“I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened … I thought: ‘By God, James Bond is the dullest name I ever heard.'”
– Ian Fleming
You know, it’s a bummer when you feel excluded from a cultural touchstone. It sucks when everyone seems to be in on something you just can’t get into. For me, there’s one franchise that’s always turned me off, and that’s James Bond.
It’s weird. I mean, I’m absolutely obsessed with another long-running British series, about a charismatic, world-saving adventurer, played by a revolving cast of actors, who first became popular in the early sixties. But your man JB? Nah! Never interested me.
He always came across as a smug, posh twat. And as a smug, posh twat myself, I’m very defensive about how my demographic is represented. Call me unaspirational (you can’t; it isn’t a word), but I’ve never been able to see the appeal of watching a man more handsome, rich and successful than me bed countless women way out of my league and drive cars I’ll never afford. He just seems to be rubbing it in.
This came to a head a few years ago when my housemate and I had a drunken argument about whether I had any right to hate a franchise when I’d only ever seen one movie in it (Casino Royale – which I actually liked for the record). I pondered this the next day and long after, wondering if maybe I’d misjudged poor 007. Maybe if I gave the movies a chance, I’d actually enjoy them? It was worth a punt anyway.
So after I was condemned to stay indoors indefinitely over the coronavirus pandemic, I suddenly found myself with oodles of spare time on my hands. So I decided to take a chance on James Bond. Not only that, but I was going to do it properly, no mucking about. No matter how boring, camp, sexist, racist, pompous, or silly things got, I was going to watch all 24 movies in order, and probably No Time to Die when it came out too.
Me and my housemates Michael and Saywood are currently 11 movies into this franchise, and I honestly still can’t work out how the escapades of a Tory tit in a tux can be worth an estimated $19.9 billion. But ultimately the experience has, in its own weird way, been entertaining. Here’s what I learned so far: