I should note that it should not be a just a two-hour endeavor. There should be multiple, bloated sequels with unnecessary cameos and soundtrack contributions from, say, Post Malone. There should be t-shirts in Target with quotes from it. There should be midnight showings of it at the kind of movie theaters where the marquee has jokes from the staff on it. There should just be more, dammit.
The movie is 2016’s The Nice Guys.
Set in 1977, it follows the adventures of two private detectives (Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling) as they get the absolute hell beat out of them while solving the disappearance of a girl named Amelia. It also involves the American auto industry, post-Watergate governance, adult films, single parenting, a fearsome hit man named John Boy, killer bees, and…well that’s about it.
(For those who are concerned about such things, this is an R-rated film. There is nudity and violence, so careful around the kids or wait for your folks to go to bed.)
Shane Black co-wrote and directed it. Shane Black is also responsible for Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Iron Man 3 (secretly the best Marvel movie, please do not @ me). He's very good at the "duo tries to surmount impossible odds, usually around Christmas" genre, and this is no different.
Russell Crowe is terrific as a grizzled, honorable wreck of a man named Jackson Healy. I mention him first because the rest of this post is dedicated to Ryan Gosling.
You know how, when a popular actor does a “serious” Oscar-bait movie, and the ads all say “First and last name, as you’ve never seen him before?” I hate that this is a cliché, because this really is Ryan Gosling as you’ve never seen him before. Or anyone really.
I’ve tried in vain to describe what Gosling does in the role of Holland March, a widower with a young daughter who is smarter and more dependable than he is. I think Spencer Hall from Banner Society called it “live-action Wile E. Coyote” and I can’t do better than that. Without spoiling too much of the movie, you can watch
You can watch it on HBO right now. Your old college roommate’s password probably still works. I can't recommend it enough.
Image license here.