Xixax Film Forum

The Director's Chair => Paul Thomas Anderson => Topic started by: wilberfan on November 05, 2021, 08:30:50 PM

Title: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 05, 2021, 08:30:50 PM
Admin edit: This thread has FULL SPOILERS. The other thread (https://xixax.com/index.php?topic=13743.0) has speculation and mild spoilers.

I can't remember the timing on THREAD...since LP "starts" screening tomorrow, when does the **SPOILER** thread go up...?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 05, 2021, 09:50:36 PM
Should we put all screening reactions in here? Or just those that come with plot details
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 05, 2021, 10:58:34 PM
Quote from: Lots of Bees on November 05, 2021, 09:50:36 PM
Should we put all screening reactions in here? Or just those that come with plot details

This should be the thread for plot details. Mild spoilers are allowed in the other thread, so general reactions can go there.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 06, 2021, 01:13:39 AM
We should still wrap spoilers in [ spoiler ] tags, right? And warn about any spoilers that are major? Because I'd love to be able to read this thread while still hopefully avoiding the most major of spoilers (such as
Spoiler: ShowHide
the mushrooms
in Phantom Thread).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 06, 2021, 02:10:14 AM
Quote from: Rooty Poots on November 06, 2021, 01:13:39 AM
We should still wrap spoilers in [ spoiler ] tags, right? And warn about any spoilers that are major? Because I'd love to be able to read this thread while still hopefully avoiding the most major of spoilers (such as
Spoiler: ShowHide
the mushrooms
in Phantom Thread).

Second this
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 06, 2021, 02:38:22 AM
How about this as a guideline... For now, use spoiler tags for major spoilers. Then, once most of us have seen the movie, all spoilers are fair game, tags or no.

Either way, I'd say if you wish to avoid major spoilers, I wouldn't count on everyone else to have the same definition of "major spoiler" that you do, so consider this thread unsafe for the unsullied.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: d on November 07, 2021, 08:08:56 AM
How come some of you (wilberfan?) saw it and have not written a single word here? Come on! Am I really supposed to read first reactions on Twitter and Reddit and not here? Dissapointing.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 07, 2021, 10:28:17 AM
wilberfaaaannnnnnn why you make us sad tell us things
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 07, 2021, 11:46:24 AM
I was just going to keep my head down, but I suppose it would be rude to not say something--even if it's just about my saying nothing

At the risk of running unopposed in the Asshole of the Month™ Awards for November, I thought about this a during my 30 drive back to the Valley last night....

For multiple reasons, both personal and philosophical, I've entered a personally-imposed embargo until more of you have experienced LP for yourselves.  (Perhaps I'll articulate said reasons post-embargo--if anyone still gives a shit by then.  :wink: )

Were our positions reversed, I'm sure I would be voting early and often in the aforementioned AotM balloting--but I gotta go with my gut on this--at least for now in this it's-barely-been-even-12-hours-since-I-saw-it, post-screening reverie.

It's currently my intention to re-watch again, probably once-a-week, thru the end of this month.

Will I say anything after revisits?   Not sure yet.  Gotta play this one by ear, and proceed with an abundance of caution.  But in this moment it feels like the right thing to do.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Shughes on November 07, 2021, 12:30:20 PM
You've got my vote  :yabbse-wink:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 07, 2021, 12:43:40 PM
Thank you, brother, for the support.  I appreciate it.  Not an easy decision...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 07, 2021, 12:47:16 PM
The thing I'm probably most curious is: does the name make sense by the end? I know Licorice Pizza is the name of an old chain of record stores, but does the record store play a part in the story? Does the name make sense for a story about young love (with two characters who, as far as I can tell, don't work at a record store or anything)?

You don't have to answer this, wilberfan, it's just the question I'm most curious about right now.

The John Hughes-ness of it all honestly sounds right up my alley!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on November 07, 2021, 02:49:50 PM
Soggy Bottom is the name of a waterbed company in film
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 07, 2021, 02:51:05 PM
And Maya still calls it that.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 08, 2021, 12:54:22 AM
Can anyone tell us some songs in the movie/how they are used? Closer to how needle drops are used in something like Boogie Nights or Inherent Vice? (or something else, but those seem kinda opposite end of the spectrum, 70s needle-drop wise).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 08, 2021, 01:04:01 AM
Also how do you anticipate people responding to the Japanese jokes/age gap stuff? They seem like things that people could latch onto but I'm just curious how you all took them in the context of the movie?

I've been holding back asking stuff in here because I don't wanna push, but letterboxd reviews and tweets are really bad about giving details, and I'm greedy :yabbse-grin:

Obviously you don't have to spill if you don't want to but I feel as though enough people here have seen it/know people who've seen it that we should have more info than we do
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 08, 2021, 02:04:04 AM
ALSO!—Sorry for three posts in a row—I heard that shot of Peters smashing the car windows and yelling isn't in the movie! Any idea of how that scene would have fit in? Is him breaking the window with the garbage can in there?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 08, 2021, 07:33:23 AM
That I want to know:

What shots from the trailer are not in the movie?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pino Grigio on November 08, 2021, 12:18:32 PM
Not in the movie:

"You're not my director" (I'm not positive, but I don't remember hearing Alana say that line)

What looks like Alana, Gary, and friends siphoning gasoline in a driveway

*Bradley Cooper smashing side mirrors is attached to his name during the end credits (same with the boy sitting atop the stack of bean bags)

The young woman in a bathing suit walking into a glass door

Tom Waits tossing a glass bottle

Alana, Gary, and friends filming/interviewing Wachs while driving

Alana pool side

Alana running into Gary's arms (again, not 100% positive with this one)

I think that's pretty much it
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Robyn on November 08, 2021, 12:21:34 PM
Oh, that's more than I would have thought
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 08, 2021, 12:23:11 PM
That's a pretty solid list, yeah.  :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on November 08, 2021, 01:16:53 PM
Quote from: Pino Grigio on November 08, 2021, 12:18:32 PM
Not in the movie:

"You're not my director" (I'm not positive, but I don't remember hearing Alana say that line)

What looks like Alana, Gary, and friends siphoning gasoline in a driveway

*Bradley Cooper smashing side mirrors is attached to his name during the end credits (same with the boy sitting atop the stack of bean bags)

The young woman in a bathing suit walking into a glass door

Tom Waits tossing a glass bottle

Alana, Gary, and friends filming/interviewing Wachs while driving

Alana pool side

Alana running into Gary's arms (again, not 100% positive with this one)

I think that's pretty much it

Wow.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 08, 2021, 05:36:29 PM
The real question is without given away anything did these scenes feel missed for any of you or did the rest of the film make up for them not being in it?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pino Grigio on November 08, 2021, 06:05:35 PM
For me, no. I think the exception being Bradley Cooper. A little more time with his character would have added to the fun.


Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 09, 2021, 02:25:47 AM
From a great letterboxd review
Spoiler: ShowHide
(POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR OPENING SCENE);


...First, a static shot of rowdy boys in a bathroom. A kid screams "CHERRY BOMB!" and one goes off in a toilet. The boys yell, laugh and run-- an image of pure pubescent, testosterone-laden anarchy. Immediately, we cut to Gary (Cooper Hoffman) out in his high school's outdoor hallway, casually spotting Alana for the first time. As he playfully asks her out, their interaction is photographed in a languid, dream-like tracking shot while sprinklers spray the lawn behind them, all scored to Nina Simone's celestial recording of "July Tree"-- the high school campus is portrayed as some kind of heavenly utopia. This unguardedly sweet perspective generates the idyllic humanism that would typify the warmest moments of a Jean Renoir film. The understanding that the the previous scene's crassness and this scene's casual yearning for profound love are effortlessly entangled at this particular stage of life is something I've never seen in a film before. I haven't felt this moved by a scene from a new release in years.

This is easily going to make its way to the upper-ranks of PTA for me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on November 09, 2021, 02:21:25 PM
The soundtrack:

https://filmmusicreporter.com/2021/11/09/licorice-pizza-soundtrack-album-details/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 09, 2021, 02:42:38 PM
Quote from: Yes on November 09, 2021, 02:21:25 PM
The soundtrack:

https://filmmusicreporter.com/2021/11/09/licorice-pizza-soundtrack-album-details/

Great cover, really looks like a killer soundtrack (and heard the choice of songs is very well-turned)

(https://i.imgur.com/iMJISxb.jpg)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wrongright on November 09, 2021, 02:52:41 PM
Chuck Berry?  :yabbse-lipsrsealed:

And "Stumblin In'" came out in 1979 in the U.S. I know he's not the biggest stickler in terms of that (Vitamin C and the Neil Young tracks all came out in '72 instead of '70) but that's a pretty big gap. Unless the film flashes forward.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 09, 2021, 03:00:18 PM
Quote from: wrongright on November 09, 2021, 02:52:41 PM
Chuck Berry?  :yabbse-lipsrsealed:

And "Stumblin In'" came out in 1979 in the U.S. I know he's not the biggest stickler in terms of that (Vitamin C and the Neil Young tracks all came out in '72 instead of '70) but that's a pretty big gap. Unless the film flashes forward.

What about the good things?

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on November 09, 2021, 03:03:02 PM
Quote from: wrongright on November 09, 2021, 02:52:41 PM
Chuck Berry?  :yabbse-lipsrsealed:

And "Stumblin In'" came out in 1979 in the U.S. I know he's not the biggest stickler in terms of that (Vitamin C and the Neil Young tracks all came out in '72 instead of '70) but that's a pretty big gap. Unless the film flashes forward.

lol

Have you ever complimented the film? Just once? Is there a single thing you DON'T have an issue with?

Jesus. At this point, I think you're going to even complain about the font of the end credits.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 09, 2021, 03:06:11 PM
I just noticed the "score" on the pinball machine that is the soundtrack cover.   And one ball has already been played (hence the score, I guess)...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 09, 2021, 04:44:42 PM
The soundtrack has some absolute bangers on.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 09, 2021, 05:42:51 PM
Quote from: Yes on November 09, 2021, 03:03:02 PM
Quote from: wrongright on November 09, 2021, 02:52:41 PM
Chuck Berry?  :yabbse-lipsrsealed:

And "Stumblin In'" came out in 1979 in the U.S. I know he's not the biggest stickler in terms of that (Vitamin C and the Neil Young tracks all came out in '72 instead of '70) but that's a pretty big gap. Unless the film flashes forward.

lol

Have you ever complimented the film? Just once? Is there a single thing you DON'T have an issue with?

Jesus. At this point, I think you're going to even complain about the font of the end credits.

Hey! Typography complaints are my territory! :yabbse-grin:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on November 09, 2021, 09:18:24 PM
https://twitter.com/the_hoyk/status/1458256942174924801

https://twitter.com/jasonosia/status/1458286329670873095
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 10, 2021, 12:13:52 AM
Almost completely sure Harpoon is Josh Safdie now.

https://twitter.com/SamHarpoon/status/1458304771996012547

This tweet mentions Mendabi which is said to be a huge influence on Uncut Gems.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jtm on November 10, 2021, 01:07:30 AM
So it's out there. People have seen it...

And no ones giving up any info!

I can respect that, I guess.... But give us something!

Runtime?
Is John C in it?
Does it end raining cats and dogs?,
Give us something!...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 10, 2021, 01:52:29 AM
Quote from: jtm on November 10, 2021, 01:07:30 AM
So it's out there. People have seen it...

And no ones giving up any info!

I can respect that, I guess.... But give us something!

Runtime?
Is John C in it?
Does it end raining cats and dogs?,
Give us something!...

