Seventeen: Spy Vs Spy Relationship

02.09: Inherent Vice

In which we give our (many, many) thoughts on P.T. Anderson’s film adaptation of Inherent Vice(2014). Also, you’ll want to sit through the credits on this one in order to catch our announcement of Season Three’s book of choice!


The film-within-the-film is, according to Mr. Anderson, a film called The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966) However, that film was shot in color, yet the scene in Inherent Vice is in black-and-white. Why?

More research to follow…

9 thoughts on “Seventeen: Spy Vs Spy Relationship

  1. I thought it was Pynchon who walked by twice during the coy and doc conversation @ spotted dick house. He looks into the camera it seems…

    1. I thought that too, honestly. When I next get a chance to see the flick, I’ll make special note of it.

  2. Regarding the film they’re watching in Chryskylodon. It’s a short film called Red Nightmare and it is black and white. It’s also just a clip direct from the short itself with Jack Kelly (the actor in it) serving as the role of Burke Stodger used in the film rather than a replication using current actors. You can see the clip used in the film there.

  3. I would like to briefly challenge the idea that the ending of the movie is a clear-cut indication of Shasta and Doc getting back together. I think the whole last scene is very ambiguous with Doc constantly looking slightly paranoically at what we can infer is the rear-view mirror (is he looking at us? is he looking at Shasta?), the very ominous music turning upbeat in the very end, and most of all, the ending of the conversation—Doc: “This don’t mean we’re back together.” She laughs “Of course not” but then she starts being pensive, the look turns sad. What is she thinking? She’s going to leave him again? Is it going to stay a push and pull or will it be for good this time? He looks again a the rear-view mirror (has he seen the look on Shasta face? again it seems that he’s looking at us too) and, mysteriously, smiles and sighs. If he’s seen the look on Shasta why is he smiling? that look wouldn’t be good news for him. She hears the sigh and looks a bit puzzled at him. Cut to credits.
    Whatever Doc is smiling for in the end, I think that smile reconnects the ending of the movie to the ending of the book. Ultimately they are both positive if slightly melancholic endings. But it seems to me, and I mean this is purely my interpretation, that Shasta is not really there in neither of the two endings—in the book she’s not there literally (pun intended) and in the movie she’s not there because she’s already somewhere else and maybe Doc’s ok with it. He knows it is her nature.

    1. When we recorded this episode, we’d each only seen it once. Having seen it more than just the one time at the point, I would agree with you.

      Thanks for your comment, and thanks for listening!

  4. I also think the possible Pynchon cameo is the guy walking outside the window, during Doc & Coy’s conversation (that scene is also among my favorites in the film, too).

    I *also* wonder whether the cameo is actually at Chryskylodon: when Doc first enters, & the camera’s panning from a window to Doc’s tour, but for a moment you see through that window there’s a guy being chased by some orderlies…So, the first time (well, 3 times I saw it in theaters), I definitely thought that was the cameo, ’til later also noticing the guy outside the window at the house in Topanga Canyon.

    Pynchon’s prose is highly read-aloud-able to me, so I was delighted from the start that not only was there a narrator, but someone with such a unique voice. I really think the narration’s brilliant.

    I’m unabashedly a Paul Thomas Anderson fan; I love all his films so much that I don’t even rank them. So, definitely some bias.

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