If you like the comedy of The Big Lebowski, the 1970s So-Cal production design of Inherent Vice, and the heat between Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential, then you’ll adore The Nice Guys (Disc/Download) as much as I do. A movie that made it onto my Top 5 List several years ago, it’s only gotten funnier and better with age.
Starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as private investigators in Los Angeles circa 1977, this Shane Black film is the neo-noir buddy cop movie I never knew I needed. Gosling and Crowe are hilarious together, and though the plot meanders (as it does in most noirs), the chemistry between these two makes you want to keep watching. March and Healy are on a quest to investigate the death of porn star activist Misty Mountains, which takes them from rollicking sex-fueled parties in the Hollywood Hills, to a fabulous airport hotel bar (sign me up for a drink at the Flight Deck!), to an auto show full of Detroit’s finest land sharks. The period details in this film are fantastic, and you can almost taste the smog and polyester through the screen. This isn’t Bogey’s LA, or even The Dude’s—this city belongs to a couple of guys just trying to do right by the little old ladies and teen girls who need their help.
There’s nothing like a car crash in the first five minutes to pull me into a story, and this one has a doozy. As Misty lays sprawled over the crash site, boobs akimbo, gasping, “How do you like my car, big boy?” the tone is officially set. Let’s celebrate this stellar opening with a Scotch Mist cocktail.
½ cup Crushed Ice
2 oz Scotch
Pack the ice into a glass, and pour the scotch over the ice. Twist a lemon peel across the top, then drop in.
Classic film fans will probably recognize this as Lauren Bacall’s drink of choice in 1946’s The Big Sleep, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed in the 1970s. After all, strong cocktails and private dicks are two things that’ll never go out of style on the big screen. Cheers!
P.S.- if you’re looking for more Film Noir cocktail pairings, be sure to order a copy of Eddie Muller’s fantastic book, Noir Bar!