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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: You may wonder what I’m doing seeing a crime-caper-comedy set in the late 1970s without any type of superhero, monster, alien, kung fu, sci-fi, horror or fantasy element at all. Well, it’s about a drunken P.I. (Ryan Gosling) and private enforcer (Russell Crowe) who team up to find a girl linked to the murderer of a busty porn star named Misty Mountains, while driving and surrounded by 1960s and 70s Detroit-made cars. Need I say more?
Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi. Directed by Shane “Iron Man 3/Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” Black.
- Crowe and Gosling actually work great together. The banter and relationship is fun, especially considering their unique first meeting. I can see them eventually ranking right up there with LETHAL WEAPON’s Glover-and-Gibson, 48 HOURS’ Murphy-and-Nolte and others. Especially if they can make a decent sequel (hint, hint).
- Who knew Gosling (as Holland March) could be this funny? (This is the same guy who was human Ambien in DRIVE.) He even recreates a classic Lou Costello gag (but without saying, “Heyyyy, Jackson!”). Crowe (as Jackson Healy) isn’t funny by himself in the same way but in how he plays off Gosling, and the contrast of his subtle dialog with his extreme actions.
- Even March’s little girl Holly (Angourie Rice) was well-cast. Precocious but not precious. I felt bad for her having such a f**-up as a Dad but took comfort that she was smart regardless. Several other quirky/funny characters. And look for a still-not-so-bad Kim Bassinger as a government official.
- Genuine laugh-out-loud moments for this guy, both dialog and physical slapstick stuff. (The men’s room scene is one of the funniest, even though it’s super simple. And it could have been gross but it’s not, so extra points there.)
- Speaking of gross, no cheap onscreen bodily-function bits, even though there were opportunities.
- Finally, a movie that obeys my “bullets ’n’ blood-to-boobs ’n’ butts” ratio! Plenty of gunplay and hard-knuckles fisticuffs (old school brawling style, no fancy martial arts choreography) along with a wild adult-film industry party, grainy scenes from a porno flick and even a Cavalier men’s-mag centerfold come to life! And in brief appearances, Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) lives up to her moniker.
- Nailed the time period! Cars, fashions, music, behavior, events/references, billboards, even buildings of ‘70s LA, the whole bit. (You’d never guess it was shot in Georgia!) Crowe drives a late ‘60s Tornado and a hitman drives a ’66 GTO. Technically, the Camaro at the beginning was at least a 1978, and the film takes place in 1977 (the auto show was showing the 1978 models and there’s a billboard for Airport ’77, which was released in March ’77), but I won’t be a dick for a one-model-year discrepancy.
- Sup-plot dealing with the Detroit automakers and several points/comments about “The Big Three” (Ford, GM and Chrysler) which were both interesting and funny considering what’s happened since then.
- One scene where the boys are asked to run a “shady” errand for someone with no further explanation really came out of nowhere and didn’t make much sense other than they had to do it for the plot. One or two sentences would’ve made it more believable.
- I like my nude centerfolds without blood, thank you! Not a turn on. And ladies, Russell either gained a bunch of weight for this or is wearing belly-padding.
- If you have anything against smoking in films, steer clear. You could get seriously wasted playing a drinking game every time Gosling’s character lights up. (You frat boys can send me a six-pack as a thank you.)
- No button during or after the credits! Really missed opportunity for either a sequel-set-up or even another running gag or two. Heck, even bloopers would’ve been cool.
A tough call. I dug it, a lot. But the average movie fan wouldn’t benefit much from seeing this on a giant screen other than the few huge explosions and seeing big boobies look even bigger. (The average guy would, in fact, prefer seeing at home so he could pause and rewind as much as needed.) Unless you’re a major car buff like me, wait for it to come to your home so you can laugh and leer as much as you want, over an over. (At least once by yourself.) Dig it, man!
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, The Big Three, The Big Two, the Detroit or LA Auto Shows, private eyes, hitmen or the adult film industry. Bru is currently saving up for a Hot Tub Time Machine so he can go back to the 70s and star in his own X-rated flick as Buck Nekkid.