second one was amazing, just sweet enough and very fluffy.

Ran The Man With the Golden Gun while I ate and cleaned up from dinner. The title character in this mid-70's James Bond outing is Scaramonga (Christopher Lee), a very elegant assassin who is so good at what he does, he asks for a million dollars per kill. Bond (Roger Moore) is worried that he's after him. Scaramonga's real target is the creator of a solar device that helps to create a solar ray that could end the (then) current energy crisis, or become an efficient laser gun. Scaramonga has something of an obsession with taking down Bond, whom he sees as his equal. Bond has to make his way through the back streets of Bangkok and a karate school in Hong Kong in order to find the world's most dignified killer, with the (dubious) aid of fellow secret agent Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland).

Lee's presence as one of the best Bond villains elevates this rather strange outing. My biggest complaint was too much padding. The whole solar subplot was unnecessary, as was the goofy sequence with the schoolgirls and the martial arts school. (As much as I loved seeing two Asian schoolgirls able to kick butt even better than James.) They did NOT have to bring back the annoying hillbilly sheriff character from Live and Let Die, either. Britt Ekland's Mary Goodnight was both useless and dumb - getting stuck in the trunk of a car while she was planting a bug was especially stupid. Also not a fan of the derivative theme song, which sounds like a very bad imitation of the theme from Goldfinger.

Though I've heard this doesn't usually rank very high with hard-core Bond fans, I did end up enjoying it. For all the goofiness, it has a surprisingly gritty feel, with Moore's Bond acting far tougher than usual for his movies. He very nearly breaks the arms of the Bond villain woman (Maud Abrams) at one point. Lee's Scaramonga is terrific. He's a man who loves what he does, makes good money off of it, and is glad to meet someone else whom he thinks of as an equal. He's not a showy or obvious villain, but Lee makes him elegant and effective. His dwarf sidekick was pretty awesome, too.

If you're a Bond fan, particularly of Moore's run, or want to try a slightly outside-of-the-box Bond, this is far better than its reputation suggests and is recommended.

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