The Nice Guys – Review #58

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the-nice-guysThe Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black, is a comedy neo-noir film starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as an unlikely pair set in the backdrop of 1970’s Los Angeles. Ryan Gosling is Holland March, a down-on-his-lucking private eye living with his daughter Holly, played by Angourie Rice, and is investigating the case of a murdered porn star. Russell Crowe is Jackson Healy, a hired enforcer who hurts people for a living. Fate binds them both when a young woman named Amelia disappears. Holland had a lead that Amelia was somehow involved with the murder, and Amelia had hired Jackson to keep him away from her. They decide to band together to get to the bottom of this, and go down a road of corruption and conspiracy. Oh, and porn.

This was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. Two very charismatic actors, set in the most drug-fueled days of America, led by Shane Black, the guy who wrote the script for Lethal Weapon? Heck yeah.

And so I went in, watched the movie, came out, and am very glad to say that yeah, this movie was fun as hell.

Alright. First off, the tone. I don’t know if this was just this movie or if this is a Shane Black thing, but the humor in this movie was blunt crass-ness mixed with the Russell’s badassery and Ryan’s whimpers. I think I should say that when I mean crass, I don’t mean like “teen comedy shit/piss/jizz/sex joke” crass, I mean “fuck/shit/Jesus-fucking-Christ exclamation” crass. This was a legit buddy comedy movie, straight outta the 1980’s. And why wouldn’t it, considering Mr. Black’s record. I genuinely had a great time in the theater. The movie was really pretty funny. There were a lot of moments where I did laugh out loud and had a great time. Seeing Ryan Gosling being this low-life jackass was hilarious. It’s Inherent Vice meets Lethal Weapon, and I couldn’t be more happy for it.

The cast is excellent. Like I said, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play of each other wonderfully, with Russell being the straight man and Ryan being the idiotic asshole. There’s Angourgie Rice, who’s spectacular at being the little kid whom simultaneously is both childlike and mature. I swear, hearing a kid swear never gets old. I don’t think there’s a single bad performance at all.

However, as much as the characters behind the story are likable to watch and enjoyable to be with, it’s the plot that stops this move from being something really special. At first, it basks in the culture of the 1970’s, taking jokes and making fun of the time. The smog problem, the thriving porn industry, the disco, all of that, but as the film progress, that sorta takes a backseat to the “plot twist” of the movie. I won’t spoil it for you guys, but I think that it, while plot-wise made some sense, made the movie eat more than it could chew. It became too big for itself. Perhaps if they did one more re-write of the script it would flow better.

But hey, at least we got an in-joke about Detroit.

So yeah, overall, this film was great fun. I had a blast, and I heartily recommend it to everywhere who has a fleeting interest in it. It wasn’t this perfect film I thought it would be, but I was smiling when I left the cinema, so I think it did its job well enough.

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17 thoughts on “The Nice Guys – Review #58

    garethrhodes said:
    November 26, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    It wasn’t what I expected either. I didn’t expect it to embrace farce and slapstick quite as eagerly as it did. Once I got into the rhythm of it, though, I liked it very much. Hopefully a sequel will get the green light.

    Liked by 1 person

      WilliamLi responded:
      November 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Yeah. Gosling and Crowe have surprisingly good chemistry. I wouldn’t mind seeing them together again.

      Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        Did you have flashbacks of L.A Confidential? Seeing Crowe and Basinger in LA brought it all back. Now that was a near-perfect movie.

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 4:51 pm

        I sadly have not seen L.A. Confidential. It’s on my watchlist, though!

        Strangely enough, it brought be back to Rush Hour. You ever saw that?

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm

        We can educate each other here. Please, I implore you, seek out L.A Confidential as soon as humanly possible. It’s an absolute cracker! Now, I have yet to see Rush Hour, though I have a strong weakness for the buddy-cop genre.

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

        Will do! After my finals are over, I’ll try and watch it as soon as I can.

        I might be seeing Rush Hour through rose-tinted glasses, though. I watched the series as a kid and me, being Asian and liking American movies, immediately stuck to Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. You might view it differently, so yeah, I won’t be surprised if you think it sucks.

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        I think so many people misuderstand that any film experience is pre-loaded with that one individuals own past and present. They hit us all in different ways. I’ve been affected by films that I’ve thought to be so powerful and engaging, only to hear the next person saying it sucks. I try to watch each movie from an objective stance. Granted, with things like 50 Shades of Grey, it isn’t always easy. Thanks for the tip and it’s been great engaging with you. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        You’re freaking right. The 1986 Transformers movie, for example. While the criticisms of it being a plot-wise rip off of Star Wars and its killing of beloved main characters to only promote toys have some weight to it, it was and always will be a staple of my childhood. It was the first movie to introduce me to the concept of death, 80’s music and Orson Welles, all at the young age of 7. It’s flawed by damn do I love it.

        And thank you too for this conversation. This rarely happens for me, so I’m glad to talk about movies when I can.

