Wiseau voice: I'm sorry but I disagree with you on your statement.
It's presented quickly, names, allegiances or alliances, and hazily as if to mimic Doc's constant high, but again, it's wrapped up in something of a bow at the end. Some questions remain, up to interpretation, whatever, but as far as narrative films go, it's not that tough.
PI Doc Sportello stumbles his way into a scheme in which the feds are propping up a jewish land magnate to own a casino on the strip to gain back control over the mafia stronghold. Said magnate has also seduced Doc's ex. The Golden Fang is both a boat and a global or at least pacific heroin outfit which hooks hippies then "treats them." Bigfoot, local celebrity cop gets doc involved as a patsy of sorts to sniff out the guy that killed his partner, also affiliated with the fang.
It's about the death of 60s hippie idealism through harder drugs, police state, its own ineffectuality, capitalism, etc. It's also very funny.
>wanting emotional investment in a film based on a book where everyone is written to be a completely unlikable asshole
i don't know about you but i did care about the Harlingen's getting back together, i felt rewarded by their reunion, and the way in which Doc rejects the money offered him by the Golden Fang's wider establishment of associates for the favour of releasing Coy was a lovely heartwarming moment in an otherwise entertaining and funny flick. the closest thing to what is conventionally seen as 'emotional investment' i had when it came to the main 'plot' and the protagonist's dilemmas was sympathising with Doc whenever anyone killed his buzz or weirded him out. The only reason he ever gets involved in the mystery is because he's doing a favour for his ex old lady, and from there on in it gets more twisted and turned and disturbing and he can't give up because he's a PI and he doesn't just give up. the point of the movie is to be entertained by its irreverence and drawn in by its worship of the era, as well as enjoy each scene and each little story it tells without having to deal with such loose terms as 'emotional investment'. it's a comedy, remember, and it's very funny.
The plot is actually explained at several points and pieced together fairly easily if you just think about it, it's only the fact that the direction and dialogue is deliberately obfuscating in order to mimic the protagonist's confusion and stoner haze. imagine trying to solve a mystery this dense and being blazed. every so often golden nuggets of memorable plot importance slip through, like 'Heroin sucks the calcium out of your body like a vampire'.
I still maintain the whole sequence in the Vietnamese restaurant where Bigfoot demands PANNAKEKKU and him and Doc discuss the Golden Fang is the nicest, most subtle in the film, because it completely mainlines the strongest message directly to the audience - that both the establishment and the hippies were flawed and ineffectual because they bicker and tussle with one another when, beneath them, the real struggle is going on.
>BIGFOOT: I shouldn't think there'd be much trace. Gold is all but chemically inactive, as you might have learned in chemistry class if you hadn't been ditching all the time to score dope. couple lines later: >DOC: And have the lab look for traces of copper. Not the kind that goes stumbling all over the crime scene contaminating evidence -- more like copper, the metal? See, gold teeth are never pure gold, dentists like to alloy it with copper? If you hadn't ditched forensics class to go steal hubcaps to plant on some innocent hippie, you might have known that. >BIGFOOT: Bet you almost feel like a cop now, Doc.
It's a 'not so different' situation in action. Each side, who are supposed to be helping one another (hippies helping police to improve themselves, treat citizens better, reform etc., vs police helping hippies to live safely and not throw away their lives, protecting and serving etc.), makes negative assumptions about the other.
There's also the fact it's super fun and I love The Long Goodbye.
>>64496915 >Doc getting set up for Charlock's death >Doc getting set up by big foot with drugs >everything to do with the dentist >the whole purpose/function of Reese Witherspoon >The actual truth of Coy's activities >Why Shasta suddenly returned The conversation near the end with the FBI guy also completely baffled me. I had no clue what they were talking about.
>both the establishment and the hippies were flawed and ineffectual because they bicker and tussle with one another when, beneath them, the real struggle is going on.
This is basically one of the underlying themes of the book. It's not one of Pynchon's densest or most maximalist, because it's more about fun and entertainment and rompiness, but there is a definite message about the real villainy being in the undetectable systems and establishments (with links to politics) that initiate horrible social ills rather than 'muh lazy hippies' or 'muh evil cops'. 'Under the paving stones, the beach.' This is a graffiti tagline from the May 1968 Paris revolts and it's referenced in the book, though not in the film. The original intention of the graffiti artist is presumably the notion that if you tear away all the stifling, crushing constructs and mores of this society and establishment or whatever you will get the beauty of nature - ignoring that, of course, the paving stones are just more of the same beach, if formed by the hand of man to be more pleasant to walk on. This argument is age-old hippie-flatfoot dialectics, but Pynchon has used the quote differently - the police and the dopers and cats and the squabbling masses of unknowing groovers and squares are the paving stones, and the beach is all the secret societies and clandestine drug-running organisations with ties to the federal government (IV heavily implies that the reason the Golden Fang are getting heroin so easily out of Indochina is thanks to US military presence there) that have all these complex power structures and pull all the strings. It's similar to The Crying of Lot 49, in a way, in that it's basically a conspiracy book.
It's been a few months, he was coerced by the fang into playing the role of a hippie fool on tv, i forget for what exact purpose besides making them/thier culture and generation look bad. But he was a simple junkie in way over his head, in some kind of indentured servitude, and doc worked to spring him at great personal cost.
