Inherent Vice

I had a day of a lot of preparation and two lectures. The students seemed to be settling into the semester, although in some cases that wasn’t good. I returned home feeling tired, and I ate some raspberries and yogurt before watching “Inherent Vice” again. It felt like the running time of 148 minutes was too long, and the plot left me uninterested. However, I have liked watching Joaquin Phoenix in “Two Lovers,” “Her,” and “Irrational Man,” and I did like watching him in this one. If Robert Downey, Jr. had the lead role, this movie would have been funnier, or at least we would have felt more comfortable laughing. I think I would have liked seeing Charlize Theron in the cast. I liked seeing those reminders of a different time, like the beer cans that had no tabs and the old television sets. There were some things that I laughed at that I didn’t laugh at the first time I saw the movie, like Josh Brolin eating the frozen banana. I liked the way the film looked on my television. What I really liked was the absence of CGI, which I am sick of. The plot is difficult to flow, which goes against the Kurosawa principle of good movies being easy to understand, although it is in keeping with influences like Raymond Chandler. I thought of “The Big Sleep” and “The Long Goodbye” as I watched this movie. Director Paul Thomas Anderson has movies like “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “The Master” among his credits. He was born in 1970, so he’s had some time to think about life. He has said that his influences include Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Jonathan Demme, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, and Max Ophuls. He has also said that “Magnolia” was his best movie, so I would say that seeing “Inherent Vice” again made me appreciate its strengths. I think my favorite transition is from the moment Joaquin gets hit over the head to the next scene.  I didn’t think that Martin Short was able to fit into the atmosphere too well.  Have I ever really liked him in a movie?  Yes, I could accept Owen Wilson here, and interrupting Richard Nixon.  I’ll also say that I liked seeing Eric Roberts again.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since the days of “The Coca-Cola Kid” and “Runaway Train.”  He could have been in a movie like “Inherent Vice” years ago playing a more vital character.  This movie wasn’t successful at the box office because it’s demanding and offbeat, and so not especially appealing to mass audiences. It’s a movie that is more enjoyable if you see it at a place like the Grand Lake Theatre rather than at home on television. The audiences there are rather responsive and hip, and so they react positively to the weirdness. “Inherent Vice” was the type of movie that makes you tired as you watch it. After I slept for a while, I heard the news on the radio. The A’s scored a lot of runs against the White Sox. Some 49ers fans beat up a Minnesota Vikings fan outside Levi’s Stadium on Monday night. I certainly hope nothing like that happens when I go to the Super Bowl. The story about Barbara McWilliams, the 72-year-old victim of the valley fire, was very chilling to me. I can imagine being 72 years old and forgotten. I hope not to live in a secluded place if I live to be that age. I would really be afraid of dying in a fire. I think the lesson is not to be stubborn about staying at home in an emergency situation. Leave sooner than later, in fact. Some of the people who died on September 16 include Marc Bolan (1977), Maria Callas (1977), Willie Mosconi (1993), James Gregory (2002), and Mary Travers (2009). Today is a birthday for Amy Poehler (44), Jennifer Tilly (57), David Copperfield (59), and Mickey Rourke (63). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 16, “The Outer Limits” had its premiere on ABC in 1963. In 1979, the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” was released. In 1991, Willie Nelson married makeup artist Annie D’Angelo after the two met during the filming of “Honeysuckle Rose.” In 2012, John Ingle of General Hospital fame died of cancer at age 84.

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