Manuel Betancourt

Oscar Challenge 2015: The Judge & Inherent Vice

February 8, 2015 · in Film

The Judge & Inherent Vice

The Judge
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Inherent Vice
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Best Costume Design

Beware, I have very little to say on both these titles. I’ll be happy if I never see either of these films again even if the former is bound to live in cable syndication (it’s basically aping so many courtroom drama tropes TV has pretty much claimed for itself these past two decades) while the latter is sure to populate many a dorm room conversation and wall (its poster is really quite dazzling). That said, my feelings remain the same as when I first finished watching The Judge:

THE JUDGE, or: The Horrible Things About White Male Douchebags I Make Myself Watch to Presume Having an Informed Opinion Come Oscar Night.

— Manuel (@bmanuel) January 16, 2015

I really could also have been talking about Inherent Vice (or Whiplash or Foxcatcher, for that matter which makes it even more depressing). Would it have killed either of these two films to give me female characters not solely defined by their sexual and romantic relationship to the male leads? How do you sign Vera Farmiga and Reese Witherspoon to your film and give them such throwaway roles? I also hate that a question like that makes me sound like these are special requests one should make of contemporary films rather than the minimum we should be expecting of cultural depictions of contemporary culture. FYI, neither of these films pass The Bechdel Test.

Anyways, back to the films: one interested in justice, one in its eponymous vice, they make ill-fitting mates if not for their oppressively masculinist bent.

The Judge
Inherent Vice

But here, hear it from themselves:

“The law, man, y’know? It’s like both absolute and pliable. Crazy. Like, who decides what’s legal and what’s not? We should all just relax and meander for a couple of more scenes, know what I’m saying? Also, why are we here and why don’t we just bang?” Inherent Vice in a nutshell.

“The law, son, is not pliable. It is absolute and requires our full attention. Goshdarnit we both may be obnoxiously full of ourselves, but at the end of the day, justice (or whatever rosy-colored vision of justice we’ve decided to endorse in this film) will win out. Also, yeah, just bang her.”  The Judge in a nutshell.

The Judge D

Inherent Vice C