FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #64 – “Inherent Vice” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Poster for "Inherent 55Vice"

Glenn and Daniel start off the New Year right with a borderline unhealthy dose of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice. We both identified this film early-on as a hippie-infused shaggy-dog detective story, but surprisingly, only one of us found this delightful. (33:59).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5/10 (Glenn); 5/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is Sam Cooke‘s original track, “(What A) Wonderful World“, as well as “Never My Love” by The Association, both from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The film mentions a [fictitious] blacklisted actor – in the film, this actor is played by real-life actor Jack Kelly, who was never blacklisted in real life. The film shows Kelly’s alter ego in a real-life 1962 anti-communist propaganda short film, Red Nightmare. You can watch this 28-minute film in its entirety on YouTube – the scene featured in the film begins at 18:31.
  • The term “inherent vice” is obliquely explained in the film as “whatever can’t be avoided” in the context of insurance – glass breaking, chocolate melting, etc. But the term originates from library and archival science, referring to the material constraints of preservation activities. For example, cellulose acetate film will degrade over time due to chemical instability.
  • Check out our review of Anderson’s previous film, The Master.
  • In the genre of “drug-addled protagonist goes on a confusing detective odyssey”, there was one bit of comedy that came to mind, but didn’t come up on the podcast. And that was a wonderful recurring sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look, known as “The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar”. You can find all of these sketches on YouTube – check out the first one here.

Listen above, or download: Inherent Vice (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #61 – “Wild” (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)

Poster for "Wild"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel tackle the latest emotional journey from Oprah‘s Book Club, Wild, featuring the Pacific Crest Trail hike of memoirist Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), as rendered by the director of last year’s triumphant Dallas Buyers Club. The result is a mixed bag of triumphant trail experiences and an uneven backstory – we liked, but didn’t love it. (26:58)

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is a pair of Simon and Garfunkel songs from the film’s soundtrack, “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” and “Homeward Bound“.
  • Minor correction: Nick Hornby wrote the novel for About a Boy, but not the screenplay for the film.
  • As promised, I fact-checked the Hollywood age shenanigans, and it turns out they were even worse than we thought. We can pardon the film somewhat, given its reliance on flashbacks, but as of this writing, Laura Dern is 47, and Reese Witherspoon is 38. That’s a 9-year age difference between mother and daughter.
  • As we mentioned, Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, was published in 2012, roughly 17 years after her hike. Interestingly, the book’s publication led to Strayed finding her long-lost half-sister.

Listen above, or download: Wild (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)