A Bittersweet Ending: A reaction to ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Much to the initial joy of fans around the world “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was released on July 31, 2016. The Harry Potter fanbase went wild. “It’s an epilogue about Harry and the gang after book seven,” we all screamed, rushing the doorways of Barnes and Nobles establishments everywhere as employees braced for impact.

But the reaction after the fact was…less eager.

Let’s admit it. Many of us were disappointed. Some hated it. Some liked it. It wasn’t what many of us were expecting or what some of us wanted.

And yet I think it is something that many fans may have needed and I’m thankful to J.K. Rowling and John Hurt for giving it to us. Even though I too had parts I liked and disliked.

I want to remind readers that it’s ok to feel conflicted over this story. It’s not what we were used to. Things were certain things didn’t match up to what we knew. But some parts were good and humorous.

So, if you want my opinion, here’s my thoughts on the last addition to Harry Potter’s storyline.

What I disliked

There are several things to dislike about this script. And it isn’t the fact that its a script rather than a book. This is a play adapted into hardcover. If you were expecting a fleshed out novel you were likely very upset.

There are three things that I personally disliked about this tale including the villain, the alternate reality Snape and the deus ex machina move with a recovered time-turner. These are the main complaints that I’ve heard from other readers too.

  • The villain: The origin of this villain didn’t really make sense to anyone who knows about her supposed father’s origins. I had a thought that she was the villain early on so the reveal wasn’t too surprising either. Her presence in the story was just…too out of place for her to just be someone normal. In addition to this, I honestly didn’t see much depth to this character either, although that may have been on purpose but who knows. Either way, couldn’t we have used someone else or some other event to have moved the plot?
  • Snape in an alternate reality: Snape was not Snape. That’s it. He took on the role of martyr way too much and was far too nice to students, even for the setting he appeared in. Maybe it was meant to show what Snape would have been like had the alternate reality been real. Maybe not. Either way Snape wasn’t himself and I don’t think anyone liked him. At all.
  • The time turner: The entire conflict in this story was based around this item’s existence. It’s part in the story was a deus ex machina move as well and without it nothing really would have happened other than possible emotional turmoil with the characters which I probably would have preferred. The time turner plot honestly felt like a fanfiction bit. I can understand why it seemed like a good idea as it presented the audience with a series of what-ifs and made a statement about the delicacy of time. BUT STILL.

What I liked

So even with some majorly irksome parts to this story there was a lot that I liked about this script. I think I may have actually enjoyed it more because I went into this not expecting it to be as good as the books I grew up with. Maybe it let me read it with slightly rose-tinted glasses but either way here is what I enjoyed:

  • What was conveyed without writing it out: Let’s face the reality here. This wasn’t a book, this was a script for a play so it couldn’t give us the intricate little details that a fully written text would normally convey. Knowing that, I gives kudos for what readers are able to ascertain from the little things like stage directions and specific word choices written into the script. While we may not have gotten to know the characters as deeply as we did in the books, this actually provided a pretty good look at what the characters were thinking and feeling.
  • Challenging old stereotypes: Growing up reading the HP series many of us walked away with the mindset the Slytherin was bad and Gryffindor was good and Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff got caught in the crossfire between the two. This story slaps that prejudice in the face. It offers that the Slytherin House still exists after the battle of Hogwarts and, lo and behold, the students in the house aren’t really evil when their parents are bearing down on them with anti-Muggle propaganda. For once, we just have four normal houses even though we still see that old prejudices towards Slytherin haven’t quite died out.
  • We get to see how the characters ended up after “All was well”: What are the adventuring trio once the smoke settles? Thanks to this play we can actually get a glimpse of them as parents and adults with flaws and grounded personalities. We see them bringing out the best in their spouses and combating the worst. We see them struggle with a past that doesn’t always stay dead. We see them struggle as parents who have kids who aren’t exactly like them, who they have trouble understanding sometimes. We get a chance to see them in a relatively normal setting of life as wizards and witches. And it brings out a different side to them that I really liked learning about.

A final adieu

Okay, so, final take-aways. Some of us loved this and some of us hated it. I myself enjoyed it for the most part though that didn’t completely annul the parts that I felt could have been better.

