"Maybe you should just look the other way."
September 29, 2014 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Inherent Vice trailer: [SLYT] “Inherent Vice” is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel.
When P.I. Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin… well, easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the `60s, paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is one of those words going around, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s way too overused–except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists... Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp–all Thomas Pynchon.
posted by Fizz (96 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Just in time for Christmas..."
posted by pxe2000 at 5:26 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


This looks amazing in so many ways. I laughed when I read about it, but I'm so on board with that Joanna Newsom voiceover.
posted by naju at 5:27 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm so on board with that Joanna Newsom voiceover.

I just want Joanna Newsom to narrate my life in real-time with 1960s-esque psychedelic music playing in the background.
posted by Fizz at 5:29 PM on September 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


yesYesYESYESYESYESNOWNOWNOW though I do want to read the book first...
posted by Going To Maine at 5:33 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeeeeeeeeeessssssssss
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on September 29, 2014




I CANNOT WAIT off to reread it...again.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This looks great. For some reason, the older I get, the more I appreciate the 70's.
posted by davebush at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am very fond indeed of Paul Thomas Anderson's films and Pynchon's books, but I haven't read Inherent Vice yet, partly because I found myself traumatized repeatedly trying to get through Mason&Dixon and failing, the only Pynchon book that's just kind of defeated me.

Time to get to Pynchoning again!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Despite loving Pynchon I still haven't read the book. I'll need to make that a priority.
posted by brundlefly at 5:44 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This looks great. For some reason, the older I get, the more I appreciate the 70's.

40 year rule.
posted by The Whelk at 5:45 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Who is the genius who put Thomas Pynchon and Paul Thomas Anderson together? GIVE THAT MOTHERFUCKER A NOBEL!!
posted by Fizz at 5:45 PM on September 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


This is going to be better than the book.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:46 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I want to believe! and, Vineland next!
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I feel like Joaquin should have been more in the running for the Oscar for his role in The Master... maybe this will go over better. He's on a roll lately..
posted by starman at 6:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am very fond indeed of Paul Thomas Anderson's films and Pynchon's books, but I haven't read Inherent Vice yet, partly because I found myself traumatized repeatedly trying to get through Mason&Dixon and failing, the only Pynchon book that's just kind of defeated me.

M&D was the last one that I truly, truly loved. That said, this trailer looks fantastic.
posted by sobarel at 6:07 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think P.T. and Wes may be getting themselves mixed up with themselves.


I do not have a problem with this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:11 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Word is, Mr Pynchon will have a cameo in the film.
posted by Guy Smiley at 6:12 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


M&D was the last one that I truly, truly loved.

Dunno exactly what it was about Mason&Dixon, other than the Amusing Arbitrary Capitalization, which really is just a style joke Writ Large and one I frequently use myself for comic effect, but I think I've taken three or four runs at it and never been able to get though it.

It's particularly troubling to me, because the canonical book-that-is-hard-to-finish (around here at least) is DFW's Infinite Jest, and I've read that sucker 4 or 5 times with Great Relish, so I'm just not sure what it is about M&D that puts me off every time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:16 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Isn't it a little early to remake The Big Lebowski?
posted by OmieWise at 6:27 PM on September 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Vineland next!

Vineland's nesting doll structure would make for a difficult film, I think. Part of the point of that book is the layering of history, and how one history has another history behind it, and the way the story seems to move the plot forward until something resonates with an earlier time and story, and then you read THAT narrative for a while, then you go a layer deeper, then you bounce up a couple of layers, then back down deeper again, etc...

I haven't read the book for a few years (I should reread it, actually), but I've always loved how that book is structured, and could easily see how trying to film it would disappoint fans the way the Cloud Diary movie disappointed fans of that book.
posted by hippybear at 6:29 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Amusing Arbitrary Capitalization

The capitalisation is, as I understand it, authentic for an 18th Century text when doing so for all nouns was just starting to fall out of fashion. But, yep, it does take a little while to get into. Past that though, I think it's the only Pynchon novel that actually has warmth for its main characters and a generally sort of wistful mood alongside the silly puns, talking dogs and suchlike.

Against the Day is the only one I've found a chore to get through.
posted by sobarel at 6:32 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The capitalisation is, as I understand it, authentic for an 18th Century text when doing so for all nouns was just starting to fall out of fashion.

Definitely, of course, and as such, it shouldn't grate for me as much as it seems to. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:34 PM on September 29, 2014


I was on board since the second I heard about this... but having watched the trailer, I'm on board and standing up on the pool deck with a silly grin plastered on my face.

