It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.
The British postal service recently released a series of six stamps commemorating the James Bond novels, and the 22nd Bond film is scheduled to come out later this year. Now might be appropriate time to look at the five best, and the five worst, Bond films of all time.
Oh yes, I have seen all of them. I also have all 21 films on either DVD or VHS tape.
Stop your groaning.
It was either this, or a column on a killer flying squirrel that recently tried to attack me.
Do you really want to read 15 inches of newspaper copy about something that looked like a mouse (Oh, those beady little black eyes!), squealed like the music played during the shower scene in "Psycho," and could fly?
I didn't think so.
Anyway, let's commence with the list of the five best Bond films, beginning with no. 5, and going to no. 1. Be forewarned, this list might surprise you.
No. 5: Goldeneye (1995).
It was a good spy film... and it put Famke Janssen on the map. Which one of her characters had a better weapon? Xenia Onatopp and her thighs of death, or The Phoenix and her matter destroying mind?
No. 4: Goldfinger (1964).
Yeah, I bet you thought this would be No. 1. I remember a film professor in college trying to get us to watch this movie in class. She called it "the best Bond movie." It was good, and some of the character names were innovative, but it wasn't the best. What hurts this movie is the killing of Tiffany Masterson (No, she wasn't the one painted in gold!). It happened too quickly, almost making you ask the question, "Why did they even have her in the first place?"
No. 3: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
This one had a great plot, and I really mean that. It was tight, focused, and kept you glued to the screen. It also introduced us to the character of Jaws (Not the shark!). His big silver grill was wicked sweet.
No. 2: From Russia With Love (1963).
Duh! This is one of the greatest Cold War suspense films ever made. It was also the first film in the series to feature Bond gadgets, but it didn't over do it. Everyone associated with this film got it just right.
No. 1: On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
Let's see, Bond saves girl. Bond falls in love with girl. They get married. Wife is killed with bullet to the head on the way to the honeymoon. While several of the movies had great plots, this was the only Bond film to feature a great story. It's easily the best movie in the series.
OK, now that I've named the best entries in the series, what about the worst installments?
No. 5: Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
Who thought it would be a good idea to bring Sean Connery back as an aging, slightly bloated James Bond? And have the Bond girl be much younger looking? I mean besides the idiots behind the non-canon Never Say Never Again.
No. 4: Moonraker (1979).
Does anyone else giggle when they see the epic space battle in this film and realize it looks worse than Space Balls?
No. 3: A View to a Kill (1985).
I have mixed feeling about this one. Christopher Walken actually makes a good villain. Too bad the rest of the cast included Grace Jones and Tanya Roberts.
No. 2: The World is Not Enough (1999).
So much for the idea that Pierce Brosnan would be the best Bond since Connery.
No. 1: Die Another Day (2002).
Quick quiz ... Which is a worse offense to commit in Hollywood? Wasting Halle Berry's talents on cheesy one-liners, or pretending Madonna can actually act?
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.