Movies, like music, have to move me in some way. I have watched hundreds and hundreds of movies. Remember at one time I received them for free managing a major video rental chain for 14 years. Movies were also an escape for me. When I was hungover and flooded with anxiety and guilt I would watch up to 6 movies in a day. It was the only way I could cope. I’m grateful to the writers, directors, actors, etc, that literally kept me alive at times by placing me in another world.
The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling is an Action/Comedy done by the same writer of the first Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I’ve seen all of the Lethal Weapon movies and enjoyed the first one the most. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was intelligent, and just the right showcase for Robert Downey Jr. to show audiences that he is a multifaceted actor.
The Nice Guys takes place in L.A. during the 70’s where everything and anything can happen. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a licensed Private Investigator and single father. He doesn’t get the big money making cases and spends most of his time drinking and smoking. His young daughter is the adult in the relationship here. Jaded beyond her years she makes sure her father makes it to his appointments and stays out of trouble as best she can. When March is hired by an elderly woman to find her “missing” niece he runs into trouble in the form of Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe).
Healey isn’t really a P.I. he’s more of a fixer. He is caught up in the same case as March. Right from their first meeting the rapport between the two is so impressive you find yourself immediately hooked. This is what makes this movie so outstanding.
Russell Crowe’s range in this movie believe it or not surprised me. In Gladiator he was a grieving father and husband seeking revenge. Believe me he deserved every bit of praise for that role. But in this movie you see a comedic side, a warm crinkle with his eyes while he talks to the daughter, regret, comradery, indifference, and wit. I know it sounds impossible but he’s all of these at some point in the film. He is a true joy to watch.
Now a few words about Ryan Gosling. It’s been a long time since I have liked a Ryan Gosling film. I’m not sure who has been picking the scripts or if he thought an “experimental artistic” film was the way to go but none of it has worked for me. That being said, he is the best bumbling, down on his luck, incompetent, entertaining, sympathetic, sidekick I’ve seen in a long time. There are times where you actually feel his hopelessness and my eyes filled up. I’m not ashamed to say it. This is the best I’ve seen him in years. His character’s relationship with his daughter is one filled with love. There are flaws but love stands out more.
Angourie Rice plays Ryan Gosling’s daughter Holly in the film. Cynical, streetwise, and too mature, she captures your heart and everyone who stars in the film too. Her relationship with Crowe’s character is one of affection from the time she meets him and offers him a Yoohoo. I know I read too much in people’s eyes and in storylines. I like to think that he became a better person because of her. Where he was once indifferent after being around Holly he felt needed. His concern for her and eventually her father was written in a way where it wasn’t corny, it just was. I have to say I kind of didn’t want it to end.