Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

Started by MacGuffin, October 01, 2014, 02:10:50 PM

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This took a long time. Let me know what you guys think and please share!
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


It makes me want to read the book again! (after seeing the movie last night).

max from fearless

Modage - great piece, thanks for that. It really makes me want to see the film again and read the book again.


it's a bit so simple it can be overwhelming. right. life, right?

right. a story spun into a detective tale seen through the prism of the 60s, a time during which humans were indeed a disparate collection of people on a mission to solve the case, and this is 1970 and post-manson so it's all quite questionable

the case is life, doc is asked to solve it, except what exactly the case means seems like an amorphous threat that consistently swells and becomes reevaluated owing to outside sources, and the figurehead of the crime is a company that might not even exist

i do think it's simple overall, but when looked upon by microscopes and fandom it looks too massive. has not pta grandslammed, by making a movie about larry doc in which every audience member across the board sounds like doc themselves, when they describe the movie? when a discussion begins about how pta has begun to externalize the characters into their narratives, and the discussion is joined by memories of what a detective case tends to be, and it tends to be a case that subterraneously explores the darkness of humans, doesn't the answer come to itself: this is a movie in which the essential philosophy of a detective story has been externalized

pta's a sonofabitch because i just think it's a bit of a personal problem for a person to say he makes movies wrong. this is a hard movie, innit, isn't that what people say? so fuck pta for the same reason as always, for making the hard look easy. its lyrics sang to me today, here on christmas eve, when i saw it in the dome with about twenty other people. clear today from my memory of the book, my memory of having seen the movie, and in a theater so quiet and unpeopled that i felt like there was nothing between me and the movie at all

i haven't consumed marketing materials nearly as much as others here but, i tell ya, i really think they're trying their best to explain the movie through marketing. i do remember the first screencap there was, and i thought of it tonight while watching the movie:

the proof is in the pudding. doc looking at bigfoot like that, there you go, that's the cosmic energy of the movie. that explains: this is a movie about the forces of personalities colliding against each other, with separate and/or similar motives and all that. i also think pta plucked a great line from the first chapter for the first scene of the movie "Back when, she could go weeks without anything more complicated than a pout. Now she was laying some heavy combination of face ingredients on him that he couldn't read at all."

the emotional tempo was transparent to me today. i regret not saying immediately that joaquin phoenix delivers an impressive performance. i think he's a got a bit of a constant struggle in him, and a bit of a constant fight, and that is of course what doc needed. not more of either and plenty of both. i wouldn't say there's a bad performance anywhere in the movie. plus, the music, since today i was following the emotions, the music is an impressive guide to the emotions of the movie, absolutely

Quote from: SailorOfTheSeas on October 11, 2014, 04:08:42 PM
I've got a question for the majorspoiler squad. Is there a scene in this akin to the frogs in Maggie, the ending to twbb, the processing scene in The Master? I don't mean in terms of content but similar in a "holy fuck" woah nowthatssomething" kinda way.

said it before and i'll say it again: the sex scene with shasta. i believe that's the same kinda gift of a scene, because i think it pulls back from the story, and pushes in on the two central characters, and it's a bit like they meet in an empty field and the wind blows on them, kinda thing. the music, the pace of the scene, its intro, its outro. you could pluck out that one scene and have a short with all the necessary and digestible components of a human relationship


Thank you for this wonderful review. Now I want to watch it even more. And I can't.
Quote from: jenkins<3 on December 24, 2014, 08:36:10 PM
i also think pta plucked a great line from the first chapter for the first scene of the movie "Back when, she could go weeks without anything more complicated than a pout. Now she was laying some heavy combination of face ingredients on him that he couldn't read at all."
About that first scene: They put a clip up of the beginning of that and already that had a very interesting thing in it. When Shasta is telling Doc about making it look like a secret rendezvous, she has this wonderful face expression where you see it's loaded with emotion for her. In the book, Doc has several thoughts about that, but not her. I guess that's Katherine Waterston's work.
After reading that first conversation again, I have to say that first of all Pynchon really has a knack for beginnings, then there's this phrase's: "Come to think of it, there's never been this much sorrow in her voice either."
(also, now I finally got that bit about the "new package")


