Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

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

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Quote from: Larry on December 07, 2015, 09:28:10 AM
so......................has anyone seen Yi Yi?

yeah of course but how's that related

Jeremy Blackman

Sukiyaki also recently made an appearance in The Man in the High Castle. Second or third episode.


Quote from: Reelist on December 28, 2015, 03:25:36 PM
It's funny to think that this is the only PTA film I didn't make a fuss over buying right when it came out. I still don't own the blu ray simply because I didn't see the point in revisiting it after my two theater viewings, I didn't feel the need to dig any deeper into it. Then, it just kind of came to me a second ago that maybe PTA was attempting to make the most dense stoner film of all time? Like, the go to quality those movies seem to shoot for is their rewatchability, that you can just throw it on at anytime, any scene, and have a laugh with your bros. It's probably the most universally reviled films by all his fans, though. I think what that speaks to is how adamantly he intended to make a Thomas Pynchon film over his own. That novel spoke to him so deeply, that he needed to propel it out there for us. I find that compelling. This movie is a beast to deal with, but I look forward to the day when I can sit on my couch, barefoot in the living room smoking a joint as fat as one doc would roll and really trying to get to the bottom of what this thing is about.

I'm grabbing Reelist's post from the other thread. Good stuff there. I agree that he definitely wanted to put Pynchon forward- and you know, this film brilliantly demonstrates his screenwriting/editing mastery. His ability to pare down a fairly dense novel into the most crucial plot points and thematic ideas. Honestly, he did better than I thought he could.

Even then, this is still pretty quintesentially a PTA film. There's this (very PTA) restless/yearning quality to it has been apparent in his works since PDL (arguably Magnolia). But if we're talking about something more concrete and less wanky, he promoted the relationships to forefront. The other book IV reminds me of is The Crying Lot of 49 (another Pynchon work). There's a lot of meandering to both stories and that's crucial because it really does demonstrate the confusion prevalent in both works, a feeling of this circular hopeless investigation. Anyway, PTA managed to capture that quality in the film yet he gave into his natural instinct and elevated the relationships. This is a side effect of trimming down the plot but boy does make the emotional aspects of the film more affecting. Some of the changes he made were pretty interesting MINOR NOVEL SPOILERS, having Shasta in the car at the end gave the ending a different vibe to the book. Then there's Sortilege's altered presence in the film which is really quite cool ands some moments of much needed warmth and affirmation (I adored that 'what's going to nag away at you in the middle of the night' part)- which also ties into Coy Harlingen's return to his family which is so goddamned nice in the film. However the best change in the whole film is the final Bigfoot scene- it takes a smaller conversation between Doc Denis in the book and turns into a puzzling dude vs dude confrontation. All of Doc's care and confusion, all of Bigfoot's internal struggle- 'no, but you could use a keeper'. That scene is definitely now part of the PTA essential canon.

Anyway, I think that PTA's reverence of Pynchon is evident in the film but to me, it is very much a PTA film. It does seem more apparent on repeat viewings.

On a relatedish note, it's pretty amusing how all over the internet everyone expected some sort of return to Boogie Nights and instead they got his most difficult work yet. Boogie Nights is challenging and brilliant on its own terms but this is still closest to The Master. This is a totally logical progression in style from The Master, from the way he frames his shots to how he structures the film (the anxious, uncomfortable comedy of PDL is also present in this film). Someone mentioned how The Master is a masterpiece (true) and IV is an interesting diversion. I think that's interesting because it certainly isn't a stylistic leap- the way Magnolia was to PDL was to TWBB to TM (yes, I think TWBB and TM are somewhat disparate). But it does seem like PTA has found a style which is comfortable to work in. Then again, he could easily throw this out the window with whatever he makes next.


Favorite film of all time. Marking this thread for future geek-vomit-rant.

Something Spanish

2 1/2 years later, still never loved a film as much as IV.


short video essay compiling pynchon clips into an unofficial bildungsroman.

Just Withnail

Bringing the Inherent Vice conversation here, from the other thread.

A lot of you talk about IV's plottiness as a negative, but the overabundant plot was the heart of IV for me, and it's convolutedness made me feel for our little man Doc. The mood of the film was of constantly having to realign yourself to new information, eventually just succumbing to it as a texture (though it has logic if one wants to solve the puzzle). It's a film that shows the constant process of change, of constant newness, and nostalgia as an alluring drug to dampen the frustations brought on by it. I can understand the wish to maybe get even "closer" to Doc, but I felt the plottiness put me right in his shoes. A barrage of newness all the time, and he just wants his ex-old lady.

Invoking entropy can be a tired critical trope, but the film certainly invites it. Eggs break, chocolate melts. Girlfriends become ex-old- ladies. Experience lost to the past, continuously. These continuous push-ins on people's faces as they tell their intricate stories just highlight the loss of the moments immediately before. Can you keep the plot in your head? You just heard it. It slips away. Does it ever end? Of course it does. It did. Unavoidably.

