The Nice Guys
Directed by Shane Black
A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.
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★★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
"Why don't we invite him in?"
"No animals in the house, sweetheart."
Goes right into a certain pile of movies (The Big Lebowski, Inherent Vice, The Long Goodbye) which utilize comedic trappings to explore emptiness, loss, and the strangling grip of capitalism. The tightest, snappiest, most deceptively beautiful screenplay in years.
★★★★ review by Evan on Letterboxd
Boogie Nights meets The Big Lebowski with some Inherent Vice mixed in there.
The Nice Guys is hands down one of the best buddy cop comedies in recent times. In my opinion buddy cop comedies is one of the hardest types of films to pull off. There have been so many failures out there. The Nice Guys is probably the best since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
This film is absolutely bonkers. There's consistent laughs through out. There is some really solid and well done action. Really great chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. Solid banter between the two of them throughout. The little girl who was Gosling's daughter in the movie was fantastic. Typically a child actor in this type of role would be incredibly annoying, but she was hysterical.
My biggest issue with the movie is that it's a bit too unfocused and the tone is everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't an issue upon repeat viewings. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a much tighter film where as The Nice Guys is fairly uneven. Nonetheless, still super enjoyable and entertaining.
★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
The definition of pure summer pleasure. Shane Black builds a comedic duo like no one else, but Gosling and Crowe take every frazzled, frustrated, blumbering word and morph it into hilarity. Gosling, in particular, is the undeniable showstopper, adding clarity and innocence to an already lovable doofus of puppy-like charms. And although the action is crisp, its Noir elements crumble to pieces because of the flabby pacing. These rough patches take a special film and lower its aspirations to the point where walking out with a satisfied grin was strangely disappointing.
★★★★★ review by Arielrocks5 on Letterboxd
It really is hard to believe I've been on this site for over a year now.
It's even harder to believe of how much of an audience I've seen to gain of such kind, funny, smart, and lovely people. I really couldn't ask for a better bunch of people reading my reviews and the fact that some of you have been around since I was at under 50 Followers makes me all the more amazed by how far we've really gotten since then..
I guess you could say it's been a really, "nice" journey hasn't it?
And what better way to cap up an entire year of writing for all of you lovely people, and to commend my 300th review, then with a well, nice, film.
Not a depressing, deep, thoughtful, or even personal film. Let's just talk about a nice little movie that had me and my mother giggling like little school girls throughout most of the run time.
The best word I can choose to describe Shane Black's latest crime caper would be, delightful. In spite of all the guns, swearing, bone breaking, drinking, smoking, and what not, the film keeps to it's very chilled, witty, and laid back tone throughout without breaking a sweat. Along for the ride is an interweaving crime caper dealing with missing people, the porn industry, and murder.
So think of it if "The Big Lebowski" ate "Boogie Nights" after a long hard night of binge drinking with "Lethal Weapon". After that, throw in some Fat, beaten down Russel Crowe and a bumbling drunken idiot Ryan Gosling into the mix and you pretty much have a recipe for just a great time at the movies.
Movies like this make me realize how much I miss good old fashioned Crime Capers. Nothing really is as good as a grand puzzle being scattered all over town leaving two guys trying to figure out what's the big picture at hand before they end up losing a piece in the process. Can Shane Black just write and make all the movies? Everyone else is a hack looking for a paycheck in the blandest way possible.
There's no need for excessive references or profanity, just by putting two well rounded characters into a scenario to have them bounce off of it is really all you need. The comedy and the mystery writes itself while also being as unpredictable as can be. As plot threads begin to be lessened and the puzzle pieces begin to go missing, we, along with our two leads, realize that there are some forgotten elements to the bigger picture that film is teasing throughout.
Once it becomes clear, it's made all the more obvious how much of a wild goose chase Shane Black has not only put our leads through, but the viewers as well. This is all thanks to Black script that packs this complex story in a tightly wrapped, colorful, and, nice, package. It helps that you have two lead characters that are as playfully mean and sarcastic, as they are surprisingly deep and sympathetic.
You'd think the bumbling drunk of Holland March would be nothing more but a one note joke that ultimately gets stale after the thirty minute mark, when Black is smarter enough to use this as a crutch for his character arc of the single father dealing with the death of his wife, his daughter hating him, and no real clue what he's doing with his life or job.
Granted, his actions and slip ups are funny as hell, but once the film slows down to let him really reveal who he is and what he feels, it's when the film goes from being a simple funny crime caper, to a genuine work of brilliance.
There's a line later on delivered by Jackson Healy that sums up how he currently feels about his own job and character traits of "For once, I felt important" as he tells Holland his story. Really, he may be a man who gets hired to rough people up, but it's only because he's a man who has been already beaten by life itself and hardships that come with the job of simply existing.
It's the best type of character development that involves clever noticing of details about their traits and how they react to certain things around them. Helps as well that Crowe and Gosling work off each other beautiful, with Gosling giving probably my favorite leading performance of the year so far.
You also have his daughter, Holly, bring a genuinely interesting and clever character in her own right by also helping along our two leads with the grand mystery, feeling like an actual character than a means to move the story along and give some padding to the story and Holland's character.
It's also very, very, very funny. With tons of quotable quips, dialogue exchanges, and dark slapstick to keep the film going along. You also have genuinely intense and thrilling action sequences that are as brutal as they are well filmed and choreographed.
Black brings the underground 70s to life as its on the verge of entering that glory days of the 1980s with brilliant cinematography that can be both clean and gritty whenever he wants it to be. And the soundtrack is just the icing on the already lovely cake. Hearing "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire in theater with my mom was one of the best moments I've had in my life.
If there's any real issue I have with the film, it's a minor nitpick in Kim Basinger's character not really having much to do with the film in the long run and honestly, being painfully obvious from the moment she enters the picture what's going to be happening for the third act. I guess I could say maybe it's a TAD too long? But really, I was having too much fun and giggling too often to give a damn.
This a wonderful piece of crime caper cinema that's more than worth your time if you can find a place to check it out for yourself. The fact that we let brilliant films like this bomb for the sake of supporting the same bland garbage we have for the last decade, just makes me sick to my stomach. "The Nice Guys" is simply a delight from start to finish and earns my highest of recommendations.
Thanks for reading for over a year now, and thanks for giving me enough reason to write three hundred of these things.
★★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd
*previously a 75, now a 94*
Fallen angels wandering a smog-infested wonderland. Groovy tunes and mermaids and porn stars and bumblebees are our characters, but The Nice Guys are our heroes, shrieking their way through a world full of fraudulent money deals, colorful ambitions, and broken dreams. If the opening is Shane Black in miniature - desire literally crashing into your world, critically wounded by reality - then its conclusion is the culmination of his ethos; shaggy developments and twists of fate as signs from above, Nixon reaching out. Besides its pacing being tighter and the whole mystery yarn feeling crisper, this rewatch wasn't really a drastic revelation but more of an absorption that The Nice Guys is going to be a bottomless pit of hilarity and enriched, snappy character play for decades to come. I take comfort in that this'll always be around, bumbling and drinking and somehow solving the crime anyway.
Also: Ryan Gosling exclaiming "Jesus!" after his own daughter startles him in the daytime is totally, unequivocally me on every level.
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