John C. Reilly's in it, yes. He plays Fred Gwynne, the actor who played Herman Munster.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on November 10, 2021, 11:45:42 AM
Here's a question someone might be able to answer that isn't that big of a deal:

Was that actually Spike Jonze in the trailer talking to Benny Safdie?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: modage on November 10, 2021, 12:45:53 PM
It's not Spike Jonze.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on November 10, 2021, 02:22:42 PM
Quote from: modage on November 10, 2021, 12:45:53 PM
It's not Spike Jonze.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 10, 2021, 11:03:54 PM
I'm convinced

Spoiler: ShowHide
Ben Stiller is indeed in it.


The voice. Unmistakable.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 10, 2021, 11:09:46 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
During my rewatch today I specifically thought to myself in that scene:  "That voice sounds nothing like Stiller to me...."


Follow-up comment:  Do we need to mark stuff "SPOILER" in a thread that's already marked "SPOILER"?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 10, 2021, 11:25:15 PM
I would say try to use spoiler tags for big spoilers until the movie is properly out. Then it's all fair game.

At the same time, everyone should consider this thread a serious hazard for spoilers.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 11, 2021, 12:23:47 AM
Good plan.  :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 18, 2021, 06:18:45 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I don't think Sam Harpoon is played by either of the rumored fellas, but who knows. SH doesn't look like Safdie and it doesn't sound like Stiller, imo.


i can hear you breathing


Not just a love story, not just an ambition tale, when Gary or Alana approaches they advance. And others trespass too, but more often on Alana than Gary. If the Japanese jokes are to be understood the context makes it quite clear what the film displays against where the character sits. If you cannot abide trespasses, then do not enter. Because all of these characters are splintered .

Our entanglements will undo us. I liked the short shrift of the Wachs plotline for coloring parallel thematic tracks in terms of unspoken betrayals and the impositions on another side of the glass.

But Gary and Alana aren't where that plot is, they're nigh near honeymoon. Their dance you cannot disbelieve. If the audiences judge it it reflects back on what they know to be real. Yes this feels real, in the matter that we toy with others. But did we feel like toys ourselves when we did? There's neat constellations of performance and adopting roles throughout.

The men in this film orbit Alana Kane, but they might not be planets to her sun.
Spoiler: ShowHide
Which one's the one that doesn't crater? Dang did I fear that the film would sour and that impact would happen at the end of any setpiece.
Nah, what it is iz that Gary and Alana ache for that gravity and our supporting cast can all feel it.

A competitive paramour, with wax on top.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 18, 2021, 06:24:29 PM
 :bravo:

From your non-spoilery post: "There's an early gobsmack sound you'll hear in the film; it rivals There Will Be Blood in intensity and it's a funny fkn beat."

May I ask what moment you're referring to?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 18, 2021, 06:31:31 PM

Spoiler: ShowHide
CHERRY BOMB explosion in the boys restroom - the explosion and the GUSH at the fox are in THX speakers so it HIT.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 18, 2021, 06:47:50 PM
Ah, of course!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 18, 2021, 11:26:58 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/davechensky/status/1461565715173969923


Is this... anything?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 18, 2021, 11:30:52 PM
That didn't take long.

He missed the joke completely. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 18, 2021, 11:50:07 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 18, 2021, 11:30:52 PM
That didn't take long.

He missed the joke completely.

I think, as an Asian commenter, he's not reacting to the joke on screen, but to the white audience's reaction to it, and how that sat with him the rest of the film. I didn't read it as a criticism of the joke in and of itself.

But then, I haven't watched it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 18, 2021, 11:54:36 PM
This is tricky territory these days.  But in essence the audience laughed because the scene is funny.   He's concerned because the audience laughed at something he didn't think was funny.  He could only see the surface of the joke; the audience was looking past the surface.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 18, 2021, 11:59:36 PM
Yeah the joke is that the character is a moron, not the
Spoiler: ShowHide
Asian caricature that he drops.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 12:11:14 AM
Precisely.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 19, 2021, 01:14:08 AM
He posted a followup:

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/davechensky/status/1461588117048025091
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 01:43:16 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/mangiotto/status/1461591914583494662


Sucks cause I've seen this guy talk about loving PTA before too
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 19, 2021, 01:47:01 AM
Walter Chaw is a bomb-thrower; I usually take his rants with a grain of salt. I've loved a few of his podcast appearances though.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 01:58:27 AM
When I saw this scene the first time, I had a micro wince--because I knew this is exactly what would happen...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 02:04:31 AM
Just curious - how long does it go on for? The accent itself? I know it comes back twice but is it like ten seconds? A minute?...

Wondering cause I'm seeing it with someone who's usually sensitive to that kinda stuff and I just wanna know if I should mention it before or something to avoid it being a moment of surprise/disappointment or whatever.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 02:13:03 AM
Just a few seconds each time for the "offensive" bit.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 02:21:35 AM
Cool thanks

I'm so excited for this goddamn movie
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 19, 2021, 02:41:57 AM
Of course many things can be written in the heat of the moment, but the whole "don't you dare to tell me I'm overreacting!! Fuck white people! Fuck you all!!" attitude shows deep inferiority complexes and is completely unflattering. (this doesn't go for David Chen, who handled this rather calmly)

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/htranbui/status/1461576818784444419
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 03:27:02 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 19, 2021, 02:41:57 AM
Of course many things can be written in the heat of the moment, but the whole "don't you dare to tell me I'm overreacting!! Fuck white people! Fuck you all!!" attitude shows deep inferiority complexes and is completely unflattering. (this doesn't go for David Chen, who handled this rather calmly)

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/htranbui/status/1461576818784444419


Agreed, and yeah David Chen didn't seem too upset about the joke itself, more the audience reaction to it. Also he said the movie's still in his top 10 for the year.

What annoys me is the amount of people who see someone else mad about something online and immediately decide that they must be mad as well without thinking for themselves. (Not saying Walter Chaw is this, but all the people in the comments being like "not seeing this now" or "fuck this movie" without any context).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 19, 2021, 03:33:08 AM
Quote from: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 03:27:02 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 19, 2021, 02:41:57 AM
Of course many things can be written in the heat of the moment, but the whole "don't you dare to tell me I'm overreacting!! Fuck white people! Fuck you all!!" attitude shows deep inferiority complexes and is completely unflattering. (this doesn't go for David Chen, who handled this rather calmly)

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://twitter.com/htranbui/status/1461576818784444419


Agreed, and yeah David Chen didn't seem too upset about the joke itself, more the audience reaction to it. Also he said the movie's still in his top 10 for the year.

What annoys me is the amount of people who see someone else mad about something online and immediately decide that they must be mad as well without thinking for themselves. (Not saying Walter Chaw is this, but all the people in the comments being like "not seeing this now" or "fuck this movie" without any context).

Yeah people thinking they know this stuff without watching the film is weird

If it's not the age gap thing its the "offensive humour"

I'm going to watch it it soon as I can and make my mind up on what MY eyes see haha
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 09:30:54 AM
Quote from: Lots of Bees on November 19, 2021, 02:04:31 AM
Wondering cause I'm seeing it with someone who's usually sensitive to that kinda stuff and I just wanna know if I should mention it before or something to avoid it being a moment of surprise/disappointment or whatever.

It's not the only scenario like it, though.
And it is kinda interesting if no one mentions the others in the same criticisms. They form a thematic throughline similar to how Boogie implies there was an art form lost to the commercialism. That iz, what's dehumanizing, or say, objectified, and what's collaborative prospectin'

for sure spoilz:
Spoiler: ShowHide
there are at least two other supporting cast members looking to get groovy with race, lets say. For one it's clearly to market Alana Kane, and in the other it's to market the sensual appeal of a product. I get the feeling that what paul is illustrating was that there was cultural clash and symbiosis all over the valley, and not all of it was as well jived as the soggy bottom scene.


And yes that goes in hand with throwaway lines that Bradley spouts and probably no ones gonna mention that the way they mention the "don't cry in front of the mexicans" from OUATIH lol
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 19, 2021, 11:23:36 AM
That makes me think of the Bruce Lee scene in OUATIH where I thought I would be with Team This Isn't Racist This Just Shows That Pitt is a War Veteran, and then I watched the movie: the audience reaction and the scene itself made me very uncomfortable—the fact that Brad Pitt had to ask Tarantino to tone this scene down shows that, despite accepting the request, the spirit of the sequence was unchanged.

Fortunately, Paul Thomas Anderson is way more clever than Tarantino. And I believe that he wouldn't have added that kind of stuff in the movie if it weren't a memory, or a story somebody told him.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on November 19, 2021, 11:37:48 AM
Quote from: Drenk on November 19, 2021, 11:23:36 AM
That makes me think of the Bruce Lee scene in OUATIH where I thought I would be with Team This Isn't Racist This Just Shows That Pitt is a War Veteran, and then I watched the movie: the audience reaction and the scene itself made me very uncomfortable—the fact that Brad Pitt had to ask Tarantino to tone this scene down shows that, despite accepting the request, the spirit of the sequence was unchanged.

Fortunately, Paul Thomas Anderson is way more clever than Tarantino. And I believe that he wouldn't have added that kind of stuff in the movie if it weren't a memory, or a story somebody told him.

And Walter Chaw defended that scene in OUATIH. Is this really that much more egregious?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 11:44:22 AM
We don't have to rehash the Bruce Lee Controversy here, but my read on the scene was what I took to be Quentin's:  He is 'making fun' of Bruce--but not because of his Asian-ness, but because he was kind of a well-known dick on the set--especially from the perspective of the other stunt people.   I think we're certainly meant to identify with Cliff in that scene--a stunt guy--so it's delicious when he tosses Bruce around.

I enjoyed the response I saw QT give once to this whole thing.  Words to the effect that, "Hey, if you're part of Lee's family, then your criticisms carry some weight.  If you're not, then just fuck off..."

Quote from: Drenk on November 19, 2021, 11:23:36 AM
And I believe that he wouldn't have added that kind of stuff in the movie if it weren't a memory, or a story somebody told him.

I had this exact thought during yesterdays rewatch.  The Mikado is a real place--and they actually filmed there--so I have to think that Gary knew someone like that character--perhaps exaggerated a bit for the film to really sell it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 11:55:11 AM
For those who have seen the film, does the film touch on issues of land acknowledgment and related issues? Just saw a twitter mutual post on this and wanted to confirm.

Rarely do western movies highlight these issues!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 12:05:01 PM
"Land acknowledgement".   Do you mean, like, native peoples, etc?   Now that you mention it, Jon Peters references something like that in his gas station rant.    I wasn't even sure I'd heard it properly.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 19, 2021, 12:09:59 PM
I'm sorry, wilber, but this is a SNL parody of Bruce Lee, where everybody laughs at him and with Cliff's racism. Like I said: it didn't feel like a wrong reaction.

I understand the rationalization. This is different from actually criticizing the scene.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 12:14:03 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 12:05:01 PM
"Land acknowledgement".   Do you mean, like, native peoples, etc?   Now that you mention it, Jon Peters references something like that in his gas station rant.    I wasn't even sure I'd heard it properly.

Yes! That's cool because the impact of the crisis on indigenous people seldom get discussed. Regardless I presume it is just a passing reference by Jon peters of all people lol.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 12:15:54 PM
If you're not listening carefully, you'd probably miss it...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 12:34:10 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 12:05:01 PM
"Land acknowledgement".   Do you mean, like, native peoples, etc?   Now that you mention it, Jon Peters references something like that in his gas station rant.    I wasn't even sure I'd heard it properly.

Yeah when he's approaching the gas station haha, the Territory line.

