The Nice Guys (2016)
May 23, 2016 8:18 AM - Subscribe

In 1970s Los Angeles, a private eye (Ryan Gosling) and muscle-for-hire (Russell Crowe) are pulled into the aftermath from a fading porn star's apparent suicide and uncover a conspiracy, in the neo-noir/action/buddy comedy from Shane Black (who previously wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I tremendously enjoyed this. I haven't seen much of Shane Black's stuff (I'm told I need to get around to seeing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), but this was honestly what I wanted (and only incompletely received) from Inherent Vice last year. The leads were great and the kid stole the show.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:27 AM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

It is very much cut from the same cloth as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, except with the added (and perhaps excessive) 70s references. Some of the compositing was a bit obvious but overall this was a very fun movie and I really enjoyed it.
posted by ckape at 1:07 PM on May 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think the script for this might predate Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which is great, and everyone should see). I saw part of an interview with the stars and producers and it apparently has been sitting on a shelf for a while (the script, obviously, not the entire film).
posted by axiom at 3:19 PM on May 23, 2016

I thought this movie was super fun. Some thoughts:

-I'm finding I really enjoy the color palette of movies doing the "70s retro" routine, though I have no idea how period accurate it is.

-I thought the relationship between March and his daughter was particularly well handled. A hair more cartoonish or more realistic and it could easily have been obnoxious or distressing. Not being a parent, I wonder if this colored his character differently for people who have their own kids, who might find his irresponsibility less amusing.

-The kid on the bike cracked me up.

-The trailer took some wind out of a couple quality gags that would have landed much better if we'd been allowed to discover them in context (tossing the gun out the window, bodies falling in the elevator window, etc.)

-I'd like to watch it again with an eye toward Healy's relationship with alcohol. I didn't notice until toward the end, but it seemed like he deliberately cut back drinking as the tension rose, and when he was drinking again at the end it was a sign he was at peace and felt safe. That's a kind of mature (?) relationship with drinking you don't often see in this kind of movie. I thought it was cool.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 3:28 PM on May 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

I agree that it was super-fun, but am I the only one who thought the back half of the movie was entirely underbaked (and actually over-long)?

It's like Inherent Vice came out and they stopped trying to make the political backend of the movie work, because why bother PTA/Pynchon did it better already.

Mostly, I'm annoyed about everything that happened after the hitman showed up at the house. And the fact that the ludicrous bag-man scene (did I miss something?) came out of nowhere to only service a fall-flat joke later.

Is it just me? I love Shane Black!

The movie actually gave me a theory for 80s movies in general: cocaine doesn't give you enough energy to finish a second draft.
posted by stratastar at 2:26 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the political side of the movie did not make a whole bunch of sense, especially since Kim Basinger's character, as "head of the Department of Justice" in 1977, would be Attorney General in the Carter administration -- not my go-to pick for anti-environmentalist corruption.

(Also, hey, female attorney general 16 years before Janet Reno! Go Noirverse Carter!)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:08 AM on May 24, 2016

Why doesn't Ryan Gosling do more comedy?!

The ending was... strange. I thought it was a beautiful bit of self-awareness when March said that their couldn't be a dramatic killing in the hotel because it would be national news. Action movies tend to result in crazy levels of destruction and no one bats an eye. But then... that's exactly what happens at the end. If you're trying to cover up some scandal and murders, maybe don't have your hitmen go shoot up everything in front of the entire media?
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:58 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

LOVED this movie, so sick. Great dialog. Russell Crowe was in top form. The weak point was the Amelia character once she started talking, and Kim Basinger's role when the duo met her and listed all the people who'd been killed, cui bono? Well obviously her! but the rest of the movie was a great ride. John Boy, LOL.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:18 PM on May 25, 2016

I agree that it was super-fun, but am I the only one who thought the back half of the movie was entirely underbaked (and actually over-long)?

Right there with you. It was fun, but it desperately needed to be streamlined by about 20 minutes. The second half felt bloated and convoluted.

And I realize that chasing after the porn film is just the necessary MacGuffin to get the plot rolling, but the notion that it could meaningfully expose (pun not intended) the collusion between the auto industry and the Justice Department only makes sense if such a message would A) reach millions of people and B) be taken seriously. And the thing is, that could have been done pretty easily -- all the filmmakers had to do was show that 1977 was during the so-called Golden Age of Porn, during which adult films were being taken more seriously (e.g., established by a clip of Johnny Carson talking about Deep Throat or something), and then actually make the porn film look like a serious film (i.e., good production values, good acting), rather than a joke.

So yeah, decent night out, but not anywhere as solid as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was pretty "meh" about this movie. Agree that the first half was fun, but the last half hour I kept wondering when it was going to be over, which is never a good thing in a movie.

This movie is basically a master class in all the ways that movies get political figures and activist groups wrong. And even though I have worked in both of those worlds and those things annoy me, I get that movies don't have to be realistic to be good, and am able to suspend my disbelief if the wrongness is in support of something that's really entertaining. But those aspects were just so stupid and lazy and cliched in this movie. Which is too bad, because so many other aspects were really fun, but those bits dominated the back half and really dragged it down.

Also, I was annoyed at the number of jokes that basically amounted to "LOL, that girl is a slut." I mean, there were several different jokes where that was the entirety of the punchline.

On the plus side, Ryan Gosling was great, and I feel like he keeps getting better and better. And the kid was perfect.
posted by lunasol at 8:00 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I did not expect to like this as much as I did.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:39 AM on January 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

One thing I definitely did not like was the use of the r-word. It was offensive, completely unnecessary and odd for a film made in the last decade.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:44 AM on January 29, 2022

wow I really enjoyed this, a lot

“All cars can do this.”
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:07 AM on April 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

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