Inherent Vice & The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye
The Long Goodbye

Paul Thomas Anderson, I hold my hands up, I’m a believer! I only saw this a couple of days ago, and I’m still not sure 100 percent about it. But it does have enough of Altman’s The Long Goodbye (which I’m still not sure about, 20 years after seeing it for the first time) for me to include it in this list and talk about both.

Both films are detective stories of sorts, both films are set in the druggie LA of the sleazy 1970s. Both films are wonderfully musical, hazy and jazzy. While Altman’s film has stood the test of time, I wonder if we can say the same of Inherent Vice?

Anderson to me seems a Kubrickian talent. There Will Be Blood is the greatest Kubrick film that Stanley never made, of course, he wouldn’t have made it anyway as it would have involved him leaving the UK!

I loved Boogie Nights too and watch it often, Anderson also clearly loves Altman, and the setting for Inherent Vice must have attracted him because of the similarity with The Long Goodbye.

For me, Altman is much missed and Anderson not celebrated enough, but Altman wasn’t celebrated for a large part of his career, which wasn’t ‘fine by me’.

Watch both films and decide which is best for you.

So, 95 films to go!

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.