"They're not gonna substitute the Infinity Gauntlet for your hash browns, Josh. Stop asking."


"They're not gonna substitute the Infinity Gauntlet for your hash browns, Josh. Stop asking."

INHERENT VICE

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. JOAQUIN PHOENIX'S MELLOW PAD - 1970

JOANNA NEWSOM (V/O)

Welcome viewers, to our quirky, drug-addled re-interpretation of the film noir genre. For our first twist, I'll be doing all the voiceovers instead of Joaquin. How offbeat! Let's begin. Ahem.

(pause)

Outside, hot rain was tattooing the calloused streets. Inside, hard-baked private-eye Joaquin was stuck to his couch like week-old pizza when trouble walked in looking like a dame. And not just any dame. THE dame. The damiest dame he'd ever damed.

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Been a long time Joaquin. I'm in trouble.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(distant whalesong)

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Huh?

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(normal)

Oh, I deliver all my lines that way. But for the purposes of this abridged script let's pretend I talk in distinct words and clear sentences. So what's up?

KATHERINE WATERSTON

I'm fucking a married guy who wants to fuck over his wife except his wife is fucking another guy and they both want to fuck over the married guy with my help and I can't decide whether to fuck over the guy I'm fucking or not or whether I'm fucked either way.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

What the hell, this plot already needs a flowchart and this is the first goddamn scene.

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Anyway the married guy is called Mickey Wolfman, played by Eric Roberts, except the first time we see the character it'll be as Josh Brolin in your hallucination, just to confuse everyone.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Wait, ROBERTS is Wolfman?!? Shit, I need to go talk to the hair and makeup people.

INT. DINER

JOAQUIN meets up with JOANNA.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Hm, according to the paper, Eric Roberts is missing. Wait, why am I telling you? Who are you anyway?

JOANNA NEWSOM

(shrugs)

INT. MEDICAL CLINIC

JOAQUIN arrives for work where he is a PHYSIOLOGIST CHIROPRACTOR GUY WHO DOES SHIT WITH OXYGEN MASKS FUCK I DUNNO DOCTORY PERSON and talks to the film's ONLY BLACK CHARACTER.

MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS

Seriously?!? This story has like 400 people in it. And I'm here to introduce a whole thing about how my community was destroyed to create one of Eric Roberts's yucky suburbs. So you'll probably have to talk to lots of people there who...

INT. YUCKY SUBURB FUCK STORE

JOAQUIN walks in and notices store owner HONG CHAU, while having NOT noticed the FIVE THOUSAND COPS sneaking up behind him. JOANNA, waiting in the car, presumably thinks the cops are just large, heavily armed tumbleweeds, so does nothing.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Hi, so apparently the only thing built yet in this yucky suburb is this fuck shop?

HONG CHAU

Damn right! Bambi, come here so I can eat your pussy right this second!

BAMBI

(shrugs)

Hey, it's the 70s!

HONG CHAU gives BAMBI some HEAD while SOMEBODY OFFSCREEN gives JOAQUIN'S HEAD some BASEBALL BAT. He wakes up next to a DEAD GUY and a WALL OF COPS led by FLAT-TOP JOSH BROLIN.

INT. POLICE HQ

JOSH BROLIN

So the dead guy was guarding Eric Roberts. The obvious conclusion is you killed him, dragged his body to an open plot in an unbuilt suburb, and then knocked yourself out. Pretty cut and dry really--

BENICIO DEL TORO

(entering)

Not so fast! I'm Joaquin's Maritime lawyer and according to section 101(2)(a) of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, as interpreted by the 9th District Court, fuck you!

JOSH BROLIN

(shrugs)

Eh, you got me.

JOSH drives JOAQUIN home while FELLATING A CHOCOLATE-COVERED BANANA like the Earth's survival depended on how well he could fellate a banana.

INT. JOAQUIN'S PLACE

JOSH BROLIN

(on phone)

I just called to say Katherine Waterston is missing. By not knowing this five minutes ago, we got to create an extra scene! I'd get used to that shit if I were you.

Before JOAQUIN can do anything about this development, he gets an unrelated call from JENA MALONE and so naturally drops everything to go deal with that.

INT. JENA MALONE'S HOUSE

JENA MALONE

My husband Owen Wilson is supposed to be dead but I don't believe it. We met when I shoved my face in his cock while vomiting and he was shitting, it was a real Meet Disgustingly.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

This probably has nothing to do with the case, except it's Owen Wilson so it must have some tangential connection...

JENA MALONE

Oh you don't know the half of it! Most everything before this scene is gonna go nowhere, this is actually the main plot, except you don't realize that yet, so most people won't pay any attention to this and thus be even more confused later! BWAH HA HA HA HA

INT. SUPER UPSCALE WOLFMAN ESTATE

JOAQUIN molds a heaping pile of bullshit into a cover story to gain entrance, and talk to ERIC ROBERTS'S wife SERENA SCOTT THOMAS and her uteral-fitness trainer ANDREW SIMPSON. As they chat, random people shove their CROTCH and ASS at JOAQUIN because 1970s.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Based on the way Andrew's eyes are permanently glued to Serena's vagina, I deduce they are the boyfriend/wife combo that Katherine told me about. Finally, we've made some narrative progress!

