Sunday, October 16, 2005

James Blonde?

Casting the new James Bond is difficult because people have high standards for what the new James Bond should look and sound like. Here is what I think should be the requirement for an actor to fill James Bond's shoes. He should be 1) handsome 2) close to age 40 3) have a British or Australian accent 4) have dark hair 5) look simular to the previous actors who played James Bond.

If an actor was chosen with those things in mind, then people would be focused on how the new actor to play James Bond will compare to Pierce Bronson (who probably looks more like the ideal James Bond than any of the previous actors to play Bond). The producers of the next James Bond film, Casino Royale, have chosen 37 year-old actor Daniel Craig. This actor stands out as the new James Bond because.... he is blonde!

I do not want to prejudge the actiing ability of Daniel Craig or how the new film will be with him in it, but I must say this: JAMES BOND SHOULD NOT BE BLONDE! There I have said it. I have a right to say this because I have seen all 20 Bond films. I own them on DVD. I am a fan of the franchise and hope that the new film is excellent. But I am currently distracted.

The producers of the new James Bond film have chosen to take a chance by hiring a blonde actor. Will audiences accept him as the new James Bond? I do not know. I feel that this decision was risky and may backfire. Why take any chances? The one good thing is that the actor can dye his hair, though I doubt that he will be asked to do so.

Pamela Anderson was offered a role on Desperate Housewives as a charactor who was a brunette. She turned down the role because she felt that she would not be accepted as a brunette. Too bad that Mrs. Anderson was not a producer for Casino Royale, because she would have had the common sense to hire an actor who actually looks like the classic James Bond.

Too bad. Actors Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman would have been excellent in the role if either of them was hired. They would have also had name recognition and a fan base ready to buy tickets to see a popular actor in the role. Most people who are asked probably cannot name one film that Daniel Craig has been in. But that's not important. What is important is whether the audience will accept Mr. Craig in the role or not. If Casino Royale is a failure at the box office, then he may be replaced.

Let's see how good Casino Royale will be with Daniel Craig. I hope that I love it, but I am already concerned that Mr. Craig may not fit in the role well. I hope that he proves me wrong.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Wilco

I hate to admit this, but it is difficult to learn where to find good CDs to buy without hearing the artists on the radio or seeing them on MTV. I recently asked a friend, Dayna, to recommend a good CD. She recommended for me to buy Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I have heard of Wilco, but never heard a song by them. I bought the album and feel that this excellent album must be described in full detail.

To describe the music by Wilco is very difficult because the group is so different from most others. If I had to compare Wilco to one music group, I would immediately say Radiohead. I loved the song “Karma Police” off of Radiohead’s OK Computer. Experimental in style, Wilco uses a mixture if different instruments that do not always blend together. The instruments are not meant to blend together. Listen to them while closing your eyes, and try to figure out how many different sounds that you are hearing at once. I would call it a musical collage. I true mixture of different sounds to add color to the songs. Each song could be rerecorded with fewer instruments, but that simplification of the music would take away from the experience. The blend of instruments truly enhances the music and style of Wilco.

For example, the song “Jesus, etc.” uses violins when guitars could be used to play the same notes. My own justification for this comes from the fact that violins are better at helping an audience imagine tears than the music of guitars. If you think that I’m wrong, listen to Left Banke’s “Don’t Walk Away, Renee” or the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and you will see where I am coming from. But at the same time in the same song, Wilco also plays guitars in a country music style, reminding me of Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party.” Yet I will admit I cannot determine the reason for this, or for many of the sounds that you will hear in Wilco’s songs. Every musical experiment on this album cannot be explained, but the result is a successful album.

If you love Radiohead, then I feel that you will also love Wilco. It must be understood though that the two groups are not exactly alike. Wilco has a larger sense of freedom. It is like they are not worried if someone doesn’t like their experiments within songs. I appreciate that. I’d rather hear an artist test the boundaries of music rather than conform to the standards of forgettable bands. Their experimental album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot proves to be a success, and they are unforgettable.
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