No Time To Die? Time To Stream

For me personally, there aren’t many greater pleasures in life than sitting down in a movie theater to watch a brand new release. Before our COVID nightmare, I found myself at the movies about three times per week. I probably miss this pastime even more than watching sports. Since I was five years-old, the ultimate movie joy was witnessing the newest James Bond movie on a big screen. In the past I have even written about the experience. So what I am about to write has shocked me to my core.

It is time to stream No Time To Die.

With yet another delay for Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated Tenet, it is time for other blockbuster flicks set for release later this year to have a backup plan. I have more faith in Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson to make sound decisions than I do Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their sycophantic governors. The truth of the matter is Asia and Europe and most of the rest of the world are handling this pandemic much better than the USA is. Therefore it is the Americans who are holding back the global return of movies like Tenet, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Top Gun and of course No Time To Die.

These movies cost megabucks to make, so they need a major return in profit. I’m a part-time capitalist, so I totally understand this. No Time To Die cost around $250 million and right now it is just sitting in the can. It has been five years since Spectre. I am starting to miss watching Spectre! These are desperate times. As Bond fans, we have gone from November 2019 to February 2020 to April 2020 to November 2020 and it appears we are about to move into the Summer of 2021. All these changing dates are enough to make your head spin.

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Many people will say that No Time To Die will never make enough money with streaming/VOD. They are probably correct, but the idea of it making Skyfall ($1 billion worldwide) or Spectre ($800 million worldwide) type of money vanished a long time ago. I don’t mean vanished like Trump said about the virus. I am speaking in legit terms here. When are people going to get back to normal and feel the need to go inside a movie theater like the good old days? Probably not until there is a vaccine and even then we will take perhaps half a year or longer to feel safe again. Does EON, MGM and Universal have that kind of time to waste? Will movie theaters even make it past December 2020 without new films and an eager audience?

I believe a streaming release could bring in enough money for all production companies involved. With a theater release, studios generally get about a 50% cut, but with a digital release studios get close to 80% profit. Netflix has 190 million worldwide subscribers and Amazon Prime Video has 150 million worldwide subscribers. The eyes are out there. So how and where could the new James Bond movie stream? Here are some options.

NETFLIX: I have no idea how Netflix makes money, yet they do. According to latest economic reports their net worth is close to $125 billion! That is a lot $12.99 monthly charges! Their latest release, the Charlize Theron-led action movie The Old Guard, had more than 70 million viewers. Again, no clue how that would have translated to the box office if Charlize had ended up on the big screens of Regal and AMC. All I know is if Netflix has this many viewers and that many billions, they can pony up a few billion for the right to release No Time To Die.

AMAZON/VOD: This is where Video-On-Demand comes in. Why not charge $29.99 on Amazon Prime Video or any other similar service? I’m sure if even a third of Amazon’s viewers were interested in seeing No Time To Die it could make some serious coin. It might be a little expensive than your average VOD, but this is Bond we are talking about. Did you know in just three weeks of its digital release, the sequel Trolls: World Tour made more money for Universal than the original did during five months in theaters? And they only charged $19.99.

Apple TV+ or PEACOCK: These are the new kids on the streaming block. Tom Hanks’ Greyhound recently had an impressive viewing for Apple. That film cost $70 million, so it isn’t really in the Bond budget ballpark. Peacock is NBC/Universal owned. Who is handling the international release of NTTD again? Oh that’s right! Universal! Streaming the latest Bond flick could help either Apple or Peacock prove that they can hang with the big boys of digital streaming. Of course, MGM is the most important player in this decision and might have the final say along with EON productions.

Netflix and Apple in Talks to Acquire MGM, James Bond Rights | Den ...

As I type this sentence out, I’m sure a statement is being written for the announcement of No Time To Die being released to theaters in June or July of 2021. I guess it is best to prepare for the bad news rather than pretend the inevitable won’t happen. But maybe, just maybe, other options like the ones I have laid out are being fully vetted. James Bond is meant to be seen on the biggest screen imaginable. Unfortunately, thanks to us dumb Americans, it might have to be a big screen TV. You know what? I will take it over another delay. Sometimes a loss can feel like a win.

