An open love letter to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang


[In celebration of the forthcoming release of L.A. Noire, Flixist has teamed up with its sister sites Japanator and Destructoid to give a bit of background on what noir (we’re spelling it that way) is all about. Throughout the next week and leading up to L.A. Noire’s release, we’ll be reviewing/analyzing classic noirs set in L.A., explaining exactly what noir is and a few more awesome things.]

In 2005, I was an irreverent college kid who was young, dumb and full of … well … moving on. I liked my whiskey dry, my women fast and my films in color, so I wasn’t for all these old timey noir cougars. After all, old Hollywood is for the birds and I was a hip, occasionally drunk cynic who liked truth and grittiness and had an unnatural hatred of birds. 

But then, outside of the local movie theater, you caught my eye. You winked at me as I looked around me, certain that your flirtation was meant for someone else. Indicative of my maturity, I giggled uncontrollably when you told me your name and was dismissive at the fact that you were an aspiring noir. Still, with your slick strut and hypnotizing confidence, you held me by the hand as you lured me into that dark theater, and my life hasn’t been the same since. 

Of all the theaters in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I think I love you.

After our liaison in that dark movie theater, I never heard from you again, leaving me to wonder what could’ve been. Shortly after I started seeing Brick, and while she’s a great gal, she wasn’t quite the neo-noir you were. Fast forward to five years later, just as I had finally forgotten you, I run into you at a Best Buy standing the alongside Kill Bill and Knight and Day. I commented on your new Blu dress and we sat there and talked about all the fun we used to have. After a few more minutes of hair playing and flirtatious chuckles, I finally whispered to you “let’s get out of here” and I took you home that night. What transpired was an influx of old emotions, transporting me back to that fateful night in that dark theater where you took me in your loving arms. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1)    You’re charming

My god, did you charm the pants right off me (literally). Your razor wit and sharp dialogue was poetry to my ears, mesmerizing me to a satisfying lull. Now I know other guys will think you’re trying too hard or complain that “nobody really talks like that”, but you didn’t care, you just kept it moving and had everybody in the room hanging on to you’re every word. It’s sexy how you can control the room.

2)    You’re charitable

Before you, Robert Downey Jr. was a broken shell of a man. Though he had a troubled reputation of drug addiction and waking up in stranger’s homes, you still gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now look at him! He’s freaking Iron Man AND Sherlock Holmes. Without you, none of this would’ve been possible. Likewise, you managed to break the man that once was Val Kilmer. It’s almost as if he knew there was nothing better after you and he completely let himself go. It’s a damn shame, but I understand where he’s coming from.

3)    You respect your elders

Unlike me, you acknowledged the noir films of past and you paid tribute to the genre by following the old formula while still doing your own thing. From the music to the cue cards to the character archetypes, it was almost as if you were the bastard child of noir heritage and modern filmmaking. Since that fateful night, I majored in film and learned about all of the noir classics. I have you to thank for introducing me to this world of hard boiled detective stories, and in turn I am eternally grateful.

4)    You didn’t care if I looked at Michelle Monoghan’s nipples

When they first popped up on screen, I looked away in an effort to reassure you you were the only one for me. But you looked at me and told me “It’s cool”, showing her naked once again and allowing me to stare at them without the guilt of making you feel insecure. You’re kinda awesome for that.

5)    You’re aware

From the start of this tryst, you always acknowledged what this was. You knew what I was here for, and in turn you gave me what I wanted. What we shared was an experience that constantly broke the 4th wall, breaking down tropes of noir films and making light of such a serious genre. Yea, you’re respective of your elders and all, but you also know how old fashioned and silly they are. With that combination of homage and parody, you’ve crafted this amazing comment on film, Hollywood, and the noir genre itself. From the winking narration to the acknowledgement of the silly tropes, film aesthetics and ludicrous ending, it’s amazing that you were able to juggle all that, and I for one admire your flawless execution.

In the end, I found out I love you just as much today as I did 6 years ago. Please, let’s never be apart again. Sit on my shelf so I can take comfort in the fact that no matter what, we’ll always have Los Angeles. You complete me Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and I just had to let you know that you truly are special. 

8.60 – Spectacular. (Movies that score between 8.50 and 9.00 are some of the best films its genre has ever created, and fans of any genre will thoroughly enjoy them.)