Anyway, Paul takes the baton (winkwink for those who have seen it) from QT and continues the throughline with more than one scene of that sort of interaction where race is a part in (not of?) the hustle.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 01:02:31 PM
https://seattlescreenscene.com/2021/11/19/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-2021/

A much more interesting short piece on Licorice Pizza's place in PTA's oeuvre.

"
Licorice Pizza is, like almost every other Paul Thomas Anderson movie, about America. More specifically it is about America as embodied in the San Fernando Valley of California in the 1970s, just as Inherent Vice and Boogie Nights were before it. There Will Be Blood is the prequel: it's about California in the early 20th century. The Master is another prequel, about mid-century Californian metaphysics. Magnolia moved the timeline into the 90s, albeit one haunted by the 1970s. Hard Eight is set in Las Vegas, but that's a first film so we'll cut him some slack. Licorice Pizza is also an oddball romance, like Punch-Drunk Love and The Phantom Thread, neither of which are particularly about America, though the former is more than the latter. It's about a girl and a boy and the world they live in and how they somehow, against all common sense, find something like love, at least for now.

Alana Haim plays a rudderless 25 year old named Alana who, when working for a company that shoots high school yearbook photos, is spotted by 15 year old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, looking eerily like his father), a precocious go-getter who has just about grown out of being a cute child actor. He falls for her instantly and walks right up and tells her so, beginning the first of several lengthy walk and talk camera movements that form the spine of Anderson's approach to the film. Alana and Gary are always moving laterally, sometimes walking, often running. All the kids in the movie love to run—they have to, they're in a hurry. Alana, sensibly, rebuffs Gary's romantic advances, but the two have an obvious connection and the two strike up a friendship.

The rest of the film follows their various career schemes while deftly negotiating the fact that these two characters are obviously in love but really should not be. It's a picaresque set almost entirely in the Valley, and it feels like it could have gone on forever, just vibing with all the weirdness of America in the 70s. But the film is far from a nostalgia trip: like its cousin Dazed and Confused, Licorice Pizza is as much about what was, and is, wrong with America as it is about classic rock and questionable fashion. Alana and Gary meet vast array of white people in their adventures, most of them older, most of them seriously fucked up in a way that no one is allow to discuss openly.

There's Bradley Cooper's gross John Peters, who hits on every woman he sees and is the definition of an entitled Hollywood hanger-on (a hairdresser and a producer, the real John Peters was a child actor as well). There's Sean Penn's aging star actor who reads with the starstruck Alana during an audition, takes her out for drinks (at Gary's favorite restaurant "The Tail of the Cock"), then loses interest as he and an old director buddy (Tom Waits) recreate a scene from one of their Korean War movies (Penn's character is named Jack Holden, and is apparently based on William Holden). There's John Michael Higgins, who plays a the owner of Gary's other favorite restaurant, who hires Gary's mother's PR firm to advertise the place, a Japanese place called The Mikado. Higgins and his Japanese wife listen to the proposed ad (which does everything it can to downplay the food and up the Orientalist appeal), and Higgins "translates" to his wife by adopting a grotesque caricature of a Japanese accent (think Mickey Rooney's ghastly Breakfast at Tiffany's performance). He does the same thing in a later scene, now with a different wife (they're apparently interchangeable for him) and admits that he doesn't speak Japanese. The performance is too absurd to be based in anything but reality. Finally there's Benny Safdie as Joel Wachs, a city council member whose campaign for mayor Alana joins as a volunteer. Wachs is a closeted gay man (he came out in 1999, after decades of accomplished service. It's Alana's realization of Wachs's sexuality, and the pain having to hide it causes him and his partner, that sends her back to Gary. Because theirs is a world when all the cultural norms are completely wrong: men as debauched misogynists or macho burnouts, where condescendingly racist fetishizers of other people and cultures are greeted with, at most, a raised eyebrow, where a good man has to call in a beard to a restaurant because his political enemies might find out who he's really dining with and why. Because in such a world, when you find a true friend, you really have to stick with them.

Or, taken another way, you can see it as a story of integration. Alana's family is played by her real-life family, her sisters and parents. They're very Jewish (one agent keeps coming back to Alana's "Jewish nose", a potential boyfriend is kicked out of the house for refusing to give the blessing at dinner because he's an atheist) and it's easy to read Alana's attraction to Gary as an Old World/New World thing, with Gary as the embodiment of a wide-eyed American innocence and entrepreneurialism. He's bursting with crazy schemes, always looking to make a quick buck with waterbeds (inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio's father) or pinball machines or making campaign commercials. Gary is a hustler who believes deeply in everything (contrast with failed boyfriend Lance, the atheist). Most of all he believes in Alana. This differentiates him from Higgins's racist restauranteur. Gary is an idealized, uncorrupted American man that doesn't exploit other cultures, or other people, that hurts only people that deserve it (like that rich asshole John Peters). He's all the potential of America, but he's only 15 years old. And though we all know how his story is going to end, the movie ends while there's still hope.
"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 01:31:35 PM
Quote from: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 01:02:31 PM
https://seattlescreenscene.com/2021/11/19/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-2021/

There's John Michael Higgins, who plays a the owner of Gary's other favorite restaurant, who hires Gary's mother's PR firm to advertise the place, a Japanese place called The Mikado. Higgins and his Japanese wife listen to the proposed ad (which does everything it can to downplay the food and up the Orientalist appeal), and Higgins "translates" to his wife by adopting a grotesque caricature of a Japanese accent (think Mickey Rooney's ghastly Breakfast at Tiffany's performance). He does the same thing in a later scene, now with a different wife (they're apparently interchangeable for him) and admits that he doesn't speak Japanese. The performance is too absurd to be based in anything but reality.

So we're not the only ones to draw that conclusion.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 01:33:30 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I watched Fred Claus last night which also features John Michael Higgins, quite the whiplash.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 01:50:36 PM
Quote from: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 01:02:31 PM
https://seattlescreenscene.com/2021/11/19/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-2021/

A much more interesting short piece on Licorice Pizza's place in PTA's oeuvre.

"
Licorice Pizza is, like almost every other Paul Thomas Anderson movie, about America. More specifically it is about America as embodied in the San Fernando Valley of California in the 1970s, just as Inherent Vice and Boogie Nights were before it. There Will Be Blood is the prequel: it's about California in the early 20th century. The Master is another prequel, about mid-century Californian metaphysics. Magnolia moved the timeline into the 90s, albeit one haunted by the 1970s. Hard Eight is set in Las Vegas, but that's a first film so we'll cut him some slack. Licorice Pizza is also an oddball romance, like Punch-Drunk Love and The Phantom Thread, neither of which are particularly about America, though the former is more than the latter. It's about a girl and a boy and the world they live in and how they somehow, against all common sense, find something like love, at least for now.

Alana Haim plays a rudderless 25 year old named Alana who, when working for a company that shoots high school yearbook photos, is spotted by 15 year old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, looking eerily like his father), a precocious go-getter who has just about grown out of being a cute child actor. He falls for her instantly and walks right up and tells her so, beginning the first of several lengthy walk and talk camera movements that form the spine of Anderson's approach to the film. Alana and Gary are always moving laterally, sometimes walking, often running. All the kids in the movie love to run—they have to, they're in a hurry. Alana, sensibly, rebuffs Gary's romantic advances, but the two have an obvious connection and the two strike up a friendship.

The rest of the film follows their various career schemes while deftly negotiating the fact that these two characters are obviously in love but really should not be. It's a picaresque set almost entirely in the Valley, and it feels like it could have gone on forever, just vibing with all the weirdness of America in the 70s. But the film is far from a nostalgia trip: like its cousin Dazed and Confused, Licorice Pizza is as much about what was, and is, wrong with America as it is about classic rock and questionable fashion. Alana and Gary meet vast array of white people in their adventures, most of them older, most of them seriously fucked up in a way that no one is allow to discuss openly.

There's Bradley Cooper's gross John Peters, who hits on every woman he sees and is the definition of an entitled Hollywood hanger-on (a hairdresser and a producer, the real John Peters was a child actor as well). There's Sean Penn's aging star actor who reads with the starstruck Alana during an audition, takes her out for drinks (at Gary's favorite restaurant "The Tail of the Cock"), then loses interest as he and an old director buddy (Tom Waits) recreate a scene from one of their Korean War movies (Penn's character is named Jack Holden, and is apparently based on William Holden). There's John Michael Higgins, who plays a the owner of Gary's other favorite restaurant, who hires Gary's mother's PR firm to advertise the place, a Japanese place called The Mikado. Higgins and his Japanese wife listen to the proposed ad (which does everything it can to downplay the food and up the Orientalist appeal), and Higgins "translates" to his wife by adopting a grotesque caricature of a Japanese accent (think Mickey Rooney's ghastly Breakfast at Tiffany's performance). He does the same thing in a later scene, now with a different wife (they're apparently interchangeable for him) and admits that he doesn't speak Japanese. The performance is too absurd to be based in anything but reality. Finally there's Benny Safdie as Joel Wachs, a city council member whose campaign for mayor Alana joins as a volunteer. Wachs is a closeted gay man (he came out in 1999, after decades of accomplished service. It's Alana's realization of Wachs's sexuality, and the pain having to hide it causes him and his partner, that sends her back to Gary. Because theirs is a world when all the cultural norms are completely wrong: men as debauched misogynists or macho burnouts, where condescendingly racist fetishizers of other people and cultures are greeted with, at most, a raised eyebrow, where a good man has to call in a beard to a restaurant because his political enemies might find out who he's really dining with and why. Because in such a world, when you find a true friend, you really have to stick with them.

Or, taken another way, you can see it as a story of integration. Alana's family is played by her real-life family, her sisters and parents. They're very Jewish (one agent keeps coming back to Alana's "Jewish nose", a potential boyfriend is kicked out of the house for refusing to give the blessing at dinner because he's an atheist) and it's easy to read Alana's attraction to Gary as an Old World/New World thing, with Gary as the embodiment of a wide-eyed American innocence and entrepreneurialism. He's bursting with crazy schemes, always looking to make a quick buck with waterbeds (inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio's father) or pinball machines or making campaign commercials. Gary is a hustler who believes deeply in everything (contrast with failed boyfriend Lance, the atheist). Most of all he believes in Alana. This differentiates him from Higgins's racist restauranteur. Gary is an idealized, uncorrupted American man that doesn't exploit other cultures, or other people, that hurts only people that deserve it (like that rich asshole John Peters). He's all the potential of America, but he's only 15 years old. And though we all know how his story is going to end, the movie ends while there's still hope.
"

Something I thought about is how PTA finds new ways to explore his obsessions and how he could extend these to newer and more challenging territories in his future films. This is why the 1940s jazz film with Tiffany Haddish sounds like the best possible way to broaden his oeuvre and add new dimensions to it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 02:07:35 PM
After seeing this flick - I rly hope that project happens.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 19, 2021, 02:22:54 PM
A Jazzy soundtrack by JG would be rad as well
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on November 19, 2021, 03:03:33 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 02:07:35 PM
After seeing this flick - I rly hope that project happens.

