The Nice Guys - Verbal Diorama

Episode 52

The Nice Guys

Published on: 23rd July, 2020

The Nice Guys, upon its release in May 2016, found itself facing off against a comedy sequel, an animated movie of a million-selling mobile game and two separate superhero franchise sequels. It's really no wonder it suffered at the U.S. box office. An original idea, from the always brilliant mind of Shane Black, needed room to breathe and find its feet. Sadly, it never got to do that. Had it been released in June, like it was supposed to, it might have made the $217 million that the other comedy buddy movie it swapped release dates with did. Can you tell I'm bitter about that? 

The Nice Guys had two big name stars (Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling), several up-and-comers (Margaret Qualley and the terrific Angourie Rice) and a Hollywood icon (Kim Basinger) in its cast. It followed Shane Black's other directorial efforts; his debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the 20th highest grossing movie of all time, Iron Man 3. It's really quite brilliant, actually. 

For the titular (and ironic) "nice guys who aren't actually nice guys"; as Private Investigator Holland March, Ryan Gosling excels at physical comedy, with Russell Crowe's Jackson Healy as the grumpy tough-guy straight man. As casting decisions for a comedy go, you'd never suspect they'd be this perfect together, but they are.

The script is witty, dark and hilarious. The setting, 1977 Los Angeles, centred around the adult movie industry, feels seedy yet exuberant.

Seriously - this movie should have made buckets of cash!!

Although The Nice Guys failed commercially, critically it passed with flying colours. The few who did see it raved about it and arguably it's well on its way to cult classic status. It deserves to be talked about on a podcast, and most importantly it deserves to be watched and enjoyed. I really do think it's one of Shane Black's best.

I would love to hear your thoughts on The Nice Guys!


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About the Podcast

Verbal Diorama
The podcast on the history and legacy of movies you know, and movies you don't.
Are you interested in how movies are made? Do you wonder how a film went from conception to completion? If so Verbal Diorama, hosted by Em, is the podcast for you!

Movies are tough to make, and Verbal Diorama is here to celebrate the coming together of teams of extraordinary cast and crew, bringing us movies that inspire us, delight us, make us laugh, make us cry and petrify us. This podcast discovers the stories behind the scenes, and proves how amazing it is that movies actually exist!

Welcome to Verbal Diorama. The podcast all about the history and legacy of movies you know, and movies you don't! Subscribe on your favourite podcast app, and enjoy new episodes every week.
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About your host

Profile picture for Em .

Em .

Hi! I'm Em. I created Verbal Diorama in 2018, and launched the podcast in February 2019 to rapturous applause and acclaim.... from my cat Jess.

The modus operandi of Verbal Diorama is simple: movies are tough to make! The coming together of a team of people from all walks of life to make something to entertain, delight and educate us for 90+ mins is not an easy task, and yet so many succeed at it. That must be something to celebrate.

I'm here to do just that - to celebrate movies. Their history and legacy, and why they remain so special to so many of us.

Episodes are audibly book ended by Jess. She sadly passed away in March 2022, aged almost 18. She featured in many episodes of the podcast, and that's why you can hear her at the end of every episode. The role of official feline producer is now held by the comparatively quieter Evie.

I love podcasts, and listen to many, but never my own.

I unashamedly love The Mummy (1999) and Grease 2. I'm still looking for a cool rider.