I watched this a few weeks ago. I had a really good time watching it. To me it seemed like you weren't really supposed to know what was going on the whole movie. That was part of the enjoyment and humor of it.
Puck Beaverton, the Swastika guy who ties Doc up later, is the one who killed Charlock and the one who knocks Doc out. They're found together in the Chick Planet brothel (after Jade and Bambi scram) by Bigfoot and his LAPD goons. Basic police investigation techniques frame Doc as a suspect for Charlock's murder, even though he's unconscious, and Bigfoot basically knows Doc didn't do it, but he wants to fuck around with him a bit because he's Bigfoot. Same as when he eats his weed later (though that's also cos Bigfoot's got sever issues).
>Doc getting set up by big foot with drugs
Adrian Prussia works for the Golden Fang, along with Puck Beaverton. He therefore has a whole load of dope hidden in the garage of his establishment. Bigfoot needs a patsy so he can find out who was commanding Prussia and getting him to hold such outrageous amounts of heroin, ie who's one step up the ladder in the Golden Fang (he also wants to find out why his partner was killed). Doc is the patsy. Doc is contacted by Crocker Fenway (a rich and influential businessman from North California) who secretly works for the Golden Fang and organises for the heroin to be picked up. The punchline is that the next step up in the ladder, the people who collect the heroin, are a straight-laced-looking nuclear family straight outta some Nixonite's wet dream.
>everything to do with the dentist
One of the Golden Fang's side enterprises in Southern California is getting people like Hope Harlingen hooked on dope, then fixing their mashed up teeth. So they basically dominate the dentistry trade in their main dope dispersal areas. Blatnoyd is payed in cocaine and easy secretaries. He is later killed by the Golden Fang because of his relationship with Japonica Fenway, the daughter of Golden Fang bigwig Crocker Fenway.
In terms of plot, allows Doc to follow threads that lead into the usually-hermetic FBI, allows him intel inside the federal government (she's how he finds out about Adrian Prussia and Bigfoot's old partner). In terms of wider themes, illustrates tetchy love-hate relationship between the feds and the freaks.
>The actual truth of Coy's activities
Doper who was drawn into the smaller operations of the Fang. Used by them as one of many in their 'Vigilant California' setup - a false-flag organisation which was used at rallies and presidential speeches to make hippies look like uneducated dumbos and undermine them so that none of their passive, addicted hippie clients would at all waver in their allegiance to the good stuff.
>Why Shasta suddenly returned
Golden Fang let her go. She was on their yacht, after all. She says something about them saying she is an object with 'inherent vice' - maritime terminology for perishable - so maybe they were planning to get rid of her in a more jammy way, but Doc silently squared it with Fenway that she'd be released when Coy was. There's also the fact she probably became disillusioned with Wolfmann after the fact he's being propped up by the corrupt feds and is himself thoroughly confused probably lessens her image of him as this powerful magnate in her eyes.
An aspect that we haven't really touched upon is that Wolfmann is also a pawn of the Golden Fang as well as the federal government because the two of them are very subtly interrelated. The Fang don't want the Italians (think Michael Corleone in the second Godfather) dominating Vegas, because that's a potential market of sadsack fucks they could be exploiting as they push in from the West coast, and the feds are happier want to get rid of the Mafia's presence there too. There's always gonna be crime in Vegas, but if it's invisible crime you can control, then that's a bit more peachy.
all rly well explained lads, and i dont wanna detract from your efforts when i say these really should've been obvious. it's that the majority of modern hollywood films are all so terribly plotted that they have to spoonfeed everything to the audience, even 'complex' 'cerebral' shit like nolan movies. it's easier to spoonfeed when in a contemporary setting, because you don't have to make as many links for the audience, they're aware of the social setting and scenarios and stereotypes. they know the situation of their time and place, so they automatically make more assumptions and understand things more easily. if IV was adapted with conventional neo-hollywood plotting, we'd be spoonfed all this wider information about crime and social groups and drugs and rallies and the feds and the cops and the hippies and whatever in late 60s/early 70s california. but Pynchon didn't do that when he wrote it, and PTA doesn't either. it allows you to make assumptions without explicitly explaining everything, for various reasons. it feels almost like a movie set in 1970, but also made for viewers from 1970.
>Bigfoot needs a patsy so he can find out who was commanding Prussia and getting him to hold such outrageous amounts of heroin, ie who's one step up the ladder in the Golden Fang (he also wants to find out why his partner was killed). Doc is the patsy. Doc is contacted by Crocker Fenway (a rich and influential businessman from North California) who secretly works for the Golden Fang and organises for the heroin to be picked up. The punchline is that the next step up in the ladder, the people who collect the heroin, are a straight-laced-looking nuclear family straight outta some Nixonite's wet dream.
the slapstick nature but also a sort of, release for such a frustrated, disillusioned character, desperatly holding onto changing times, passed by and derided by his colleagues. Capping off his and Doc's contentious yet somehow sentimental relationship it's as if he's saying, fuck it, and going whole hog. Rather than a couple puffs he ingests a disgusting amount. There's also probably some thematic resonance with him representing police/the man gobbling up the love drug of the 60s. The awe on Doc's face makes it.
Also the Golden Fang has a "vertical integration" model of business: the control the production, smuggling and distribution of heroin, but also they expand through detox and even dental reconstruction because heroin destroy the teeth. I'm such a nerd teehee
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