I really like Inherent Vice and I have a hard time explaining my admiration for this nutbag movie in any critical sense. But I'll give it a shot anyway.
Fact of the matter is I'm a huge fan of P.T. Anderson which helps the cause immeasurably. And this a movie only he could have made. Maybe it's a film that only he would have wanted to make. Still, I must confess before we begin that I worship at the cinematic altar of Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, There Will Blood and The Master.
Color me biased.
Inherent Vice? Easily my least favorite when grouped in that beloved bunch of cinematic masterpieces. I would even say that I like Magnolia and Punch-drunk Love quite a bit more than Inherent Vice at this point too. But seventh place in PT Anderson's oeuvre is no crying shame.
This is a damn fine movie. It has brilliant acting, great dialogue, hilarious action, brilliant set-design, wonderful colors, a great score, ....Josh Brolin with a chocolate banana. Keith f'n Jardine with a facial tattoo! Come on. If you hate this movie, then truly only you're to blame. There is just too much to love even if you don't know what the hell you're watching a lot of the time.
You know what would have put this movie over the top? Philip Seymour Hoffman. He made everything he was in better and he would have been amazing in this movie. Any part. Doesn't matter. He could have held a door open for a main character in the movie and it would have been an epic scene.
But every bloody movie I ever watch again I will probably wish he was in it. Breaks my heart.
Anyway back to Inherent Vice. I remember a movie I watched a number of years back and when it ended, I left shaking my head, really kind of bummed out at how bad a miss it was from the cinematic geniuses Joel and Ethan Coen.
The Big Lebowski really was a head scratcher. And yet all these years later, in which I'd say I've watched that movie a good thirty times since, it is easily one of my favorite of the Coen's collection and there is not a moment in this movie that I don't love. So who knows? I really like Inherent Vice and I don't know why. Maybe it's because I know I will absolutely love it in ten years time.
In fact, I have a sneaky feeling that Inherent Vice is really PT's Lebowski. It's already left me smiling a whole lot thinking about some of the classic scenes. I think I'll be smiling even more upon repeat viewings.
Sure Inherent Vice is a rambling, long winded messy descent into the mind of a hallucinating stoner who doesn't appear to particularly brilliant in his line of work. But neither was Rick Deckard damnit! And hey Blade Runner was pretty damn good despite his lackluster gumshoe work.
So there we go. I barely told you anything about Inherent Vice. Go see it. You (probably) won't regret it. I guarantee that one thousand years from now, alien life forms in other galaxies will be watching this one and howling. Something just tells me it's a future masterpiece.