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:12 pm

        You’re welcome. I like your example, by the way. Thanks for sharing that with me. One of my favourites that I recognise isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t stop me seeing it as perfect is Superman II (1980). As a child I was fascinated by the (now hokey) villains and the idea of a man with so much power, using it for nothing other than good. The music and the nostalgia just takes me back to being 6. I’d never knock someone’s childhood favourite. That stuff is precious. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

        Ahh, I wish I knew how it felt to watch Reeve’s Superman when I was young.

        My first exposure to the Man of Steel was Superman Returns, so…yeah. I don’t actually remember anything bad about it, it was just “eh”.

        Again, me being Asian and all, I grew up with the Stephen Chow and the Donnie Yen kung fu flicks.

        And Modern Times, surprisingly. Apparently, I saw the DVD in the store and begged my mom to buy it. No regrets.

        You got any childhood stories, if I may ask?

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        My childhood movie experiences were very much tied to the blockbuster’s emergence in the mid 1970’s. I was born in 1977, so films like Jaws were being broadcast on TV by the early 80’s and Star Wars exploded. I count myself lucky to have had Ghostbusters, Superman, Back to the Future etc etc as a background to my growing up. I remember my Dad taking me to see Return of the Jedi in 1983, I was 6. It was an experience I’ll never forget and will always cherish. I thought I’d entered a magic portal to another world. I remember leaving the cinema with a sense of awe, perhaps the same kind of powerful reaction people get when they’ve felt the high of a profound religious experience. Terminator 2 when I was 15-years-old was a similarly face-melting experience.

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:33 pm

        Aw man, you’re so lucky.

        My theater were few and far between. My first few cinema experiences were the aforementioned Superman Returns and the 2007 Transformers.

        …I was and still am a huge TF fan.

        But that doesn’t mean I slacked on the media. Frequents DVD rewatches were Spider-Man 2, the Harry Potter films, and the Home Alone films.

        I still think Home Alone 3 is good, damn it! Heh.

        It wasn’t until a few years ago that my love for movies really started to shine. My love for American pop culture is surprising to everyone, even to my family.

        True story, once I learned how to download films, my digital collection grew to the hundreds, and pretty soon I spread word that I had “old” films if anyone wanted to see them. The teachers started getting word, and they asked me for movies! I had an enterprise!

        I did it for free, of course, and now I’m to thank for showing local 11 year olds to Grease and the Indiana Jones Trilogy.

        I was born in ’99, by the way, so it’s very interesting to see this dynamic we have.

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        What a great story! You did really well playing catch-up with all those movies from the past. It shows great passion and love for the art of cinema. As I’ve got older, I’ve tried not to see the world of movies through the prism of Hollywood, although I’ll always be married to what the USA produces, such is my thirst. But I’d like to see more films from Eatsern nations. More South Korean cinema, more Japanese, South American, European and African movies. It’s a constant learning curve which I love being on.

        I’m moved by your story, how your teachers sought you out to supply them with films. Doing it for free too, that’s very selfless of you. 99 was a good year for movies, by the way- The Matrix, American Beauty, Fight Club…

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 5:53 pm

        Yeah, downloading is still my main source for movies. Blu-Rays cost up to 200 bucks here.

        And I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really gone global with my movie watching either. Besides the Shaw Brothers’, of course. My god, The Love Eterne and 1963’s Empress Wu are AMAZING. Two of my grandmother’s favorite movies. She recalls the apparent craze that The Love Eterne had too.

        Oh, and we have a channel here that shows NOTHING but old school Shaw and similar cinema. It’s great. Saw the two mentioned above on it. I really recommend them if you’re okay with subtitles.

        I’m slacking on the others, though, except my mom introducing me to the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. It’s also pretty good.

        Gah, I need to watch the last two, and I found Matrix to be just okay.

        Shawshank Redemption from five years earlier though…man…

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 6:01 pm

        Shawshank burrows deep. I love that film! Some of the South Korean films I’ve seen over the past few years have spun my head. Chugyeogja (2008) stayed with me for days. Although it is an upsetting experience, I found the form and structure of it to be hypnotic – so different to Hollywood. I must track down these films your grandmother loves so much. I like the challenge of seeking out hard-to-come-by films. By the way – Blu-Ray’s are $200 bucks!? I fully understand why you download.

        Liked by 1 person

        WilliamLi responded:
        November 26, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        Yeah, Blu Rays are expensive as hell here, dollar conversion and all that.

        Yeah, the only Korean movie I’m really interested in right now is Oldboy. Gotta find time to watch that.

        Oh, and you’re in luck! Partially! I have a copy of The Love Eterne online, and I can give you my Google Drive link! Here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7Yal_D2sOssVHd6N3RUNy1yeVk

        Quick note, the subtitles get a bit out of sync near the end, but they recorrect themselves later. And it’s a mkv file, so it’s best if you use the VLC media player.

        Besides that though, everything should be fine! If you watch it, tell me what you thought of it! Shaw isn’t just wuxia films!

        Liked by 1 person

        garethrhodes said:
        November 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm

        Wow! Thank you so much, that’s very kind of you. Is there any greater gift than the gift of film? I think not. I have VLC media player, so that won’t be a problem.

        Like

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