SERENA and ANDREW are NEVER SEEN EVER AGAIN IN THE WHOLE DAMN MOVIE.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Fuck.

EXT. BUSINESS DISTRICT

JOAQUIN meets up with his contact and sometime girlfriend, DISTRICT ATTORNEY REESE WITHERSPOON.

REESE WITHERSPOON

(fidgeting)

You're so disreputable, especially contrasted alongside my reputableness! I sure hope nobody from work sees us together as we sit directly outside my workplace!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Why are you being so coy? How did we meet? What the fuck is our deal?

REESE WITHERSPOON

Not sure. Look, I have some FBI guys waiting to question you, which is sure to launch an integral important subplot... no, shit, it's just more white noise I think. Sorry.

EXT. DOWN BY THE DOCKS - THAT NIGHT

JOAQUIN finds HONG CHAU at the docks.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

I got your note. Why did you want to meet? And why did you also say "Beware the Golden Fang" without even the slightest fucking clue what Golden Fang is?

HONG CHAU

Let's not worry about that. But may I introduce... OWEN WILSON DUN DUN DUNNN!

OWEN WILSON

Hi!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(blinks)

INT. DINER - THE NEXT MORNING

JOAQUIN, having learned that GOLDEN FANG has something to do with WATER and BOATS, decides to follow up with BENICIO DEL TORO, the character previously associated with WATER and BOATS.

BENICIO DEL TORO

Golden Fang is the name of a boat. It also links to a huge rambling story about a Hollywood actor that has no real bearing on anything, so let's be sure to tell ALLLLL of that. Anyway Eric Roberts might be on the boat. Now let me make my 43rd reference to Gilligan's Island, to help fuel the inevitable fan theory that you hallucinated this entire movie while getting stoned watching daytime TV.

INT. JOAQUIN'S PLACE

BENICIO DEL TORO

(on phone)

Also Katherine is maybe on the boat.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Man, Brolin wasn't kidding. At least I have a hot lead on where Katherine and Eric Roberts might be!

JOAQUIN springs into action by having REESE over for a booty call and then they watch TV and get high. On the news, OWEN WILSON yells at NIXON.

REESE WITHERSPOON

Oh yeah, Owen is some confidential undercover informant dude, and he's trapped doing endless undercover informant work. You might think being spotlighted on national TV would end that, but apparently not.

INT. PARTY AT A PLACE WITH PEOPLE

JOAQUIN wanders through the party and finds OWEN.

OWEN WILSON

Hi!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Oh look, Hong Chau is here. Let me drive you home.

(does so)

HONG CHAU

Thanks for the lift. Also, the Golden Fang smuggles heroin.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(ripping hair out)

DAMMIT WHY CAN NOBODY TELL ME COMPLETE PIECES OF INFORMATION ALL AT ONCE

HONG CHAU

(shrugs)

I'm not the one who fed the original scene breakdown into a woodchipper, dude.

INT. POLICE STATION

JOAQUIN gives JOSH a photo from the party that strongly resembles the LAST SUPPER, WOAAAHHHHHHHHHH

JOSH BROLIN

Um, why are you giving me this?

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

I dunno. What are you going to do about it?

JOSH BROLIN

I dunno that either.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(blinks)

JOSH BROLIN

(fellates banana)

EXT. JOAQUIN'S PLACE

JOAQUIN arrives home to find a postcard from KATHERINE which mentions that time they bought a Ouija board. It sparks a FLASHBACK where JOAQUIN and KATHERINE run to a random vacant lot. Current JOAQUIN goes there to discover it now has GOLDEN FANG HQ built on it, which, holy mother-fucking coincidence Batman.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Ah, so this postcard has, in an incredibly roundabout way, led me to the Golden Fang. Which everyone has been telling me about all along, and I could have opened the fucking Yellow Pages at any time to find. Like any normal private eye might do.

INT. GOLDEN FANG HQ

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Hello. I am a delivery type person with no package or envelope or uniform or anything. Please take me to your boss.

The receptionist falls for JOAQUIN'S elaborate ruse and takes him to MARTIN SHORT.

MARTIN SHORT

Good morning! Hey, wait a sec, I don't know you. You could be anybody at all. You could be an undercover cop or rival gang hitman or something.

(pause)

LOOK AT ALL MY DRUGS! LET'S DO SOME DRUGS!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

FUCK YEAH

RECEPTIONIST

Excuse me, for some unknown reason I'm compelled to fuck Martin every half hour.

(shrugs)

It's the 70s!

MARTIN scampers off doing his patented SCTV RUN so JOAQUIN pokes around a bit. He finds the DAUGHTER of a character we've never seen or heard of to this point!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Holy shit! This is a huge development, I guess! Let's get out of here!