had such a strong emotional memory about the movie iv, while walking across los angeles sidewalks and listening to neil young. listening to journey through the past and remembering how much i cherished that sequence, of doc and shasta running in the rain across the sidewalks, and they collapse together by the store entrance, a flashback in the movie that's told as a funny story best remembered by both of them, how out of all the things possible, they most remember the story ignited by the oujia board that worked itself upon doc's hands

did i exaggerate my memory of that? feeling emotional tbh. in my real life and all that, the feelings i treasure and wanna see on the screen, also tend to involve running in the rain with a girl i care about. the real kind of romantic run in the rain. feels like a movie. i'm imagining neil young in the background and...

there you go. can't even pretend for a moment that i don't like this pta guy, tell ya what


the fading in and out of that light on his eye in the foggy freeway caravan, under-water just them two...whispers, these whispers within fog back and forth like jazz riffing into the unknown and then to a question and then to the known and then back again...the sounds of rough, rubbing couches, and wetness while shasta's ass is hazed in view, the camera barely moving, just un-knowingly racking focus- so simple and lightweight, yet so god damn bolted into the ground... her face completely orange and so burning, crying, her foot creeping up docs leg at the complete bottom left of the fucking tall and un-judging frame, feeling your own cock fucking tingle, while the word "invisible" repeats over and over...screaming planes at the moment of a happy ending and humid artificial waterfalls revealing swastikas/rehab clinics with double-triple meanings...moods moving without a true steering wheel but haunting and heading forward and backward toward their natural destination...the blues...the "blues"...what's gonna nag you in the middle of the night?...lonely, lonely nights doomed while the sun sets leading to a call for your FBI lover with a dirty-footed hard-on...the blue-drenched empty lot rain leading to the most burning neon red glowing shelter, while knowing "she's walking out the door"...the way no scene is truly "a set-piece" (other than that one), but one continually moving...thing? did this happen? how is this that good? how does Mickey Wolfman make me cry? And joaquin in that low position leave me absolutely mystified? how am I supposed to feel? scenes i laughed my fucking tearing eyes out first viewing I was absolutely still this time... sometimes you don't even know if you're feeling something that was intentional or real or not, or whether your even watching a movie or not, and then you realize doc is also feeling that exact same feeling and then Jade just continues on about spotted dicks while the blues and the camera continue heading in one direction never stopping....ugh, man.

there is so much to talk about, especially about how the book and the movie and The Master jam session together. how can we begin to do this? the ending shot is somewhere to start....


Beautifully written review from a Pynchon fan:

He's saying something I haven't read before, he says the movie rhythm is too fast. And I didn't copy-paste because I want you to click.


i took the clickbait and here's the referenced passage:

QuoteAs I sat in the theater, taking in the visuals and the groove, I was struck with the simple fact that, it's too fast. The medium of film isn't one built for memory. The paranoiac intricacies of Pynchon's plot demand a reader's time, a word-by-word intake that engraves on the brain. When we approach an aside mention in the novel that may connect to another small event of personage that came before, we perk up and say wait a minute... But in the film it is too fast. We fling willy-nilly from scene to scene without much pause. Not to say that the effect isn't in the film. It's done well with the Golden Fang connections, but this is usually due to Doc's own recognition of the connections. One of the joys of a Pynchon novel is the connections the characters don't see. These, I think, are hard to pick up on in the film. Instead we feel over-saturated, soaked in plot and names and colors.

Yet, this may not necessarily be a weakness. Pynchon is known for saturation, and perhaps Anderson wanted to reflect that. However, I think it falls flat. Even with a running time of 2 and a half hours, there still isn't room for the viewer to chill out and tune in, as Doc would have it. Instead we feel, to quote Gravity's Rainbow once more, like we are "riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide."

