• Jeff South

Favorite Movies of the 2010s: #1

1. The Nice Guys (2016)

In a decade filled with sequels, reboots, revisits, revisions, reimaginings, and big screen adaptations of TV titles, an original work stood out above all others to me: a laugh-out-loud buddy comedy that harkens back to a time when a movie of its ilk would've likely been a top 10 box office hit. Instead, it brought it $36 million, good for 79th place on the 2016 money list. Some good movies came out in 2016. Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Revenant, Arrival, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Moonlight, Hell or High Water. There were others. No other film of the year entertained me and stayed with me more than Shane Black's The Nice Guys. When people ask me for a movie recommendation, this is one of the first ones I tell them to seek out if they haven't.

The Nice Guys stars Ryan Gosling as Holland March, dubbed the world's worst detective by his tween daughter, and Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, an enforcer you can hire to "send a message." The pair meet first when Healy breaks March's arm for following a teenage girl around. Of course, March had been hired to follow her. When that girl later turns up missing, Healy decides to hire March to find her and a buddy comedy caper dream team is born. March and Healy quickly find themselves in over their heads as the mystery deepens into labyrnthine conspiracy involving the auto industry and the U.S. government.

Pairing a couple of dudes in an action-comedy is nothing new for Shane Black, who gave us The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, the marvelous Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and, of course, Lethal Weapon. His dialogue in The Nice Guys is sharp and witty and the way Gosling and Crowe play off each other is the stuff of comedic brilliance. Jackson Healy is the straight man in this comedy team and Holland March is the goofball. Probaby my favorite scene in the movie that illustrates this perfectly features Holland finding a dead body (a cameo by Robert Downey, Jr.). Gosling channels Lou Costello in his reaction and Crowe's deadpan response is perfect.

I watched The Nice Guys a few weeks ago, introducing it someone unfamiliar with it. The movie still felt fresh and engaging, perhaps even more than when I first saw it in the theater.

So, if you're looking for a movie and you've not yet experienced The Nice Guys, then I highly recommend you rectify that as soon as possible. This is one that deserves to be around for a long time.

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