I am a sucker for Hollywood movies about Hollywood. And when the movie studio in particular centers on the rising porn industry of 1977, my interest was piqued. The standard private eyes/police buddy-buddy comedy was worn thin by the fifth Police Academy but Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling? Yeah, there had to be something about this script that appealed to the two of them. Neither have fallen down the ladder of shame to star in a direct-to-DVD flick involving talking dogs. What I discovered was a fresh, witty and funny comedy involving the murder investigation of porn star Misty Mountains and the disappearance of Amelia Kutner. Neither men are licensed in their profession but they make ample means and Gosling providing for his young daughter. Reportedly, Crowe and Gosling were the main reason why this film, initially proposed in 2001, finally got off the ground. While much of the film was shot in Georgia, many of the stock shots to establish locations were beautifully shot to provide a perfect illusion of Hollywood, California, in 1977.
When Crowe and Gosling find out that Amelia was working with Misty Mountains and with an amateur filmmaker named Dean on an “experimental film” — equal parts pornography and investigative journalism — called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy? about the Detroit auto manufacturers colluding to suppress the catalytic converter (which regulates exhaust emissions), they suspect foul play when Dean mysteriously dies in a fire that burned the film.
The sharp wit and verbal gags and rich dialogue work perfectly throughout the movie and this makes up the majority of the charm that won critics over. Not since John Carter (2012) have I left the movie theater longing for a sequel. Statistically, the number of original movies per year is dwindling. Even The Walt Disney Company recently made an across-the-board decision to produce more sequels than ever. With today’s movies loaded with product placement and over-the-top explosions, and superheroes promoted on the paper cups at Subway, it comes as a complete surprise that a film under-shadowed by clever marketing provides a surprise you rarely find in movies today… amusement and entertainment.
Looking for the perfect date night movie? Especially when you consider the fact that the last of the major summer blockbusters will be out of the theaters soon? The Nice Guys comes to BluRay in August.
And if you need another reason why you should watch this movie: actress Angourie Rice, playing Gosling’s on-screen daughter, just signed to play a major role in Marvel’s up-coming Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).