Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

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

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


alright. I can't say anything serious or insightful about the movie itself right now. So I'm gonna ramble.

Do you know what's the hardest thing to do in fiction? Creating a good person. Not a person who does good things but someone who'll trudge through the sewage of human intentions, wants, needs, duplicity, selfishness and be relied upon to do the right thing. You know how hard it is to do that honestly in fiction? To achieve actual grace? Cloudy said Doc is an angel walking the earth and he's right. This movie feels so much to me like There Will Be Blood because it's the exact opposite of There Will Be Blood and something that's so much harder to do.

The Bad Guys have won out as they always do. Even though things appear to be better than ever, there's still that nagging feeling that something's been taken away from us, that there's been a progressive narrowing down of choices. Things fall apart because that's the nature of things, that's how we define fucking Time itself, Time is the direction in which entropy increases. Second law of thermodynamics, it's built into the fabric of Universe itself, it's the universe's inherent vice. So it's the easy to luxuriate in it to look at our worst tendencies and point out."See? That's how we are." What's harder is to try to  search for a way to find a "parenthesis of light", to not allow unstoppable forces of history to dictate at least our time on earth, to "find a dimensionless coefficient for yourself" within history's own unstoppable spiral, as Pynchon sez in GR. That's hard, hard to do, hard to make people appreciate.

What I'm getting is that this film is the Paradiso to TWBB's Inferno in PTA's own little comedy of a troubled century in the furthest place on earth people could escape to (which makes The Master Purgatorio I guess, I haven't thought it through but that seems appropriate). Everyone will always be drawn to the inferno, but to those of us who'd like to think they're in the know will know Paradiso's where it's at. And that's alright, it can be our little esoteric secret.


mine coming soon;;


I saw this for the second time today. A pretty packed theatre for this Friday afternoon screening. The crowd was really receptive to the humour. Doc/Joaquin drew so many laughs. Bigfoot and Doc's last scene probably elicited the most laughter...there was someone in the audience who was in hysterics over that moment (understandably so; it's superb, and Brolin and Phoenix are so funny there). My first viewing earlier this week was around noon, and it was a more sparsely occupied theatre; that crowd was also fairly receptive to the humour, but the positive reactions were definitely more pronounced today. It was great to be there amidst a crowd that seemed to be on the same wavelength as the film and totally enjoying the ride, etc. Very fun.

This movie is really such a remarkable, dense package. It's teeming with all manner of frivolity and strangeness, but it also sustains this tremendous sense of nostalgia and melancholy via matters both personal and cultural. I hope I can make it out to the theatre for a third viewing soon, as I'm pretty smitten.

I feel like I could pick any given moment and really start gushing about it. As mentioned in that Vice interview that was posted yesterday, it feels like you're being given privileged access to an array of clandestine conversations of varying flavours and intensities. It's so great. For instance, that conversation between Doc and Coy in the house in Topanga Canyon is probably one of the most spellbinding and incredible passages that PTA has ever registered to film. Every element is perfectly calibrated. That scene really stood out to me today...I was in awe.

Another stray observation: Brolin is a master of physical comedy in the scene where Bigfoot's wife chews out Doc over the phone.

Also: Jade's "PS -- Beware the Golden Fang!" line is spectacular, as is the transition it prompts from the letter to that pier that's absolutely shrouded in fog. Great line delivery by Hong Chau, who is such a lovely presence in this film. I love her "Spotted Dick" ramble, too, and when she asks Doc if she can get a ride home with him, etc.

One more: that bit where Clancy Charlock has her great line about regret, and then Doc ambles back into his office, Minnie Riperton's "Les Fleur" starts playing, Doc starts cleaning up, etc.? Magic.


So Inherent Vice now controls my life, I watch scenes from it all the time... Anyway, I just wanna talk a bit about the music in the movie. I absolutely adore it and I really think that Anderson and Greenwood outdid themselves with this. (sorry for rambling a bit)
In a way to me it feels very much like Vertigo (which I consider to be very high praise) in that virtually every bit of Greenwood's score is filled with a yearning for something I can't really put into words. I'm talking in particular about Shasta's themes and the "Golden Fang".
For example, watching the party scene just about kills me emotionally. The whole conversation between Coy and Doc is fantastic until Coy says the words "Shasta Fay... Shasta Fay", the music ("Golden Fang") swells and Doc does his facial contortions and then it breaks my heart. It doesn't stop there, so we get the Last Pizza Supper and Jade talking about the Golden Fang, which makes everything together maybe the most Pynchon-like scene in the film. It combines the heartrending intensity and beauty of Pynchon's prose (here translated into film and music) with his all-surrounding paranoia. And those are always my favourite parts of Pynchon's books also.
Another wonderful bit is the music cue in the beginning when Shasta is almost crying and 'L├Ęge is talking about her complex face expression and there comes the first "Shasta" theme (so much longing again).
The film is just filled with gems like those. A funnier scene is the Chick Planet transition to Bigfoot's big entrance with the "Simba" song. The editing is wonderful here, it just goes with the music. I don't know where Anderson got the idea for putting that song with that scene. It really shouldn't work, but it does so well and it makes Bigfoot's entrance spectacular.
Gittes already mentioned the Minnie Riperton song, but that really is magic and I get why Anderson was in tears over that idea.
I can't contain the beauty of this movie. And it really gets better with every viewing.


saw it again yesterday, liked it  lot more the second time.  all i could think about though was: that sex scene, still awkward, and: the sound at Lincoln Center for NYFF was absolutely terrible.

