I need to think about Inherent Vice a bit before writing anything. It just broke an hour ago and then I just hopped on the train. I was thinking about it while I was watching but that only got in the way. A friend wrote and said “how was it?” Here’s what I wrote: “Oh, dear God. Maybe it’ll come into focus after I’ve seen it a second or third time, or when I catch in on Bluray and can access the subtitles. Maybe by then I’ll have grown enough as a person or as a moviegoer or as a dog catcher. Maybe someday I’ll be as perceptive as Drew McWeeny or Scott Foundas. One thing is for sure and that’s that tonight I just wasn’t hip or smart or observant enough to really get down with Inherent Vice. I kinda got where it was coming from but I couldn’t get to a place of delight. I certainly got portions of it. I know I chucked at a few lines. But I’m basically too fucking stupid and my ears are too full of wax or something. So it’s me — I’m the problem and not PTA. Vice is a meticulous recreation of an early ’70s film complete with dirt and scratch marks…it’s like you’re watching a semi-decent print of a film made in 1971 at the New Beverly in 1986. It really is an immersion and a half. Beautiful atmosphere, perfect Nixonian vibe, bleachy lighting scheme, ultra-dry humor, Aryans, dopers, a Neil Young tune or two, endless manner of perversity and duplicity and what-the-fuck-ity…but I couldn’t figure out a whole lot. Some but not enough. It’s in, it’s out, it’s back in again, it moves left and right, it drops its pants, it takes a hit, it bongs out again…it makes your brain feel like cheese that’s been left on the counter overnight, and it goes on for…what, two and a half hours? If only I was smarter…if only I could hear more of the dialogue…if only I had several lines of heroin to snort while I was watching it. You know what? Forget the plot. Solutions are for squares, man. Just submit to the period-ness and let that be enough. Let Joaquin Phoenix‘s mutton-chops rule. Doobies, sandals, hippie chicks, waves, the residue of Manson, shiny 1970 cars…all of it, dude. Be a “yes” person. (Clips of today’s press conference courtesy of Blackfilm‘s Wilson Morales.)