Rowling openly stated that after this she was done with Harry Potter. No more Harry Potter books. And I’m honestly okay with that. This book, with all its good and bad, probably was the ending we needed. It gave us enough to let us know our trio had a life after the end of the 7th book but didn’t give us a whole extra series about the kids that may have felt repetitious or pedantic. In all honesty too, it gave us enough of a disappointment to help us let go and stop expecting more books.

So ultimately I’m happy with this. I am happy going back and re-reading those 7 books and re-living the adventure and knowing there was a more normal life for the characters later. And I’m okay leaving it at that.

(Personally though I’m still following Rowling’s writing with her stories written under her pen name Robert Galbraith. Look into them!)

Written by Brianna Gibbons, writer, book reviewer and avid reader. For more book-based talk, follow her on Twitter @Bookworm_ish.

Revisiting the World of Wealth With ‘China Rich Girlfriend’

<Be warned: This review contains spoilers. Go read the first book!>

Have you read the first book? Good. Let’s get started then.

Kevin Kwan did it again. His second book “China Rich Girlfriend” had me enthralled from start to finish, made some profound points and even added in a huge twist that I barely saw coming. In Kwan’s latest story, readers get to see what comes next for many of the same characters who appeared in “Crazy Rich Asians.” At the forefront of course are Nick and Rachel and my dreams were fulfilled (SPOILER ALERT) seeing them get married. Along with these two lovebirds we also get to follow up with Astrid and Michael after Michael’s business goes big. And did I mention Kitty Pong busts her way onto center stage at the beginning of this story? That’s right, minor character clawing her way into a major role! But honestly, would we expect less from Kitty? (She is quite the go-getter from what I remember in the first book and by the end of this one I wanted to high five her.)

We are also introduced to a new cast of characters from Hong Kong, where the main setting of this story takes places. These characters include Rachael’s actual father, his wife (who isn’t very happy about Rachael), their son Carlton, and his “she isn’t my girlfriend” girlfriend Colette.

As with his first book in this trilogy, Kwan makes sure to pull readers in with some gossip column-esque drama while simultaneously pointing out some interesting things about this unique socio-economic group. The best part is how well he weaves these meaningful messages into the actions of his characters.

The biggest statements I saw Kwan making in “China Rich Girlfriend” included the differences between how the older and newer generations spend their money, how money can poison people and actually make their lives harder than when they were poor, and how much work actually goes into being “socially acceptable” in these upper class crowds. As always the characters that bring out these ideas are placed in quite the contrast to Nick and Rachael, the grounding couple. Let me give you a brief overview of what I mean:

  • Nick and Rachael: Despite Nick being quite loaded, he has a down-to-earth personality even if he is a little air-headed about just how rich he is. This is complimented by Rachael who was raised like many people with a hard working parent who taught her to value what she has, not to be foolish with money, to value tradition and family etc. These are the characters most readers can relate to because they are like many of us: grounded, not ‘I’m flaunting everything I have’ rich, and just truly good people.
  • Astrid and Michael: Oh these two break my heart. In the first book we see Astrid and Michael torn apart because Michael feels upset by not making as much as his wife or her family. Here we see what happens when he gets money. Here’s a hint: It destroys the good parts of him. He turns into the worst kind of rich guy, obsessed with cars and weapons and making a good impression. And, shocker, it takes a toll on his marriage with Astrid.
  • Kitty Pong: Kitty used to be a soap opera star and an ‘adult film’ star who dated Nick’s cousin in the first book and then married up, hard. Kitty is the character that has to literally re-write her own history to be seen as socially acceptable in the higher class society. Throughout the book we see Kitty go from flashy, magazine cover fodder to someone who is able to be allowed into the best social clubs. Don’t worry though, Kitty is still working on her own goals behind the scenes and the way it ties together is amazing. However, her place in this story gives readers a new respect for how much actually goes into being a part of the upper crust crowd in this part of the world.
  • Colette and Carlton: This duo is made up of Carlton, Rachel’s half-brother, and his…girlfriend? Not girlfriend? It’s complicated and I’m calling her his lover. These two embody the new generation and their spending practices. They spend on whatever they what and often make quite the show of it with random shopping trips to Paris, air conditioned yards (no I’m not joking) and more. Carlton and Colette stand as the contrast to the older generation who is either much more careful about their spending or much quieter (examples include huge stocks of rip-off items or private shopping sprees that no one would ever know about).

