If you are reading this post, intended as a supplement to our fearless leader’s glowing review of Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, I’m going to assume a couple things. First I am going to assume you are in the minority of cinemagoers who chose to watch The Nice Guys over seeing The Angry Birds movie or seeing Captain America: Civil War for a second time. And secondly I am assuming that seeing The Nice Guys has ignited in you a desire to see more shaggy dog detective stories and you need to know where to go next. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
The most obvious answer on what to watch Shane Black’s other films, especially his directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a similar detective yarn, albeit in a more contemporary milieu than The Nice Guys. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is also credited with the recent cultural rehabilitation of Robert Downey Jr., so you have Iron Man to thank Shane Black for. RDJ repaid the favor to Shane Black by ensuring the Iron Man 3 directing gig went to him. As a writer Shane Black is responsible for a large chunk of your formative cinema experiences: Lethal Weapon, The Monster Club, Last Action Hero, and The Long Kiss Goodnight are all products of his pen.
After you’re done familiarizing yourself with the filmography of Shane Black you should catch up with The Nice Guys closest and most recent cinematic cousin, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. Set in a similar ‘70’s time frame as The Nice Guys, Inherent Vice is another detective film, told in a dreamier, obtuse atmosphere than TNG. Both these films seem like natural double feature and one could amuse themselves imagining characters from one film crossing over into the other.
Now onto the real pay dirt: actual detective films from the ‘70’s. Your first stop should be a viewing of Robert Altman’s endlessly entertaining The Long Goodbye. A showcase for both the director and its lead actor, Elliot Gould, The Long Goodbye share a lot of the same DNA as TNG: a loose, freewheeling narrative, characters that are equal parts cliché and unexpected quirk, and a peek at the underbelly of the post Watergate era. Pay close attention to the music and camera movements for some of the great artistic dividends The Long Goodbye has to offer.
Finally, if The Long Goodbye has given you the bug for more Elliot Gould, you should check out Busting, which pairs Gould with Robert Blake as a pair of uncongenial vice cops seeking to make a big bust beyond the sordid pimps and prostitutes that are their day to day work.
I could go on and on from here, but this should start you off right. You are welcome.
Written by Michael Felix
“Is this movie in 3D?”
“No, but your face is!”
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