Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

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

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Quote from: Alexandro on March 04, 2015, 05:48:01 PM
Not in my case. I sincerely love this film on it's own. Can't take it out of my mind. If this exact same movie had been directed by someone else, I would be seriously blown away by this new genius.

i agree, and i think this is something to discuss on the topic of terrence malick as well. it's a tricky subject with challenging perspectives, so i like it, i personally like what they're up to, and i do think these new movies come from private realms that're as important as the private realms they've previously explored

a sort of red flag for me is an interpretation grounded on conditions placed by earlier works. since we all know that ultimately we're discussing our private reactions to the movie, i must say i don't think one's expectations are appropriate grounds for a reaction. that's what leads to depression irl, and that's what leads to sloppy movie criticism i think. jb threw down on both the past and future, meohmy

within iv itself, we're not talking about the size of iv because it didn't impress the audience but, it's a fucking huge movie. it's challenging to talk about the size of the movie because really we prefer to talk about the size of the emotions we had while watching the movie but, here, in a very city-like way, and i'd say pta's affiliation with the philosophy of pynchon comes from a shared idea about what it feels like to live in a city, with all those people and buildings and whatnot, here there's a massively impressive range of characters (perspectives), places, and events. and the problem is the audience can't find the meaning?? i mean, that sounds like life to me

all the things together, what's the main existential crisis? if that was dropped in, boom, one could understand the weight of larry. i think -- and i think wilder agrees with me on this -- larry's armchair theorizing, as his case unfolds, is a resonating feature of many people through their lives. why exactly should one go on through this madness? i vibe with the movie from this perspective

and as i've said, you don't gotta inherent twice to get that vibe. i don't think you have to notice the things happening in order to notice larry. he's right there. everything around him, i think it's disorientating. to him, and to us. and i think that's the existential crisis thinger

Jeremy Blackman

Quote from: jenkins<3 on March 04, 2015, 06:55:53 PMa sort of red flag for me is an interpretation grounded on conditions placed by earlier works. since we all know that ultimately we're discussing our private reactions to the movie, i must say i don't think one's expectations are appropriate grounds for a reaction. that's what leads to depression irl, and that's what leads to sloppy movie criticism i think. jb threw down on both the past and future, meohmy

Well yeah, I said that today because my post was specifically about that. But I think I brought a fair perspective to my actual review a few pages ago. I truly did approach the movie on its own terms, I was ready for something different, and in the end I do sort of appreciate it as such.

I'd like to think I'm able to hold those two separate thoughts at the same time — that it's a pretty good movie which I probably shouldn't complain about (semi-objective reaction), and that I really hope he doesn't stay on this track (legitimate fan reaction).


jb's review so he don't look like a liar, and 'cause i appreciate his review, and 'cause we all know a fight about who has the right opinion is the worst kind of internet conversation possible

Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 23, 2015, 10:33:26 AM
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.

Knocho Pytsh

I think it's fair to judge this as his worst film if you think Pynchon's perspective trumps PTA's, but I've never found this to be the case.

If you love novels, I'm sure most stories you fall in love with feel like they're written for you and you alone. Pynchon's books feel like that to me, and years ago I never would've guessed any filmmaker would attempt an adaptation. If PTA feels the same way about Pynchon, then I think he's taken the events in the plot and filmed them how he sees them through his own artistic perspective, not dissimilar to what Kubrick did with the The Shining, even if that took more departures. How else can someone do it? Nobody knows exactly what Pynchon saw in his head as he was writing the book, so it sort of has to be created through somebody's worldview through the adaptation process, and considering film is such a different medium than literature, that adapted "view" is inherently the filmmaker's.

IV feels like a culmination of everything he's learned up to this point. His love for the weird and fantastic is on full display, mostly evident in Shasta's and Doc's sex scene. There's a gritty, funny truthfulness he approaches sexuality with that I fell in love with in Boogie Nights, coupled with the structure and simplicity of The Master and There Will Be Blood, with some haziness thrown in so crucial to the era. It's as if he's making a giant cocktail and with each new movie he adds an intoxicating and delicious new ingredient. For the same reason Barry Lyndon is my favorite Kubrick film, IV is my favorite PTA film. It hits the ground running, never waiting for the viewer as others have noted, yet feels highly calculated and measured.

