I received my love of going to the movies from my family when I was a very small child. Which is why my passion for James Bond makes sense. My family were big fans before I was even born, and when they introduced me into the world of 007, I instantly became a fanatic. As a young child of the 80s, my Bond memories consisted of watching the ABC Sunday Night Movie (mostly of Connery and early Moore) and seeing the latest 007 adventure at the movies on opening weekend.
Almost all of my Bond movie-going experiences involve my family. We truly have a movie bond (rolls eyes). It’s provided me with memories that will last a lifetime. I also have a weird “skill” for remembering mundane events that took place during the movie, or remembering what I had for dinner after. I’m like Rain Man, except please don’t ever make a biopic about me. It’s not that interesting of a talent.
Let’s just call these My Bond Movie Diaries:
OCTOPUSSY, JUNE 1983 – Five years-old:
- I had just recently turned five, so my memory isn’t too sharp for this one. I remember seeing it with my entire family in one of our hometown theaters near Queens, NYC. I want to say it was called Bayside Terrace Theaters or something to that effect. 1983 was a big summer for me movie-wise. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi. But to this day, seeing Octopussy was more important to who I am right now. Sure, most of the sexual innuendo went over my head, but I loved watching Roger Moore as a superhero in a tux. I’m pretty sure I had seen a Bond movie on TV before witnessing Octopussy in the theaters, but June of 1983 is when my Bond fandom exploded.
A VIEW TO A KILL, MAY 1985 – Seven years-old:
- This was either on my birthday (5/29) or a day or two before. Saw this with my family, including my three older half-sisters. So you know this was a big deal. Once again, this was in Queens. Even at seven, I remember Bond “snowboarding” to the Beach Boys was a bit too much. A couple of months later, I traveled with my family to London and we saw AVTAK there. Then in the summer of 1988, I traveled with my family to Paris and we saw AVTAK there also! In 2001, I went to San Francisco. No, I didn’t see the movie there.
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, AUGUST 1987 – Nine years-old:
- Once again with the family in Queens. I remember going in being pissed that it wasn’t Pierce Brosnan replacing Roger Moore as 007. No offense to Timothy Dalton. This might be the least I remember about a Bond movie-going experience. I do remember watching the 25th Anniversary special on ABC leading up to the release of TLD. I really enjoy the movie now as an adult. It’s in my top 10 Bond flicks. I guess I was too young to enjoy the grounded espionage plot, like I had with the campy Octopussy and A View To A Kill. I mean, Bond isn’t dressed like a clown and isn’t sexually dominated by Grace Jones!
LICENCE TO KILL, JULY 1989 – Eleven years-old:
- Finally out of NYC and on vacation with my family in South FL for most of the summer. 1989 was THE summer for action movies. Batman, Indiana Jones, Lethal Weapon 2…and of course, James Bond in Licence to Kill. I remember my family and I enjoying it, especially my dad, although one of us said something like: “that didn’t feel like a Bond movie.” It’s the opposite of The Living Daylights for me. As I’ve gotten older, I like LTK less and less.
GOLDENEYE, NOVEMBER 1995 – Seventeen years-old:
- After missing out for most of my teen years, I would finally see a new Bond movie. Six years felt like a lifetime. My family and I were now living in South FL, but I was at that age when I didn’t think it was “cool” to hang out with my family. To this day, this remains the only Bond movie I didn’t see with them. I remember my Mom, the day after she saw it, in the car with me going on and on about how great it was. I think I went the following day to our local mall theater. Also the only time I’d see a Bond movie alone. I really loved Goldeneye and remember how thrilling it was to see my boyhood hero back on the big screen. A couple sitting in front of me talked nonstop. “That can’t happen!”, as 007 bikes off the mountain and free falls to catch the plane. “He hasn’t aged a day!”, as we learn 8 years have passed from the pre-title sequence to the opening scene after the credits. Shut up and enjoy the flick!
