ByBookworm, writer at
Bookworm uses books & movies to escape reality and take far out trips. If you dig it, stay tuned as Bookworm shares her thoughts.

There are times when my boyfriend and I just don’t have anything to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Our chores have been completed thanks to teamwork, there’s no obligations in our community groups we belong to and the weather doesn’t warrant a trip to the beach or nearby park.

It is on these days that we will sometimes open up our Fandango app or pop in to a local movie theatre to see what’s playing. We often choose the film that has the most convenient time – for instance if we pop in to a local theatre we’ll see what movie will start next and go to that one.

Admittedly, this tactic does not always work out for the best. In 2005 we ended up sitting through 2 excruciating hours of The New World.

Last week, again faced with chores completed, no obligations and poor weather conditions, we decided to take a chance on Inherent Vice, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. After all, it was a book adaptation and so a perfect subject for this weekend’s post.

Doc and Shasta say goodbye
Doc and Shasta say goodbye

In the beginning, the movie was easy to follow. Private Investigator Doc Sportello, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is approached by an ex-girlfriend for advice when her billionaire boyfriend’s wife approaches her and offers her money to conspire with her to institutionalize him so the wife can take control if his assets. A week later both the ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend disappear and Doc is solicited to help in the investigation.

Doc interrogates a witness
Doc interrogates a witness

From there things get a bit… shall we say hazy?

The introduction of more characters some working at “massage parlors”, dentist offices and even mental health facilities is compounded by the rough note taking of Doc as he appears to try and stay focused during his interrogations. Each night Doc escapes in a cloud of marijuana smoke as he tries to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Actually, in the audience, we were doing the same thing – well, almost. I didn’t see any clouds of smoke in the theater.

Just when you think you figure out how this movie is going to end, something happens and everything comes together in a way you wouldn’t expect it would.

Doc gives Big Foot some info for his investigation
Doc gives Big Foot some info for his investigation

While I didn’t really get the movie, it was compelling enough that now I have Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon on my To Read List. It just got me curious. I’m almost guessing that this book may not have really translated well on-screen and that may be why it was so hard to follow.

Overall, I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to those movie goers who are either Pynchon fans or do not need to understand the plot of a movie to enjoy it. If you enjoy nothing else, at least pay attention to these great character names: “Coy Harlington,” “Sauncho Smilax,” “Shasta Fay Hepworth,” “Japonica Fenway,” “Portola Barkee,” and “Punk Beaverton.”

Have you ever watched a movie that left you scratching your head after it concluded? What was it?

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