Entropy is there in the rhymes of visual motifs (the parking-lot becomes the dentist office years later), in the grain, and the constant invasion of new new new. And in this film the "new" has a very sinister quality, felt through an overwhelmed Doc, as a perhaps inevitable contrast to the idealism of the very recent old. Things looked so great for a second, how could they look anything but bleak right now?

In the beginning Doc has seemingly succumed completely to entropy, just flowing away with the heat-death of the universe, no real sense of purpose and drive, dreaming of the past. The one thing that cuts through the entropic haze, the thing that makes him try to muster up some energy and counteract the slipping away of everthing, is, ironically, something old. "Shasta. Find Shasta Fey". Maybe the most heartbreaking moment for me in the film is when Coy slips sideways and whispers this to Doc, and the way you see the name cut into him like a razor. As he goes on his mission and the intricacies pile up and the haze returns, he's posed a question that cuts through everything again: "what's gonna keep you up at night?" And the haze of solving a mystery and finding patterns in the chaos is supplanted by a relatively simple action: get Coy home.

There's another counterforce to the haze: the compressed energy of Bigfoot, this low-entropy, quite literal, square. No straight lines in nature but Bigfoot's hair sure is close. Like all of PTA's other "low-entropic" characters like Mackey, Plainview and Dodd, it's a tightly organized structure that hides chaos (or, maybe rather: it's so tightly organized because the oppositional forces are so powerful).

In the end Doc's "back" with Shasta, seemingly where he wanted to be, living in "the past". Except of course it isn't. The newness, strangeness, of the situation just seems to bring home the fact that this isn't the past at all. This doesn't mean we're back together. It's still something new, and always will be. Something's off, and you can see it in Doc's eyes. What's wrong here? And in the end, of course:

Any day now I will hear you say "Goodbye, my love"
And you'll be on your way
Then my wild beautiful bird, you will have flown, oh
Any day now I'll be all alone, whoa

Unavoidable loss, the inherent vice itself.


Quote from: Just Withnail on October 05, 2017, 04:17:35 AM

Invoking entropy can be a tired critical trope, but the film certainly invites it.

Thank you for a fantastic write-up. IV is my favorite film, but I've yet to sit down and bottle lightning. What you posted just now, well, it came close.

Quote from: Just Withnail on October 05, 2017, 04:17:35 AM
Maybe the most heartbreaking moment for me in the film is when Coy slips sideways and whispers this to Doc, and the way you see the name cut into him like a razor.

Doc's expressions throughout the film seem, to me, instantly recognizable for anyone in the haze of heartbreak. This moment confirms the thread Doc holds onto SO TIGHT he might be ignoring all the rest. He knows this, and yet, it unspools into a yarn of epic Los-Angeles scope. This is much a film of lovers, the spirals and trails they leave behind. Doc thought he had the thread, but she's flitting across his life, within and without.

Fuzzy Dunlop

Jena Malone talks briefly about working on IV, apparently thinks Owen Wilson is Clive Owen:

Inherent Vice (2014)—"Hope Harlingen"

JM: That one is sort of—when a baseball player's been playing the game for a long time and they finally get to play with one of their heroes. It was like the whole thing was butter. It was heaven, getting to collaborate with Paul Thomas Anderson as an actor. And I say "collaborate" because he really does respect the process of acting and upholds it to the highest and really allows the actor to work and live and recreate and rewrite and understand and interpret a role. It was incredibly freeing and easy. He puts you at ease. It's the type of thing where, afterwards, you're like, "Oh my God. I will never get on the steam train again. I'm going to be taking bullet trains from now on. There is no need to spend 18 weeks going across the country when I have bruises all over my body when I can do it efficiently, smoothly, and incredibly well with a well-built machine," and that's what a Paul Thomas Anderson film feels like for me.

AVC: It was such a sprawling cast. Were there people you found yourself unexpectedly spending time with while you were shooting?

JM: Joanna Newsome was someone that I didn't realize I had met—well, I mean I did realize we had met previously. An ex-boyfriend of mine that was from where she grew up, we had met and then forgot and we reconnected and got to spend some time together. Not necessarily on set, but through the press campaign, because on set it was just Joaquin [Phoenix] and I. I didn't really work with anyone else. Clive Owen, very briefly.


But she knows with which Anderson she worked!

Just Withnail

So, I couldn't stop writing after posting that thing above, and ended up expanding it quite a bit and posting it on my blog, with tons of little giffies.

Read it here if you wanna!

It's been loading a bit weirdly for me here, probably because of all the silly gifs, please shout if it doesn't load well for you guys.


It doesn't load for me. Or it takes a lot of time? I'm keeping the page open.

EDIT: Okay. It loaded. It just takes time.

Just Withnail

Ah, I should probably take off a few images and see if it goes faster...


Takes slightly longer than most pages but it does load. Keep the images!