Imagine if you will, a world parallel to our own, identical in many ways, disparate in others. Long story short, in this mirror universe, Bands I Useta Like was optioned by a major independent film studio, and made into a hit movie. It combined animation and live action, and because the producers had deep pockets, licensing songs for a decent soundtrack wasn’t a problem.
Whether I allowed the film to be produced at all was contingent upon the quality of the music choices. If they balked at a crucial song, or refused to include it, I would walk off the project. Which I did, and they replaced me on-screen with a real actor. Like I said, the movie was a hit.
The 2-disc soundtrack sold out of stores overnight. Even though it came packed in that shitty double jewel-box, which just winds up broken, on the floor of a car.
So one of my favorite directors made an adaptation of a novel by my favorite writer. That’s a big deal.
In fact, it’s a huge deal. There was a time when I and friends who also read Thomas Pynchon thought that Mason & Dixon, his masterpiece from 1997, was his final effort. Then we figured the swan song was his sublime Against The Day, from 2006. Inherent Vice came along in 2009, and we finally realized that we were witness to a thriving, percolating phase in the lifetime of a literary master.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson read Inherent Vice in 2009 and rightly deduced that it would be the most filmable of Pynchon’s oeuvre. Oh, how I long for a Terry Gilliam adaptation of Mason & Dixon, with a big budget and perfect casting, but this does just fine for the time being. Besides, now it’s on record that audience interest in Pynchon adaptations exists. Maybe someday we’ll get Against The Day, or, since I’m really blue-skying here, Gravity’s Rainbow*. It’s now in the realm of possibility. Continue reading →