Knocho Pytsh

After a third viewing, I'm convinced this is his best film yet. Not a single scene runs too long or feels weak. I feel like the two that will garner the most discussion are the sex scene with Shasta and Bigfoot's final meeting with Doc. The former is electrifying and the latter is so poignant that I almost want to shed a tear for Bigfoot myself. As big of an asshole as he is, I can't help but feel bad for him. As the sixties come to a close and Doc must come to terms with what has changed and what lies ahead, we see that Bigfoot has witnessed the evaporation of the country's conservative ideals for a long time now. Even though there's a striking polarity in their views of the world, they're both insignificant compared to the ever changing direction of American history and its implications. It makes me reflect on my own life and the space of history I occupy and if I'm as aware or unaware of the changing political landscape as these characters are. With that said, this isn't really a political film, as none of his films really are. You know you've seen something special when it opens the door for such self-reflection without even really trying to.

Most importantly, it's hilarious, but not in the same way its inspirations are. The humor is mostly in the dialogue. Each of the three times I've watched it, I'm always the only person who laughs at Doc when he covertly tries to shush Sauncho in the restaurant when their waitress brings the tequila zombies. Or just about every exchange he has with Dr. Blatnoyd and Dr. Threeply. Everything that isn't laugh-out-loud funny is just fascinating to watch. I smile ear-to-ear when I hear Hope's joyous shout when Coy arrives home. These people haven't even been on screen for more than 10 minutes. How does he do this?

We were blessed to know that this project was next in mind after The Master, but what now? Every film he makes is better than the last. He's established himself so solidly at such a young age. What could possibly be next?


i agree with everyone whose opinions are nourished from this narrative's relation to its point in time, i myself find nourishing information there, and also i think that's one of the easier things to do with a historical piece. you can put a story together much easier if you can see its future. like, pta predicted in boogie nights that all of you movie people would become corrupted by home media. the master and there will be blood seem obvious. i like it all i'm not complaining, or rather i'm complaining while liking it, but anyway i think this and everything else would be a lot more interesting if it confronted the challenges of right now. i can't help but think -- this is my personal opinion -- that avoiding an examination of the space and time in which you live is really an artist choosing the easy over the hard

i'd like the above to be considered an aside. good to hear back from people seeing the movie and its time period is an essential piece in understanding the movie, agreed


Quote from: Korova on January 11, 2015, 03:30:28 PM
For example, watching the party scene just about kills me emotionally. The whole conversation between Coy and Doc is fantastic until Coy says the words "Shasta Fay... Shasta Fay", the music ("Golden Fang") swells and Doc does his facial contortions and then it breaks my heart.

I already mentioned my admiration of this scene in a previous post, but yeah, we're definitely in agreement. Otherworldly levels of greatness.

Quote from: Knocho Pytsh on January 11, 2015, 06:11:31 PM
Most importantly, it's hilarious, but not in the same way its inspirations are. The humor is mostly in the dialogue. Each of the three times I've watched it, I'm always the only person who laughs at Doc when he covertly tries to shush Sauncho in the restaurant when their waitress brings the tequila zombies.

There were laughs at that part during both of the screenings I attended. I really love that bit, too. Anthony Lane's review reminded me of another stellar bit of comedy, which occurs in the same scene, and which makes me laugh just thinking about it:

Quote from: Indeed, anyone who prizes the book for its treasure chest of jokes will be gratified by how many of them survive onscreen, including the advice dished out by the waitress at a seafood restaurant, as she takes orders for drinks ("You're going to want to get good and fucked up before this meal").

Hilarious. Sauncho's nonchalant, affirmative response ("that's for sure!"), which is tossed off so casually by Benicio del Toro, makes this moment even funnier.

Also, I haven't checked out a lot of the reviews yet, but surely someone has already noted one of the more bizarre, incidental (?) connections between The Master and Inherent Vice. Both films see Joaquin Phoenix incorporating toilets into enormous acts of aggression. In The Master, Freddie absolutely eviscerates the toilet in the prison. In Inherent Vice, Doc finds defensive recourse in the porcelain lid of a nearby toilet, which he then slams into Puck Beaverton's head during the film's most brutal scene. I can't recall if that's in Pynchon's book or not. Anyway, for whatever reason, this little connection came to mind while I was in the shower.