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Fool Me Twice, Mr. Bond

“Fool Me Twice, Mr. Bond” sounds like the title from a John Gardner 007 novel. Instead, I’m using it to promote the fact that I have been dead wrong twice during the Daniel Craig era. Which is something I’m happy to admit.

Of course the first time was on 11/14/2005, as Daniel Craig was announced as the sixth  James Bond actor. I was convinced he was all wrong for the role of the world’s greatest secret agent. Within the first two minuets of Casino Royale, I discovered how wrong I was. Yes, considerably.

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The second time is more recent and much more important. Like millions of worldwide Bond fans, my heart sank into my stomach when they announced No Time To Die was moving from April to November due to COVID-19. As fans we had already been yanked around from November 2019 to February 2020 to April 2020 and now to November 2020. That’s a lot of change to handle as moviegoers.

My initial thoughts, back now nearly a month ago, were focused on how maybe we were being overly cautious when it came to this virus. Sure it hit the Asian markets and Italy pretty badly, but the USA and UK can handle this. How extremely selfish and how misinformed I was. Even though I had my patriotism surgically removed decades ago, I still held out some hope that perhaps my country would be better prepared for this. As I watch each maddening daily press conference, I only understand now how idiotic my thoughts a month ago truly were.

The fact of the matter is… Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have been better, more decisive, intelligent leaders than Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. They saw the potential dangers, and not just the cinematic economics, but the psychological aspect that audiences won’t even be in the mood to go to the theaters months after we return to normalcy. Will we? I can tell you that losing sports and movies has been devastating, but I also know the longterm ramifications if we as a society don’t continue to practice social distancing for the months of April and May and beyond.

I just hope by the time Thanksgiving comes around here to the States, we will have had a couple of months of COVID calm. Then maybe I can sit back with my family and watch No Time To Die on a huge IMAX screen and be content in knowing how wrong I was in early March. However, I could be wrong again right now and we might be revisiting this in 2021.

You are wrong only twice, Mr. Bond. 

 

 

 

 

NO TIME TO DELAY

From November 2019 to February 2020 to April 2020 and now to November 2020. As Holly Goodhead once said to James Bond: “Take me around the world one more time.”

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Here we are. What has felt like the Bond movie we have been waiting forever for, just got a little more forever-er. Wednesday, March 4th became a dark day in Bond cinematic history. The producers and studios announced that they had decided to move the release date (3rd time is the charm?) of No Time To Die from April to November after “careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace”. This felt like The Blofeld Who Stole Christmas.

Of course, this is all about the current global epidemic – coronavirus. More so the global movie-going markets, specifically in Asia where the virus has shut down most people’s normal daily routines. Some schools are closed, sporting events postponed or being played in empty stadiums and arenas, and of course many movie theaters shutdown. Perhaps the most affected area, outside of the Asian markets, is Italy. It would be difficult to show that stunning pre-title sequence in Matera and not think about those being touched by this horrible illness.

By pushing the global release date nearly seven months, MGM will lose close to $50 million. Some experts estimate that if they hadn’t done this and opened on time, the loss would be closer to $300 million. Skyfall made $1 billion worldwide and Spectre made $800+ million globally, so it is easy to understand why the producers and studios thought Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007 would bring the same financial success as before. Now it is all up in the air. Are we sure things will be back to normal by November? Let’s hope.

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Two well-known James Bond fan sites did write an op-ed about possibly delaying the film. While I respect their opinion, I’m not sure it was necessary to speak on behalf of all the Bond fans around the world. We may never know if this letter truly made an impact on the decision to postpone NTTD. The bottom line is that there is no easy solution. The best I could come up with was release the movie in April, on time, in areas less affected by this coronavirus outbreak. Then release the movie in November for those Asian markets and for Italy. Of course, you have to take into account the possibility of the movie being bootlegged by then. So once again, No Time To Die? No Easy Answers Here.

The promotions were coming in hot and heavy. Here in the United States the first few days of March were flooded with so many new commercials for No Time To Die, I thought maybe Mike Bloomberg had bought EON from Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Not to mention the magazine coverage, cast interviews, and Daniel Craig hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend. This should make for an awkward monologue.

Here’s the last No Time To Die footage we will see for a long time…

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There are quiet a few blockbuster movies that will have to make this same tough decision very soon. Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, Top Gun:Maverick all have a lot on the line for their respective studios. Will they follow the Bond producers’ lead, or take the gamble 007 was too afraid of?

Does this delay make 007 fans want to stay home in November? Of course not! In many cases, this will make audiences flock to see it in droves. It’s hard to say worldwide, but I could see No Time To Die equalling or topping the box-office numbers of Skyfall. It still feels like a dream (or nightmare) and I’m sure when April 10th hits the calendar I’ll relive the double-oh-seven stages of grief.

So ask yourself: When will it feel real? Are you losing your mind, wondering if this movie actually exists? Aside from the spectacular clips in the trailers and commercials, do we actually have a full-length feature film pushing three hours? As a Bond fan when will it all feel real? I know for myself, I’ll be sitting in an IMAX theater on Wednesday, November 25th, looking around to make sure this isn’t a dream. It will feel real for me when I see that opening gunbarrel. I’ll let director Cary Fukunaga explain the feeling.

 

 

Analyzing the Teaser for NO TIME TO DIE

It’s finally here Bond fans! Well, sort of. Last night, we got the teaser for the teaser, so to speak. By Wednesday morning, we will all have the first trailer for the 25th James Bond adventure, No Time To Die.

In the meantime, lets analyze a few of the shots we have already witnessed.

 

SHOT #1

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A casually dressed Bond opens up what appears to be a garage door. I’m thinking this takes place not too long after the pre-title sequence, after his Aston Martin DB5 gets all messed up (again). Perhaps this is where he’s storing his backup vehicle… the Aston Martin V8.

 

SHOT #2

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This is a scene we already knew about. There was a poster of this same sequence a few months ago. Bond cooly stepping out of what appears to be his AM V8. This to me seems like James back in London for the first time in a while. Perhaps reuniting with Moneypenny, Q and M.

 

SHOT #3

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Another shot we shouldn’t be surprised to see. There is going to be a very cool Land Rover battle going on. This was filmed in either Scotland or Norway. But we have learned that the license plates of the baddies are Russian.

 

SHOT #4

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Here we see Lashana Lynch as Nomi (the current 007?) and she is in a sweet new ride. Could she be keeping an eye on James Bond throughout his mission?

 

SHOT 5#

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Ana de Armas, fresh off working with Daniel Craig in Knives Out, is back with him and she is blasting away. Her character Paloma is still a bit of a mystery. While she looks like a femme fatale, recent reports have her character as an ally to James. Her scenes are supposed to take place in Cuba.

 

SHOT #6

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This the WOW stunt of the teaser-teaser. We had seen some filming of this in Matera, Italy. It’s hard to tell from the shot, but I believe that is James on the motorbike doing an insane jump over a crowd. This will take place in the pre-title sequence.

 

SHOT #7

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Can’t have a James Bond flick without him looking as suave as can be in a tux and in a partying setting. I believe this also takes place in Cuba, and I’m guessing this is his (and our) introduction to Paloma.

 

#SHOT 8

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The DB5 still has its weapons. This is during the PTS and it appears James and Madeleine are surrounded by baddies holding guns. Once again, another look at Matera.

 

#SHOT 9

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This the shot everyone is talking about. Is this a masked Rami Malek as the villain Safin? While I’m all for this mysterious take… he looks like a cross-dressing Kabuki killer… I have a good idea that this is him as the villain we saw very early into the production shooting in icy Norway.

Seven Most Embarrassing Moments for James Bond

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He’s the coolest secret agent around, but every now and then 007 gets caught in some hauntingly embarrassing moments. I’ve listed my top (bottom) seven of these cringeworthy film scenes. Roger Moore makes a heavy appearance on the list. I think he would be fine with that.

 

001. James Bond “invents” snowboarding (A View To A Kill)

Not only does he show us this new sport, but by doing so he makes every Russian become bad at skiing. The cover of a cover of The Beach Boys classic doesn’t help. Yet, for a movie like A View To A Kill it does let you know what you are in for the next two hours. My favorite part of this entire pre-titles sequence is knowing Roger Moore never set foot on location.