All of this is wrapped up into very intriguing story-telling and a slightly different writing style than Kwan used before. In this second book readers see emails, magazine columns, text messages and more to give them a better view of what is going on and how the characters are interacting. It is an interesting change that added to the gossip column feel of the tale but also seemed to help keep the story as engaging and subtly meaningful as the first.

To wrap up, I want to give my kudos to Kwan for another job well-done. I can’t wait for the third book and seriously if you haven’t read the first go check it out. These stories are great summer reads!

Want to see my review of the first book? Go here →The fascinating world of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Written by Brianna Gibbons, writer, book reviewer and avid reader. For more book-based talk, follow her on Twitter @Bookworm_ish.

Bae of Blood

Item under review: https://www.amazon.com/Bay-Blood- Blu-ray-Claudine-Auger/dp/B003Y3ZHUS/ref=tmm_mfc_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&amp;qid=1465678637&amp;sr=8-2

If you want to begin your journey into the world of Italian Exploitation cinema, consider Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve, Carnage, Last House on the Left Part II, and so, so many other alternate titles) your ground zero. Famously constructed around “13 characters, 13 murders” Bay of Blood also set the template for all slasher films that followed its trendsetting run thru Drive-ins in the early ‘70’s. Viewed today, it is still a potent experience, with considerable levels of gore and bloodletting. The genesis of the project was Bava and his screenwriters dreaming up murder sequences, and then constructing a plot to connect these set pieces. While this seems standard for horror films now, for its time this approach was revolutionary.

With a murder occurring every 5-8 minutes, Bay of Blood did more than any other film to set the temp for the modern slasher film.

Concerning the quest for various groups of nefarious characters trying to gain the inheritance of a desirable waterfront property (the titular Bay), no sympathetic characters emerge. Like an insane game of checkers, one group bumps off another after another, characters are introduced in smash cuts while bumping off already established characters. The victims are perpetrators and the perpetrators are victims. The real, true, villain is greed and man’s inhumanity to man.

Mario Bava was a master of economy. When the script required a forest to run through, and the location was barren, Bava glued branches to some stands and ran them in front of the camera to replicate a real forest. To accomplish long tracking shots and dollies, he used a child’s toy wagon that he personally stood in (he also doubled as the film’s director of photography in a further penny pinching move). To create the coveted waterfront Villa the characters are vying for, Bava personally painted a glass matte of one.

There are two blu-rays readily available for Bay of Blood: a domestic release from Kino Lorber and an import release from international genre label Arrow Video. For the purpose of this review, the Arrow release is the one sampled. It contains two crucial supplements to enhance your viewing experience. The first is the slightly longer Italian language version of the film. All scenes containing dialogue were shot two ways: the first was meant for the international dubbed releases of the film, and the second version was shot for the native Italian language release. Bay of Blood plays a bit better in its native language, dialogue is better, character details are more nuanced, and the dialogue exchanges feel less stilted.

For fans of the film, it is a fascinating alternative to the more common dub release (think the difference between watching a Kung Fu film dubbed vs. subtitled). The second crucial supplement is a commentary track featuring the foremost Bava biographer, Tim Lucas (who also runs the essential Video Watchdog magazine). Lucas does an encyclopedic job in tracking all the creative contributors to Bay of Blood, and their careers before and after this film. Lucas also clearly delineates the underlying themes and clarifies some at times confusing plotting.

Bay of Blood also has one of the most nihilistic, never repeated, final shots in film history. Once you’ve made your way through this one, you will know if the world of Italian exploitation is for you or not. The dividing line is drawn here.

Written by Michael Felix

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“Is this movie in 3D?”

“No, but your face is!”

