Nostalgia is a deeply personal thing. As a result, it's often quite fickle. We at Birth.Movies.Death. can be pretty selective - okay, fine, snobby - about our nostalgia. VHS collecting? Yeah, we don’t get that fetish at ALL. If you were around for VHS the first time, the digital age is a miracle, and no healthy mind should want to go back.
But film novelizations? We love 'em. These distinctive tie-in paperbacks are still around, but the '70s and '80s were a kind of golden age for these books. In the days before home video, novelizations were movie buff catnip. Inside the eye-catching covers, the books allowed you to not only revisit a favorite film but to luxuriate in it, to stretch out in an expanded version of that world. Moreover, the novels were often executed by quite talented writers (in my hazy memory, 75% of them were written by Alan Dean Foster). In our opinion, the film novelization is a genuine, lost art. We are DOWN for some film novelizations, and our shelves are filled with them.
So you can see why we're not only honored and flattered but full-on excited to share an exclusive excerpt from the film novelization of The Nice Guys. If you're a regular reader of this site, you know this is a film we can’t wait to see. We also love that The Nice Guys has embraced a decidedly retro angle with its marketing, up to and including the kind of tie-in paperback we don’t see too much anymore. Cooler still, the novelization of Shane Black’s and Anthony Bagarozzi’s screenplay has been penned by Edgar Award-winning author Charles Ardai, founder and editor of Hard Case Crime and the writer of such acclaimed novels as Little Girl Lost and Songs of Innocence.
The below excerpt details, in wonderfully Shane Black-flavored language, the initial meeting between the story's two protagonists: private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). It’s a scene whose main beats we’ve seen in all the trailers already, so spoilerphobes should fear not. In fact, if it has the same effect on you that it did on us, you’ll just be that much more excited for this movie to open.
As we suspected, Shane Black and pulp crime novels seem like a perfect fit. And that "word of the day" bit is just wonderful. You can add The Nice Guys to your film novelization collection, a collection way more interesting than a banged-up pile of old pan & scan VHS tapes, using the link below.