I know this is the spoiler thread but I can't help but skim. Can you loosely elaborate on how LP hypes you specifically for the jazz project?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 03:08:21 PM
Its engagement with the racial clash/symbiosis in the Valley during this time.
How evocative it is of the era's PHYSICALITY (Gary's brother's hair, the way he sits, the waterbed truck as a character in one particularly funny shot, the lowriders at the gas station)
Jonny's score
Spoiler: ShowHide
during the teen-age fair (and that apparently he dips into jazz for Spencer, too)
Wach's storyline short but thematically effective
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 19, 2021, 03:48:58 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 03:08:21 PM
Its engagement with the racial clash/symbiosis in the Valley during this time.
How evocative it is of the era's PHYSICALITY (Gary's brother's hair, the way he sits, the waterbed truck as a character in one particularly funny shot, the lowriders at the gas station)
Jonny's score
Spoiler: ShowHide
during the teen-age fair (and that apparently he dips into jazz for Spencer, too)
Wach's storyline short but thematically effective


It's funny to me what part of that post you decided to put behind spoiler tags haha.

Anyway, all this chatter is really getting me excited for both LP and the potential jazz film. Please call your prayer warriors and request prayer that it comes to Anchorage theaters.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 03:53:19 PM
Someone just posted this very cool shot on Reddit.  Has to be a production still?   I was there that day, and that's the only person that could have gotten that close.

Fun Fact:  That was the very last day of principal photography.

[edit]  Not sure who the other guy is, but definitely part of the Camera Dept.  He was always RIGHT THERE when Paul was setting up shots.   Colin Anderson is the Camera Op; that's my guess for who that is.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 19, 2021, 03:58:01 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 03:08:21 PM
Its engagement with the racial clash/symbiosis in the Valley during this time.
How evocative it is of the era's PHYSICALITY (Gary's brother's hair, the way he sits, the waterbed truck as a character in one particularly funny shot, the lowriders at the gas station)
Jonny's score
Spoiler: ShowHide
during the teen-age fair (and that apparently he dips into jazz for Spencer, too)
Wach's storyline short but thematically effective


The jazz parts of his Spencer score kick ass. His score pretty much holds the whole movie together
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 04:13:59 PM
Quote from: Rooty Poots on November 19, 2021, 03:48:58 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 03:08:21 PM
Its engagement with the racial clash/symbiosis in the Valley during this time.
How evocative it is of the era's PHYSICALITY (Gary's brother's hair, the way he sits, the waterbed truck as a character in one particularly funny shot, the lowriders at the gas station)
Jonny's score
Spoiler: ShowHide
during the teen-age fair (and that apparently he dips into jazz for Spencer, too)
Wach's storyline short but thematically effective


It's funny to me what part of that post you decided to put behind spoiler tags haha.

Anyway, all this chatter is really getting me excited for both LP and the potential jazz film. Please call your prayer warriors and request prayer that it comes to Anchorage theaters.

I can amend and put it all behind spoiler tags. Considering the review that's been posted, and my enormous excitement to what this film holds, I might have kinda lost the plot.  :doh:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 05:40:45 PM
More of the sexual oppressiveness aura ish;
Spoiler: ShowHide
the dude at Fat Bernies who gets TILTed and is basically humping the machine. Gary doesn't even know how to get the dude to cut it out and surrenders, lol.


Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 10:52:55 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 05:40:45 PM
More of the sexual oppressiveness aura ish;
Spoiler: ShowHide
the dude at Fat Bernies who gets TILTed and is basically humping the machine. Gary doesn't even know how to get the dude to cut it out and surrenders, lol.


Spoiler: ShowHide
Did you spot him later, in a reverse angle, with a woman between him and the machine?  :rofl:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 10:57:52 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 19, 2021, 10:52:55 PM
Quote from: WorldForgot on November 19, 2021, 05:40:45 PM
More of the sexual oppressiveness aura ish;
Spoiler: ShowHide
the dude at Fat Bernies who gets TILTed and is basically humping the machine. Gary doesn't even know how to get the dude to cut it out and surrenders, lol.


Spoiler: ShowHide
Did you spot him later, in a reverse angle, with a woman between him and the machine?  :rofl:


Spoiler: ShowHide
LOL I did not. Cheeky.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 10:08:26 AM
Of course it was a matter of time before such opinions start to pop up, there will always be the people who will (choose to) interpret the movie this way.

https://twitter.com/ButWhyThoPC/status/1462084137288933385
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 20, 2021, 11:17:34 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 10:08:26 AM
Of course it was a matter of time before such opinions start to pop up, there will always be the people who will (choose to) interpret the movie this way.

https://twitter.com/ButWhyThoPC/status/1462084137288933385

I feel like the vast majority of people, especially the types who are not extremely-online, just will not care about this. Most dudes, I would imagine, will be like "hell yeah I wish that happened to me when I was 15."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 11:26:12 AM
My main issue is the inevitable discourse to start before too many people watch the film and be able to make up their own minds about it.

https://twitter.com/SassyMamainLA/status/1462107494621200384
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:35:21 PM
The famously fussy Slant Magazine gave it 4/4 (the first American film they do so in over two years). While trying to avoid getting spoiled as much as I can, I think it's a great read.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/ (https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 20, 2021, 12:46:21 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:35:21 PM
The famously fussy Slant Magazine gave it 4/4 (the first American film they do so in over two years). While trying to avoid getting spoiled as much as I can, I think it's a great read.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/ (https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/)

One of the few mainstream reviews I was awaiting. This is great personally because the taste of slant critics strongly aligns with mine for most reviews! Looking forward to Richard Brody's and Manohla Dargis's takes.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:56:32 PM
Quote from: Derekk_kal on November 20, 2021, 12:46:21 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:35:21 PM
The famously fussy Slant Magazine gave it 4/4 (the first American film they do so in over two years). While trying to avoid getting spoiled as much as I can, I think it's a great read.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/ (https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/)

One of the few mainstream reviews I was awaiting. This is great personally because the taste of slant critics strongly aligns with mine for most reviews! Looking forward to Richard Brody's and Manohla Dargis's takes.

I have no idea about Dargis, but I would guess that Brody liked it.

https://twitter.com/tnyfrontrow/status/1459053529591521287

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 20, 2021, 12:58:53 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 11:26:12 AM
My main issue is the inevitable discourse to start before too many people watch the film and be able to make up their own minds about it.

https://twitter.com/SassyMamainLA/status/1462107494621200384

How is it statutory rape if they dont sleep together.

I love people are call watching films with rape murder genocide but they only get up in arms when its something like this.  Makes me laugh considering it's a fictional thing.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 20, 2021, 01:05:01 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:56:32 PM
Quote from: Derekk_kal on November 20, 2021, 12:46:21 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 20, 2021, 12:35:21 PM
The famously fussy Slant Magazine gave it 4/4 (the first American film they do so in over two years). While trying to avoid getting spoiled as much as I can, I think it's a great read.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/ (https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson/)

One of the few mainstream reviews I was awaiting. This is great personally because the taste of slant critics strongly aligns with mine for most reviews! Looking forward to Richard Brody's and Manohla Dargis's takes.

I have no idea about Dargis, but I would guess that Brody liked it.

https://twitter.com/tnyfrontrow/status/1459053529591521287

This is good but Brody is kinda unpredictable. While he loved Phantom thread and The Master he did not dig IV.  So we will see.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 04:58:45 PM
From WILBWITNESS NEWS, photos from the FAT BERNIE'S PINBALL PALACE promotional space next to the Village Theatre in Westwood.

Free Pinball.  Free T's at the door (one per customer).  Nothing for sale.  Authentic (or at least authentic-looking) decorations based on the art direction in the film.  Open to the public until...probably until the wide release in late December.

Photos by Luis©
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 21, 2021, 06:00:51 PM
Does anyone who has seen the film know if that is Greenwood's score playing in the second trailer?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 06:04:17 PM
Somehow I don't think so?  I don't remember it in the film, but I'll have another chance to check at the end of the week.  eward might know? 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 21, 2021, 06:11:07 PM
I don't think so, don't recall it being in the film either.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 07:35:41 PM
Some mild spoilers.  Offered for...perspective?  :ponder:

https://youtu.be/PWolvJlm6m4
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 21, 2021, 07:44:15 PM
Why even give this asinine shit the time of day? That guy goes no deeper than "good/bad", "like/dislike", "umm yes/umm no".
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 07:46:08 PM
Offered because I continue to wonder how much of reactions like this will get traction. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 21, 2021, 08:03:34 PM
For balance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owru0qPF73k

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 08:12:43 PM
Thank you.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 21, 2021, 09:03:06 PM
Listen to the review on Visually Stunning Movie Podcast for some of the dumbest takes if anyone wants a giggle.

apparently PTA has a weird obsession with Haim that people are finding creepy now. This stuff has gone from stupid to downright laughable now.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 21, 2021, 10:44:06 PM
A 'family' reunion.  (Photo by @haimsource)

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 22, 2021, 09:22:09 AM
https://twitter.com/ScottMendelson/status/1462802367573749767

https://twitter.com/TomiLaffly/status/1462584162196631552

https://twitter.com/selfstyledsiren/status/1462758192165933060

(As someone who's seen Red Rocket, I can confirm that when that movie comes out widely, the Licorice Pizza-age discourse will look like child's play)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 22, 2021, 11:02:09 AM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 22, 2021, 10:54:20 AM
I'm falling behind, here...

But,

Definition of predatory

1a : of, relating to, or practicing plunder, pillage, or rapine
b : inclined or intended to injure or exploit others for personal gain or profit


At some point--maybe after more of us have seen it?--gently take me by the hand and walk me thru the use of this word as it applies to this discussion.  Or, if you don't want to wait that long, over in the spoiler thread....   I'm not feeling any predatory impulses from either of them...

Spoiler: ShowHide
As I've written about a few times on the forum now, to a degree this film isn't even shy about it being about hustle and unsettled exploitation. Just cause Alana Kane and Gary Valentine don't get toxic-toxic, they are manipulative and playing a psychological game. We can find them endearing while acknowledging that.

Shouldn't have to spell out the profit thing, that part's even highlighted in the trailer, you know? But they aren't doing so by losing their hearts. In fact, they both want their dream with their hearts in tact and that's part of the what conjures the gravity of their orbits. But there's plenty of cash exchanged hands. And to be sure, Gary meets Alana at a gig and gets her one under him.

Add that to the swirling framing devices of other LA/Valley ambitions bound to couplings ( racist restauranteur // Wach's storyline // George DiCaprio's Mr Jack and Iyana Halley's assistant Brenda // Jon Peters & Streisand // even Waits' commanding drunkard director could be seen in this light). You can see that these people enter the relationship, but it doesn't mean there aren't ends of profit therein.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 22, 2021, 11:35:47 AM
Fair enough, but

Spoiler: ShowHide
Gary and Alana are drawn to each other because they are attracted to each other--in those complicated ways that humans are drawn together.  I'm sure--especially in Gary's case--that there are hormones at work, and Alana, for her part, falls for Gary's charm, confidence, his sense of having a direction in his life where she doesn't...  But once they get to know each other (or are getting to know each other, I don't see any 'predatory' impulses from either towards the other.

Humans being human, we are drawn together and pushed (and pulled) apart. We're complicated.  We struggle with what we feel--and what to do about it.  (Psychopaths excluded, I suppose.)


I don't know, maybe I've missed the point entirely, here.   Bottom-line is that I just don't have a problem with Gary and Alana's relationship as presented to us in this film--in all it's delicious complexity.   
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 22, 2021, 11:51:07 AM
Good post, I dont think you're missing any points - it's a story that's going to hit diff people differently!

Spoiler: ShowHide
As for you asking where the distinction between your anecdote lies, Drenk has illustrated it more than once I think by highlighting that it's not precisely the gap that's the issue (we've seen Alma and Woodock), but closer to your spoilerized allusion of H&M. It's not the quite gap that's in question, but the particular phases of life they're both in, a valid angle being that Gary has no inkling of really being an adult, is very much still a child. Alana having lived that already and knowing what it must be like in particular because men are still objectifying her in numerous scenes (as they must have in HS too). She objectifies herself too, though, as Gary objectifies himself and we all do but that's even another branch.


