12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang


It’s hard to believe it was just last Christmas that Harmony and I changed the world. And we didn’t mean to and it didn’t last long. You know a thing like that can’t.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black, 2005).

A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.

(the imdb)


Look up “idiot” in the dictionary. You know what you’ll find?

A picture of me?

No. The definition of the word idiot, which you fucking are!


She opens the door, and she’s got nothing on but the radio. Yeah. She invites me to sit down, sits on my lap, fires up a spliff —

Geez. Really?

No! Idiot.



Merry Christmas, sorry I fucked you over.

No problem. Don’t quit your gay job.


She’s been fucked more times than she’s had a hot meal.

Yeah, I heard about that. It was neck-and-neck — but then she skipped lunch.


I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, an ID from that?

I’m sorry, you peed on…?

On the corpse. My question is —

No, my question. I get to go first. Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on a corpse?



Hey, hey, hey! It’s Christmas. Where’s my present, Slick?

Your fucking present is you’re not in jail, fag-hag.


You don’t get it, do you? This isn’t “good cop, bad cop.” This is fag and New Yorker. You’re in a lot of trouble.

I think this is a killer movie and I don’t want to give away the plot, which is why these blurbs between the pictures are all quotes from the incredibly witty, breakneck script. Writer-director Shane Black’s screenplay is loosely adapted from the Brett Halliday novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them (real name Davis Dresser).


The title underwent many changes over the course of production, before, allegedly at Val Kilmer’s suggestion, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was finally settled on. It comes from the 1968 book by film critic Pauline Kael.

Kael heard that in Italy James Bond was known as “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and thought that was the most succinct summation of the appeal of cinema she had ever heard. She fell in love with the phrase. Though she heard it from an Italian movie poster, “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was in wide use, from Southern Europe all the way to Asia, as the vernacular for the Bond flicks.

The film is a blend of mystery, neo-noir, camp, dark comedy, and romantic comedy genres. The fourth wall is continually broken,not only by Harry, the narrator-thief-would-be-actor, but also by Gay Perry, the former cop turned private eye who the studio instructs Harry to follow for his upcoming role. The self-awareness works really within the genre, kind of scooping it away from the cheese into which it could descend, but the film still sticks with the noir genre at the same time, with duplicitous blondes, sleepless runs through L.A., and body counts galore.


Thanks for coming. Please stay for the end credits. If you’re wondering who the Best Boy is, it’s somebody’s nephew. Um … don’t forget to validate your parking. And — to all you good people in the Midwest? Sorry we said “fuck” so much.

You will never forget Val Kilmer’s turn as Gay Perry in this movie. That is a promise. Watch it today! Or tomorrow! Or at your convenience!

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