We’ve all been there. The trailer looks brilliant and, drawn in by it, we rush to see the movie. And things don’t seem quite so great.
SPECTRE was like that. Though as well as the brilliant trailers it had lots of other promotional stuff going on to big it up. The concept made sense. Reintroduce a classic enemy so you can bring back elements of the Connery Bonds, while keeping it up to date with the times. To this day, I can only assume the marketing budget is what made it the box office smash it was. Because it was the worst Bond movie to date.
I could come up with a whole post about why it was so bad, but after months of therapy I’ve come to terms with it and want to put it behind me.
And to help me move on I try to go to the cinema every week.
There are some great movies out there, and there are some crap ones, and there are some that are okay. The problem is, until you’ve actually seen them, you can’t make that judgement. And any judgement based on the trailers is usually misguided.
So it was with The Nice Guys. I should just add here that it’s not a crap film. I enjoyed it, just not as much as I expected to. Strangely enough, a girl on the back row seemed to be enjoying it a lot more – at least, I hope that’s what all the noise was about (she was laughing a lot. Laughing. That’s all).
A large part of the problem was expectation, and I’ve got to say that some of the expectation was created in my mind rather than by the trailer.
What was clear from the outset was that this was going to be a “buddy” movie. You know the kind of thing I mean. Two guys meet. They don’t like each other, but they’re forced to work together and gradually become friends prepared to die for each other.
Examples of this include 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon and Tango and Cash (I didn’t say they were art house classics, did I?). For me the best incarnation of this genre wasn’t actually a movie, but a TV series: The Persuaders.
In large part, it ticks the boxes because of the pairing of Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. The contrast between the actors and the characters – an American who survived the mean streets of the Bronx to become a successful (if rough and ready) businessman, and an English lord who is part of the Establishment – meant that there would be sparks.
Made in 1971, it has inevitably dated, though not as much as you might think, and is worth watching just for the banter between Danny Wilde (Curtis) and Brett Sinclair (Moore). It’s an education in writing dialogue.
Being set in the ‘70s was another factor that made me think The Nice Guys would be entertaining. That was the decade I became a teenager, so it was a period I could really relate to. What a combination, I thought. The ‘70s and a buddy movie. The soundtrack was bound to be good (it was), the fashion would be questionable (strangely, they didn’t overplay the fashion, so it seemed almost reasonable), and, based on the trailer, it might well include some features ‘70s movies were well known for.
An example of this is the clip with a car flying off a cliff and crashing through a house. With my ‘70s references, I’m immediately thinking we’re going into Smokey and the Bandit territory. As it turned out, in the film the scene has a completely different context.
So what am I really saying about The Nice Guys? It’s very funny in places, but it misses a few tricks in terms of characterisation. The buddy element is there, but the potential humour from having polar opposite characters isn’t played up enough. There are plot holes, but not big enough to dwell on. There’s a reliance on coincidence, but then they aren’t claiming art house status either.
Ultimately, the disappointment comes down to expectation. Unlike SPECTRE, though, not all of that expectation was down to the way it was promoted. In this case, I created my own expectations based on my own preferences. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling did a good enough job, but they weren’t Curtis and Moore. They weren’t even Gibson and Glover. It was unrealistic of me to expect them to be.
I’ve got to remember that I live in the 21st Century now.