Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

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

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it's a link to The Inherent Vice Companion, described like this:

QuoteWhen asked what the film Inherent Vice was about, film- maker Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA henceforth) was quick to respond, "it's about Pynchon." The author's byzantine plots, poetic prose, and fantastical worlds have inspired countless forms of adoration as critique or homage, and in the case of PTA: adaptation. The same can be said of this companion, which serves as a love letter to both the author and the director.

While the book had been derided by some as "Pychon- Lite," the film is one of PTA's most confounding. Critics were often at a loss to make sense of the plot and audiences dubbed it "incoherent vice." Misunderstood by many, the film resists first impressions and rewards those who spend time with it. As such, this companion is styled in the fashion of Steven Weisenburger's A Gravity's Rainbow Companion (essential to Pynchon's magnum opus), but with timecode replacing page numbers and scenes replacing chapters.

I would not presume that my interpretation of the film's deeper meanings are definitive or even relative. The compan- ion catalogs — by timecode — the film's motifs, themes, and references; allowing you the opportunity to draw your own con- clusions. In addition, each scene is accompanied by trivia as to any cars, sampled music or location featured within it. Scenes are numbered and titled in correspondence to the final shooting script. To the observant reader, it will become apparent that some of the scenes from the script are missing. A full list of all the cut scenes is provided in Appendix B. Appendix A lists the film's sprawling cast of characters along with notes on each. Round- ing out the companion are references and an index. The index exclusively uses timecode and is a helpful tool in identifying the film's many motifs. All references are further categorized as such:

PROPS/SCENERY: All physical items in the film are in caps.
"Dialogue": Spoken dialogue is in quotations.
Written words: Any text shown in the film is written in italics.
: Filming location : Music
: Automobile

There is no correct way to use this companion, but might I make some suggestions? It can be read after having watched the film or consulted while viewing it. My preferred method is to view the film scene by scene, pausing after each to read the corresponding notes and analyze what was just watched. The choice is yours; some methods reward repeat viewings while others are more appropriate for first time viewers.

Ultimately the companion's goal is to foster a deeper enjoyment of Inherent Vice. The film is so dense with allusion and plot that viewers can feel lost, but as Doc sez, "thinking comes later." So my hope is that the companion can shoulder the burden of making sense of it all and allow you the opportunity to just enjoy a truly magnificent film.

Happy viewing, dopers.



Awesome, indeed.  No way to know if this will soften my dislike of the film, but it will certainly increase some level of understanding of the individual pieces.


I love Inherent Vice and have seen it many times, I've read the book twice as well (though that was some years ago), and this still managed to help me clarify certain little things, with fun nuggets of trivia interspersed throughout.

Fuzzy Dunlop

Totally, this was great. I guess I never fully tracked that the paramilitary group following Doc was real. I also didn't get that Doc plotting out the conspiracy map happened the next night, he's so worked up in it I figured he was coming down off of Batnoyd's coke later that same night.

I still don't quite get Bigfoot's revenge plan for dealing with Prussia and why he ripped off the Golden Fang's dope just to plant it on Doc, it doesn't really hold together for me. Also, why did Puck kill Glen?

I would love if there were more details about the deleted scenes, especially the Thomas Jefferson scene and the Hallucinating in the mirror scene. I wonder if PTA ever considered shooting the Vegas sequence from the book...I'm assuming he at least wrote it out at some point.


I believe the Thomas Jefferson scene is in the leaked script, no?


Believe PTA said he cut the Vegas stuff pretty early just to keep the sprawling narrative (slightly more) contained.

The Thomas Jefferson stuff was filmed, remember?

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


"Do you detect a common thread here, Lawrence?"


So, seeing as a recent picture of Thomas Pynchon was snapped by a paparazzo in January, has anybody gone through the movie again to search for a potential cameo?


Quote from: Tdog on June 10, 2019, 04:20:16 PM
So, seeing as a recent picture of Thomas Pynchon was snapped by a paparazzo in January, has anybody gone through the movie again to search for a potential cameo?

StrandedWriter and I have theorized about this for yearz...

During a late-night talk show Paul drew a doodle, too, of the silhouette we should be looking out for... My guess iz the sponge-hair, bespeckled, book clutching extra that looks at the camera behind Coy and Doc as they discuss how subversive outfits entrench you...Pynchon "cameos" but it might be his mid-20s son dressed as a 60's era Pynchon. Either way the dude looks too young, but looks like the caricature of Pynchon drawn by Paul + the National Enquirers picture defo looks like an older version of this.

At work rn so I can't post Higher-Res screengrabs until I'm back home, but this "Extra" walks by the glass twice, "Once you're in, it's like a gang," and right after Coy leaves Doc alone. Both times they look into the camera. They show up even clearer in one of the Blu Ray'z special features.


That was my guess early on, too - but I feel like it was debunked...? Can anyone confirm?


Quote from: eward on June 10, 2019, 07:17:29 PM
That was my guess early on, too - but I feel like it was debunked...? Can anyone confirm?
I can't check now but I remember that guy looks a lot like the photo of Pynchon that leaked in the 90's.

I vaguely remember it being debunked too though.



Lovely to think of this film as taking place in the same-ish cinematic universe as Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Summer of 69 REVISED contrasted against the summer of 1970, just a few weeks into the much-publicized Manson trials - the dream of the 60s preserved slapped up against the cold barbed reality wherein the dream lay rotting. Doc and Shasta running through the rain on their journey through the past while Cliff and Rick prepare to return from Italy (assuming I'm lining the timeline's up accurately), or 6 months before that all of them possibly crossing paths unawares, Shasta and Doc crossing the boulevard with Shasta emoting nothing more complicated than a pout, as Sharon stares at herself in wide-eyed wonder on the Wrecking Crew one-sheet, Dr. Blatnoyd presumably blowing rails off some local trampoline with Japonica Fenway tweaking to cast recordings of Broadway musicals nearby...or even going back to Doc's skip-tracing days, Adrian Prussia out to kill him, when Rick and Cliff presumably would have been riding a bit higher career-wise. (Geographically all this path-crossing could be far-fetched.) Doc definitely saw Rick (and Cliff) on the tube, dreaming of the day when he might see Shasta there as well...


I rejoice when I remind myself that 1969 must have felt like the end of the world, too.