What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.
I just got home from seeing the film that will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in two-and-a-half months time.
I don’t care that there are still several worthy films still to come (or, rather, films that think they’re worthy, like what I imagine Ben Affleck’s Live By Night thinks of itself, so it pushes for a limited release on Christmas 2016, but isn’t released wide until January 13, 2017, so it obviously cares but like, sorry, Ben, you already got your Oscar and you have yet to prove you deserve another one so moving on…). La La Land will win Best Picture. You can quote me. You can etch that quote into my grave stone if you want. There’s no way a film that is this dazzling and grand, while also playing to the Old Guard so well through its musical numbers and interest in exploring Hollywood culture itself doesn’t win.
It’s just too bad I think it’s only just a good movie.
I’ve used the phrase “Moneyball Movie” on the blog before as a short hand term to describe a movie that was nearly unanimously critically enjoyed, but that I could never get behind (the namesake being 2011’s Moneyball, which currently holds a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes). As I walked out of The Nice Guys the other night, I listened to my friends talk about what they enjoyed: it was bold; it had style; there was a story; Ryan Gosling was great. I couldn’t disagree with anything they said, but I still found myself thinking I could’ve used a little more.
It’s hard not to enjoy watching Hollywood’s resident puppy dog actor spend two hours drinking and improving his way through 1977 Los Angeles. Each time teenaged Angourie Rice stole a scene from her A List co stars I couldn’t help but smirk. And if the year ended today, Russell Crowe would win the Oscar for Best Unnecessary Comedic Flashback. Ultimately, though, The Nice Guys is just like the booze Holland March (Gosling) consumes throughout; it does wonders to alleviate troubles in the moment and transport you somewhere better than real life, but when the bottle’s empty you find yourself exactly where you started — not having changed in the slightest. Was it a Moneyball? No. Just a Nice Guy (copyright pending).