 

002. James Bond yells like Tarzan! (Octopussy)

Sticking with the late great Sir Roger; here we have him escaping a deadly safari hunt. For some reason, Bond decides to literally sound like Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan while swinging from vine to vine. Nobody yells it better.

 

003. (3 way tie) The crocodile, the gorilla and the clown. (Octopussy)

Which other James Bond actor would allow himself to be dressed up like this? The correct answer is only Roger.

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004. James Bond goes kitesurfing! (Die Another Day)

Pierce Brosnan gets into the embarrassing act game here. Bond kite-surfs an icy tidal wave in Iceland. As if the CGI wasn’t humiliating enough.

 

005. James and Sheriff J.W. Pepper go for a loopy ride. (The Man With The Golden Gun)

Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing than that slide whistle is being in the same car as Sheriff J.W. Pepper. But let’s face it, that slide whistle ruins an amazing real life stunt.

 

006. Bond swings from a fire truck. (A View To A Kill)

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Looking like a scene I would have created as a 7 year-old playing with my toys, James is hanging on for dear life from a San Francisco fire truck. Swing me back!

 

007. James decides to quip after sex with Dr. Christmas Jones. (The World Is Not Enough)

He had been waiting the whole second-half of the movie to get in a Christmas joke! Mission accomplished.

 

Obscure Movies From Bond Actors

We know all six of them, and we all love to watch them as James Bond. But what about those “I don’t remember him in that” films? Here’s each Bond actor’s most obscure role IMHO. For better or worse, these are some titles that get lost on the resume.

 

SEAN CONNERY as The Green Knight in Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sean Connery in Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984)

I’ve never seen this 1984 film because I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it listed on the TV menu. Connery isn’t the main star in this fantasy. This movie belongs to Miles O’Keefe, of Tarzan and Ator/MST3K “fame”. Sean really does look great in green!

 

 

GEORGE LAZENBY as Mallory in The Master a.k.a. Master Ninja 

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Speaking of MST3K; okay so this one isn’t really a movie-movie. It’s a bad 1980s TV show with Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten. But in it George has a small, but mysterious role as an agent named Mallory. He’s in a tux, and he drives the Aston Martin DB5… but don’t call him James.

 

ROGER MOORE as Dr. Judd Stevens in The Naked Face 

I did see this movie on TV as a kid and the only thing I remember at the end of it is Anne Archer dying in Roger’s arms and him yelling BASTARDS! 

 

TIMOTHY DALTON as Sir Michael Barrington in Sextette 

If you ever want to see 80 year-old Mae West get romantic with a young Timothy Dalton… yeah I know, you don’t either. So instead, here’s them embarrassing themselves with a “Love Will Keep Us Together” duet.

 

PIERCE BROSNAN as Danny O’Neill in Live Wire 

If my memory services me correctly, this 1991 direct-to-video movie bookends with Pierce disabling a car bomb in between a woman’s legs. There is also over the top baddies and suicide bomber dressed as a clown.

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DANIEL CRAIG as Rudy Mackenzie in The Jacket 

A weird flick about Iraqi war vets and a time-traveling straightjacket. Oh yeah and a pre-Bond D.C. in a small role. Think One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest meets Three Kings meets Source Code.

What Is Your James Bond Age?

I am a firm believer that a gentleman doesn’t truly get old until he is older than both the current James Bond actor and the current President of the United States. Luckily, I have both of them beat in the age game. But after Daniel Craig bids us adieu in No Time To Die, I’m pretty sure I will be slightly older than the next 007.

With this in mind, here are all the ages of each Bond during the release year of their movie. I’m not going by actual birthdates, rather how old they turned the same year as their movie.

For example: my current age is Diamonds Are Forever and The Living Daylights.

