Adapted Screenplay - Paul Thomas Anderson
How I wanted to love Inherent Vice and then come to you and tell you that all of the negative commentary was just from people who didn't "get" the movie. It was a lot of dialogue, but I understood what was going on for the first chunk of the film, though unfortunately, I didn't see how most of the scenes were about moving the story forward.
The basic plot (from what I could decipher) was that a local real estate mogul, Wolfman, and the ex-girlfriend of protagonist "Doc" (Joaquin Phoenix) have gone missing. Doc is a private investigator/drug dealer, who has a history with the police and FBI, none of whom like him.
In an early scene, the ex, Shasta, tells Doc that the mogul's wife and her boyfriend are going to put him secretly into an asylum. A pretty large cast of characters show up occasionally in the film to give Doc tidbits as he researches where Wolfman and Shasta have gone. And that's truly all I can explain about this film. How it could be nominated for Adapted Screenplay is totally beyond me, except that I would call the movie a series of conversations in which clues are given to Doc that seem to be making sense to him while we have no idea what's going on.
The costume design was fun and hideous as 70's authentic costuming should be, but while American Hustle was the best of that decade's clothing, Inherent Vice was truly the worst of the 70's garb. The cast was an assembly of Oscar nominees, Oscar winners, and popular powerhouses. The elements were all there except I still don't know what the heck happened during those few hours.
Inherent Vice is the epitome of my motto for this blog - I see all the Oscar nominated films so you don't have to see the bad ones. I still have a handful of films to see, but I would rank this in the bottom three films of all 60 with nominations. See it at your own peril.