TV Party is a new Friday feature in which Film Editors Dominick Mayer and Justin Gerber alongside Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman suggest one movie apiece to enjoy over the weekend. Joining them each week will be two rotating film staff writers to help round out the selections. Seek out any of the films via Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, Hulu, OnDemand, or abandoned Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores — however you crazy kids watch movies these days! Enjoy ’em for the first time, a second, or maybe a redemptive third.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Since The Judge hits theaters today, and there’s a reasonable chance it won’t be particularly great (a Wedding Crashers director here, a general John Grisham-circa-1995 aesthetic there), let’s talk about a Robert Downey Jr. vehicle that, nearly 10 years later, is still criminally underseen. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a comeback effort for Downey and Val Kilmer and writer-director Shane Black all in one, worked out for two of those three men and stands as one of the best things any of them have ever been involved in. It’s at once a neo-noir, a throwback to the pulp heroes of yesteryear, a hilariously vulgar crime flick, and a fourth wall-breaking meta-commentary on the sort of action movie that Black made his name on.
After onetime magician and current small-time thief Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr.) literally stumbles into a casting call and lands a role as a private detective, he’s put in touch with “Gay” Perry van Shrike (Kilmer), an actual P.I. whose contempt for Harry runs thick early and often. The two become a reluctant team when they accidentally witness the immediate aftermath of a murder and are hired by a childhood crush of Harry’s (Michelle Monaghan) to investigate her sister’s suicide. The film twists and turns like the throwbacks it’s aping, even as it’s deconstructing them to inventive effect. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the very definition of “compulsively watchable,” over and over again.