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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Nice Guys Agency: All Case Types

The Nice Guys (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Los Angeles, California, 1977. A boy creeps into his father's bedroom at night and purloins his copy of “Cavalier.” Is it to read articles progressive and adult? Of course not; he opens the center­fold to gaze at the model's mountainous … a car wreck developing out­side his window inter­rupts his reverie. He investigates. The license plate reads "MISTY M." Famous porn star Misty Mountains lying there bloody in all her glory solicits the lad's opinion, “How do you like my car, big boy?” Ah, he'd need words to describe it, and a knowledge of cars—from articles?—to respond intelligently. Real life is like that, kid.

The aunt Mrs. Glenn (Lois Smith) of Amelia Kuther (Margaret Qualley) an associate of this deceased star hires PI Holland March (Ryan Gosling) to find her missing niece presumed dead. She claims, “I saw my Amelia alive”—Mrs. Glenn wears coke-bottle size lenses. Amelia, however, not wanting to be found hires professional muscle Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to send Holland a “message” to “Stop looking for Amelia.” When various others, though, associated with said “experimental film” start dying off, March and Healy join forces (and split the fees from multiple clients) to get to the bottom of it.

Healy says, “My profession is very complicated; it's nuanced.” Holland's thirteen-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), wise beyond her years, thinks these two are the world's worst detectives and proceeds to give them her unsolicited assistance while trying to figure out if either or both is a bad person.


The opening salvo with the magazine segues immediately into a tutorial film within the movie, titled: Pool-side learning, watched by a roomful of attentive youngsters. Its heading reads “Adj”, i.e. adjective. (The boy would need an adjective to describe the car.) Three young people are on the beach. They have adjectives describing their towels. The first holds up a “white towel.” A girl holds up a yellow one, the narrator calling it a “bright towel.” Lastly is a kid with a striped one. The narrator announces, “Jonathan has a gay towel.” This is met by hoots and howls from the audience, but the word gay can indeed be used to describe some­thing with a bright colored pattern. Was Misty's car white, bright or striped? It's a good place to start.

Let's look at how novelist E. Duke Vincent describes objects in his book Black Widow. For white we have: “He was looking at a white silk shirt in a window” (126). “She was wearing a flowing white dress” (132). “… wearing one of my white shirts with the tails tied above her navel” (146). “[Sailors] wearing their dress whites and gold wings” (183). “I'd put on my dress whites” (193). “Her lithe body was encased in skin­tight cigarette pants and a white blouse” (261). “… we saw the white-uniformed ‘meat wagon’ personnel arrive” (271).

For some dull colors—not to be found on any auto—we've got, “the layer of fog covering the city like a mustard blanket” (125) and “She was wearing pale yellow slacks” (140).

Now for bright colors. “… the escort be wearing dress blues” (2). “The … 1957 Cadillac convertible … was new, it was pink” (5). “… she'd dashed away in [a] pink Cadillac” (282). “Kat wore a bright yellow skirt and blouse combo” (82). “… covered with lush burgundy carpeting” (127). “He was wearing a cut­away red jacket” (193f). “… brightly colored over­stuffed furniture” (219). “… rows of the silver swept-wing jets” (282).

Now we get to the gay, i.e. color patterns, as found used in the Bible, (James 2:1-4): “him that weareth the gay clothing.” In Vincent we've got: “The paisley hair cap” (84). “restaurant … decorated with red-checkered table­cloths” (121). “… the leaves were turning [in] the last mild days of autumn” (168). “Each air­craft carried ammunition marked with a different color. When the bullets went through the target sleeve, they left a colored hole” (184). “… wearing chinos and a tweed jacket over a plaid shirt” (232). Here follows a use of gay meaning a bright color pattern, which our school students may actually encounter in their reading assignments: Henry David Thoreau, Walden: “My gay butterfly is entangled in a spider's web then.”

“The Nice Guys” contains other places where gay could have been used—but wasn't—in some of its other senses. There were gay parties, meaning happy ones. As explained by a writer- character in the 2014 movie, “Love is Strange,” it's currently used by the young in the expression, “That's so gay,” having nothing to do with sexual orientation, but meaning (broadly) "stupid" in some crazy way. In this movie it could have been applied at Christmas to a (stupid) “bad breath tie.” The homo­sexual sense could have been used when the PI questioning some youth encounters one he knows who referring to their game of hoops remarks about a “rim job” he wants to work on, and he's corrected to say, “rim shot.”

