The Nice Guys is one of my all-time favorite movies. As of this writing, I’ve seen the movie ten times, and it’s #9 in my Favorite Movies ranking. Shane Black’s absolutely superb screenplay that matches a convoluted detective conspiracy with meditations on masculinity and loneliness is a thing of wonders, inspiring me enough with my web novel ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture that I just had to insert a couple of sly homages here and there.
But my secret dishonor in all of this is that I did not see the movie in theaters in its original release.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I failed The Nice Guys. I failed Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice. The movie mad $36 million in the U.S., which is less than Warcraft in the same summer, and everyone hated that one (except for me, but that’s a post for a later day). Despite great reviews, good counter-programming against the big blockbusters, and two huge movie stars, the movie made basically nothing, and I was part of the problem.
The first time I saw The Nice Guys was many months later, while on some sketchy streaming website in late 2016. I was trying to watch a lot of the movies I had missed throughout the summer and fall partially thanks to being in Japan, and this was one of the movies I had been most excited for way back when its trailers came out… despite not actually having seen it.
And the thing blew me away.
I mean, we got one of the best buddy cop duos ever with Gosling’s Holland March and Crowe’s Jackson Healy. The chemistry between them, the sheer comedic vibes present in every scene… It’s some kind of black magic, I’ll tell you that.
Ryan Gosling proves himself to be one of the best comedic actors ever, something you don’t really think of when you think of the hearthrob romantic drama guy, nor the stoic Mr. Blade Runner/Neil Armstrong man. He plays this role a heck of a lot better than he did in La La Land, and that was already a damn good performance on its own. He’s neurotic, depressed, and trying his best in a life he hates. Russell Crowe is the perfect counterbalance, also kind of depressed and disappointed in his life, and yet playing the calm and reasoned type, the perfect straight man in any situation, despite not always being the brightest in the room.
I love these two men and their amazing buddy dynamic. I desperately want to see more of them…
…but the movie flopped so the chances of that are basically zero.
After I had seen the movie three times on the internet, I knew that I had to serve penance for my mistake of not seeing The Nice Guys in theaters. I had to make it up to the world for letting it down.
And thanks to Japan’s bizarre movie distribution industry, I got that chance.
See, when movies come out worldwide, they don’t always release at the same time. In some countries, movies may come out a couple weeks early, or a couple weeks later. Sometimes, a movie will even come out a whole month or two after everywhere else just because of local calendar issues.
Japan is completely different. In Japan, except for the absolute biggest movies, and sometimes even then, movies will just come out whenever the hell they feel like it. It: Chapter Two took until November 1st to come out in Japan, many months after its American release. That’s perfectly typical.
The Nice Guys, though…
This movie came out in mid-May of 2016. So why the hell was it coming to Japan… in February of 2017?!
I don’t know, and the movie must have grossed very little because it never even had its Japanese box office reported. But I took the opportunity.
I saw that damn movie in theaters, for $18 for a single ticket, for my fourth viewing. My penance was served. My dishonor was redeemed.
Well, kinda. The movie is still a flop and will never get a sequel. But it’s already fast on its way to becoming a cult classic and I think people like me who were so passionate about it that they watched it in theaters six-plus months after it came to streaming services are a good sign of that.
The Nice Guys is real nice. Y’all gotta watch it if you haven’t.