What Is It: Spectre is the twenty-fourth James Bond film from Eon Productions and the fourth with Daniel Craig in the title role. Returning characters include Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Q (Ben Whishaw), and M (Ralph Fiennes). The plot is driven by Bond attempting to determine the secrets behind an unknown organization with a sinister agenda while M struggles with keeping MI6 relevant in the modern age of drones and cyber warfare.
My Experience: I can honestly say I haven't been in a theater that crowded probably since I saw the midnight showing of Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was the opening weekend and the theater was nearly packed. The average age of the crowd skewed a bit older than most of the movies I see, but that's to be expected of a James Bond film. Most of the jokes seemed to land, which was something else I haven't seen in the theater in a while, and the audience appeared appropriately awed by the admittedly impressive cinematography. I didn't feel much of a draw to any of the new characters, but the returning characters from previous films came back stronger than ever. Unfortunately for me I wasn't impressed by Christoph Waltz's villain. The relationship between Bond and Léa Seydoux's Dr. Madeleine Swann also felt forced in most of the film.
Why You Should See It: One of the best compliments I can give the film is that, despite being two and a half hours, it never felt long. I'm sure there were some harsh editing choices that could have been made, but I was completely fine with the length of the film. It was an enjoyable outing by Bond even if it wasn't as game-changing or well formed as its predecessor Skyfall. Daniel Craig finally getting to embrace some of the more comedic parts of Bond and the expanded role of Q were particular high points for me.
The Future: What we know is the franchise will continue and development on the next film will begin early next year. Whether Daniel Craig will be returning and what the film will be about is still up in the air.
Let’s go back to: A Charlie Brown Christmas
More specifically, let's go back to December 9, 1965 when a little TV special aired that changed the way a little boy and his dog celebrated Christmas. In this story, Charlie Brown finds himself depressed even though the most joyous of holidays is coming so Lucy suggests he direct the school's Christmas play to cheer himself up. Despite being initially ridiculed for it as Charlie usually is, the story reminds us all that despite all the commercialization of the holiday, Christmas at it's core is about the birth of Jesus Christ. Yes, this may be an antiquated storyline in this day in age, depending on our religious beliefs, but A Charlie Brown Christmas is a classic because of its ability to teach children what the holidays is about in a way that keeps them interested for the 25-minute runtime of the special. The special won an Emmy and a Peabody award at the time and also broke stereotypes with its exclusion of a laugh track and its classic jazz score by Vince Guaraldi.
Why it means something to you or to our podcast: It's almost Christmas and this year, A Charlie Brown Christmas is celebrating its 50th anniversary! I remember watching this TV special with my dad and my sister when I was a kid and falling in love with it. What child doesn't love Charlie Brown and Snoopy? The soundtrack and the special itself always put me in the holiday spirit.
Where can you find it now? It will play throughout the holiday season on television I'm sure and I bet you can catch the 50th anniversary special on Hulu as well. It is also for purchase on Amazon. You can check out the original promo from 1965 below.
-- Kelly Lee