Thursday, January 8, 2015


Since early in the film's production, there have been rumors floated that super-reclusive author (and sometime Simpsons characterThomas Pynchon might be making a surprise cameo appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's cinematic version of his 70's psychedelic stoner detective story, Inherent Vice.

Well, hold on to your Groucho glasses, folks, because I think I may have stumbled across said cameo.

It takes place roughly at the one hour mark, at which point private dick Larry "Doc" Sportello (played by Joaquin Phoenix) has cornered Coy Harlingen (played by Owen Wilson) - one of his clients, who also happens to be one of his investigation subjects, an arrangement that occurs with surprising frequency in this film - in the beach-front dwelling of the surf-jazz band The Boards, for whom Coy plays sax.

Anyhoo, Doc and Coy are carrying on a paranoid chat about what, exactly, Coy's trip might be, seeing as he's supposed to be laying low after faking his own death, and yet he chose to make a scene at a Nixon rally, on the tube no less. They're constantly looking over each others' shoulders and out the big multi-paneled window, the sheer volume of vibes weighing heavy on them both. And at the precise moment  when Coy says: "My country right or wrong, with Vietnam going on? It's crazy man!", a tall, bespectacled gentleman with a conspicuous moustache walks past said window, looking very conspiratorial. 

Then, after Coy splits, the same tall gent doubles back, and he and Doc trade suspicious glances.

Even though the image is pretty fuzzy, based on previous descriptions of the almost-never-photographed Pynchon, I believe I've sussed out his cameo. Here are some snaps, for reference's sake, though you might have to enlarge them.

It's much more convincing on the big screen, believe me!


Well well well... On June 4th of 2015, The Onion's arts review site A.V. Club linked to this theory of mine, sending my visits through the roof for a couple days, and even though they disparage my theory--claiming that the (barely visible) fella wandering in the fog behind the window looks "five decades too young" to be everybody's favorite reclusive genius author--I'm still pretty stoked about it. Thanks, guys! - Jerky


  1. If it is the mysterious Tom cameo, he has a wig on. Tom has white hair today.

  2. Nope. He is dining at the rehab center in the white coat. Easy. Why has nobody online suggested this obvious scene.

  3. There is a good review at the Tampa Bay Times that also says "But that might just be him in the white coat in the dining room of the rehab center. Or not." I'll have to see the movie again to check that out.

  4. The diner at the table is a credited part, and looks nothing like Pynchon ever looked. If you'd seen Pynchon in the photo taken of him by CNN a while back, or by that jerk photographer in New York, you'd see the resemblance to him here (although the screen grab is terrible).

  5. I think ... that guy behind the window is gregoer boru, not Pynchon.

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