The Nice Guys
|The Nice Guys|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Shane Black|
|Produced by||Joel Silver|
|Edited by||Joel Negron|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$62.8 million|
The Nice Guys is a 2016 American neo-noir crime black comedy film directed by Shane Black and written by Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. The film stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David and Kim Basinger. Set in 1977 Los Angeles, the film focuses on a private eye (Gosling) and a tough enforcer (Crowe) who team up to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl (Qualley).
The Nice Guys premiered on May 11, 2016, in Hollywood, and also screened on May 15 at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, before being released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on May 20, 2016. It received positive reviews from critics and grossed $62 million on a $50 million budget.
In 1977 Los Angeles, a young boy named Bobby admires a magazine centerfold of porn star Misty Mountains, when Misty herself crashes her car through the boy’s house and is found dead afterwards. Down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March is hired by Misty's aunt, who claims to have seen her niece still alive. March’s investigation leads him to Amelia Kuttner, an associate of Misty's who later pays enforcer Jackson Healy to scare March away. Healy barges into March's house and breaks his arm before leaving.
Healy is interrogated by two thugs, “Blueface” — so named after he sets off a dye pack while searching Healy’s apartment — and Older Guy, about Amelia's whereabouts. Healy wards them off with a shotgun, and teams up with a reluctant March to find Amelia first.
March and Healy question Amelia’s anti-pollution protest group and meet Chet, who brings them to the burnt-down house of Amelia's boyfriend Dean, who died in the fire. They learn that Amelia and Dean were working with Misty on an "experimental film" — combining pornography and investigative journalism — called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy? The two infiltrate a party in search of the film's financier, Sid Shattuck. Healy discovers the film is missing, while a drunken March finds Shattuck dead, and unknowingly crosses paths with Amelia. March’s daughter Holly, having snuck along to the party, manages to stop Blueface from killing Amelia. Blueface is struck in a hit-and-run, and Amelia flees. Healy subdues Older Guy and finds Blueface dying, who tells Healy his boss has dispatched a hit man named John Boy to kill Amelia, March, and all other witnesses. Healy discreetly strangles Blueface to death.
March and Healy are met by Amelia's mother, Judith Kuttner, a high-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice, who claims Amelia is delusional and believes Judith wants her dead. Judith hires the duo to find her daughter.
March and Healy make their way to an airport hotel where Amelia is meeting with distributors for the film. John Boy has arrived ahead of them; they witness the businessmen being slaughtered and hastily retreat, only for Amelia to land on their car and shoot at them, knocking herself unconscious. They take her to March's house, where she reveals that her mother is in the pocket of a cabal of Detroit automakers. After uncovering evidence that they suppressed the catalytic converter, which regulates exhaust emissions, Amelia created the film to expose their collusion, and her mother has had everyone connected to the film killed.
Judith has her assistant Tally arrange for March and Healy to deliver a briefcase of $100,000; March tells her they have found Amelia. When March falls asleep while driving and crashes the car, the briefcase flies open to reveal shredded magazines; the delivery was a diversion to leave Amelia unprotected. John Boy arrives at March’s house disguised as a family doctor, attacking Holly and engaging in a shootout with March and Healy before evading the police. Amelia flees the house only to be killed by John Boy when she unwittingly flags down his car.
March and Healy try to bring the matter to court but have no evidence. At Misty’s house, they discover the nearsighted Mrs. Glenn only saw projected footage of her niece — the missing film. They realize that Chet is the projectionist for the Los Angeles Auto Show and will try to screen the film. At the auto show, Healy and March are intercepted at gunpoint by Tally, who is distracted by Holly and knocked unconscious. Healy finds Chet, who has spliced the film into the auto show presentation. The film plays to the entire auto show, implicating the auto executives. On the roof, March struggles with Older Guy, who falls to his death while March lands in the pool. Holly stops Tally from reaching the film. Healy overpowers John Boy, but spares his life at Holly's behest, and March secures the film from thugs sent by the auto executives.
Judith is arrested, but insists she did not want Amelia killed and that "what is good for Detroit is good for America", while Healy and March continue working together as private eyes, naming their agency "The Nice Guys".
- Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy
- Ryan Gosling as Holland March
- Angourie Rice as Holly March
- Matt Bomer as John Boy
- Margaret Qualley as Amelia Kuttner
- Yaya DaCosta as Tally
- Keith David as Older Guy (Eddie Harris)
- Beau Knapp as Blueface
- Lois Smith as Mrs. Glenn
- Murielle Telio as Misty Mountains
- Gil Gerard as Bergen Paulsen
- Daisy Tahan as Jessica
- Jack Kilmer as Chet
- Kim Basinger as Judith Kuttner
- Lance Valentine Butler as Kid on Bike
- Ty Simpkins as Bobby
- Hannibal Buress as Bumble
- Robert Downey Jr. as Sid Shattuck (uncredited)
Like Black's previously directed film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys takes inspiration from Brett Halliday, namely his novel Blue Murder. Black initially wrote a version of the script along with Anthony Bagarozzi in 2001 which established the characters but otherwise was vastly different. According to Black, each would start with one detective, he with March and Bagarozzi with Healy. Along the way, they swapped characters and eventually wrote a first draft. This version of the script failed to attract any buyers, and then Black reworked it into a 64-page version that would serve for a television pilot. CBS became attracted to it, but given the contents led to many objections by the Standards and Practices department, it eventually did not progress. Black would later, upon promoting the release of the final film, speak disparagingly of the idea of the television series, stating that such a show "wouldn't have been any good". By 2009, Bagarozzi suggested changing the film from a contemporary setting to the 1970s. Black's producer friend Joel Silver was initially wary of the idea as he felt audiences would not be as welcoming to a period piece, but he changed his mind after producing Sherlock Holmes. Black stated the change in time period helped as in contrast to "the divisiveness that we see now", the 1970s was full of multiculturalism and "was the aftermath of the protests and you got a sense that we are all in it together". The contents also drew to risqué films of the decade such as Vanishing Point and Five Easy Pieces. Bagarozzi noted how the title The Nice Guys aimed to be ironic and non-descriptive, as the two main characters were "literally the two worst people that we could think of and then trying to make that fun," given "one breaks arms for a living and the other cons old ladies out of money."
After Black completed Iron Man 3 in 2013, Silver asked him what he wanted to do next, and he expressed interest in doing The Nice Guys. The scripts were sent to Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, and both wound up taking the roles specially for the prospect of working with one another. Gosling even stated that when he read the script already picturing Crowe as Healy, "the movie just immediately became so funny" as he had never seen Crowe in a similar role. Gosling and Crowe accepted in a period of three days, and Black cited the casting as the reason the film was able to move forward, summed up as "After thirteen years it just popped into place in three days". The film was announced in June 2014, and other casting news followed with Margaret Qualley and Angourie Rice officially joining in September. Matt Bomer, Keith David, Beau Knapp, and Kim Basinger were confirmed in October, and Ty Simpkins and Jack Kilmer were announced in November.
Principal photography began on October 27, 2014, in Atlanta and Decatur, Georgia. While production designer Richard Bridgland saw a challenge in that the green Atlanta differed too much from desertic Los Angeles, he found some fitting locations such as Dallas Austin's house, whose design was based on what architect John Lautner found in Southern California, and the Atlanta Hilton, which had not changed at all since being built in 1976. On October 31, a police station scene was filmed in Atlanta among extras. Filming also took place in Los Angeles, mostly to get exteriors of locations such as The Comedy Store.
Bridgland did his best to recreate the 1970s, researching from Super 8 films to documentary photographs, and basing the furniture on designers such as Verner Panton. Even the Misty Mountains glamour photography had Bridgland recruiting Arny Freytag, responsible for most Playboy centerfolds of the decade. For its part, Warner Bros. used its 1972–84 title featuring the "Big W" logo designed by Saul Bass for Warner Communications to open the film.
John Ottman, who had scored Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, was brought to do the music for The Nice Guys along with David Buckley. Ottman drew inspiration from 1970s shows such as S.W.A.T. and The Dean Martin Show, with The Streets of San Francisco being a particular influence on the main theme. Ottman detailed that the difference to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was that now the music was more song-driven, with Black stating that the songs would contrast to the neo-noir tone by focusing on mainstream, exuberant songs of the decade.
Lakeshore Records issued soundtrack albums for both the featured music and original score. The soundtrack also got a special collector's edition vinyl designed by Los Angeles-based creative services company iam8bit to create "something that seemed like it was an artifact from the seventies" and also "drew from the fictional world of the movie and give you something tactile you can hold in your hand", with the gatefold being a 3D centerfold of Misty Mountains, and the packaging including posters of Sid Shattuck films and a business card for The Nice Guys Agency.
|The Nice Guys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|1.||"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"||The Temptations||3:20|
|2.||"Get Down On It"||Kool & The Gang||2:58|
|3.||"Boogie Oogie Oogie"||A Taste of Honey||1:44|
|4.||"September"||Earth, Wind & Fire||3:27|
|5.||"Couldn't Get It Right"||Climax Blues Band||3:03|
|6.||"Love and Happiness"||Al Green||2:10|
|8.||"Boogie Wonderland"||Earth, Wind & Fire||1:18|
|9.||"Jive Talkin'"||Bee Gees||5:56|
|10.||"Rock and Roll All Nite"||Kiss||3:20|
|11.||"Ain't Got No Home"||The Band||4:27|
|12.||"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"||Rupert Holmes||2:06|
|13.||"Lonely Boy"||Andrew Gold||4:47|
|14.||"A Horse With No Name"||America||1:51|
|15.||"Green Peppers"||Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass||4:45|
In the United States, the film was originally scheduled for a June 17, 2016, release, which Warner Bros. moved up to May 20, 2016, giving its previous date to Central Intelligence. The film had its premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on May 11, followed by a 1970s-themed after-party at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and screened at Cannes on May 15. The film was released on digital on August 9, 2016, and DVD and Blu-ray on August 23, 2016.