Speaking of that scene...Keith Jardine is quite terrifying as Puck Beaverton! When he walks into the room and says, "Do I know you?", there's a significant atmospheric change; it's like this threatening pall is suddenly cast over the whole scene, and you start feeling worried for Doc, etc. Oh, and those brief moments after Doc escapes and he's waiting for Puck to return? Super tense. The resulting eruption of violence feels as shocking as Shasta and Doc's sex scene (although, of course, for totally different reasons). I admire the way the film has these totally unexpected ruptures of intense violence and sexuality; the impact of both of these scenes derives in part from the fact that they feel at odds with the tone and concerns of the film up to that point. Amazing scenes, the both of them, but Shasta and Doc's scene is obviously the more substantial and intriguing example (plus, what a showcase for Katherine Waterston, whose monologue is unforgettably delivered).


First viewing Reactions:

PROS - Casting! Cinematography! Jokes! Music! The Golden Fang building sequence! Children who have no problem interacting with drugs!

CONS - Cramped shots...the whole movie I wanted to get up and STRETCH because of how tight everything was. Some people are calling it "intimate", and I know there's a method to the madness, but again, this is my "first viewing" reaction.
            Needed some closed captioning, although Altman would've been proud!

THINGS THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN THAT I WAS EXPECTING -  Let's just say I wish I hadn't read the book or seen some of the promos. After digging Hong Chau, i wouldn't have minded a scene of Jordan Christian Hearn going down on her in the back of Doc's car! They teased it, and cut it. PTA has his reasons, but DAMN!   I'm glad to have this interpretation of the book, although I would've loved a full-fledged, mini-series-esque version with all the details and side-stories in place. But then...uh, well, that's why there's a book in the first place.

I'll see it again. Every odd-numbered PTA movie leaves me cold at first, thinking about how little sense it made to movie, or leaving me emotionally confused. Like I think too much about them. Then the even-numbered ones I just connect with effortlessly. That's right, sandwomen are my cup o' tea!
In any case, I say keep up the swell work, Mr. Anderson.



Would anyone happen to have a copy of the screenplay they could send me? Much appreciated :)
He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.


Yeah, seconded. Weirdly, all the other Oscar contenders screenplays have been readily available online for a while but no IV.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


Have apparently found it here:

I don't have a scridb account and don't want to pay - especially if this turns out to not actually be it. Anyone else have an account already and want to download this and share with the whole class?
He held on. The dolphin and all the rest of its pod turned and swam out to sea, and still he held on. This is it, he thought. Then he remembered that they were air-breathers too. It was going to be all right.

Jeremy Blackman

There's a lot to love about this movie. It was kind of losing me until Doc arrives at the Golden Fang, but the second half is dramatically better. It's like Martin Short kicks that transmission into the right gear. The movie suddenly begins to effectively channel that alternate-world pseudo-apocalyptic energy that we felt in TWBB when milkshakes were being drunk. That's also when Jonny Greenwood's music starts working especially well. It really reminded me of his Bodysong score. (Listen to "Iron Swallow" and tell me that wasn't in the movie somewhere.)

The framing with heads being cut off actually worked quite well for me. It was a funny and effective way to introduce characters, at least twice that I remember. But I agree with putneyswipe that in general the framing seemed uninspired or intentionally plain, to the extent that I really noticed a beautifully framed scene when it arrived.

I was also deeply feeling the claustrophobia. The movie seems to take place mostly in series of rooms. When we do follow Doc outside, the few wide shots usually involve him being dwarfed by a large ominous building. Even the establishing shot outside his beach house is claustrophobic. (And I love that idea.) The camera is low to the ground uncomfortably between two buildings, and car bumpers even crowd out the shot later in the movie.

The final scene with Bigfoot was funny and wonderfully bizarre, and Doc's reaction is my favorite acting that JP does in the movie. But in retrospect I'm not sure the scene was entirely earned... the insanity or the emotional resolution. This scene was clearly meant to be more resonant than it actually is. And the way it dissolves into the next scene after the punchline kind of makes it feel a little cheap.

Likewise... I'm fascinated by some interpretations of the film, but I'm not convinced the movie itself engages those issues with much cogency. It's more like, yeah, I guess that's in there.

I feel like the way to appreciate this movie going forward is through its formal curiosities and its multitude of quirky delights. What I'm not feeling is a beating heart at the center, or a story that is screaming to be heard, or any character with a particularly rich inner life.

This just doesn't have the soul that I assume a PTA movie will have. Even The Master, probably PTA's coldest movie at that point, had full, intense characters with explosive depth, almost effortlessly. Inherent Vice just doesn't have any of that. Doc is certainly a sweet and somewhat angelic character, but let's be honest here, he has two or three distinguishing characteristics. Whatever depth might be there just isn't coming through the haze. I'm wondering if people are bringing information to this character from the book, because, while it's always fascinating to watch Joaquin Phoenix, I'm not quite feeling it.

I do think it's a good movie. Some scenes are amazing. I can sincerely accept this as a light diversion and move on with no complaints. Maybe it's like what he first intended with PDL, actually happening 12 years later.


We've already talked about this at length in the shoutbox and have officially agreed that the cameo(if there even is one) is the guy in the background looking in on Coy and Doc's conversation at the Boards house. Anyway it doesn't even matter because no one will ever know which is why it's cool so let's move on.

Edit:had it saved