DAILY DIRT: The name is Bond, James Bond. And watch out for ‘The Birds’

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Sean Connery was the gold standard (no pun intended) for playing James Bond until Daniel Craig absolutely crushed it.

Daily Dirt for Friday, May 31, 2024

Paul Newman for actor of the decade in the 1960s? … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 965 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Today we start a look at The Daily Dirt’s favorite movies, sorting them by decade by beginning with our top 10 from the 1960s.

In the following days. we’ll look at the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and then an overall top 10 for that 40-year period. Not only was 1960-1999 a golden era for films, but I couldn’t find 10 movies I have truly loved since the turn of the century.

On the with the countdown …

1960s

  • 1. “Goldfinger” (1964): This was the film that established secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) as a must-see product at the box office. By today’s standards, many of the special effects and overall storylines were rather elementary when compared to today’s secret agent storytelling, but no other family friendly movie —  before or after — has ever had a main character with a name close to Pussy Galore, the Ian Fleming gangstress portrayed by Honor Blackman (which, in its own right, is a pretty sweet moniker). 
  • 2. “The Birds” (1962): Speaking of benchmark films, this one underscored the brilliance of director Alfred Hitchcock, who could repeatedly proved he could scare us half to death with nothing more than what is found in our everyday surroundings.
  • 3. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1968): Even though we all knew how this movie would end, the freeze-frame finale with gunshots heard in the background was a piece of cinematic excellence — as were the performances of Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  
  • 4. “The Night of the Living Dead” (1968): This was director George Romero’s horror classic that laid the foundation for decades of zombie movies that have followed. Romero was able to create most of the edge-of-your-seat terror with a minimal amount of actual violence. Its black-and-white format was perfect.
  • 5. “Psycho” (1960): True, Hitchcock began his reign of big-screen terror with this Anthony Perkins vehicle, but it was “The Birds” that laid the groundwork two years earlier. This thriller is tremendous when it is digested as a masterful puzzle. The enjoyment comes in connecting the dots in post-film discussions. 
  • 6. “Planet of the Apes” (1968): This was another groundbreaker, and its immense popularity led to numerous follow-ups in a series that remains ongoing. The Statue of Liberty scene at the end is legitimately chilling. The first few scenes when we discovered the apes were going to have speaking roles — and were the overseers — surprised many moviegoers at the time, but made the film that much more interesting.
  • 7. “Cool Hand Luke” (1967): This was the prison movie that cemented Paul Newman as one of the generation’s finest talents. Almost lost in the never-ending praise of this film was the performance of veteran character actor George Kennedy’s role of warden Clarence “Dragline” Slidell. Fittingly, Kennedy eventually won an Academy Award for his work.
  • 8. “Spartacus” (1960): Action. Set in Roman times. Kirk Douglas. Need we say more?
  • 9. “The Dirty Dozen” (1967): Action. Set in World War II. Lee Marvin, Jim Brown, Charles bronson. Need we say more?
  • 10. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966): This was one of those Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. What separates it from the rest was the haunting theme music by Hugo Montenegro.

Honorable mention: “The Longest Day” (1962), “Dr. No” (1962).

2. Did you know (Part 26) …

  • That Jim Carrey was originally chosen for the role of Capt. Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, but turned it down.
  • That the original choice to play Bonnie in “Bonnie and Clyde” film was Cher, not Faye Dunaway.
  • That the late Sam Kinison was the first choice to play “Beetlejuice,” not Michael Keaton.
  • That the original choice for the role of “Rambo” was Al Pacino and not Sylvester Stallone.
  • That Kevin Spacey’s role in “American Beauty” was originally meant for Chevy Chase. That would have never, ever worked. Just ask Annette Bening.

3. Thirty years ago, these were the top country songs we were all singing:

  • 1. “She’s Not The Cheatin’ Kind,” Brooks and Dunn: Best country duo ever?
  • 2. “Shut-up And Kiss Me,” by Mary Chapin Carpenter: A great, great lyricist. 
  • 3. “Little Less Talk,” by Toby Keith: ” … and a lot more action.”
  • 4. “Third-Rate Romance,” by Sammy Kershaw: If you can’t smile during most Sammy Kershaw songs, you are lacking something important in your DNA.
  • 5. “Rock My World Little Country Girl,” by Brooks and Dunn: If the record has “Brooks And Dunn” on the label, it’s worth playing.
  • 6. “Do You Love Me,” by Reba McIntire: At this point in country music history, Reba was the unquestioned queen of the genre.
  • 7. “Wild One,” by Faith Hill: Outside of queen Reba, in the 1990s this was your reigning royalty among country’s premier female talents.
  • 8. “XXX’s and OOO’s,” by Tricia Yearwood: It’s hard to believe she has been married to Garth Brooks for 19 years. 
  • 9. “Wink,” by Neal McCoy: The feel-good song of 1994.
  • 10. “Livin’ On Love,” by Alan Jackson: Just once, I wish he’d take off that 10-gallon hat.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — The country acts I regret most not having ever seen in concert? Brooks and Dunn would be No. 1, but Mary Chapin Carpenter would be a close runner-up.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Newman kept getting screwed out of Oscars in the 60’s, so they gave him a makeup award in 1986 with “The Color of Money.”

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