TOMORROW NEVER DIES, DECEMBER 1997 – Nineteen years-old:
- I can honestly say I didn’t see Titanic until late January 1998. Sorry Leo, but the holiday season belonged to Bond. My family was joined by my aunt and cousin this time at our local mall theater, which was a Regal by now. I remember the theater having as many women, if not more, than guys. Pierce really packed the ladies in. I can’t remember which girl I was dating at the time, but I recall her not being interested in seeing TND. Total dealbreaker.
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, NOVEMBER 1999 – Twenty-one years-old:
- Ahhh we are deep into my college years. I saw TWINE at a theatre nearby my college campus in Orlando. I was with my family as usual, but also my college buddy tagged along. To say he wasn’t a huge Bond fan is to say that he thought Goldeneye was based on the video game. He also decided to make a joke saying that “the best part of a James Bond movie isn’t the opening gunbarrel; it’s when the movie ends.” Yeah, that didn’t go over well. Interestingly enough this same friend and I did sneak into a 2nd showing over at the AMC Disney theater, where we dissected Pierce Brosnan’s long windup punch and Denise Richards’ assets.
DIE ANOTHER DAY, NOVEMBER 2002 – Twenty-four years-old:
- Back in South FL. I recall seeing the 2nd showing of the day, but my family and I got there super early and we walked in while the staff was cleaning the theater and the end credits were rolling. My family and I gave each other a “WTF?!” look as we listened to Madonna’s bizarre, even-more-so techno version of the title song. Die Another Day was a true crowd-pleaser. The puns killed. I guess it took a couple of years to realize it wasn’t that good.
CASINO ROYALE, NOVEMBER 2006 – Twenty-eight years-old:
- Yes, I was one of the “never Craig” fools. My family were too. By the end of the black & white pre-title sequence, we knew we were dead wrong. This was a great movie-going experience, once again in South FL. My aunt, the one who saw TND, joined us for Craig’s first. The audience knew they were watching one of the best Bond movies ever. I saw it again a few weeks later with a buddy of mine who was more of a poker fan than a Bond fan, and that started my interest in playing poker. I saw it a 3rd time with my then girlfriend. I think CR might be the closest thing to a Bond movie for lovers. Twisted lovers, but still.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE, NOVEMBER 2008 – Thirty years-old:
- My family came to visit me after I finished work in South FL, and we went to see Quantum. I remember being sick as a dog that day. I was pretty high on cough syrup, but I remember we liked it…but it wasn’t close to Casino Royale. I saw it a second time a few weeks later, all healthy this time, with a friend.
SKYFALL, NOVEMBER 2012 – Thirty-four years-old:
- Hands down the best Bond movie-going experience, and one of the top 10 greatest movie-going experiences of my life. My family and I saw this in an IMAX theater in South FL. Sometimes it all comes together. That is what Skyfall did. I wasn’t alone in my thinking. As the packed theater gave a standing ovation, slowly got up and walked out after the 50 year anniversary Bond logo, I heard many of them state that this was the best Bond movie ever. I concur.
SPECTRE, NOVEMBER 2015 – Thirty-seven years-old:
- IMAX theater once again, except this time in Orlando near Universal. My family and I came out really enjoying it, but we all said the same thing. IT WAS NO SKYFALL! Afterwards, while we ate sushi we had a long chat about Craig’s era. I can tell you the last scene of the movie did feel like the last time we would ever see him again as Bond. Obviously, we were wrong. I saw it a second time with my then girlfriend. She hated Craig as Bond (she was a Brosnan girl) and kept calling the movie “Spencer” to get under my skin. I actually saw Spectre a third time a couple of months after it was first released. I really just wanted to see the pre-title sequence in Mexico and the fight on the train with Hinx. Once Bond and Swann end up at the Oberhauser/Blofeld lair, I left. Didn’t need to watch anymore of the “foster brothers” nonsense.
BOND 25, FEBRUARY 2020 (Valentine’s Day) – Forty-one years-old:
My family is already in. In fact, they are pissed off it has taken this long. Not sure we will go on V-Day. So… Ladies???????????????????