The Nice Guys grossed $36.3 million in the United States and Canada and $25.5 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $62.8 million, against a production budget of $50 million.
In North America, the film was released on May 20, 2016, alongside Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and The Angry Birds Movie, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,865 theaters in its opening weekend. It grossed $700,000 during its Thursday night previews and $3.9 million on its first day. In its opening weekend the film grossed $11.3 million, finishing fourth at the box office behind The Angry Birds Movie ($39 million), Captain America: Civil War ($33.1 million) and Neighbors 2 ($21.8 million). Phil Walden of Forbes argued that the film could have performed higher if not for sharing its release with Neighbors 2, which shared the same older demographic the film targeted.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 300 reviews, with an average score of 7.59/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Nice Guys hearkens back to the buddy comedies of a bygone era while adding something extra, courtesy of a knowing script, and the irresistible chemistry of its leads." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 70 out of 100, based on 51 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 75% overall positive score and a 52% "definite recommend".
Mike Ryan of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, praising Black's writing, and saying: "If you like Shane Black, you will like The Nice Guys. It's probably the Shane Black-est of all the Shane Black movies. Black has a knack for turning action movie expectations on their head mixed with knowing and rich dialogue." IGN gave the film a 9/10, writing, "Working from a tight and sharp script that perfectly balances the characters like a yin and yang of screw-ups ensures The Nice Guys is an absolute joy every step of the way." Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave 3 stars out 4 and wrote, "Forget about Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along 2, or Zac Efron and Robert De Niro in Dirty Grandpa, or Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in Zoolander 2. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are the funniest duo of the year so far in The Nice Guys". James Berardinelli described the film as reminiscent of Boogie Nights. Berardinelli wrote, "The Nice Guys is a refreshingly adult movie entering a marketplace saturated by teen-friendly superhero flicks and animated family fare. It's edgy (although not so edgy that it will turn off a mass market audience), funny, and fast-paced", and he gave a score of 3 out of 4.
On the other hand, Rex Reed of New York Observer gave a score of 0 and he felt that the film is "another sub-mental movie for morons churned out by the kind of sophomoric Hollywood machine that trademarks the works of Judd Apatow & Co." A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that the film lacks wistful, slyly political sense of history that Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice had. Scott wrote, "Even nostalgic nonsense requires more than attitude and energy, which is all that Mr. Black has to offer. And despite all its restless detective work, The Nice Guys is unable to track down a soul or a reason for being." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "That the film mostly falls flat has far more to do with the largely unconvincing material rather than with the co-stars, who are more than game for the often clownish shenanigans Black and his co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi have concocted for them; in fit and starts, the actors display a buoyant comic rapport." McCarthy, however, praised the production design (by Richard Bridgland) and costume design (by Kym Barrett) due to their "vivid reminders of how much L.A. has spruced itself up over the past 40 years"; and the cinematography (by Philippe Rousselot) due to "the figurative and possibly even literal use of a smog filter to evoke a physically and morally toxic environment."
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards||February 6, 2017||Best Buddy Picture||Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Awards||December 11, 2016||Best Comedy||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Comedy||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||March 19, 2017||Best Comedy||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
|Best Female Newcomer||Angourie Rice||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||The Nice Guys||Nominated|
|Golden Tomato Awards||January 12, 2017||Best Comedy Movie 2016||The Nice Guys||4th Place|||
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||November 17, 2016||Best Soundtrack Album||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
|Houston Film Critics Society||January 6, 2017||Best Picture||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
|Jupiter Awards||March 29, 2017||Best International Film||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
|Best International Actor||Russell Crowe||Nominated|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||December 12, 2016||Best Comedic Performance||Ryan Gosling||Won|||
|Saturn Awards||June 28, 2017||Best Action or Adventure Film||The Nice Guys||Nominated|||
In May 2016, prior to the film's release, Black said of a follow-up, "I think it's a little premature to consider a sequel. I don't believe in jinxes necessarily, but we really need people to see this one before we can even talk about that. We're up against some stiff superhero competition and we just need people to, you know, maybe see Captain America six times, but not the seventh and see us instead." In August 2018, Black reiterated his desire to make a sequel, although noted the film probably did not gross enough at the box office to make it likely.
In September 2017, it was reported that Fox had given a script commitment to a contemporary female-led television version entitled The Nice Girls, to be produced by Silver Pictures Television with a script by Michael Diliberti. But the project never advanced past initial development.
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