The Nice Guys: A review

The Nice Guys

Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $50 million

After surviving the events of L.A. Confidential in 1953, Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger are both back at it in The Nice Guys about 20-something years later. The quiet life probably didn’t suit them, so they came back to LA to stir up crap—and stuff.

Funnily enough, the movies were made about 20 years apart. (1997 and 2016)

Funnily enough, the movies were made about 20 years apart. (1997 and 2016)

No, the films aren’t actually connected. This isn’t the Marvel Cinematic Universe here. Although, The Nice Guys was directed by Shane Black, director and co-writer of Iron Man 3. And also a Bruin.

At least they had a shot of the Felix car dealership across from USC.

A real LA gem

A real LA gem.

You could actually see the Gateway building…which didn’t even exist in 2007, let alone 1977. But since you didn’t come here for a USC history lesson…

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe put their sorry characters together to try and solve a mystery with as much grace and subtlely as Jar Jar Binks and Forrest Gump. Overall, the film was interesting and worth a watch, but didn’t do any one particularly impressively. That’s not an insult by any means, but an honest evaluation.

The screenplay was a solid one, with lots of quips and funny moments brought to you by Gosling. I don’t remember any of the jokes really falling flat. However, over-reliance on coincidences to solve their problems seemed to be almost cheating.

Gosling even brings up his apparent plot armor as a joke at one point. Maybe that’s the point. It’s supposed to be a comedy, after all. It was a little more grounded in reality than, say, The Other Guysbut very far from the aforementioned L.A. Confidential on the spectrum of serious or not. They got some kicks out of the recurring side jokes.

Sadly, while the daugther was funny and intriguing as a character, she was the physical embodiment of the script’s biggest problem. She became whatever they needed her to be at any given moment to drive the plot along.

Props (haha!) to costume designers and set builders. I didn’t live through the 70s, but the look and feel were mostly convincing—except for things like Gateway showing up, but non-USC people probably wouldn’t know the difference.

Again, the film suffered from some flaws, but wasn’t bad. If you like comedy and crime films, you will probably enjoy it. Give them credit for trying to make a movie that isn’t based on something else—unlike most of the trailers prior to the movie. Tarzan, Bourne, Warcraft, Doctor Strange, even the Free State of Jones…

CommBro Breaker

not that there’s anything wrong with that. My personal philosophy is that films that strive for an original idea should be commended. The problem comes in when films that are based on something are derided. As long as they make good films, it shouldn’t matter. CommBro out.

P.S. don’t drop mics because they’re expensive and fragile.

Captain America – Civil War: A Review

Captain America: Civil War

Runtime: 2 hours 27 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $250 million

In the latest Marvel film, #TeamAmerica and #WorldPolice duke it out over ideological differences.


Whoops. Wrong hashtags

Yeah, yeah. So it’s really #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan. But you got to admit that those hashtags are fitting.

Anyway, time for your spoiler-free review. I find the movie to be one of the best of the 13 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It took most of those films to build up the friction and tension between the heroes. The ticking time bomb finally exploded in Civil War, giving the audience an absolute spectacle. My gosh, those action scenes were intense and satisfying.

To the uninitiated viewer, it may seem like a lot of bloat and way too many characters to understand.That was simply unavoidable somewhere along the line in the MCU. If you are one that has missed a significant number of films (especially Age of Ultron), you may not get the full experience out of the movie. However, that won’t stop it from being enjoyable.

The movie isn’t just an enjoyable action flick with explosions all day. It throws in subtleties and callbacks to the other movies. There’s definitely some emotion, if you have been following the characters. The interspersed jokes were hilarious, serving to relieve some of the tension. Overall, I would rank the three Captain America movies as follows:

1-tie. Winter Soldier
1-tie. Civil War
3. The First Avenger

CommBro Breaker

I’ve got to add a disclaimer that this was one of my favorite trilogies, so may review could be kind of biased. While I fully admit it, I’m not going to recuse myself from writing a review. Just go watch the damn thing and decide for yourself.

In the spirit of Civil War, I will rank all the current MCU movies in order to bait some arguments:

1-tie. Winter Soldier
1-tie. Civil War
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. The First Avenger
5. Iron Man
6. The Avengers
7. Ant-Man
8. Age of Ultron
9. Iron Man 2
10. The Dark World
11. Iron Man 3
12. Thor
13. The Incredible Hulk

USC-NFL 2016: The Daft and the Draft

As I was churning out this piece, I realized that it has been just over a year since I made the first post on City of Angles. My first football related post was about the NFL Draft in 2015.

Can you believe it’s already been an entire year?—And  somehow you’re still reading? WOW. Unless you just started reading. Come, pull up a chair. Don’t let me scare you away.

At the close of the seventh round, USC still leads the nation (and world?!) in most NFL draft picks from any single school. The “official” count is at 496, but we all know it’s actually 497 because of Bush (hint: we’re not talking about Jeb).

It’ll easily hit 500 after the 2017 draft. With guys like Zach Banner graduating and Adoree’ and JuJu eligible, There’s no way it won’t happen. After all, USC and Michigan are the only schools to have a player taken in every draft since 1939.

Ohio State had a buttload of draft picks and made significant strides to catch up the record. However, they’re still a long way off at third place (430). Notre Dame is the bigger danger at 493.

Before I get into all this other stuff look at all the results below:

Su’a Cravens Washington Redskins Round 2 Pick 22 53 Overall
Max Tuerk San Diego Chargers Round 3 Pick 31 66 Overall
Cody Kessler Cleveland Browns Round 3 Pick 31 93 Overall
Kevon Seymor Buffalo Bills Round 6 Pick 43 218 Overall
Soma Vainuku Houston Texans Undrafted Free Agent
Claude Pelon New York Jets Undrafted Free Agent
Antwuan Woods Tennessee Titans Undrafted Free Agent
Tre Madden Seattle Seahawks Undrafted Free Agent
Anthony Sarao Indianapolis Colts Undrafted Free Agent
Delvon Simmons Indianapolis Colts Undrafted Free Agent
Greg Townsend Jr. Oakland Raiders Undrafted Free Agent

And in case you’re interested in players that transferred away:

Former USC running back Amir Carlisle (transferred to Notre Dame) signed as an undrafted free agent to the Arizona Cardinals

Former USC quarterback Max Wittek (transferred to Hawaii) signed as an undrafted free agent to the Jacksonville Jaguars

CommBro Breaker

I’m going to preface this argument with this: I’m happy for Cody Kessler. I wish him as long and as successful of an NFL career as he wants. I’m glad he’s about to get a multi-million dollar contract.

Since we’ve gotten that out of the way, time for the honest opinion (angle) of one man. I don’t think he should have gone in the third round. It’s just another opportunity for naysayers of the world to say “oh look, another USC quarterback bust in the NFL.” Maybe they say it because they hate SC. Maybe they say it because they want to look like they know something. Or why not both? No matter what, it seems like a lose-lose-lose…except maybe for the Kessler bank account and agent.

I don’t think the Cleveland Browns are exactly the shining paragons of drafting quarterbacks well. Or of very much, actually. Kessler is unlikely to receive the support he needs to be successful at this program. Perhaps RGIII will fail in the system, then Kessler goes in throwing 6 touchdown passes like old times. You would see a post here saying, “I was wrong.” Until then, stay tuned.

For reference, Kessler was drafted higher than his predecessor, Matt Barkley (Round 4, Pick 1, 98 Overall). I think most would agree that Barkley was better than Kessler. The 2013 draft wasn’t exactly a deep year at quarterback either. The first one off the board was Florida State’s EJ Manuel at pick #16. Then Geno Smith (WVU) and Mike Glennon (NC State).

By the way, since that 2013 draft, the Browns have gone through nine starting quarterbacks. Whoever starts in 2016 will be #10.