If this leads to the Coens adapting Bleeding Edge, I will explode with joy.
posted by COBRA! at 6:42 PM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


No, the Coens have to adapt The Heebie Jeebies At CBGBs first.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:44 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think P.T. and Wes may be getting themselves mixed up with themselves.

Would you like to subscribe to my film journal? It's called PT & W: The Magnificent Andersons
posted by Going To Maine at 6:45 PM on September 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


"For some reason, the older I get, the more I appreciate the 70's.
40 year rule.


Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking nobody is going to want to remember the '00s, even forty years later... unless, of course, the poles have melted, and everything has gone to hell, in which case, it might be seen as a time of wonderful braindead naivete., where having a future still seemed remotely possible.
posted by markkraft at 6:48 PM on September 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Oh HELL yes.
posted by gwint at 6:49 PM on September 29, 2014


I haven't read the novel, is Brolin's character's Japanese supposed to be a total disaster?
posted by batfish at 6:52 PM on September 29, 2014


And he's totally rockin' those sideburns.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:53 PM on September 29, 2014


Isn't it a little early to remake The Big Lebowski?

People said that about the book trailer too (yes, somehow "book trailer" is a thing now), since it does sound pretty Lebowskian, and then the voice-over narrator turned out to be Pynchon himself. The dude is, it seems, pretty similar to the Dude.
posted by RogerB at 6:58 PM on September 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was just rewatching The Master last week and thought how lucky I am to be alice when Paul Thomas Anderson is making films.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't read the novel, is Brolin's character's Japanese supposed to be a total disaster?

I don't remember that scene exactly, but it most definitely fits with that character.
posted by codacorolla at 7:03 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't read the novel, is Brolin's character's Japanese supposed to be a total disaster?

In the novel all that you get is him saying:

"Chotto, Kenichiro! Dozo, motto panukeiku."

So, I have no idea, but all that repetition is new to the film.
posted by sobarel at 7:05 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do worry about the repeating pastiche, the postmodern schtick, the nostaliga for signs that just sort of float, the redeeming of lobrow genre w/o the tautness that the genre requires, the clothes as fun, the reference shuffling, i don't know i'm kind of exhausted of it. as much as i loved mason and dixon, it seemed the last gasp of the BIG NOVEL, in the same way that SotWeed or Fanny were, and I worry that the film while fun, will not have the slippery litheness required of noir--and i also worry that we have been xeroxing Tarintino so much, that Tarintino is now xeroxing itself--but all of that said. oh my this looks fun.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:11 PM on September 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


I ended up really liking Mason & Dixon, though at first it reminded me of reading the Sot-Weed Factor in being frustratingly of the period (funny to see it mentioned by PinkMoose on preview). I started Against the Day a couple of times, but I rarely read fiction these days and I feel I'd have to really settle in for that one when I've got some down time. I've not cracked Bleeding Edge yet, but I'm going to reread IV next month.

I do like the trailer, and do so want this to be as good as it might be...
posted by Red Loop at 7:17 PM on September 29, 2014


>Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking nobody is going to want to remember the '00s, even forty years later... unless, of course, the poles have melted, and everything has gone to hell, in which case, it might be seen as a time of wonderful braindead naivete.

The lead up to the mortgage crisis I think will yield at least a couple good movies.
posted by pmv at 7:18 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I worry that the film while fun, will not have the slippery litheness required of noir

If the movie is going to be noir at all, it is going to be a Pynchon version of noir cast through the psychedelic lens of the early 1970s, which is to say nothing like old 30s noir films at all.I think you're going to find this movie is a lot funnier than you are expecting. PTA apparently went looking to Airplane! and Top Secret! for inspiration about how to get a Pynchonesque sense of rapid-fire humor into a film.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Looks like they got the slapstick down, I'm interested to see how they work in all the melancholic death of the hippies stuff from the book.

I hope they include the waterbed fire.
posted by edeezy at 7:26 PM on September 29, 2014


This is going to be better than the book.

One can only hope. I recently read the book and found it very difficult to read but movie looks like it'll be fun. Reminds me of some of the films adapted from Elmore Leonard books.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:46 PM on September 29, 2014


Against the Day is the only one I've found a chore to get through.

Well, that's encouraging to hear. After loving Lot 49, I decided to read more Pynchon. Picked up a copy of Against the Day in an airport. Have not attempted Pynchon since. I should try a different one.
posted by ctmf at 7:51 PM on September 29, 2014


I should try a different one.