In this plot Holly is questioning one of the performers at the party who tells her about, “Trying doing anal and stuff,” where­upon Holly corrects her, “Don't say, ‘and stuff’; just say, ‘Trying doing anal’.” She was merely repeating instructions from her dad (Holly: [At party] “Dad, there are whores here n'stuff.” ¶Holland March: “Sweet­heart, don't say n'stuff. Just say, Dad, there are whores here.”) Evidently, he's trying to get her to lay off over­used expressions. The tie-in to “doing anal” sets one to thinking that perhaps the word gay as in ‘gay sex’ is over­used as well, and should be replaced. From CGB in Word Lore, his time­line shows “the ‘homo­sexual’ sense of gay … was by the 1970s the preferred term of self reference for most homo­sexuals.” So the timing is right for this movie set in 1977 L.A.

When a kid wants to tease the detectives about his made-up sexual orientation for them, he calls them, “Fags!” Here's an epithet that hasn't gone away since 1977. As the detective explains to the thug who opens the fag end of a bag containing an explosive charge, “You know, that color doesn't come off.” There's an exchange involving a confused definition of marriage: “My guys had their balls removed. What do you call them?” ¶“Married.” Recently the Court muddying the definition of marriage re-established the use of epithets for homos by saying they're subject to criticism. I'll Quote from the “Catholic Sentinel” (15) re. 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the states' bans against same-sex marriage were pseudo-unconsti­tutional—marriage isn't actually mentioned in the Constitution.

The main opinion recognized in several places the role of religious beliefs in the questions surrounding same-sex marriage. Kennedy said toward the conclusion of his 28-page opinion that “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

The First Amendment ensures protection for religious organizations and individuals as they seek to teach the principles “that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths,” he continued, and to “their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”

March's word for the day is noun: equanimity. “The quality of being calm and even tempered.” He displayed equanimity while smoking fags, while trans­porting faggots of papers, and at being called a fag. This last according to (Eccl. 7:21-22) “Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For often­times also thine own heart knoweth that thou thy­self like­wise hast cursed others.” He sure used the Lord's name in vain often enough, as was also pointed out in the movie. Michael Nava has written, “The word queer is ambiguous; for decades it had been an epithet, but many younger gays had co-opted the word and proudly described them­selves as queer, in the same spirit that long-haired college students in the sixties used to call themselves freaks” (200). This movie gives a hand to gay on the way out, as also described by Gina Arnold (166):

Portland is home to a group of people for whom the terms “gay” and “lesbian” seem totally outdated—like saying “colored person” or “Negro” rather than “black” or “African American.”

Production Values

This worthy comedy, “” (2016) was directed by Shane Black who co-wrote its screenplay along with Anthony Bagarozzi. It stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as the titular nice guys. The casting of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe with their heavy presences doesn't fit the buddy formula very well for light comedy. Gosling, how­ever, provides for many maudlin laughs at a wimpy investigator in over his head. Angourie Rice is impressive as March's clever daughter Holly. Margaret Qualley garners sympathy as a scared female on the run. The villains are pretty much one-dimensional but still scary. Kim Basinger lacked the screen time to develop her character very well.

MPAA rated it R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use. Philippe Rousselot's cinema­tog­raphy for “The Nice Guys” is its strong point until it falls apart at the end to accommodate a busy movie. Black directs this film with a sensitivity for pace, tension and comic timing, while his talented cast hold it all together. Some of the music didn't come out until a little after its 1977 time period.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie is rollicking good fun thanks to some clever dialogue and screw­ball comic sequences. It also works well as an action flick. The characters were well written and well acted, and they have their touching dramatic moments. The movie is an all round winner that never lets up. Reminds one of buddy movies of old.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations from the Authorized King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print, software.

Arnold, Gina. Kiss This. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1997. Print.

Catholic Sentinel.” July 3, 2015. Print.

Nava, Michael. The Burning Plain. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1997. Print.

Thoreau, Henry David Walden. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, Collector's Library—2004. Print.

Vincent, E. Duke. Black Widow. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2008. Print.

Word Lore: The History of 200 Intriguing Words. New York: Random House, 2002. Print.