But as with H&M - how do we learn if not by living?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 22, 2021, 11:56:30 AM
I love this place.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 22, 2021, 12:38:26 PM
 :yabbse-smiley:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 23, 2021, 02:12:07 PM
https://apnews.com/article/film-reviews-entertainment-dean-martin-paul-thomas-anderson-paul-thomas-e39f5bfe7ffb2020e125d1883899e434 (https://apnews.com/article/film-reviews-entertainment-dean-martin-paul-thomas-anderson-paul-thomas-e39f5bfe7ffb2020e125d1883899e434)

This isn't the first reviewer I see who notices LP reminded him the Elaine May's cinema. I saw A New Leaf ('71) not too long ago, and have The Heartbreak Kid ('72) on my watchlist as well.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 23, 2021, 02:15:30 PM
Ya all her films are classics though
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 23, 2021, 04:15:14 PM
Absolutely - Ishtar is one of the most criminally underappreciated movies ever.

I mention it specifically bc her other three are rightly acclaimed. A New Leaf is in my top ten.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 23, 2021, 08:03:13 PM
A few more branches for the Age Difference pyre?

Q&A: Director Paul Thomas Anderson reflects on real-life inspiration for 'Licorice Pizza' (https://dailybruin.com/2021/11/23/qa-director-paul-thomas-anderson-reflects-on-real-life-inspiration-for-licorice-pizza) | Daily Bruin

QuotePasadena City College Courier: What did you do in order to be sensitive towards (the age gap) but also portray it in such an artful way?

PTA: It's a terrific dilemma. It reminds me of what you would see in the old screwball comedies – this insurmountable thing between two characters that keeps them apart. Once you know that's the playing field, you can have fun with it because they're never going to be together. It's a line you do not cross. It's inappropriate. It's wrong. That's not happening.

What's fun is now seeing Gary continue to try. You get to witness, in all of his teenage perversion, thinking he might have a chance and her just shutting it down. This creates endless comedic and dramatic opportunities. It's a premise for a film where the two people who feel completely bound to each other cannot be bound to each other in a romantic way.

QuotePepperdine University Graphic: After the romantic ending, what is your hope for Gary and Alana's future?

PTA: If I imagine a future for them, there's no way that they're not stuck together in some way as friends. I can imagine watching Alana dropping her possessiveness of him and helping him navigate a genuine romantic relationship with someone more appropriate for him. I can imagine him continuing to be jealous about whatever entanglements she finds herself in. I could imagine the relationship not changing too much but slowly becoming more mature.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on November 23, 2021, 08:18:32 PM
https://twitter.com/jasondashbailey/status/1463300636875923459
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 10:24:46 AM
'Licorice Pizza' Is Paul Thomas Anderson's 1970s Power Ballad — and the Funkiest Love Story of the Year  -  Rolling Stone

A spiritual prequel to 'Punch Drunk Love,' the filmmaker's look back at a bygone era couldn't be more personal — or have better performers at its center

By DAVID FEAR

Paul Thomas Anderson would like you to travel back in time with him. He's taken us backwards before: the early 20th century West in There Will Be Blood; a curdled postwar America in The Master; London's Fifties fashion world in Phantom Thread; the morning-after hangover of Sixties SoCal counterculture in Inherent Vice; that transitional moment from Me Decade funkiness to coked-up Reagan-era jitteriness in Boogie Nights. But now, the 51-year-old writer-director wants you to join him in returning to a very specific moment in a very specific place. It's 1973, deep in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. Variety shows are still on TV. A gas shortage is about to cause a lot of headaches for Californians. Japanese restaurants are an exotic novelty, Hollywood's old guard continue to get rip-roaring drunk at the swankier joints, pinball remains temporarily illegal in the greater L.A. area, and the latest in sleeping technology — something called a "water bed" — will soon sweep the nation. The days of deranged cult leaders inspiring young women to murder people in the Hollywood hills have passed; now, there's merely a bearded showbiz narcissist roaming the land, offering to make pretty females peanut-butter sandwiches. Once upon a time in Encino...

Licorice Pizza is a lot of things, from cockeyed rom-com to dual coming-of-age tale, from affectionate ode to American can-do hucksterism to the sort of ramblin', amblin' hang-out movie that you wish you could lounge about in for days. But it's also very much a memory piece, and even though Anderson was only three years old when this boy-meets-girl story takes place, you can tell that he's returning to a period that he very much wants to trap in amber. Proust had his madeleines and Sunday mornings at Combray. PTA has his movie cameras, production designers, and the Tail O' the Cock restaurant on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. The film is such an intimate, personal look back that you almost feel like you're flipping through someone's old scrapbook. Even the title, which refers to a regional record-store chain in Los Angeles that was big at the time, is essentially a non sequitur that he used because it inspired a highly subjective you-were-there longing. The movie has no logical reason to be called this. It's also kind of perfect.

But the fact that Anderson doesn't sacrifice complicated characters, oddball tangents, some truly inspired WTF exchanges, and a chance to watch actors do extraordinary work (in other words, a Paul Thomas Anderson movie) in favor of simply touring some old haunts speaks volumes. He doesn't want to weaponize his nostalgia for nostalgia's sake so much as use it to infuse a rush of youthful exuberance into what feels like an early-1970s movie made today — a Minnie and Moskowitz for millennials.

From across a crowded high-school corridor, Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) spots Alana Kane (Alan Haim), rolling her eyes and grumbling about her lot in life. He's 15, and waiting in line to get his yearbook picture taken. She's 25, and works for the company hired to take snapshots. Valentine — with this surname, you can't accuse Licorice Pizza of burying the lede — begins to chat her up. He's a child actor, and maybe she's seen some of his stuff? Kane has not. Also, she's not going to go to dinner with him, so he can nip that idea in the bud. Still, he keeps talking. She keeps listening. As Nina Simone's gorgeous "July Tree" plays in the background, you can see this kid begin to win her over ever so slightly. The only thing Anderson adores more than a tortured antihero is a hopeless romantic — see: Punch Drunk Love — and you practically feel him, along with the audience, leaning in as this dogged young man displays some serious game. Kane isn't going to be his girlfriend. But maybe she'll meet him at a restaurant later. Maybe not.

This would be the raw material for a stalker drama, were it not for the fact that both Hoffman and Haim give this opening back and forth such a nice 'n' easy screwball flavor. "Don't be creepy, please," she tells him when she does show up, reluctantly, and they share a meal. "Don't call me all the time, OK?" she says as she tells him her phone number at the end of the night. When Valentine needs someone to chaperone him for a TV appearance in New York, she comes with him. When he decides to start a waterbed company, one of many other irons this budding hustler has in the fire, she goes into business with him. No direct romantic overtures are made, but the more she's drawn into Valentine's orbit, and the more they make each other jealous by pursuing peripheral relationships, the stronger the connection these two form. Resistance is a constant. It's also futile.

To try and describe more of the plot of Licorice Pizza would be to assume that it has something you'd call a plot in the first place. Anderson is more interested in setting up scenarios and misadventures for these two, and letting incident after incident collide into each other with an almost stream-of-conscious randomness, than getting from point A to point B. (Precedents abound, of course. Quick, what's the plot of American Graffiti? Or Dazed and Confused?) There are false arrests, other business ventures, fall-outs and fuck-ups. Sean Penn shows up as a variation of William Holden, as he and Tom Waits (!!!) play out a bit of late-night celebrity folklore involving cocktails and motorcycles. Harriet Sansom Harris plays a casting agent who swoons over Kane ("You're like an English pit bull dog! With sex appeal! And a very Jewish nose!") and turns a five-minute scene into the comedic equivalent of a jazz solo. A flirtation with politics puts Kane in the orbit of real-life City Council member Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie), a vignette which only half-works. Remember that earlier reference to a bearded narcissist? That would be Bradley Cooper's singular, monomaniacal take on hairdresser-turned-Hollywood producer Jon Peters, a raging id in a tight, white disco suit and the devil at the center of the duo's wildest and craziest night. Like foie gras or pharmaceutical cocaine, his performance can only safely be consumed in small quantities, yet completely leaves you craving more, more, more.

The director's die-hard fanatics — the P.T. Ander-stans — will swoon over a long tracking shot through a "Teenage Fair" that glides past a Rat Fink poster, Herbie the Love Bug, and a Munsters-related cameo too rich to spoil. And there's definitely enough auteur-ial spray, from some choice needle drops to the dread build-up in the Peters sequence, to fuel a few dissertation papers on style and signature. But even coming from a filmmaker who never met an ensemble cast he didn't love, Licorice Pizza is an actor-driven vehicle, and one in which Anderson clearly hands the wheel to two fairly untested screen performers. Maybe some eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Cooper Hoffman was set to play this geeky young man on the go, given the long working relationship between Anderson and Cooper's father. It only takes a few minutes of watching him onscreen to see exactly why he's perfect for the role; pedigree doesn't even play into it. One scene, in which Gary holds up a finger to quiet someone as he lights a cigarette, channels his late dad. Other than that, the kid is completely his own man, and there's a fine balance of confidence bordering on arrogance and an uncomfortableness in his skin that Hoffman brings to Valentine. It's a beautifully layered take on both bootstrap ambition and awkward adolescence, as well as a peek into this would-be Romeo's mindset.

It's Alana Haim, however, who walks away with the movie as much as her character strolls away with that teenager's heart. As one-third of the group Haim, she's used to being on stages. (Her sisters also appear in the movie, as do their parents — the whole thing is rife with showbiz familial connections, with small parts played by Sasha Spielberg, Tim Conway Jr., and George DiCaprio, whose son apparently once made a movie about an iceberg and a ship.) But the way she cracks open Alana — infusing her with irritation, curiosity, world-weariness, envy, hope, empathy, and finally, a pitter-patter sense of puppy love — makes you wonder if her talent as an actor might be equal to her musicianship. She is, simply put, 1970s screen presence personified, and to watch these two lost souls realize they could be soul mates is such a rush. Anderson may be concocting his own personal flashback to a funkier age of innocence, but he lets these two make it their own double-act as well. Then he generously invites an audience in as well. There are two courtships unfolding in Licorice Pizza, and only one of them is happening on the screen. The other is between us and the movie. Guess who ends up punch-drunk and smitten?

Source (https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-reviews/licorice-pizza-movie-review-paul-thomas-anderson-1260170/)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 24, 2021, 11:04:41 AM
Ok we have had references of john cassavetes, elaine may, jonathan demme, altman, scorsese, Fellini, tarantino, wes anderson in the reviews. What the fuck is happening in this movie????
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Robyn on November 24, 2021, 11:07:58 AM
Heard it was a lot like Jan Švankmajer from trusted sources
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Robyn on November 24, 2021, 11:11:10 AM
Cooper is portrayed like a piece of meat
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Derekk_kal on November 24, 2021, 11:23:53 AM
Quote from: Robyn on November 24, 2021, 11:07:58 AM
Heard it was a lot like Jan Švankmajer from trusted sources
Thanks for reminding I have never seen a movie of his and should get to it
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 01:01:32 PM
Just heard most of Christie's review on the car radio on my way home from errands just now.  I don't think she could possibly like this film any better.

Licorice Pizza movie review & film summary (2021) | Roger Ebert

Paul Thomas Anderson's golden, shimmering vision of the 1970s San Fernando Valley in "Licorice Pizza" is so dreamy, so full of possibility, it's as if it couldn't actually have existed. With its lengthy, magic-hour walk-and-talks and its sense of adventure around every corner and down every block, it's a place where anything could happen as day turns to night.

And yet within that joyful, playful reverie lurks an unmistakable undercurrent of danger. It's in the score from Anderson's frequent collaborator, the brilliant Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, putting you ever so slightly on edge. It's in the searchlights outside the grand opening of a Ventura Boulevard pinball parlor, incessantly beckoning to the sky. And it's in big, brash moments through showy supporting performances from Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn, both going for broke. Anything could happen as day turns to night—but are you ready for that?

This is a place Anderson knows well from his own childhood and it's where he still lives today. His love is specific and palpable for the Valley, with its suburban sprawl and non-descript strip malls. This is the place of my youth, too—I grew up In Woodland Hills, just down the 101 Freeway from where the events of "Licorice Pizza" occur, and I recall fondly the Southern California record store chain that gives the film its title. (As a kid, I used to go to the one on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park, across the street from Topanga Plaza.) He's taken us on a tour of this area before in a couple of the great, early films that put him on the map ("Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia") but with "Licorice Pizza," he offers us a gentler view. Anderson has harnessed all the thrilling, muscular techniques that are his directing trademarks as well as his affection for high drama as a writer and applied them to telling a story that's surprisingly sweet.

It's also wildly unexpected from one moment to the next as Anderson masterfully navigates tonal shifts from absurd humor to tender romance with a couple of legitimate action sequences thrown in between. "Licorice Pizza" meanders in the best possible way: You never know where it's going but you can't wait to find out where it'll end up, and when it's over, you won't want it to end. Once the credits finished rolling, I had no desire to get up from my seat and leave the theater, I was so wrapped up in the film's cozy, wistful spell.

And in Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, both making their feature film debuts, Anderson has given us the most glorious guides. "Licorice Pizza" will make superstars of them both, and deservedly so. Hoffman is the son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose long and fruitful relationship with Anderson resulted in some of the defining work of his career, ranging from the heartbreaking ("Boogie Nights") to the terrifying ("The Master"). Hoffman has a very different look and demeanor from his father—he has an infectious, boyish optimism—but he shares his dad's intriguing screen presence. And Haim is just a flat-out movie star. She has that "thing": that radiant, magnetic charisma that makes it impossible to take your eyes off her. The youngest of the three sisters who comprise the indie rock band HAIM—they have a long and fruitful relationship of their own with Anderson, who's directed several of their music videos—she's got impeccable comic timing and consistently makes inspired choices. Together, she and Hoffman have a snappy chemistry that's the stuff of classic screwball comedies, but they both seem totally at home in this '70s setting. Adding to the authenticity is the presence of Haim's sisters, Danielle and Este, playing Alana's sisters. And their actual parents play their parents, all of which pays off beautifully in a hilarious, Friday-night shabbat dinner scene.

We haven't even begun discussing the plot, but then again, the plot isn't really the point. In the simplest terms, "Licorice Pizza" finds Haim's Alana and Hoffman's Gary running around the Valley, starting various businesses, flirting, pretending they don't care about each other, and potentially falling for other people to avoid falling for each other. One thing: She's 25 and he's 15, and they meet cute at his high school where's she's helping the photographers on picture day. What makes this amorphous romance make sense is that a) it's extremely chaste, b) she's sort of stunted at the film's start, and c) Anderson wisely establishes early on that Gary has a swagger and intelligence beyond his years. In a way that's reminiscent of Max Fischer in "Rushmore," all the adults Gary encounters take him seriously and treat him as an equal. The fact that he's a longtime child star has a lot to do with his maturity (and the character of Gary is inspired by Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks' longtime producing partner, who was an actor in his youth). So when he meets Alana and is instantly smitten by her, he carries himself with such confidence and addresses her so directly that she can't help but get drawn into his world.

While their ever-evolving relationship provides the framework for the film, "Licorice Pizza" is really about this young woman's journey of self-discovery: trying out different jobs and clothes, different priorities and personalities, and seeing what fits. (Oscar-winning "Phantom Thread" costume designer Mark Bridges vividly reinvents her look for each new situation.) The vast majority of characters Anderson has focused on throughout his career have been men, from Dirk Diggler to Reynolds Woodcock, so to see him turn his immense artistic instincts toward a woman is only part of what makes "Licorice Pizza" such a breath of fresh air. Hope springs eternal for Alana, but the reality of life as a young woman in Los Angeles—hell, in the world—keeps rearing its head. Maybe it's an intrusive conversation with an agent when she's pondering becoming an actress. Or it's a midnight motorcycle ride with a much older screen star (Penn, as a William Holden figure, gets to be unusually charming). Cooper serves as a much more obvious source of menace as an unhinged Jon Peters, the real-life hairdresser-turned-producer who dated Barbra Streisand; he absolutely tears it up in just a couple of scenes in a way that's funny and ferocious at once. (Christine Ebersole, Skyler Gisondo, Benny Safdie, Joseph Cross, and Tom Waits are among the many actors who enjoy standout moments within this packed cast.)

Peters' presence here is crucial to the through-line of Hollywood's prevalence in this time and place. Gary reminded me of so many kids I grew up with: They had agents and headshots, they got to leave school early for auditions, they had parents who would schlep them all over town to pursue their dreams of stardom. Gary merely takes that initiative and funnels it into a variety of endeavors, and Alana finds herself coming along for the ride. A long tracking shot in which Gary enters the Hollywood Palladium to launch his waterbed company (something Goetzman actually did) calls to mind both the beginning of "Boogie Nights" and the end of "Phantom Thread." Anderson, serving as his own cinematographer again (this time alongside Michael Bauman), infuses this moment and so many others with a mixture of wonder and melancholy.

And as always, he gets so much right about this location and era. The details are dead-on without ever devolving into kitschy caricature: a baby-blue rotary phone hanging on the kitchen wall, or a billboard for the rock radio station KMET perched above a gas station. Gary lives in Sherman Oaks, but in a modest, mid-century ranch-style house, rather than one of the fancier neighborhoods south of the boulevard. And the gas shortage that plagued this period is just one more source of tension for these characters as they try to make their way in the world. Anderson doesn't pummel us over the head with geopolitical reasons, but rather shows Gary running in slow motion past long lines of cars at the pumps, with David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" as a powerful choice of music in the background.

And yet, an achingly romantic tone returns by the end, as well as the sensation that while we may not have ended up anywhere in our wanderings, we just watched the best movie of the year.

Source (https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/licorice-pizza-movie-review-2021)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 01:14:16 PM
As a counter-point (?), there are reviewers that are still put off by the "age difference" thing.  Is this still worthy of discussion--maybe not now, it feels pointless to debate something only a few of us have seen, but...  Maybe a separate thread in January?   Or are we all sick of it at this point?

https://www.ign.com/articles/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 24, 2021, 01:17:53 PM
I'll quote this interesting paragraph from the IGN review. It hints at the ending.

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteMaybe the broken, cynical playground that serves as the backdrop to their adventures is the canary in the coalmine for this whole seemingly “romantic” venture. I’d like to believe that’s Anderson's true intention, getting us to really think about how easily we’re persuaded to root for a messed-up dynamic because it’s so skillfully framed like a Hollywood ending. And if he’s not, there’s not enough “no thank you’s” in the world to be given to this slice of life.

The first sentence is the perfect summary of what I hope the movie ultimately conveys: look at this fucked-up world where this twenty-eight years is flirting with a kid and nobody is responsible enough to do anything about it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 24, 2021, 01:36:11 PM
https://time.com/6123767/licorice-pizza-review/ (https://time.com/6123767/licorice-pizza-review/)

The Zacharek/PTA is steadfastly turning into the new Kael/Welles.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on November 24, 2021, 01:38:19 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 24, 2021, 01:36:11 PM
https://time.com/6123767/licorice-pizza-review/ (https://time.com/6123767/licorice-pizza-review/)

The Zacharek/PTA is steadfastly turning into the new Kael/Welles.

I was just going to say. So predictable lol.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Alma on November 24, 2021, 01:54:03 PM
She loves Haim's performance so much that even her problems with the film are to do with that though. Can't wait to see Alana in this, it must be something really special.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 01:57:04 PM
Has Zacharek taken PTA to task in the past?  Frequently?  Consistently?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on November 24, 2021, 01:58:15 PM
Quote from: Alma on November 24, 2021, 01:54:03 PM
She loves Haim's performance so much that even her problems with the film are to do with that though. Can't wait to see Alana in this, it must be something really special.

Her lisp in this flick ~  :inlove:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on November 24, 2021, 01:59:48 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 01:57:04 PM
Has Zacharek taken PTA to task in the past?  Frequently?  Consistently?

Yes. She doesn't like him.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 24, 2021, 02:02:39 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 01:57:04 PM
Has Zacharek taken PTA to task in the past?  Frequently?  Consistently?

As far as I know - Disliked TWBB, The Master, Phantom Thread. Raved Inherent Vice (!?!?!).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 02:12:08 PM
All of Paul Thomas Anderson's Movies, Ranked (https://time.com/6122813/paul-thomas-anderson-movies-ranked/)  |  TIME Magazine

by Matthew Jacobs

Your favorite Paul Thomas Anderson movie probably depends on whether you prefer his oddball comedies (Punch-Drunk Love, Inherent Vice, the new Licorice Pizza) or his operatic psychodramas (There Will Be Blood, The Master, Magnolia, Hard Eight). Sometimes, when you're lucky, you get both at once (Phantom Thread, Boogie Nights).

Anderson tends to change tempos from film to film, which makes him one of the most energizing directors working today. Even when his films are sprawling, his work remains intimate and character-driven, using hyper-specific backdrops—often the California of yesteryear, where he was born—to illuminate a particular moment in time. In some sense, every story he tells is one in which humans' desperate need for connection butts up against greed of one kind or another (usually a distinctly American kind).

But despite his headiness, Anderson is committed to entertaining the hell out of us. His soundtrack curation alone is exquisite—no surprise, as he is also a music enthusiast, having helmed slick videos for Fiona Apple, Radiohead and Haim. His plots are invigorating in their well-calculated unpredictability. Simply put, Anderson has never made a bad movie, and certainly never a dull one. If he ever does, it would probably still run circles around whatever else is playing at the multiplex that weekend.

Licorice Pizza marks Anderson's ninth movie, which is as good an occasion as any to reflect on his catalog thus far. Ahead of its release (Pizza opens in select theaters on Nov. 26 and nationwide on Dec. 25), TIME rewatched and ranked Anderson's era-defining oeuvre.

9. Inherent Vice (2014)
One viewing of Inherent Vice won't suffice. Even if you've read the Thomas Pynchon novel on which it's based, this rambling tangle about a perpetually stoned private investigator (a mutton-chopped Joaquin Phoenix) drifting through a Manson-paranoid Los Angeles can feel as hazy as a cloud of pot smoke. It is, as the kids say, a vibe—and a dense one at that, tackling the changing cultural mores of 1970 with deceptively layered humor. For many, Vice is a "like it or leave it" situation. When consumed like a Long Goodbye-esque parade of unified tableaux guided by a fashionable cast (Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Hong Chau, a scene-stealing Martin Short), the movie offers a groovy secondhand buzz. But it's also a bit high on its own supply, lacking the emotional anchor needed to stay afloat.