V., Inherent Vice, and Vineland are all mid-length novels which are quite readable if you can get into Pynchon's style. Against The Day is mammoth. I've tried four times now, even once with my iPad loaded up with the Pynchon Wiki (I got furthest through it that time), but I've always burned out.

Haven't read Bleeding Edge yet, but might try it here soon.
posted by hippybear at 7:55 PM on September 29, 2014


Timothy Simons in a PT Anderson movie is the most exciting thing I've encountered in weeks.
posted by graphnerd at 8:23 PM on September 29, 2014


I think I've taken three or four runs at it and never been able to get though it.

All of the big Pynchon novels have, for me, the same pattern: The first third is fantastic, the middle third is an agonizing slog, and the last third is transcendentally brilliant. So I just accept hundreds of pages of blah-blah knowing something really great is coming.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:24 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm so on board with that Joanna Newsom voiceover.

Ha! I was going to remark how horrible that voiceover was, all nasal and croaky. Of course it's Joanna Newsom, my sonic arch-nemesis.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 PM on September 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


The guy who looks like Rod Stewart is Martin Short, right?
posted by lagomorphius at 8:38 PM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would you like to subscribe to my film journal? It's called PT & W: The Magnificent Andersons



You know, I'd be totally OK with one or both of these guys doing their own versions of The Magnificent Ambersons, too.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:39 PM on September 29, 2014


Only if they get their actual edit snatched out of their hands and have a studio-created edit issued in its place, with the original apparently lost forever.

If you're going to do it, might as well do it all the way.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


My soul is ready and my nether regions moist. Can't wait!
posted by GiveUpNed at 8:42 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


If the first two-thirds of Gravity's Rainbow felt trite and overwrought to me, do I probably just not have a taste for Pynchon, or should I try something else?
posted by johnnydummkopf at 9:45 PM on September 29, 2014


Um... overwrought I can buy, as the tangling of threads of coincidence into a giant felt of conspiracy is sort of what Pynchon does with his books. But trite? Perhaps I'm not familiar with that particular definition of that particular word.
posted by hippybear at 9:47 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


> should I try something else?

Just read Crying of Lot 49. It's like.. 10 pages long and if you don't like it there's no helping you. (Though Pynchon himself doesn't particularly care for it, so the story goes)
posted by thedaniel at 10:14 PM on September 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh man I was worried that this Anderson guy, whoever he is, would not get the light right.

It looks pretty good in the trailer. The light. It really is the critical thing in LA movies, especially LA beach movies. Tarantino got that with Roxy Brown. Volkswagen got it in the commercial with the dudes driving around with the stinky chair... buh dah dah dah.

The mutton chops are all wrong. But the light is good.

Man. Can't wait.
posted by notyou at 10:16 PM on September 29, 2014


The light was too warm in Lebowski, so for those snarking on the remakism here, well, no. The light separates.

So the does the paranoia, probably.
posted by notyou at 10:27 PM on September 29, 2014


Is one paranoid about The Golden Fang, or is one just living justifiable fear?
posted by hippybear at 10:36 PM on September 29, 2014


I am working my way through V. right now. I do enjoy it when I get lost in the story, and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. But the plotline is so jumpy--going from here to there to there--in so few pages, it feels like I should be well past page...109! Really, V.? I'm only on page 109?
posted by zardoz at 10:37 PM on September 29, 2014


For anyone looking to get a little extra out of the experience of reading this book, I recommend also reading portions of Spooks, by former Harper's Washington editor Jim Hougan, and The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred McCoy -- either beforehand, or simultaneously, or something: whatever.

There's a bunch of intersections in the Byzantine drug-running subplots that benefit from having a little bit of this historical context under your belt. In particular, the chapters in Spooks devoted to fugitive financial weirdo Bobby Vesco and his ties to Pablo Escobar and his (i.e. Vesco's) reported management of a secret pile of Dick Nixon cash in the Caribbean. Donald Nixon Jr.'s heroin mess (the former president's nephew) is also worth revisiting before hand. As is whatever else you wanna dig into about that Air America "Golden Triangle" stuff.

