“Layer Cake”: Britain’s finest hour

Before his James Bond got blown to shit on some rooftop on a Japanese island in No Time To Die (sPoIlEr AlErT!), Daniel Craig was in what is perhaps the greatest British film ever made: Layer Cake.

While every actor (except Tom Hardy) acts their ass off and every line of dialogue is an absolute banger, the film is perhaps best known as a turning point in film history: introducing the world to Daniel Craig’s god-like body.

Daniel Craig was blessed with being able to make whatever he’s wearing look like it was tailored specifically for him. He spends much of the film wearing the same plain gray raglan t-shirt with Levi’s…an outfit that probably costs $50 total, but it looks like he’s modeling Brioni.

I couldn’t pull off that look. I tried.

Another thing Craig succeeds at is showing his “sex” gaze:

Sorry, this is the best screenshot I could find.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m happily married now because I mastered that gaze. Now personally, I like to use the Sean Connery method of tilting my head forward, arching an eyebrow, and smiling with my eyes. But every man has to master the “sex” gaze, to knock em dead with one look, if they want to be successful with the ladies (or the fellas).

That haircut is pretty good too. It’s definitely a 60’s style throwback, echoing the aforementioned Sean Connery and his toupee during his James Bond tenure. Unfortunately I’m a balding man, have been since I was 13, so I was never able to pull off that style. But because I’m balding, I’m sort of an expert at spotting hair plugs. And Craig, in my humble opinion, probably has hair plugs. That being said, I’d pay good money to find out who his specialist is.

Another thing on Craig’s style is that pimpin purplish/maroon jacket he wears to start the film:

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: no man has ever looked as good on film as Daniel Craig did in Layer Cake.

“We get it, you’re in love with Daniel Craig. But what about the film?”

Oh yeah, the film’s good too.

killing james bond

Yo! Respect to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson for killing off perhaps the most important character in film history (spoilers! 🤷‍♂️) Don’t believe that James Bond isn’t the most important? Well without this franchise, we probably wouldn’t have the modern action blockbuster. He was the model for the postmodern, morally questionable hero…before Han Solo, before Indiana Jones, before John McClain. James Bond was doing that shit before everyone.

And now he’s dead.

That takes balls.

I say fuck the fanboys. As Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer said when he was told that he couldn’t kill Spock (paraphrase): “of course you can, as long as you do it well.”

Did they do it well? Don’t know. No Time To Die hasn’t been released in the States yet (they probably didn’t). But I will respect any filmmaker that takes chances.

Audiences be damned.

So where does the franchise go from here? The answer is obvious: HBO Max (or Apple TV, or Netflix, or Amazon Prime, etc). The James Bond Expanded Universe on television is the next logical step.

“But nobody cares about that universe without James Bond

Perhaps. But the good thing about this universe is that the timeline does not matter. Seriously. Does Goldeneye happen before or after the events of Live and Let Die? Does it matter? Is Ralph Fiennes’ M the same as Bernard Lee’s? Does THAT matter?

You see, nothing in the James Bond timeline matters. With the exception of the Daniel Craig films, each film and each actor sort of takes place in its own timeline.

So in this James Bond extended universe, James Bond is still alive because why not?

So is James Bond the main character in this new series? If yes, then the series writes itself.

But if the producers made this dramatic move in No Time To Die just so they can free themselves to explore this universe, here’s my pitch (since Barbara and Michael aren’t taking my calls):

Series name: 00

Characters: Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomi Harris as Eve Moneypenney, Rory Kinnear as Tanner

New characters:

001: (Male, 50-60yrs) An old Irish bastard. Hard hitter, hard drinker. Has been a 00 longer than anyone. Was actually a family man at some point against the wishes of Her Majesty’s Service, but naturally fucked it up. Has been wanting to reconnect with his son for years, but his son wants nothing to do with him.

002: (Male, 40s) Borderline autistic, has no close personal relationships. But make no mistake: this mother fucker can kill. Not much is known about his background.

003: (Female, 20s) the newest member of the service. She was one of the first women to get into the SAS before joining MI6. Fresh off of her first mission, she appears to be experiencing a degree of PTSD. 001 takes her under his wing and treats her as a surrogate daughter to make up for his deficiencies as a father.

004: (Male, 20-early 30s) a total cad. Along with James Bond, he often stays in trouble with M. Not liked by many in M16. A snarky, fratish type.

005: (Female, 40-50s) a seasoned veteran of MI6. There’s no situation she can’t handle masterfully. Often a part of M’s “A-Team”, she gets dispatched on the more difficult missions. The perfect female counterpart of James Bond, an expert seductress.

Recurring characters:

006: Alec Trevelyan (Male, 30-50)-James Bond’s best friend in the service. However, he holds a secret grudge against the British government. Will later be “betrayed” by 007.

007: James Bond (Male, 30-50)- The GOAT.

The Story:

M is ripping one of his agents a new asshole. It’s 001. He’s too old, M says. He’s a drunk and they already have enough alcoholics on the force (James Bond). But there’s still one more mission for 001.

“Don’t cock it up,” says M.

It’s not a difficult mission, but he’s getting a partner: 003. 001 resents this but follows orders. He banters with Moneypenny and goes to Q to gather his equipment. But instead of the flirty charm of 007, he’s cantankerous and crusty. He understands none of the technology that Q gives him.

001 and 003 go through the usual formula: they go undercover, enjoy the finer things in life, go to bed with numerous individuals, and cause plenty of property damage. And they do it with their own spin and charm. However, the mustache-twirling villain has a much bigger plot under his sleeve, one which has international implications.

With the plot spread globally, the mission comes under the direction of Tanner. We are introduced to the other 00 agents and their individual missions in different parts of the world.

But when things start to get real, M has no other choice but to bring in the big guns: 006 and 007. This culminates in 007s supposed “betrayal“ of 006, and while Bond temporarily plays the hero, 001 and 003 overcome their differences to save the day.

The mission is interwoven with the personal drama of 001 and 003.

Bond once said that 00s often have short life expectancies. 001 is aware that he faces death at every turn; the next mission could be his last. And he has been on too many missions. His demise in the season finale will serve as a reminder to 003: death is never an option.