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December 14, 2014


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Aden Jordan

Great observations. Like with his early films, INHERENT VICE is another PTA movie that makes big tonal shifts that might feel uneven, but serve a purpose. Like in the book, there's dread and sadness underneath the colors and humor. This is also why the score is so effective. During that final scene between Bigfoot and Doc (which like you said, does recall the Freddie/Lancaster final scene and many other conflicted final scenes between potential surrogate father/surrogate son figures in PTA's work), the heavy and almost intrusive score contrasts with the sight gags of Brolin downing copious amounts of weed.

Personally, I found the confession scene to be funnier and reflect more awkwardness on Sportello's part in the book. That the tone of the scene is darker and sadder in the film points to Anderson's wonderful ability to put his own voice into another writer's work.

Farran Nehme

****SPOILERS, skip my comment if you haven't seen Inherent Vice:

This is good preparation for seeing you tomorrow, Glenn, and does explain a bit of your thinking on the scene. I don't *think* I am the person who suggested the scene skirted sexual assault; if so, let me clarify that I wouldn't go that far. I would say that in a movie so often shot in various levels of close-up, it's obviously significant that Waterston's full nakedness stays in frame, for all sorts of reasons, some of which I'll save for in person. I'm saying this only to get my case on record in this thread, as I anticipate being lonely. But for me, Shasta is too woozily passive a character (and Waterston's performance too torpid) to buy her as a player of power games, erotic or otherwise. And her big scene comes after we've met a near-jailbait runaway whose sexual encounter with Martin Short is joked about as a lip-smacking laff riot, after the squeaky-voiced Asian massage-parlor hostess gives Doc a girl-on-girl show, after Jena Malone plays the ex-heroin-addict turned domesticated grass widow... I could go on, but the point is that by the time Waterston stripped, I was fed up with this movie's parade of sour, uninteresting female stereotypes. Which, to be fair, are probably Pynchon's, but PTA didn't have to use them all.

I have multiple other problems with the film, but I'm trying to stay on topic, and avoid pissing you off TOO much. BTW, this post reminded me of an old thread here that was pretty interesting, and somewhat relevant.


Glenn Kenny

To Farran: No, it wasn't you to whom I was referring. I'm not on nearly such good terms with the person to whom I'm referring as I am with you. And while I can't persuade you otherwise about the ostensible parade of female stereotypes in the film, I'll also point out that several female characters you don't cite, e.g., those played by Joanna Newsom, Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Sinclair, and Maya Rudolph, don't necessarily hew to that profile.

Farran Nehme

It's obvious that this movie is a deep personal favorite of yours, and I dislike the role of thread sourpuss, so that really is all I am going to say online. Possibly I should have held off, but my feelings got the better of me, Glenn. Sorry.

Glenn Kenny

No worries, I didn't mean to come off as so wounded-sounding!

Aden Jordan

In his academic book on Anderson, BLOSSOMS & BLOOD, Jason Sperb makes the at-times persuasive argument that with the exception of THERE WILL BE BLOOD and THE MASTER Anderson's films have a misogynistic worldview to them (an argument which again can be persuasive and illuminating, but I don't completely endorse). I'm in agreement with The Self-Styled Siren that Shasta is a passive and not deeply etched character, but most of the characters in this film are also not strongly developed including Doc (who in contrast to other PTA male protagonists including Sydney and Dirk Diggler, among others, has clear motivations but hardly holds a backstory). In the film, Shasta is one of the more complex characters, but that also might be because the viewer's opinion of her might also move between positive and critical throughout the story based on her actions, what she reveals, and what we can assume PTA's opinion of her is based upon aesthetic choices such as framing (as the Siren noted). It's all worth thinking about and fantastic that the movie is already generating distinct, differing perspectives on its various elements.


Fkn A top movie


Glenn, did you intentionally misspell Phoenix's name in tribute to Jeffrey Wells?

Glenn Kenny

I did not.


Who the heck said that scene skirts sexual assault?


Looking forward to this. (Those of us outside the major metro areas will have to wait until it goes into wider release Jan. 9.)The trailer makes it look like a mash-up of THE LONG GOODBYE and THE BIG LEBOWSKI, but I'm sure PTA puts his personal stamp on it.

Glenn and Farran: Have you read Mark Harris' Grantland piece about franchise mania? Makes for chilling reading, especially the parts about new moguls like Universal's Jeff Shell.



Speaking of 'The Big Lebowski', it just got added to the National Film Registry:



With Sony's cowardly decision not to release THE INTERVIEW, maybe more screens will be freed up to show INHERENT VICE ...

Farran Nehme

Popping back in to thank Aden for that thoughtful response, which gave me some things to ponder further.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Finally saw it! Lots and lots of thoughts, but one on this subject:

One of the major themes of the movie is a world where everything that was once open is becoming packaged up for sale. And the commodification of free love is a big part of that. The wanna-be hip dentist swapping easy sex for good coke may play as a laff riot, but it's a lot sadder when you consider that these snow bunny trades are happening in what was once the open space where Shasta and Doc were drugless, in love, and free. Making it all the more pointed that Doc is distracted by coke and ass as anyone.

So it goes with all the sexytimes in the movie. Doc gets a free preview of the pussy eater's special, but he's getting it because Jade is trying to distract a dude who she thinks is a cop. The naked-lady ties are a souvenir of all the women that Wolfman's money has bought. And when Shasta strips, it's a sure sign that something terrible is happening.

The Golden Fang killed the 60s, sucking out its blood with teeth made of precious metal and spitting out houses that land where black people once had turf. But the moneymen came in on a wave of teenybopper sex, all those drugged-out, hope-addled girls an irresistible victim for Charlie Manson, the heroin dealers, and the new age hustlers. Doc wants to save everyone. But he can't stop listening to his dope and his dick, which keep him wrapped up in quick pleasures and never seeing the pattern that's right on the surface.

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