Normally, I’m a huge fan of action movies. Huge explosions, high adventure, and a smattering of plot line, with very little cheesy romantic dialogue. Now, that’s what I call good entertainment. But for some reason, I’ve never liked James Bond.
There are a lot of reasons I could dislike Bond. Most of them have been my excuses to avoid the movies up till now: the gaping holes in the plot (not to mention the laws of physics) are one thing I find insulting. As a woman, I also find it insulting that every woman (with the exception of M) in a Bond movie exists only as eye candy or conquest – and will not be returning in subsequent films. And as a devout Christian and concerned citizen, he’s not much of a role model. He lies, cheats, steals, swears, blows stuff up, seduces women every three scenes on average,and I might mention that he kills people for a living. I can think of better examples of decency and good citizenship. Attila the Hun comes to mind.
Up until yesterday, I thought that was why I didn’t like him. And, you know, none of those things help. But yesterday I was in a plasma center, stuck in front of a TV screen playing a Bond movie, when I realized just why I can’t take him seriously: he’s not real.
Now, before you sit me down and explain to me the concept of the fiction genre, let me clarify here. I understand that James Bond films are not a series of historical documentaries. But I have a really hard time relating with a hero who couldn’t go grocery shopping without sacrificing his precious sense of cool.
Picture James Bond in the cheese aisle, comparing the prices of white cheddar and colby jack. Is he ridiculous? I submit that he is.
Now picture James Bond at the laundromat. Close your eyes. Are you picturing it? Can’t? Didn’t think so.
Buying toilet paper. Making a smoothie. Humming along to mariachi music on the way to the county fair. Walking the dog. Helping a friend’s son with his algebra homework. Dealing with a noisy neighbor’s dubstep party (without shooting anyone in the process).
Now, I know what you’re going to say. He’s rich. He’s unattached. He doesn’t have to do these things. But somehow, somewhere, all of us get attacked by a neighbor’s crazed, rabid ginger cat and have to pry the thing off our left leg while screaming bloody murder. And if you take yourself so seriously that you wear a tuxedo every time you leave the house – that moment is just going to be all the more humiliating.
Superman could do it. He’s a normal guy – he goes to the laundromat all the time. (Although how he hides that spandex jumpsuit, I’ll never know.) Spider-man could do it. In fact, Spider-man would be the greatest babysitter of all time! Batman could do it. He’s Batman.
So what’s Jim’s problem, then? I believe I’ve found the Kryptonite of the Bond hero: indignity. If I came at James Bond with an assault rifle, three choppers, and sharks with laser beams, he’d have no problem. But if I threw an angry cat on his head or asked him to mind my two-year-old nephew for a few hours, he would deflate. His own coolness would destroy him. And maybe I’ve got a weird definition of “cool”, but if a two-year-old asks you to play cars with him, and you don’t sit right down and help him find out which one is fastest or help him figure out what his favorite color of Ferrari is, you’ve got a problem.
Mr. Bond, you’ve got a problem. And should you find it worth your time to gain my support, you should spend a little less time with a silencer and a little more time at the laundromat. ♦