So, remember what I said about some of the reviews being shorter than others – this is one of them. Not through laziness though, honest. I can only imagine that the director of today’s films would wholeheartedly approve of this list. Christmas has become a trademark of Shane Black’s work, from his script for Lethal Weapon all the way through to Tony Stark dancing to Jingle Bells in Iron Man 3. Of course, when it came to putting together this Countdown from Halloween to Christmas, I had to include at least one of his films.
And today it’s…
5th November, Day 6
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black, 2005)
Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr) has made it to Los Angeles to screen test for a film role that will give him a huge break in Hollywood. He is at a swanky Christmas party where he meets Perry van Shrike (gay Perry, played excellently by Val Kilmer), and reconnects with a childhood friend Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan). Gay Perry is a private detective, and Harry is going to ride along with him to get some background experience for the role. But when they get directly involved in cases involving Harmony’s missing sister and another missing girl, Perry needs to do some real detective work.
Yep… that is all the synopsis you are getting. Explaining any more about the plot will take away from your enjoyment, and even referencing that it is a detective film is a bit of a spoiler to be honest. I will say Harry narrates throughout, and the use of flash backs is very well done, with how Harry originally got the acting job is one of the highlights for me. However, Harry is aware that he is narrating a film, and even complains to the viewer about a conveniently expositional scene early on.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a film that seriously under performed at the box office on its release, but it really is a must-watch for any serious film fan. It is steeped in the business of the film business, but is enjoyably “cine-literate” without being annoyingly so. If you liked this year’s The Nice Guys (Black’s latest film with Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling) you’ll love this. It was one of the films made by Robert Downey Jr in his Hollywood wilderness period, but it is (was?) a reminder of just how talented an actor he really is. It’s easily my favourite Michelle Monaghan performance, and probably Val Kilmer’s last good role. He’s got to be due for a comeback.
A real treat. Track it down this holiday season – they even apologise for the swearing. I guess they are nice guys as well.
Overall, I give this
That’s three days on the spin that I’ve given that same rating now. I did say there would be some short reviews, but the joy of this film is the way it unfolds in front of you. And doing it this early in the countdown means hopefully my recommendation means someone watches it this festive season. See, it does make sense to be watching Christmas films in November!
Enjoy the fireworks guys! I’m back tomorrow to round off my first week with Joe Dante’s 80’s classic GREMLINS!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far:
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang