The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★

So this is some depressive-ass cinema, right? Like, it's funny, but it's all gallows humor, it's all a cover for their hopelessness, it's all laughing so they won't cry. "You will never be happy :)" "Nothing ever works out." But what's interesting about this is that March and Healy actually have pretty solid relationships with their depression.

March feels like he's pretending to be a real detective, like it's all an act and inside he has this ironic distance from all his actions, as if he's performing them despite not believing in them, as if he's working despite not believing that his work is meaningful. Healy lacks this ironic detachment but he has that same feeling of not really being able to do something despite "doing something" all the time. "I just wanted to be useful for once," he tells an unconscious March, when he knows it's safe to admit to his defeatism.

And yet, despite both Healy and March's negative attitudes toward their ability to do good in the world, despite their conviction that their jobs are ultimately meaningless, they both nonetheless continue to do their jobs anyway. Sure, maybe they're doing them poorly, maybe they could be doing something better with their lives, but that's not the point. The point of depression, the only way to get through the emotional and motivational stagnation that it entails, is to just keep acting even though you know that what you're doing is completely meaningless.

Our internal attitudes toward our actions matter, it's important to eventually develop a positive relationship with your regular activities, but when you're stuck in an emotional rut, that positive attitude comes second to the actions themselves. Just do it, even if nothing ever works out and you'll never be happy :), because who knows, maybe you'll discover that you're invincible and save the day, even if it ultimately doesn't change the world. For hopeless depressive cinema, it certainly has a positive attitude about its negativity.

"You will ______ be happy :)"

2016 | 2010s

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