Follow me on twitter @cinefelix

Grefe Came From The Swamp

Even in the world of “B” filmmakers from Florida, William Grefe is not an “A” list name. First and foremost in most exploitation film fans are David F. Friedman, creator of the modern gore film with Blood Feast to his credit, and Doris Wishman, director of Nude on the Moon, one of the first “nudie cutie” films and arguable forerunner of today’s modern adult film industry. William Grefe’s major claim to fame is Impulse, a William Shatner film from when he was in between major studio film and TV work. Either that, or Stanley, a “nature gone wild” film in the mold of the Willard and Ben that swapped killer rats for killer snakes. A new documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, They Came From the Swamp, aims to make William Grefe a better known name among cult and exploitation film fans.

Grefe’s filmography is littered with titles like Death Curse of Tartu, Mako: The Jaws of Death, and The Wild Rebels, titles that spoke to following trends of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, not setting them. His main gift was his ability to ape the more popular exploitation films while producing them on even cheaper budgets for a string of 3 rd string distributors like Crown International and Independent International. Grefe’s films were designed to tour the lucrative drive-in circuit on a region by region basis.

Ballyhoo’s documentary, directed by Daniel Griffith, goes a long way to increase William Grefe’s profile and shows how through sheer gumption and “let’s put on a show” conviction he was able to forge a career and help build a film industry that previously didn’t exist in Florida. Featuring extensive interviews with the man himself and his key collaborators, They Came From the Swamp is a compelling look at Grefe and builds a case for him being the lost 3rd pillar of Florida filmmaking of the era.

Available on DVD directly from Ballyhoo (http://www.ballyhoomotionpictures.com/store.html) They Came From the Swamp comes with a bounty of rich supplemental material that helps expand upon issues touched upon the main doc. First and foremost is one Grefe’s final films, Whiskey Mountain, a spin on Southern backwoods chillers like Deliverance. Sourced from the best available film materials, Whiskey Mountain, sports plentiful scratches and dirt, so if absolute digital clarity is your barrier to film enjoyment be forewarned. Trailers for all of Grefe’s films are also included, but best of all are the 2 short promotional films Grefe made for Bacardi. I won’t spoil them here, but one features Shatner at his hammiest.

They Came From the Swamp is entertaining viewing for fans of exploitation filmmaking, and is admirable in its ability to vault Grefe from obscurity to appreciation.

Written by Michael Felix

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“Is this movie in 3D?”

“No, but your face is!”

Follow me on twitter @cinefelix

Comparing the book to the movie: The Martian

So I did a huge no-no this year. I watched a movie based on a book BEFORE I READ THE BOOK! I’m still dodging the literary police force.

While this is normally something I’d never do I am glad that I did it. I hadn’t heard anything about “The Martian” by Andy Weir before I watched the movie and seeing the movie prompted me to read the book. Even better, both movie and book were amazing!

Now of course the question that follows is what was different or similar between the book and the movie. I’m ignoring answering the “Which did you like better” question because its been done. I feel as if normally comparisons between the paperback and film versions of a story tend to be negative towards one side or the other. I am happy to say this will not be the case. 

The book and the movie were close to identical. I was very surprised by this because it is often very rare, a fact that tends to irk fans. I wonder if it was a demand by Weir or a decision by the screenwriting team. It was a good choice either way because the book was spectacular and I have a feeling that keeping the script close to it its paperback parent helped boost box office numbers.

The main character’s personality was the same in both the movie and the book. And I meant they kept all of it: his sarcastic humor, his little vulgarities, everything. The personalities and relationships of the main character’s crew members stayed the same too. They didn’t even nix the little romance between two of the crew members. I love that!

There are many similarities between film and paper in this case. However because similarities are many and differences are few, I’m choosing to focus on the few  I noticed which I believe only worked in favor of both formats. 

One major difference was the amount of science described. In the movie, viewers mostly saw the overall gist of what the main character was doing. Lots of science, that’s what he was doing. In contrast, whenever the main character did science in the book he was logging his work in a daily audio journal of sorts. This means viewers got a summary and readers got the details on  a LOT of science. It was almost overwhelming but it ended up making the book that much better actually. Due to the fact that the work the main character did was so well described, I can understand why some of those people who likely live under a rock would have believed it was a real story. It was just that well done. Good for you Weir.

(Note: For those of you who actually believed that this was based on a true story you really need to pay a bit more attention to what is going on outside your house.)

Another difference between the two formats was the suspense portrayed to the audience. And it was intense in both cases. When I was in the theater I was clawing at my seat for half the movie. Similarly (though it was a bit more embarassing) when I was reading the book I ended up audibly screaming, sometimes while in public, when something insane happened. One specific example I have is when the airlock chamber blew off the HAB. In the movie, this was sudden and shocking. In the book, the suspense was built. Weir literally put in a written version of the Jaws theme I swear to you. (This may have been the thing that made me scream out loud in a coffee shop.) It was agonizing and that is the mark of an artist.

The last major difference here was in the ending. In the movie, the screenwriters couldn’t resist one last bit of suspense, making the main character and the crew going through some scary stuff to get him onto the main ship and into safety. In the book, the main character simply proposes some of the ideas that the movie actually had him do (I.E. Ironmaning his way to the ship). The written story only has the ship go through one risky maneuver and get him to safety. This ending was much more relaxing. One thing I was say in favor of the movie is that we get a glimpse of the main character and crew back on Earth which is like the epilogue to a suspenseful but happy ending. That I appreciate because it gave the audience in the movie theaters a chance to finally calm down and know that everyone was safe. The book did this just by getting the main character onto the ship.

A last note on the book that I appreciated. Once the main character is safe and seeing his crewmates again, he has a brief moment of introspection. He contemplates his humanity and mortality in a very human way and while there is not much new said here, it is profound simply because of the context in which it was said. Thinking or contemplation of hsi humanity was not something this character did at any other time even while trapped on a barren planet alone which meant it was something of a break in his character. However Weir included this into the story seamlessly an it actually made me tear up a bit which I was NOT expecting from this book.

Wrapping up: Weir is an AMAZING writer and I would love to personally high five every team member of the crew that made “The Martian” into a motion picture.

Nick also wrote a review on The Martian film.

unnamedWritten by Brianna Gibbons, writer, book reviewer and avid reader. For more book-based talk, follow her on Twitter @Bookworm_ish.

The wages of ‘The Wages of Fear’

Item under review: Sorcerer Blu-Ray

Much like the titular truck, William Friedkin’s film Sorcerer was destined for doom. A high profile remake of the French classic The Wages of Fear, Friedkin’s film had the grand cosmic misfortune of opening a mere one month into Star Wars’ game changing blockbuster run. Theatergoers stayed away in droves and cinema owners pulled it from screens in favor of re-booking that space opera. Sorcerer was soon forgotten by critics and audiences alike and consigned to the dustbin of history.

Critical reviews of the time were harsh, it was seen as too cerebral, hard to follow, and a folly by some. Like Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie before it and Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate after it, Sorcerer was seen as an indictment of the “New Hollywood” system: it was too downbeat, had unlikeable characters, and a generally pessimistic worldview. Also, like the soon to come Apocalypse Now, it was characterized as a runaway production: a young, hotshot director taking his production far away from the studio’s oversight and deep into the jungle where it was subject to escalating costs and egos. Sorcerer was everything about the current Hollywood system that was on its way out and Star Wars was its obvious future.

After its brief theatrical run, Sorcerer was a film more talked about than seen. It had shoddy video releases on VHS and DVD at the respective dawn of each of those formats, and neither did justice to its lush cinematography and innovative Tangerine Dream score. A few years ago William Friedkin famously had to sue the two co-producing studios, Paramount and Universal, to map out who had home video rights to pave the way for its blu-ray release. That blu-ray release now seems to be teetering on the brink of being out of print, with copies now only available on the 3rd party/reseller circuit, and beginning to command high prices.

Despite these issues, Sorcerer has slowly collected a critical rehabilitation among those who seeked it out over the past four decades since its release. It has even been hailed as Friedkin’s lost classic, to be ranked up with The Exorcist and The French Connection as a pure distillation of his strengths and talents.