If this is a diversion or even his weakest film, I find that exciting.


Riffing here, but rereading JB's review...diversion: I understand why people don't like this one. This movie is different than his others...

I didn't read the book...or much. I began it. Never finished. But one thing I feel is more immediate here in Inherent Vice than in PT's other movies, maybe mostly due to the inclusion of voice over, is the feeling of the struggle to be in the present, to get out of your own head. Everyone is in their own heads. This is something I felt in his earlier work in general, but not as expanded upon. In Magnolia Rose tells Jimmy to "say it", to express his personal truth [instead of his lies], and Claudia urges Jim Kurring "to say the things that they...that are real or something...", but these are urgings away from inhibition ...about shying away from an internally known and already grasped truth, not necessarily about a loss of language that might constrain conversation and connection.

After my third viewing of IV the plot started to coalesce - not completely, but the film is definitely more coherent than I had originally thought. To me, this is PT's most internal movie, even more than The Master. It's the perspective of an introvert struggling to be external, knowing that in every situation there's something going on outside of him but having trouble engaging, of everyone having trouble engaging, because the ocean in Doc's mind is constantly calling his attention away from whatever larger plot or interaction might be occurring. Maybe this is my personal reading, but the unknowability of the characters, what JB refers to as a lacking depth, to me is (maybe unintentionally, but if that's the case I think it inadvertently works) a reflection of the impossibility of getting to know anyone's depths of personality to the degree that they exist, because that inner monologue is silent and only visible to us when deliberately acted upon and shared.

Sortelige's narration exposes just some of those fleeting thoughts that add up to emotions and vibes and general perception that can be difficult to articulate and is usually beyond the realm of language for most people -- simple words to describe feelings don't always exist, especially in the thick of strange moods and converging philosophies, and Pynchon and other writers with a certain level of literary mastery hold more keys to their transmission than most possess, and so are able to hint at what is going on inside of -everyone- trapped in stoned silence without that advantage. The movie conveys this idea better than almost any other film I can think of, and in terms with which I feel in sync, so for me it succeeds in doing something new and rewarding.


I also have never read the book or Pynchon, so that's not a frame of reference for me. I don't know if the film felt that different to me than other PTA movies. It felt kind of like coming back to a warmer human experience than the last two, but not in any way to the youthful sugar-like tenderness of his films up to Punch-Drunk Love, with those bittersweet endings and hopeful outlook. This is an older's dude movie, with basic goodness coming from the individual and not from some cosmic design or universal truth like in Magnolia.

All of PTA's films have been about the search for communion with others and family. This has been widely discussed. That theme is in IV too, but is treated as a lost dream, a family that was and evaporated. Larry's relationship with Shasta is at the center, but all the other characters express versions of the same longing: Tariq's gang and turf gone, Wolfmann's "hippy dream" consisting of free houses for people, and of course Coy's family lost first to heroin addiction and then to "the man" so to speak. In the end he gets its back, and this is Doc's good deed to in a sense, recover that which he lost.


Even though I read the book, I wasn't ready for the style of this movie. Watching it a second time it was great, funny, sick performances across the board, even for pornstars and UFC fighters. Still sad the Jade/Denis backseat scene was cut though hahah


It's a grower. I probably won't watch it again though.
I'm not racist, I'm just slutty




Oh wow. Some great shots and performances. I believe Sortilege speaks the ending of the book during the first clip? The Golden Fang thing isn't a bad trailer either, although it always makes me cringe a little when they mess with the order of events, screaming at a deposit slip, etc.


That stuff from 3:09 onwards is gorgeous, I wish he left it in

Something Spanish


Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


Oh shit, it's payday! Thanks for reminding me...