There is an achievement here though. When my friends and I left the theater feeling as if we'd been knocked over the head, I had one feeling: I need to see it again. And this is exactly like a Pynchon novel.When you turn the last page, you feel you must go back to the front and begin again. There's something you missed, something which graced the pages that held you, but at the same time you overlooked, some treasured "beach" under the paving stones you failed to recognize. Anderson's movie leaves you with the same gut-feeling. You want to tell the projectionist to put it up again so you can have another go at it. You think that if you watch it once more there will be something different. Waiting, as the novel's closing states:

"For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead."

If this is not the measure of a good film or a good novel, I don't know what is. After all, if you finish watching or reading and all you want to do is watch and read again, what more can the creator ask for?
If nothing, it sure sells tickets.

yeah at first he's just saying he has memory problems associated with the movie, then he realizes he's being a baby and he should see it again. it's totally true i think, and i'd like to begin to stand by the statement that the movie is enjoyable on a first pass and people worry about themselves too much. you don't gotta get it, you can feel it. i assure you it's true. i saw the movie in absolute idgaf mode and the payoff was flawless



not sure if this has been posted yet: great article on the locations in IV


also no idea how I found this, some random behind-the-scenes b-roll from the ouija shasta flashback scene


^lol I just discovered that little vid too after learning from that article they filmed in downtown Pomona which is not far from me. I know exactly where that is! hadnt a clue that was the location of that scene. If only i knew while they were....then I couldve..... :s

think it was grantlands article on pt's LA that led me to the house used for Burt's in boogie which is in Covina the next town overohohohohoooooh no one cares


This was my first time watching a PTA film in theaters and in 70mm no less, it was sort of a tense experience with all the expectations and me having and internal kinship with his other films- it was tough not to sit and think about how others were reacting, whether they liked it, if it was a dud, did it get laughs etc. almost like I was screening one of my own films. Also having read the book multiple times just wondering what where and when and weren't things were there and comparing and all that...

So anyway the STYLE- Inherent Vice made me feel intensely claustrophobic in a way that few other films have- at two and half hours of close-ups and tightly framed two shots of one on one monologues with our hero, I wonder if this was what he was going for? I felt maybe he may have stripped back it too far the point where it feels almost like a mumblecore film with a-list actors or a lower budget TV series, with tight closeups on white walls and intentionally ugly framing that several times cuts off peoples heads- it's not a visually ugly film but it almost feels like the work of a perfectionist deliberately trying to make an imperfect film
Somehow I felt this vibe didn't really jive sometimes with Pynchon's ornate and fluffy, ridiculously self referential dialogue which is EXACTLY transposed here, case in point the Benecio scenes which were mostly unnecessary and only kept in probably because Benecio is Benecio and you can't cut him out right?

Moving on, The voice over, which annoyed the shit out of me in the trailers, actually mostly works here, yes it does have a bit of an expository copy/paste quality and I sometimes wished PT used it in a more cinematic way like the time where sortilege appeared and reappeared in the car, but her casting is inspired and the character adds another interesting dimension that wasn't in the book, which is always a plus too an adaptation...

I've been listing to Greenwood's Soundtrack a lot this week and it's growing on me too- doesn't strike you in the same way as the last two but it adds to the mood and is an another inspired choice.. I appreciate PTA for not just loading the soundtrack with golden oldies like I feel a lesser director would have done. The pop tunes sometimes seem haphazardly used, they sort of are just kind of sit there, not really adding too or punctuating scenes but they are well-chosen and tasteful

Also there's no sense of geography in this movie, and that combined with the editing, like the Master, may throw some people off- the scenes flow into each other abruptly which is what I thinkis causing the "drug haze/trip" vibe everyone is talking about despite the fact that in no way whatsoever is the film overtly "psychedelic" or surreal, it's as straightforward as possible considering the source material, this is not Fear and Loathing 2.0, Bunuel is an interesting comparison but its still more straightforward than that, it reminded me a bit of Roger's LSD trip scene in that Mad Men episode, offbeat in a really restrained, relaxed way

But throwaway all the Vegas (felt tacked on in the book to me, too), acid trips and looney tunes (s much as I would have liked to see that stuff), the heart of the book was Doc, Bigfoot, Shasta and it's hard not to say that PTA knocks that out of the park. I'm officially on the Brolin Bandwagon- Bigfoot was the funniest character in the book but Brolin's characterization is so much deeper and funnier and more complicated and just better than Bigfoot in the book, that last scene with Bigfoot eating the weed was like a parody of the last one on one in the Master and I mean that in the best possibleway. Waterston is great as well

and yes Joaquin is a great Doc, You can practically smell him through the screen. And No, RDJ couldn't have pulled it off, Joaquin is already pushing credibility being 39 as is.