8. Hard Eight (1996)
Anderson got a rude awakening about Hollywood egos when the production company behind Sydney, his directorial debut, recut the film and named it Hard Eight. He acquiesced on the title but not the edit, ultimately convincing the powers that be to release his version. Even with Anderson's thinnest plot, Hard Eight is pretty great. The movie has early traces of his signature flair: stylish tracking shots, piercing close-ups, expressive monologues, and a story that changes course around the midway point. A neo-noir about a down-on-his-luck stiff (John C. Reilly) and the mysterious gambler (Philip Baker Hall) who lends him a hand, this established Anderson's bona fides, even though it was only released in 29 theaters.

7. The Master (2012)
The first thing you notice in The Master is Jonny Greenwood's score, a propulsive ticktock that hypnotizes the audience before a single word has been spoken. The second is Joaquin Phoenix's hunched posture. The arch in his back, combined with his unwitting snarl, makes him at once diminutive and imposing, childlike and depraved. His Freddie Quell is a man of contradictions, beleaguered by the horrors of World War II and susceptible to the allure of a seductive charlatan (Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing an L. Ron Hubbard type in a film with pointed Scientology parallels). The final thing you notice in The Master is that it's somehow a love story between Freddie and his new guru, even if said guru's wife (Amy Adams) tends to call the shots, sometimes while giving hand jobs. That uneasy constellation of spiritual crises, like all of Anderson's films, rewards repeat viewings.

6. Licorice Pizza (2021)
Unfolding like a series of ebullient vignettes, Licorice Pizza roams through Los Angeles alongside a precocious 15-year-old showman (Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the slightly older apple of his eye (Alana Haim of the rock trio Haim). It's a coming-of-age frolic about a bunch of schemes taking place amid the encroaching chaos of 1973, bridging the rise and fall of waterbeds with an international oil crisis. This is Anderson at his freest. The plot zigs, zags and zips through the two young hopefuls' whimsical adventures. Their detours along the way, particularly one involving an unhinged Bradley Cooper as larger-than-life Hollywood producer Jon Peters, form a sweet ode to the ingenuity of youth. Licorice Pizza is one huge grin in movie form.

5. Magnolia (1999)
Following the success of Boogie Nights in 1997, the suits at New Line Cinema gave Anderson carte blanche. What resulted was a three-hour mosaic of psychological freak-outs inspired by his stint as a PA on Quiz Kids Challenge, Aimee Mann's music and the San Fernando Valley. Magnolia, with its feverish performances (Julianne Moore! Tom Cruise! Jason Robards! Melora Walters!) and where-the-hell-is-this-going velocity, is a movie about choices. Any choice a character makes sets off a chain reaction that spirals through the various narratives, which coalesce around a biblical squall in which frogs tumble from the heavens. Anderson milks the conventions of melodrama, assigning everyone's experiences—no matter how mudaneor misguided—near-epic scope. When asked what he would redo about the film during a Reddit AMA four years ago, he responded, "Chill the f-ck out and cut 20 minutes." Could it use a trim? Sure. But this is a rare behemoth unburdened by its running time, exemplifying Anderson's masterly control.

4. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
After the unfettered sprawl of Magnolia, Anderson was determined to cap his next project at 90 minutes. Out of that came Punch-Drunk Love, at once, paradoxically, Anderson's most fantastical and most grounded movie. To label it a romantic comedy feels limiting, though it is technically a love story about a jittery neurotic named Barry (a career-best Adam Sandler) and the shy sweetheart (Emily Watson) who takes a liking to his idiosyncrasies. Punch-Drunk is better described as a manic lark, from the abandoned harmonium that kicks off the story to the phone-sex extortion ploy that threatens to disrupt Barry's newfound contentment. It's a testament to Anderson's peculiar dialogue and roving camerawork that he can make such a humanistic film that still manages to become an out-of-this-world fairy tale.

3. Boogie Nights (1997)
Boogie Nights established Anderson's sense of scale. It's a saga about family—the chosen kind, or at least the happened-upon kind—filtered through the disco-inflected California porn scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Anderson isn't interested in trite ideas like "growth," that gingerly Hollywood fixation that requires characters to change or mature by the time the plot expires. This menagerie of outcasts remain the same people they were when the film began, finding refuge in the employment of a demanding director (Burt Reynolds). Expanded from a short film Anderson made in high school, Nights is a master class in tone: dark, funny and oddly comforting, sometimes within the same scene. Alfred Molina's drugged-out climax alone belongs in some kind of pantheon. The movie can also claim credit for turning Mark Wahlberg, best known at the time as hip-hop upstart Marky Mark, into a viable movie star. (He can thank Leonardo DiCaprio, who recommended Wahlberg for the role of well-endowed dunce Dirk Diggler because he'd already signed on to do Titanic.)

2. Phantom Thread (2017)
Anderson came up with Phantom Thread while sick in bed. "My wife"—that's Maya Rudolph, though they aren't technically married—"looked at me with a love and affection that I hadn't seen in a long time," he said. "So I called Daniel [Day-Lewis] the next day and said, 'I think I have a good idea for a movie.'" That idea birthed one of the strangest and most rapturous romances of the last decade, in which tempestuous 1950s couturier Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) is mellowed by a soft-spoken muse (Vicky Krieps) who feeds him toxic mushrooms as a means of disarmament. It's surprising to say that a film about the sadomasochistic eccentricities of coupledom produced Anderson's wittiest script and prettiest cinematography, but Phantom Thread did exactly that. Just when you think Alma has set out to kill Reynolds, the film reveals itself to be a euphoric meditation on power, tenderness and the intimate negotiations that exist behind closed doors.

1. There Will Be Blood (2007)
There Will Be Blood is the moment Anderson went from an exciting director to an essential one. At the time of its release, antiheroes weren't as unusual in movies as they were on TV, with Tony Soprano's influence trickling its way through prestige programming, and yet Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) feels almost unmatched in his brand of hyper-articulate monstrosity. An early-1900s petroleum capitalist, Daniel has a misanthropic streak—to put it lightly—that reflects a quintessentially American nightmare. Tearing his way through the undeveloped West with a devilish poise, he strikes it rich through greed and manipulation, those all-too-human attributes that would come to define the 20th century and beyond. A masterpiece loosely inspired by Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, this movie is at once a haunting psychodrama, a damning portrait of masculinity and a terrifyingly fun exercise in villainy.

- - - - - - -

(Some minor shuffles and you've got my ranking at this point.)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 03:40:16 PM
I'm not gonna post every review (that's what Reddit is for!), but I liked the way this guy addressed "the issues" (in other words, I agree with his take).

'Licorice Pizza' Review — Paul Thomas Anderson's Latest Masterpiece is an All-Timer | Fanboynation.com (https://fanboynation.com/licorice-pizza-2021/)

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteNow, I'd like to hit on a few aspects of the film that have been deemed problematic by some colleagues. First of all, a restaurateur (played by John Michael Higgins) unleashes an incredibly offensive imitation of an Asian accent, and the scene is played for laughs. However, the film is not trying to get laughs from the man's overt racism but from the fact that he's a complete idiot. And then, of course, there's the age gap in the film's central relationship. There is sexual tension between the characters but there is no sex. The complicated nature of the age gap is central to the film's story, and it's handled with grace and tact. None of these characters are predatory towards one another, there's mutual respect that fuels their connection even if the age gap gives these characters pause. The whole film is interrogating this situation and doesn't handle it blithely. And Licorice Pizza isn't like Anderson's other recent films in that he's much more textual here than he was in, say, Inherent Vice or The Master.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 06:19:25 PM
Audio to follow tomorrow, I think, but:  (possible spoilers on the first one)

Joel Wachs on his early political career portrayed in 'Licorice Pizza' (https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/greater-la/licorice-pizza-la-city-council/joel-wachs)

and

Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson on 'Licorice Pizza,' growing up in LA at a time of innocence and mystery (https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/greater-la/licorice-pizza-la-city-council/paul-thomas-anderson)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 09:55:38 PM
A question for further down the road, when more of you have lost your Pizza cherries.

Spoiler: ShowHide
How sexually experienced is Alana?  Is she a virgin?  Discuss.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 24, 2021, 10:05:48 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 09:55:38 PMPizza cherries

That phrase is hereby banned from this website.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 10:29:14 PM
I like this take on the Gary/Alana:

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteThese two souls seem linked by fate in ways that defy romance or lust or even puppy love, and it frustrates and baffles each of them in turn as their adventures pull them apart and push them back together. It's a story not of two people, but of two searchers, each looking for the thing that will fulfill them and somehow always circling back into each others' spheres. That sense of constant searching, mingled with adolescent self-mythologizing, twentysomething yearning, and Anderson's own mature sense of perspective, makes "Licorice Pizza" something special.


From here (https://www.looper.com/111603/movies-practically-flawless/).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 10:35:32 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on November 24, 2021, 10:05:48 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 24, 2021, 09:55:38 PMPizza cherries

That phrase is hereby banned from this website.

Sorry.  Should have read the Parents Guide to Licorice Pizza (https://filmyrating.com/licorice-pizza-parents-guide-2021/) first.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 25, 2021, 12:00:22 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98rRRan4RLA
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 25, 2021, 12:05:42 AM
Christy is a huge fan of this movie.   :bravo:  She also raved on the local Filmweek (https://www.kpcc.org/show/filmweek/2021-11-24/filmweek-special-licorice-pizza-house-of-gucci-encanto-and-more) review program this morning.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 25, 2021, 08:14:14 AM
https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/licorice-pizza-faces-criticism-scenes-involving-fake-asian-accent-rcna6603 (https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/licorice-pizza-faces-criticism-scenes-involving-fake-asian-accent-rcna6603)

Parts of the article

Quote'Licorice Pizza' faces criticism for scenes involving fake Asian accent by Wilson Wong

"The film is not even about Asians or race, and what it does is normalize this violence, this casual anti-Asian racism," one sociologist said.

QuoteNancy Wang Yuen, a sociologist, said criticism of Higgins' character appears to be warranted because there is no clear pushback against his character in the film.

"It's irresponsible to use racism against Asians as a running gag," Yuen said.

Though she hasn't seen the film yet, she noted it's apparent that the plot is "not even about Asians or race, and what it does is normalize this violence, this casual anti-Asian racism."

"Racist stereotypes like the accent are a cheap way of getting laughs because you don't need to explain anything — even though there is nothing funny about accents," Yuen said.

Quote"This kind of representation gives permission for others to behave this way towards Asians, and it rehashes this trope of Asians as the perpetual foreigner — a trope that has been part of our society since the 1800s," Yuen said.

While Anderson acknowledged it was a "period" piece, Yuen said the scenes still depict racism "unfiltered."

"If there are no consequences, scenes like this can almost glorify this behavior," she said. "You're not laughing at [Higgins' character] because he's making fun of someone else; you're either laughing with him at the expense of Asians, or you're going to be upset as a viewer."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on November 25, 2021, 09:11:01 AM

As a person of colour, I get the purpose of these scenes but I wish these scenes weren't in the movie and I understand people having issues with it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 25, 2021, 10:20:20 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 25, 2021, 08:14:14 AM

Though she hasn't seen the film yet

Her concerns are not without merit, though.  The joke will play differently, I'm sure, in some other parts of the country than it did in Westwood. 

The joke also would have played differently 50 years go in Westwood. 

Whether it works for you--or makes you uncomfortable, I think both are valid reactions.  It is from a contemporary perspective looking back on what I suspect was an actual incident or attitude, however. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 26, 2021, 12:16:40 AM
I just saw the movie and I absolutely loved it and thought it was so sweet and beautiful and captivating and life affirming.

Having said that,
Spoiler: ShowHide
I totally see where people who are offended by the Asian accent are coming from. People in the screening I was in laughed but I actually found it to be kind of unnecessary. I'm not sure what PTA was going for.

