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Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

United States 2014 148 mins.

Adapting a Thomas Pynchon novel for the screen is a task at which none have succeeded before Anderson, who sculpts a highly amusing, atmospheric screenplay out of Pynchon’s novel of the same name. Joaquin Phoenix returns for his second work with Anderson as Larry “Doc” Sportello, an incessantly pot-smoking private detective on the trail of several cases: keeping ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth’s (Katherine Waterston) affair with a married man from exploding, hunting down a member of the Aryan Brotherhood with a debt to pay, and finding the missing, adrift Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson). As all of these cases begin to intertwine, Doc comes in contact with a cadre of characters that could only populate the beaches and canyons of Los Angeles in the early 1970s—and could only come from a mingling of the eccentric imaginations of Pynchon and Anderson.