This week I watched a video essay titled “Shane Black’s The Nice Guys (2016): Wit, Done Right.” This video discusses wit in Hollywood movies and brings up the clever use of wit in the movie The Nice Guys, a movie that underperformed according to this video essayist. I think the topic of wit, especially in relation to the movie The Nice Guys is an important topic, because wit is often done poorly in movies, and movies with well crafted wit tend to be overlooked. As this video essay brings up, The Nice Guys nicely balances between using typical tropes and jokes in new and interesting ways, as well as directly criticizing typical jokes in order to be witty. Another important aspect of The Nice Guys is that throughout the whole movie, as the story changes and adapts, so do the characters, style, and jokes of the movie. There is a fairly consistent style throughout, but the jokes evolve as the characters develop and get to know each other. Unlike other movies that might just keep using the same type of witty banter for most scenarios, The Nice Guys builds on its old jokes, even making fun of them. This meant that as a viewer I appreciated the later jokes in the movies just as much as the earlier jokes because I felt like I had grown alongside the main characters.
In terms of this video essay’s form, the video mostly uses video clips, background music, and voiceover. One interesting choice made was that every time the video cuts to a scene with important dialogue, the background music of the video essay cuts out completely. On the one hand I found this technique effective because it caught my attention every time and drew me to pay close attention to the audio of the scene, but I’d almost rather that the video essay have the music fade down but keep playing quietly in the background. I think that changing the volume drastically would still draw viewer’s attention, but keep more of a consistent feel throughout the whole video. Besides these audio interruptions, I think the rest of the video is very effective in keeping a consistent tone with the movie. The author’s voiceover performance is witty and causal enough that it totally fits with the clips from the movie. Also when the video featured text, the font and color of the text felt consistent with the style of the movie as well, meaning that I wasn’t distracted from the argument of the video.