 

30 years-old (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

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32 years-old (Dr. No)

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33 years-old (From Russia With Love)

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34 years-old  (Goldfinger)

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35 years-old (Thunderball)

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37 years-old (You Only Live Twice)

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38 years-old (Casino Royale)

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40 years-old (Quantum of Solace)

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41 years-old (Diamonds Are Forever) (The Living Daylights)

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42 years-old (Goldeneye)

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43 years-old (Licence To Kill)

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44 years-old (Tomorrow Never Dies) (Skyfall)

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46 years-old (Live And Let Die) (The World Is Not Enough)

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47 years-old (The Man With The Golden Gun) (Spectre)

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49 years-old (Die Another Day)

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50 years-old (The Spy Who Loved Me)

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52 years-old (Moonraker) (No Time To Die)

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54 years-old (For Your Eyes Only)

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56 years-old (Octopussy)

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58 years-old (A View To A Kill)

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My Seven Favorite Bond Trailers

While we all wait for Bond 25 to finally give us a title and a teaser trailer, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the franchise’s past trailers. I’ve listed my seven favorites. My criteria for this exclusive list focuses on two aspects. Firstly, most of the old Connery and Moore trailers are way too long. They are pretty much four minute CliffsNotes versions of the film. Secondly, I’m a sucker for a well made teaser trailer. It’s brief enough, yet also shows us enough to make us want more.

 

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006 

 

007

 

James Bond Isn’t Always The Hero

If you deeply studied the creator of the James Bond character, Ian Fleming, you would come to discover he was the antithesis of the term “woke”. In fact, the eye-rolling term “man of his time” would be the polite way of describing Fleming’s more than borderline misogyny and racism.

So it goes without saying that James Bond isn’t always morally right. As the decades have passed, and he has become a true-blue cinematic hero, Bond still has moments that should remind us that he isn’t so noble. And that’s actually fine. Times change rapidly, the character’s attitude toward women and social class also change, but at a very slow rate and not always fully. Sometimes it’s nice to see him as a “fish out of water” in our evolving social world.

Here are some of the moments when 007 is less than heroic.

 

Telling his black guide to fetch his shoes. 

James Bond / Dr No

I’m not sure which is more problematic: The fact that he said this to Quarrel, or the fact that it took decades and decades and decades for it make us flinch?

 

All the times he slapped women, and was just all around too rough with them!

I will say Roger Moore looked the worst doing this, mainly because he never had a mean bone in his body.

 

Speaking of mistreating women; the plethora of #MeToo #TimesUp moments. 

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Dropping his dead buddy into a dumpster.

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James isn’t one for goodbyes, but even for him this was a harsh way to treat Mathis.

 

And if being rough with women, or being a straight up womanizer, wasn’t enough for you… I give you some old-fashioned ohhhh women can do that? 

Oddest Casting Choices and Roles

For every inspired casting choice like Christopher Walken and Javier Bardem as the main villains, or Honor Blackman and Eva Green as the main Bond girls, we get some true head scratchers. Is it bad casting or bad character development? You decide.

Here are just some of the ones that baffle me:

 

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“It’s your honor sir!”

Gerry Duggan as Hawkers, Bond’s caddie in Goldfinger. It’s like they took a cast member from Darby O’Gill and the Little People and just plunked him onto the set.

 

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Leonardo Dicaprio The Way Of The Future GIF

I know when I think of Howard Hughes, I do NOT think of Jimmy Dean as Willard Whyte in Diamonds Are Forever.

 

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We go from Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas to campy Charles Gray as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. I liked him better as Mr. Henderson in You Only Live Twice.

 

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Okay, this one is too easy. I have less issue with Northern born actor Clifton James’ turn as Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Live And Let Die/The Man With The Golden Gun), and more of confusion as to why he played pretty much the same exact role in Superman II.

 

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Lynn-Holly Johnson was a world class figure skater. Perfect for the role of Bibi in For Your Eyes Only. Less perfect as a “Lolita” trying to shag an embarrassed James Bond, played by 50something Roger Moore.

 

Jean Rougerie as French private detective Achille Aubergine in A View To A Kill, is so stereotypically French that he makes Inspector Jacques Clouseau and Pepé Le Pew look like they were born and raised in Iowa.

 

The casting of singer Wayne Newton as Professor Joe Butcher in Licence To Kill? All I have to say is… “bless your heart!”

 

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She sang the song; might as well add her to the cast. Madonna as a fencing instructor named Verity, adds to Die Another Day‘s astronomical pun count.

 

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Ludger Pistor as Mr. Mendel is a character that seems out of place in Casino Royale. This Swiss banker is responsible for all monetary transactions during and after the poker match. Sorry, he didn’t bring any chocolates.