It will help inoculate you from casually and dismissively reading Inherent Vice as "Pynchon-lite" or a fun trifle. Don't get me wrong: It is fun, but it's also real-deal Tommy Pynch, no question.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 10:52 PM on September 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


These "mutton chop" complaints are wrong and coming from, like, a place of deep aesthetic cowardice, man.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 10:55 PM on September 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Did anyone here read Bleeding Edge? What did you think of it? A friend told me that it's got some late 90's virtual world proto-second-life stuff going on in it, which intrigued me enough to pick it up. I haven't started on it yet though.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:56 PM on September 29, 2014


I hated Inherent Vice. Was actually embarrassed. Made me question Pynchon like I never had before. Then I re-read Mason & Dixon and felt better. Thanks for reminding me, Hollywood. Thanks a lot.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:14 AM on September 30, 2014


this Anderson guy, whoever he is

He is the writer/director responsible for There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, The Master, Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights and Hard Eight, films which range (in my opinion, at least) from masterpieces to merely marvelous.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:33 AM on September 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


I mean, boy, do I have high hopes about this. Mr. Phoenix is such a good actor and this particular Mr. Anderson such a good director (almost spookily good) and at times Pynchon makes such terrific stories; those mutton-chops! The sister of my best friend in fourth grade (she was much older, like 20) had a boyfriend with muttonchops like that. I mean, that is some period-exact facial hair. And the light looks good, too. If they can do all these things right, boy, I have high hopes about this. If I could get to NYC for the premiere I'd fight for tickets…as is I guess I'll just have to patiently wait until it gets here to old Europe… Pick up the book in the meantime.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:40 AM on September 30, 2014


'Hey Mr. Fig! I know PTA is one of your favorite directors, check out this trailer that just so happens to star a deliciously lupine Joaquin Phoenix ! We should totally make a date for when it comes out.'
posted by Fig at 3:17 AM on September 30, 2014




Did anyone here read Bleeding Edge? What did you think of it? A friend told me that it's got some late 90's virtual world proto-second-life stuff going on in it, which intrigued me enough to pick it up. I haven't started on it yet though.

It's set just before and just after 9/11, so it's early 00's virtual world stuff. He treats it more like a spiritual plane above the real world than anything realistic - it's the "clean, honest, purified, Electroworld" from Gravity's Rainbow made real.

In Vineland there's something about human lives and deaths being ones and zeroes, and there's that sense in Bleeding Edge too - that the virtual space is a sort of emergent property of humanity and the real world. And also, I think he says fairly explicitly, a reaction against the taming and suburbanising of the Web - in the same way as he has the scientific surveying of the uncharted world in Mason & Dixon being the death of possibilities.
posted by sobarel at 4:42 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Songs mentioned in Inherent Vice: "Although there's a playlist for Inherent Vice on Amazon.com, apparently provided to Amazon by Mr. Pynchon himself [1], the links just take you to where you can buy the music. This is a playlist to hear the music, thanks to YouTube, read the lyrics, thanks to LyricWiki, and learn about the artists and songs, via Wikipedia. The songs are organized below by the page on which they are found. Enjoy... "
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:47 AM on September 30, 2014 [8 favorites]



Whelp I've never read Pynchon. Now I am intrigued. Which book should I start with?
posted by Jalliah at 4:59 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whelp I've never read Pynchon. Now I am intrigued. Which book should I start with?

Everybody says The Crying of Lot 49. But in my opinion, Inherent Vice itself is a very good place to start: short, mostly straightforward, with less characters and still a lot of fun.
posted by florzinha at 5:07 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I just broke my Pynchon cherry with Inherent Vice and quite liked it; looking forward to the film (cautiously).
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:17 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess RDJ didn't pan out.

I'm glad about that. I think he would have been a distraction.
posted by aught at 5:34 AM on September 30, 2014


Did anyone here read Bleeding Edge? What did you think of it?

I liked it a lot; I wound up spending a lot of time afterwards thinking about it. It's a weird mix of hilarious and kind of overflowing-its-banks with sadness.

To get though it, you do just have to accept that Pynchon's not too interested in how the internet actually works. Which is fine. You just roll with his metaphorical version for the duration.
posted by COBRA! at 5:36 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whelp I've never read Pynchon. Now I am intrigued. Which book should I start with?

Everybody says The Crying of Lot 49. But in my opinion, Inherent Vice itself is a very good place to start: short, mostly straightforward, with less characters and still a lot of fun.


