Setter’s ‘Spectives: The Long Cinematic Torture of ‘Inherent Vice’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I knew Inherent Vice was going to be a big, sloppy movie. I just didn’t know how much.

And I didn’t know it was going to be awful, either.

Boy, was this a plodding film. The Paul Thomas Anderson-directed (and -written, based in the novel by Thomas Pynchon) story of a dope-addled P.I. out to uncover various uninteresting mysteries in 1970 California, Inherent Vice isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is. And it’s more pretentious, to boot. Plus, there’s the addition of some bland narration, which suggests that the film doesn’t trust its audience to make its own judgments.

That’s a problem. Good movies have faith in their viewers. They coax people along, encourage them. Bad movies hold their audiences at bay, alienate them. And that’s exactly how I felt while watching Inherent Vice.

Much of this movie should’ve ended up on the cutting-room floor; there are all kinds of little idiosyncratic bits that purportedly suggest character development but ultimately fail in providing solid context. What results is a tedious mess. Too bad, because it could’ve been so much better.

I like Pynchon, but I think Inherent Vice, as a movie, doesn’t succeed. There’s originality here, but it’s not enough to carry it. For such a tiresome picture, it feels strangely rushed. That’s just another reason not to like it. Oh, well.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: A Failing Grade for ‘At Middleton’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I want to tell you something about the movie At Middleton.

IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!

OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s proceed to why this rom-com was so wretched. It had some talent in front of the camera, including Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as parents visiting a college with their kids and finding romance in the process. Unfortunately, the script was dreadful, creating a host of unbelievable situations in the name of character development, including a completely unrealistic scene in which the duo crashes a campus acting class and provides a clinic in method theory.

Can you say, “Ludicrous?” I can.

Another problem: Many sequences went on for far too long, with the effect that they became tedious. The conversations between the two parents were so uninteresting that they didn’t foster any definition; instead, they removed it. What we, as viewers, were left with were skeletons of characters speaking poor dialogue and becoming more and more insufferable as the film went on.

Oh, and I really dislike forced quirkiness, which was broadcast through Farmiga’s free-spirit mom. Yuck.

Much of the blame for this nonsense could be put on the direction by Adam Rodgers, who co-wrote the film, too. But the script’s issues were really insurmountable. If only it were better paced. If only the characters were credible. If only … if only …

Can I watch something good now?