In general I would differ a bit from samsong and say The Master is a masterpiece and IV is an interesting diversion

If this is all sounding kind of negative, I really liked the film and I'm looking forward to getting back in that world again even though to seems pt tries so hard to make it unnoticeable. Also trying to distance it from the novel and take it on it's own as a PT anderson picture and all that

ALSO : DOC - great character, one of pynchon's most realized (haven't read much of his stuff but character is not really his strong suit I take it) and probably one of PTA's best too- what does this guy dream about? what kind of music does he listen to.. these are good questions and a good sign that your doing something right



Marvellous! I'm so excited to see it again. This movie is just spilling over with the most delightful and lovely details. I've been recalling various moments, and laughing, ever since I saw it.

My thoughts are nowhere near organized, but for starters, I love Joaquin Phoenix here: effortlessly suave, competent, formidable, and yet also totally spacey and seemingly obtuse. The way he saunters into certain scenes (meeting Sloane Wolfmann, for instance) is just super hilarious and really endearing. It's great to have someone like Phoenix at the centre of this movie, and I think his comedic sensibilities really shine here.

Every encounter feels like an exciting, absorbing, standalone attraction that leaves you wanting more from a particular character or moment. I love Jena Malone's scene, for instance. There's something totally enrapturing about her presence in this movie; the dialogue, the expressions she makes, etc. There's just something compelling and compulsively watchable about her. The way she flashes those bright, enormous teeth? That's like a small but potent dollop of off kilter energy being dropped into a cinematic soup already brimming with so much delirium and fascination.

Sublime, ecstatic, makes-you-want-to-weep-because-they're-so-good moments? So many. When things start taking off in Dr. Blatnoyd's office and Denis walks in with that steering wheel...oh, man.

Anyway, I'll arbitrarily cut my rambling short.

What an enormous pleasure to start the New Year off with a new PTA film.


Oh, and I finally checked out some of the trailers and commercials that I deliberately avoided. They're nice, but I have to say, I'm glad that I decided to not watch any of them prior to viewing the film itself. My reaction was basically: "They showed that moment? Really? And that one?!" For example, I had a visceral reaction to Doc getting knocked out early on, and I'm not sure that would have happened had I been keen on checking out all of the promotional media.

The final shot of the film even shows up in one of the commercials. I know that context is everything, but still, I don't want the last shot rattling around my head in some abstracted, predigested form. The same applies to so much of what we see in the actual film. Especially in a movie like this, it's a real joy to be swept along from moment to moment, and I gleaned so much enjoyment from the sheer variety of details big and small.

In other words, I'm more certain than ever that I need to change my anticipatory habits. Ha...this probably sounds excessive to some of you, but yeah. I'm very ambivalent when it comes to movie trailers. I appreciate the form (there's no way I'm throwing that very rich and great history under the bus), but the tendency to overexpose is a problem. This is never going to happen, but sometimes I think about how great it would be if we only got a poster and that's all. The goods are unveiled once you're in the theatre. Of course, this is a problematic business strategy to say the least. Plus, I can do my best to engineer that kind of experience through sheer will (that's not necessarily easy, though).

Our first glimpse of The Master, which mostly consisted of footage that does not appear in the film, was a great example of how to approach a trailer. The first TWBB teaser that PTA uploaded onto YouTube was wonderful, as well (one of the best). Also, I think the Jurassic Park teaser is probably the high water mark for trailers that conceal a lot (i.e., no shots from the movie) and yet remain totally riveting: