Tim Tan Huynh

Lonely Hearts Club 2020

18 Feb 2020 — Some unexpected, and mostly positive, things in the world of entertainment have made this Valentine's Day weekend somewhat noteworthy.

“No Time to Die”

I found Billie Eilish’s theme for the upcoming Bond movie by chance on Friday morning. I’ve only listened to one of her other songs, but her rise to stardom at a young age is impressive. Her theme is now my favorite among the Daniel Craig movies; Adele’s “Skyfall” will remain the most popular of the Craig era, but the standalone version is too long and its latter half, with its repeated chorus, is too repetitive.

In contrast, I like the more lean and understated “No Time to Die,” especially the soft, piano intro. The lyrics aren’t super poetic, and I would’ve changed some words, but it conveys the theme of betrayed love that’s hinted in the trailers. I would describe the song as “contemplative” because of how it represents Bond’s inner thoughts, both lyrically and musically. For this reason, it won’t be as enduring as the more bombastic Bond themes.

The timelessness of any Bond theme is tied to the movie that it accompanies. I watched the first season of True Detective that Cary Fukunaga directed, and I was captivated. The ending is somewhat contrived, though. I hope that Craig’s final movie is excellent from start to finish like his first one, which is based on the enjoyable book.

“From Russia with Love”

Speaking of Bond movies, “From Russia with Love” is the title of the teaser for the fourth season of Stranger Things. Besides the classic 1963 movie starring Sean Connery, the title is a reference to the teaser’s Valentine’s Day unveiling and its apparent Russian setting. The surprise, which really isn’t a surprise at all, is that David Harbour’s Jim Hopper character is alive and (relatively) well despite the climactic events of Season 3.

I plan to watch From Russia with Love one of these days, and play its video game, because it’s considered to be one of the best Bond movies. Coincidentally, Harbour has a role in Quantum of Solace, which is considered to be one of the worst Bond movies, at least in the Craig era. I will definitely watch the continuation of the Stranger Things series, in which Harbour plays a character who confronts shady government officials like his QoS character.

NBA All-Star Weekend

I don’t remember when the NBA had claimed the weekend around Valentine’s Day for its All-Star weekend, but it’s definitely theirs now. This All-Star weekend is the first since the death of Kobe Bryant a few weeks ago. His death was especially shocking to me because I didn’t have Internet access when he died; I learned about it three days afterward. I’ve never been a fan, but I’ve always respected him, and he is part of some of my fondest NBA memories.

Kobe proved to the best player in the best draft that I have ever witnessed. His final game was a fitting end to the regular season of my second-favorite NBA season; my favorite season was followed by his draft class. Following his first championship without Shaq, he was the cover athlete of the game-changing NBA 2K10. This game introduced the My Player mode that occupied hours of my time.

The standard edition of NBA 2K10 features a celebrating Kobe Bryant. His skin tone is noticeably lightened in the photo.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

I remember 2009 as the year of everybody playing NBA 2K10, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In my view, they helped to popularize YouTube gaming channels; like many gamers, I made 2K and COD videos. Both series are still bestsellers, and I own their most recent entries, but my interest in them has peaked 10 years ago. I definitely prefer Modern Warfare 2019, and I’ve have been playing it a lot.

My Valentine’s Day weekend was mostly spent playing its Team Deathmatch mode, both the traditional 6v6 and the newer 10v10 setups. I like that the Activision renamed the game’s various multi-player modes for the occasion. I don’t play Free-for-All, but “Hot Singles in Your Area” is funny. There are other interesting names, although I think the developers have missed some opportunities.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Filter menu
For Valentine’s Day weekend, many of the multi-player modes in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had special names in the main menu.