If you think you might want to tackle one or all of the "big" books (V., Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon, Against the Day) someday, read Crying of Lot 49 first. If you think you'll be content with one dose of Pynchon, then read Vineland or Inherent Vice.
posted by aught at 5:37 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Haven't read Inherent Vice (I will now!) but it seems to have some thematic similarities, superficially at least, to Vineland, one of Pynchon's most accessible works. I am guessing, by the fact that someone has actually adapted the book for screen, that Inherent Vice is a similarly accessible work. Part of the reason these books work is that they are set in a time period within living memory of many readers, and certain to be recalled by friends, relatives, etc. of any reader; not to mention that there is a well-trodden pop culture archetypal vision of this period of time.

Anyway, go read these books! Or jump in Mason and Dixon or whatever, challenge yourself!
posted by Mister_A at 6:12 AM on September 30, 2014


I want to believe! and, Vineland next!

Haven't read
Inherent Vice (I will now!) but it seems to have some thematic similarities, superficially at least, to Vineland, one of Pynchon's most accessible works.

Anderson originally set out to adapt Vineland, but couldn't figure out how to make it work. Inherent Vice came out while he was struggling with the Vineland script, and he decided to do it instead because he felt that they had a lot of commonalities, but IV would be easier to turn into a movie.

I guess RDJ didn't pan out.

Reportedly, it's because Anderson thought he was too old for the role. (Downey is 49. Phoenix is 39. IIRC, Doc is supposed to be about 30.)
posted by alexoscar at 6:22 AM on September 30, 2014


Boiling a complicated and intricate Pynchon plot down to movie length seems impossible to me, but I am eagerly awaiting this movie.
posted by caddis at 6:22 AM on September 30, 2014


My advice is to read "V" this way: read the beatnik chapters one after the other, as if they were their own book. Then go back and read the historical chapters the same way. Then
sit for a while, thinking, thinking. Sigh heavily, suck it up, and read the whole book as written.

This is how I read the book back when it first came out in paperback. This is how I have
survived into dotage.
posted by Chitownfats at 6:24 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Am looking forward very much to this!

Past that though, I think it's [M&D] the only Pynchon novel that actually has warmth for its main characters and a generally sort of wistful mood alongside the silly puns, talking dogs and suchlike.

Against the Day is the only one I've found a chore to get through.


I loved, LOVED, Against the Day, and weirdly some of the things you've mentioned about M&D are some of the things I loved about AtD. I found that it various points it very much had quite a bit of talking dogs, silly puns, and a sense of wistfulness at points. I mean the Chums of Chance are an awesome ensemble of characters. Would be interesting to see an adaptation, but would have to be a multi-series TV show though where the start of episode recap tends toward taking up ever more of the running time till it's more or less the majority of later season episodes.

That said, the only other big Pynchon I've read was Gravity's Rainbow. I wouldn't say I enjoyed that book the first or second time I read it, in fact it tends makes me depressed. I'll have to put M&D down on the next to read list
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:28 AM on September 30, 2014


Oh, I agree about the Chums of Chance! It's the book as a whole I don't think quite stacks up ... I get the impression, based on nothing at all, that it was cobbled together from bits and pieces Pynchon had knocking around.
posted by sobarel at 6:34 AM on September 30, 2014


In all seriousness, I haven't read IV because it reminds me of Vineland, which I think is just a horrible book. I am a Pynchon lover, and have read everything else with relish, if not always with utmost enjoyment.
posted by OmieWise at 6:35 AM on September 30, 2014


Yeah, Phoenix is a lot older than I pictured Doc. I'm sure it'll be fine, I have all kinds of faith in Anderson, Phoenix, et al, but Doc being in his late 30s makes me want to know what his back story in the film is and if they'll get into it. I'm sure there were 39-year-old post-hippie burnouts in 1970, but I'm still curious what his pre-1965 life was like...
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:42 AM on September 30, 2014


I dunno I thought the cobbled togetherness was intentional, in that it was trying to stitch together various late 19th/early 20th century genres (e.g. boys' own adventure, western pulp, proto science fiction ala Jules Verne, victorian occult) into a coherent whole. There are definitely some bits that lag a bit though as yeah it doesn't always work. There is something about the setting and the sweep of the novel over a particular historical moment that I really like though.

I mean I'd go and start re-reading it right now if my cheap ass version hadn't started falling apart roughly a third of the way through the last re-read.

And having just checked the Australian release date for the film can I just say a big fuck you too to Warner Bros.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:46 AM on September 30, 2014


Has Joaquín Pheonix been slowly turning into Harry Dean Stanton this whole time and I'm just now noticing?
posted by Diablevert at 7:23 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hi. I got an account so I could geek out about this post. I really really got really mad when I read this book. I thought it was bad, and worse, thought it was bad in the ways that people who didn't get Pynchon liked to write off his work. It was zany and goofy just to make a spectacle, had little in the way of a heart, and didn't seem to take you anywhere. His detractors objected to his affectations, his "heh"s and "a-and"s and "sez"s, his show tunes, his wacky characters and goofy names, and never bothered to look beyond them. And I thought this book did damage to his work by presenting a justification of that approach, retroactively.

