The Nice Guys – “Finish First”

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John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.

JOHN: My friend Bob, who invited me to lunch and this movie (lunch served to recliner seats inside the theater), says Russell Crowe put on 60 pounds for the role he plays to make him seem kind of a has been for noir audiences.

SPANKY: Sounds a little like you may have gained 60 pounds too.

JOHN: Ryan Gosling smokes and drinks incessantly for the same reason, except he has a disapproving daughter, Angourie Rice, who is like a young Jodi Foster. She adds real feelings to a genre that usually sidesteps them.

SPANKY: This is another alteration to the noir tradition. The Nice Guys is the classic California noir of Hammett and Chandler, which the movie simultaneously reveres and satirizes. It’s no coincidence, for instance, that moments after a reference to a violent crime in a diner, we meet a character played by Crowe’s L.A. Confidential co-star, Kim Basinger.

JOHN: I have to say that I thought Robert Altman’s The Long Goodby marked the end of the film noir…but this one with its inspired, confusing plot, two great partners, LA setting, and an extra layer of meaning…marks its rebirth. We can’t wait for the next one. But The Nice Guys is not a movie for everyone. It is for those attuned to its sleazy vibe and sudden alternations between violence and slapstick.

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