The Nice Guys

I watched the news and went over to the office to finish up some writing.  I went grocery shopping and took a brief nap.  I went out to the theatre to see “The Nice Guys.”  It was a private detective story that was set in 1977 and brought to my mind The Rockford Files, “Body Double,” “Inherent Vice,” and even “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” among other movies.  Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger were in it, creating something of an L.A. Confidential atmosphere.  It was funny to see the Hollywood sign in disrepair, as well as the Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard.  I would not say that comedy is Russell Crowe’s strong suit.  Once you break someone’s arm, your character has been established as being not hilarious.  Ryan Gosling is the other person in this situation, which feels like a romantic comedy between two men.  Some scenes get too violent and bloody.  Gosling has a 13-year old daughter who seems to be better at the job than he is.  She seems to be a tad young to be driving a car.  The plot ties together porn films and catalytic converters, though not quite the way Robert Towne would have written it up.  I would say that Ryan Gosling’s performance was a weak link.  I thought he had moments that were not too good.  Russell Crowe actually gave me the feeling that he was getting too old for these movies.  He reminded me of Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon movies.  Another movie I thought of as I was watching this plot unfold was “The Late Show,” which was released in 1977.  I kept looking at the cars, wondering if I would see one that was out of place.  I couldn’t remember what RTD buses looked like in the late 1970s.  I did not believe that the daughter would be a fan of The Sex Pistols in 1977.  I should say that she would have been a follower of Fleetwood Mac.  I noticed that some of the songs were out of place, like “September” and “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).”  Was Earth, Wind and Fire supposed to be performing at that party?  The story seemed to make less sense as it went further, which is actually something of a Los Angeles crime movie tradition, judging by “The Big Sleep.”  It really seemed to get out of control there.  I again thought of Brian De Palma.  I did laugh at times.  I thought this movie wasn’t entirely successful, but it came reasonably close.  Some people liked “Inherent Vice.”  “The Nice Guys” was better in some ways.  It felt like the ending was setting up “The Nice Guys 2.”  People might discover “The Nice Guys” on video.  It’s not a brilliant movie, but it’s OK for a bit of diversion on a weekday afternoon.  I predict that Angourie Rice will go on to stardom as a result of this movie.  Movies like “Escape from New York,” “The Wrecking Crew,” and “War of the Worlds” were on television last night.  I liked Adrienne Barbeau’s last scene in “Escape from New York,” although she didn’t have the survival skills of Charlize Theron in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”  Dean Martin would have turned 99 this year.  Some of the people who died on June 10 include Spencer Tracy (1967), William Inge (1973), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1982), Richard Quine (1989), Jo Van Fleet (1996), and Ray Charles (2004).  Today is a birthday for Elizabeth Hurley (51), Gina Gershon (54), and Prince Philip (95).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 10, The Beatles released “Rain,” with its backwards tape effects, in 1966.  In 1967, Bob Dylan joined The Band for recording sessions that would result in The Basement Tapes.  In 1972, Sammy Davis, Jr. had the Number One single in the country with “The Candy Man.”  In 2004, Ray Charles died of liver disease at age 73 at his home in Beverly Hills.

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