I may have missed a lot of things -- which is something I was used to reading Pynchon, having likened my reading of GR to sipping from a firehose -- and I appreciate ProfLinusPauling's reading upthread, but I just felt that something was missing from this.

I had loved just about everything I'd read of Pynchon's before this, although V. was tough going, and I didn't read all of Slow Learner. Gravity's Rainbow was as close to a transformative experience as I'd ever had reading a book. Mason & Dixon's melancholy was just bewitching to me, and I saw those two works as standing at opposite ends of a continuum. I read M&D as the other side of the paranoia that had marked P's earlier work. Mason and Dixon weren't as much freaking out about what they'd found themselves a part of during their attempt to section off and compartmentalize the absolute wildness that was the west, as kind of looking back with some regret at what they had done. It felt like the book not of a young (or young at heart) whiz-bang genius, but of a guy who's getting older and at a point where he's considering his life, what he's done, what he's been a part of.

It was interesting how just about every review of that book (and the reviews of the gorgeous Against the Day as well) included reference to the talking dog (or what-have-you) that shows up in the first 100 pages, but none that I read mentioned anyone or anything that was introduced or transpired in pages 101-infinity.

So here was Inherent Vice, in which P himself seemed to just stick to his first-100-pages schtick, and had nothing much deeper to say. I thought he was repeating himself, too. I was so mad about it that I stopped reading Bleeding Edge because of it.

THAT SAID, this movie looks GREAT. I can't wait. I don't know if you could do justice in film to any of his other books (not even The Crying of Lot 49) because they're just too complex, but this one? This bad Pynchon novel that I got so mad at? It just might work, because it's simpler and shorter and less complex and less good.

For those who are looking for Pynchon to read, I'd start with Vineland. If you like that, go either go forward to M&D or suck it up and go back to Gravity's Rainbow. It's colossal and you'll get totally lost, but it's just fantastic.

This may be my last post here, because although I've been lurking for years, I never felt like I could post anything. Y'all -- by and large -- are a really sharp bunch. You're curious, informed, and often well-reasoned and just generally impressive and fun to read. So, here's my five bucks to say thanks to the site.

Here's hoping for a great movie.
posted by mcdeeder at 7:31 AM on September 30, 2014 [20 favorites]


This was the first Pynchon book I ever read and I enjoyed it immensely. It convinced me to get Gravity's Rainbow which I am struggling to get through.
posted by tommasz at 8:20 AM on September 30, 2014


Always fun to hear people's preferences. Mason & Dixon was the first Pynchon I enjoyed (well, the first I finished). I really enjoyed Inherent Vice, but looking at the trailer, I guess I forgot it all in a fairly short time. Time to refresh myself.
Looks like a fun movie, although I tend to hate movies of books I like.
posted by MtDewd at 8:22 AM on September 30, 2014


Good.

Good.
posted by Drexen at 8:47 AM on September 30, 2014


Joaquin Phoenix could have been one of my dad's poker buddies.

A+ will watch again.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:15 AM on September 30, 2014


I’m currently reading Inherent Vice in anticipation of the film, and I’m having a hard time not envisioning Jeff Bridges, as Doc Sportello...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:22 AM on September 30, 2014


I more or less second mcdeeder's remark. Inherent Vice was not a very good book, but this trailer looks pretty damn spiffy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:45 AM on September 30, 2014


Joaquin Phoenix could have been one of my dad's poker buddies.

Your dad played poker with Wolverine?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Penguin has a trailer to the book (slyt)
posted by mrmarley at 11:02 AM on September 30, 2014


"... $27.95. 27.95? That's, like, three weeks worth of groceries, man."
posted by mcdeeder at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2014


Your dad played poker with Wolverine?
He brought the best weed.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:55 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


hippybear: "Is one paranoid about The Golden Fang, or is one just living justifiable fear?"

“Paranoids are not paranoids because they’re paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.”
posted by Red Loop at 5:33 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


First review is out...
posted by Red Loop at 7:00 PM on October 4, 2014


I should say: reviews
posted by Red Loop at 7:03 PM on October 4, 2014


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