My theory about Inherent Vice is that Thomas Pynchon read Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and said “I can do that…”
Let’s just get this out of the way first: the book was better. That said, the movie wasn’t awful. It did a good job of capturing the feel of the book.
Without getting into spoilers, it’s a quintessential detective story. A small favor for an ex-girlfriend turns into uncovering a conspiracy that involves all sorts of big players crossing and double-crossing each other and the detective gets through everything by being observant and being able to put two and two together… but the hook in the story is that our detective spends an inordinate amount of time with an altered consciousness and you’re never quite sure if he’s paranoid because people are out to get him or paranoid because of the weed, man.
The movie simplifies things to the point where I could see how someone might argue that things are oversimplified. The book did a good job of criticizing the era, for example, and the movie doesn’t feel like a criticism as much as merely set in the early 70’s. It’s 100% worth reading and maybe 70% worth watching.
So… what are you reading and or watching?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)