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Sorcerer’s greatest weaknesses are also its strengths. Critics of the time took issue with the film’s obtuse structure: the first 45 minutes of the film are a series of globally disparate back stories for the film’s protagonists, most of which are filmed in languages other than English. This structure was seen as alienating and off-putting at the time, with the foreign releases restructuring the film into a traditionally linear format and refashioning these scenes to be used as flashbacks peppered throughout the film. The fact that many of these foreign releases of Sorcerer also retitled it to Wages of Fear goes to show how much even the film’s own distributors reacted against Friedkin’s original vision. If Christopher Nolan used this same narrative structure today, he would be seen as daring. For Friedkin in the ‘70’s it was seen as a bridge too far.

After the grand failure of Sorcerer, Friedkin’s Hollywood career never quite recovered. No major studio entrusted him with the kinds of budgets and freedoms that he enjoyed with Sorcerer. That is not to say that his career was over, To Live and Die in LA proved that he could create work that was both critically and financially successful. Cruising proved that he could still move forward projects with dark and challenging subject matter. Like the successful truck in Sorcerer, Friedkin had to alter the course of his career and improvise to survive.

Written by Michael Felix

c507bdd2-78ff-4a92-bff1-0c6fa8e395bc“Is this movie in 3D?”

“No, but your face is!”

Follow me on twitter @cinefelix

The Nicer Guys: Where to go once you let Shane Black’s The Nice Guys into your life

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

c507bdd2-78ff-4a92-bff1-0c6fa8e395bc“Is this movie in 3D?”

“No, but your face is!”

Follow me on twitter @cinefelix

 

Why “The Nice Guys” is a film you need to see

We live in interesting times: Self-driving cars, tiny computers in our pockets that can make phone calls but no one uses them for that anymore, and presidential candidates that are either puppets or Satan himself; and yet movie theaters for the most part are the least interesting places to be. All of them are serving the same flavors of froyo by way of sequels, reboots, and super hero movies.

Most audiences heading to the cinema, if they are at all, are finding a flood of mediocrity the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Safe bets are being made in Hollywood land and they are slowly killing the very thing they think they are protecting. Without creativity there can be no forward movement, and that is why you need to go and see The Nice Guy’s.

Is this film a social commentary on the action genre and meta as hell? No, it isn’t. It’s a fun romp through the streets of LA as main characters Jackson Healy and Holland March try to track down a missing girl (because when isn’t it a missing girl?). Unlike most films that could have easily turned toward the camera and winked, Nice Guy’s never stooped that low. Its a film that is honest about what it is and that makes it utterly refreshing.

The casting is also something that should be discussed. Crowe and Gosling do an amazing job in their roles, but the supporting cast was what really made the movie for me. Matt Bomer did an amazing job as John Boy and seeing Keith David kicking ass on screen made my day. Angourie Rice, who played March’s daughter, was hilarious and was a highlight of the film.

To me the best part was that people talked like people. They weren’t mind readers nor were they robots. The conversations on screen didn’t feel forced or felt like they were simply there to move the plot along. I haven’t laughed that hard in a movie for a very long time.

I could go on about the 70’s Los Angeles setting, the humorous dialogue, and action, but that’s not the core of this film. What lies at the center of this movie is a broken world. The 70’s for all its polyester and shag carpeting, was a broken era and this movie did a solid (if not heavy handed) job displaying those broken pieces that still, depressingly so, reflect our current world today.

Philosophy aside, why should you go and see this movie?

You should see it for two reasons:

-It’s a good movie that will make you laugh and appreciate the fact you don’t have to deal with fully leaded gasoline

-It’s the closest you will get to having The Rockford Files return

Seriously, Shane Black gave a some huge nods to one of my all time favorite TV shows: The Rockford Files. The ad that March has in the yellow pages is nearly an exact layout like the one on the show. Jim kept his snub nose revolver in a cookie jar like March did in his house AND March’s rate is $200 a day, the same as Jim’s on the show. If you haven’t yet, watch The Rockford Files on Netflix, you will not regret it.

The Nice Guys warmed my heart and frankly is a movie we need more of in the theater. Go see it, because that’s the only way we get more movies like it.

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Nick Mazmanian is a content creator and designer on Ironclad Words. He enjoys making things and drinking coffee, specifically the latter, for without it the former wouldn’t get done. He also wrote a book.