by Duane Porter
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few months concerning the state of cinema in 2014. Many seem to feel that it was a decidedly mediocre year for movies. I can agree, there have been years when it seemed that something wonderful opened every week during October, November, and especially, December. This was not one of those years. But, when all is said and done, 2014 has been a truly fabulous year. Living far from New York, L.A., and any of the major film festivals, It has taken a lot longer this year for me to have an opportunity to see the ten films that comprise this list, but, they were there all along.
“She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn’t seen her for over a year. Nobody had. Back then it was always sandals, bottom half of a flower-print bikini, faded Country Joe & the Fish T-shirt. Tonight she was all in flatland gear, hair a lot shorter than he remembered, looking just like she swore she’d never look.”
“That you, Shasta?”
“Need your help, Doc.”
Disguised as a detective story, riffing on The Big Sleep or The Long Goodbye, it’s really a picaresque whimsy on which to hang a poem about the passage of time and the sense of loss. What’s it all about? It doesn’t matter any more than it did in The Big Sleep. Often obliquely funny but drenched in a soul-numbing sadness, Inherent Vice is a metaphor for the built-in unavoidable fleeting nature of all things human.
All things human and and all the things humans strive for, just when we think we’ve caught sight of nirvana it always seems to slip away as if there is some dark force holding us back. “Was it possible, that at every gathering — concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, and freak-in, here, up north, back East, wherever — those dark crews had been busy all along, reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday, all they could sweep up, for the ancient forces of greed and fear?”
As Doc and Shasta drive into the fog, the glow of headlights passing over their faces, Shasta says, “Being with you is like being under the sea, where the whole world ceases to matter.” Doc says, “But it doesn’t mean we’re back together.” She replies, “Of course not.” (more…)