JOAQUIN, his BUDDY who's barely worth mentioning but yeah he was there too, the DAUGHTER, and bizarrely enough MARTIN SHORT all pile into a car and take off! But they are stopped by a COP!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Fuck! This has gotta be the part where nefarious forces use corrupt beat cops to smack down the hero. I mean, why else would this scene happen?

(nothing happens)

Huh.

INT. JOAQUIN'S PLACE

JOAQUIN makes a big board to try and make sense of all the shit that's happened. He gets UTTERLY FUCKING NOWHERE. This helps the audience IDENTIFY with him.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Maybe if I can figure out how Martin Short ties into all this.

JOSH BROLIN

(on phone)

Hey, Martin's dead. Come meet me at the diner, I haven't had a scene in a while.

INT. DINER

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Please, PLEASE tell me you're going to be helpful this time?

JOSH BROLIN

Oh, of course. Look, I've brought some important police files with me that contain BRAND NEW CHARACTERS AND NEW PLOT THREADS AND BWAH HA HA HA HA THIS WILL NEVER END

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(to waitress)

This is what prolonged exposure to Marvel Studios does to a guy.

INT. ASYLUM

JOAQUIN checks the list of available locations to search and realizes he hasn't done the ASYLUM yet.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Woah, the Eric Roberts bodyguard who DIDN'T die, is here! And so is Owen Wilson! And the FBI guys! And, holy shit, Eric Roberts! This must be where it all converges!

ERIC ROBERTS

You'd sure think so. But instead this will happen.

INT. BACK AT JOAQUIN'S PLACE

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

What the hell? Now the paper says Eric Roberts is back and fine and that's that. That whole thing that was supposed to be driving the plot, just totally fizzled out. At least there's still the urgent mystery of where Katherine is...

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Hey.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

What, really?!? That was the dullest reveal ever. Talk about anticlimactic...

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Maybe we can fix that with some naked-foot-jobbing and spanking and fucking. And now here's where we finally say Inherent Vice! Guess what, it's a nautical liability term.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

You're saying that the title which seemed to hold such noiresque promise is actually a pedantic legal definition? That... seems to fit rather well actually.

INT. REESE'S OFFICE

JOAQUIN rolls on the random encounter table and gets REESE WITHERSPOON.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Hey Reese, sorry to ask in front of all your colleagues, but I need some confidential documents and shit. I figure, if I keep stocking up on them, eventually the end of the movie will happen.

REESE WITHERSPOON

What, potentially throw away my entire career at a chance of this mess finally getting somewhere?!? Fuck yeah! What else can I do to help? Punch the Mayor in the nards? Dunk my head in acid? Just say the word.

JOAQUIN goes down on the FILES which divulge the location of a GANGSTER'S OFFICE.

INT. GANGSTER'S OFFICE

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Hello, gangster dude. So I'm thinking that this quest to create a Big Lebowski for a new generation isn't going so well. Anything to add?

GANGSTER

Well I have this huge evil thug here that can try to kill you. He's Eric Roberts other bodyguard that you saw at the asylum!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

FUCK FINALLY there's a chance at payoff!! God yes, please try and kill me, just for the love of fuck can we resolve something!

JOAQUIN gets CUFFED to a pipe but ESCAPES, BEATS UP the HUGE EVIL THUG, and shoots the GANGSTER dead!

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Phew, that should be just enough action to pepper the trailers with, and make it look like this movie operates at a level above comatose.

JOSH BROLIN

Surprise, I'm here now! I found you because you're illegally parked. I'm gonna steal all this heroin, oh yeah, but then stash it in YOUR car because WHYYYYYYYYY

INT. FANCY RESTAURANT

JOAQUIN meets up with MARTIN DONOVAN.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

So I got your call that you want all that heroin back. I will trade it for Owen Wilson's freedom.

MARTIN DONOVAN

Very well! You have managed to finally outwit ME, the character that's been briefly mentioned only once before!

OWEN WILSON

Hi!

OWEN WILSON is reunited with JENA MALONE! The GOLDEN FANG boat is seized by the D.O.J. which probably has consequences for some characters! EVERYBODY OFFSCREEN goes down on EVERYBODY ELSE, we can only assume!

INT. JOAQUIN'S PLACE

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

Phew, had to do a lot of weed to crack that case. Better unwind with some more weed.

JOSH BROLIN

(bashing in door)

WHAT THE FUCK

(eats entire joint)

WAS THE GODDAMN POINT

(crams face with tray of drugs)

OF MY ENTIRE CHARACTER

(leaves)

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

(blinks)

INT. CAR

JOAQUIN and KATHERINE are in a car.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

I guess the movie's ending now.

KATHERINE WATERSTON

Don't look so depressed. Resolving one storyline out of 40 ain't too bad.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX

What about us? Are you ever going to explain how you disappeared, or why, or how you got back, or how deeply you were involved, or what your feelings for me really are, or whether we have a future, or anything? Is any part of this central relationship going to have any kind of payoff?!?

KATHERINE WATERSTON

(actual line)

... No.

END

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