There's a moment right when the first Asian character is on screen where Gary's mom is reading the ad copy for the restaurant and she refers to the waitresses as "little dolls" and the shot lingers on a close-up on the Asian woman looking hurt. But then the rest of the scenes were just played for laughs.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 26, 2021, 01:46:39 AM
I haven't seen the scene in question so can't offer an opinion (and from the convo here the adverse reaction obviously seems valid), but I can definitely offer an opinion on this:

Quote from: pynchonikon on November 25, 2021, 08:14:14 AM"If there are no consequences, scenes like this can almost glorify this behavior," she said. "You're not laughing at [Higgins' character] because he's making fun of someone else; you're either laughing with him at the expense of Asians, or you're going to be upset as a viewer."

I'm sorry, but it's irresponsible to comment at length and in detail about (and then pass judgment on) something you haven't seen. This analysis seems mostly drawn from her imagination. How certain is she that the scene only offers that specific binary that she lays out? Also... "you're going to be upset as a viewer"... what's wrong with that? I actively seek out movies that upset me. Depiction is not endorsement.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 03:43:25 AM
Is that one of the two Asian wives?  :yabbse-grin:

https://twitter.com/yumimiz_/status/1464163188690194437
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 26, 2021, 03:53:03 AM
Quote"If there are no consequences, scenes like this can almost glorify this behavior,"

I just can't get over this. So bad behavior must always be punished in a movie, otherwise you're endorsing it? What a bizarre and childish thing to expect from art.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 04:06:44 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on November 26, 2021, 03:53:03 AM
Quote"If there are no consequences, scenes like this can almost glorify this behavior,"

I just can't get over this. So bad behavior must always be punished in a movie, otherwise you're endorsing it? What a bizarre and childish thing to expect from art.

What I understand is that if the movie ended with Higgins' character tied on a stake and covered in tar and feathers, it would have 97 in Metacritic (100 if the age gap was fixed, as well).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 26, 2021, 07:50:34 AM
Licorice Pizza's Unlikely Romance Is the Least Interesting Thing About It

QuoteAlana Kane, the tempestuous 25-year-old played by Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza, is waiting around for adulthood to happen to her. She lives at home with her parents and her two older sisters (all played by the other members of the Haim family), and works for a school photographer, a job that isn't helping in how it keeps her circulating among teenagers. It's while at a portrait day that she meets Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a 15-year-old who's doing his damndest to will himself right into middle age, and who makes a pass at her that's so ridiculous — he invites her to swing by the upscale Tail o' the Cock restaurant on Friday, when he claims to regularly dine there — that she's intrigued despite knowing better. Given the actual men that Alana meets over the course of the movie, who range from the barely seen first boss who doles out casual ass slaps to a hilariously feral Bradley Cooper as hairdresser-turned-Barbra Streisand-spouse Jon Peters, it isn't hard to understand why the playacted but harmless form of maturity affected by Gary might be appealing. Licorice Pizza — a movie as exasperating as it is delightful — could be described as an exploration of the unstable ground where Alana's arrested development and Gary's precociousness meet.

Except, and here's the thing about Paul Thomas Anderson's latest, Alana and Gary's untenable maybe-romance is the least compelling aspect of the movie. Licorice Pizza is as much a meander through the peculiarities of the San Fernando Valley — close enough to Hollywood for unglamorous brushes with show business, and far enough away to feel like any other aimless suburb — in 1973 as it is about the two kids at its center, and its best parts are ones in which the kids are an excuse for some unpredictable digression rather than the center of one. It's not that Alana and Gary are unlikable, though the movie tends to be more enchanted with the latter, its SoCal Max Fischer, while letting the former slip in and out of focus. Haim, in her first acting role, is testily compelling, slipping between raw vulnerability and outbursts of disbelief in herself for glomming onto a high school friend group. Fellow first-timer Hoffman, son of the later Philip Seymour, plays into Gary's ex-child actor dynamic, pairing that eerily poised presence with a face still soft with boyishness. But these characters' will-they-or-won't-they poses a question for which there's no satisfying answer. Either Alana gets her shit together and puts away childish things, or this grown woman and teenage boy run off into the sunset together in a way that's impossible to root for, while also obviously doomed.

Licorice Pizza isn't really Alana's story, but it isn't quite Gary's, either, and the movie really needs to belong to one of them in order to feel a little less like an extended fantasy about wanting to boink one's babysitter. But if it isn't able to offer a perfectly offbeat romance on the level of Punch-Drunk Love and Phantom Thread, it's not discardable, either. It's a Valley idyll that feels like it could encompass a stretch of time that's anywhere from a few weeks to a year, the weather constant, school barely spoken of. Given the youth of its characters, it almost makes more sense for the story to take place over some hectically compressed period that only feels like it's stretching out forever. Gary, who's constantly coming up with entrepreneurial side-hustles, starts a waterbed business that somehow becomes a pinball arcade by the movie's end. Alana, filled with confusing jealousy as well as a desire to do something with her life, goes on a date with a beef jerkyesque man's man actor named Jack Holden (Sean Penn) and starts volunteering for the campaign of an idealistic but closeted politician (Benny Safdie), and somehow always makes sure Gary is around to see.

The narrative cul-de-sacs these exploits lead to are mostly wonderful, save for the appearance of John Michael Higgins as a racist Japanese restaurant owner — the kind of joke whose butt is obvious but that results in laughter that's less precise in its target. All of these episodes are messy, as though some choice recollections were gathered at a bar one night and then dramatized. The encounter with Peters, whom Cooper plays as a volcanic font of macho posturing and horniness, is the movie's highlight, a misadventure involving a waterbed delivery, a gas shortage, and some wondrous timing. But almost as good is the sequence in which Alana ends up on the back of Jack's motorcycle at the goading of an equally pickled director (Tom Waits) who wants Jack to reprise a famous stunt. A priceless Harriet Sansom Harris pops up to play a casting director who informs Alana that she has "a very Jewish nose — which is becoming more fashionable." And Joseph Cross has a lovely, heartbreaking moment as an unacknowledged boyfriend Alana is summoned to play the beard for.

The urge to describe Licorice Pizza as nostalgic is an understandable one, given its unapologetic wallow in the textures of its particular place, where Anderson grew up, and its particular time, when he was a child too young to log these experiences himself. But the film is too prickly in its depictions of the era to be accused of glossing over ugliness. Its backward-looking longing has more to do with a desire to return to the uncertainty of the period of life its two characters straddle. There's an understanding, one that can only come after the fact, that those feelings of being lost are a sort of privilege.

https://besthinditech.com/licorice-pizzas-unlikely-romance-is-the-least-interesting-thing-about-it/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 08:05:25 AM
Apparently Nayman said "fuck it" and wrote a whole new chapter for his book instead of a review.

https://www.theringer.com/movies/2021/11/26/22801227/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson (https://www.theringer.com/movies/2021/11/26/22801227/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson)

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuotePaul Thomas Anderson Lets Go With 'Licorice Pizza'
The notorious control freak has loosened the grip on his phantom threads and delivered a transcendent, free-flowing trip through his past

The funniest moment in any Paul Thomas Anderson movie comes in The Master, when cult leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) asks his acolyte Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) to pick a point in the distance and ride toward it on a motorcycle. Ever literal-minded, Freddie sets his sights on the horizon and just keeps driving, eventually out of sight and beyond his mentor's reach. It's an act of spiritual emancipation that Anderson's filmmaking transforms into a sublime sight gag. Like the hijacked chopper, Freddie's a machine with plenty of horsepower and a lightning-quick accelerator: If you start him up, he'll never stop.

There are plenty of such unbounded sensations in Anderson's movies; characters cruising across the widescreen frame. Think of Philip Baker Hall patrolling the casino floor in Hard Eight, or Adam Sandler's desperate sprints through darkened streets in Punch-Drunk Love. Or: Daniel Day-Lewis staggering implacably down the expanse of a basement bowling alley in There Will Be Blood, or speeding through the night in his sports car in Phantom Thread. To paraphrase Magnolia's musical narrator Aimee Mann, at its best, Anderson's cinema is all for the sake of momentum. PTA's new coming-of-age comedy Licorice Pizza features a tracking shot that ranks with any of these highlights: Surveying the chaos around his local gas station—it's 1973 and the OPEC crisis is in full swing—15-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) barrels past the stalled cars crowing about the end of the world as he knows it. He feels fine, and why wouldn't he? After all, it's not like he can drive—and as David Bowie's "Life on Mars" crescendos in sync with Gary's strides beneath sunburnt skies, his jog becomes a rapturous vision of mobility amid gridlock, the only guy in sight who isn't running on empty.

Movement is the organizing principle of Licorice Pizza. Characters are always in a hurry to get somewhere, even when they're traveling backward. In the spirit of its '70s setting and aesthetics, the movie climaxes with a set piece involving a U-Haul truck being piloted in reverse down winding, perilous Hollywood Hills streets. The driver is Gary's 20-something friend-slash-chaperone-slash-no.-1-crush Alana (Alana Haim), who's got a firm hand and wild eyes; the chaotic vehicular choreography at once parodies and honors period car chases in comedies like The Sugarland Express or Smokey and the Bandit. Because Licorice Pizza is set in the shadow of Hollywood—specifically in the industry hive of Studio City in the southeast San Fernando Valley, long since mythologized as Anderson's childhood stomping grounds—it's hard not to conjure up cinematic reference points to contextualize its drifty narrative about the exposed nerves, hot flashes, and crossed wires of young(ish) love. For reasons too convoluted to get into here, Gary and Alana's nerve-racking joyride includes an extended and menacing cameo from the legendary (and legendarily obnoxious) movie producer Jon Peters, impersonated with kamikaze aplomb by a well-cast and zero-fucks-given Bradley Cooper.

No less than all that frenetic running—through playgrounds, shopping malls, police stations, and golf courses—the numerous dream-factory allusions of Licorice Pizza place it squarely in PTA's comfort zone. Anderson wasn't a child star like Gary, who as the film opens is promoting a broad family comedy modeled on the 1968 Lucille Ball vehicle Yours, Mine and Ours—a nod to the early career experiences of the director's friend, film producer Gary Goetzman. ("I can't remember at this point if I'm trying to pretend that it's not Gary's story," Anderson told Variety, "but fuck it, it's him.") But like Goetzman, Anderson grew up in close proximity to showbiz types, and the same sense of striving anxiety and status-seeking that bristled beneath the surfaces of Boogie Nights and Magnolia is in play here.

With this in mind, there are times when Licorice Pizza almost feels like a highlight reel of PTA's greatest tropes and moments—a victory lap around home turf. The dateline places it chronologically between Inherent Vice and Boogie Nights, which is also a pretty good description of its tone: warm, nostalgic, and only faintly paranoid (Cooper's nervy, obnoxious performance recalls Alfred Molina's coked-out millionaire in Boogie Nights, minus the sense of lethal threat). With its sweaty, hothouse color palette and sculptural use of natural California light and haze (the cinematography is credited to Anderson and Michael Bauman), it feels as if the breathtaking, tactile flashback in Inherent Vice when Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston make out in the rain to Neil Young's "Journey Through the Past" has been extended to two hours. And after the masterful but claustrophobic chamber drama of Phantom Thread, the loose, playful vibe suggests a filmmaker enjoying being able to make work fully on his own terms.

In the press rollout for Licorice Pizza, Anderson has made it clear that those terms are very personal, and the contrasts between his film with a similarly themed blockbuster like Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood are palpable. Any movie stars on hand here are in the margins; the leads are both first-timers carrying baggage from their own surnames. Hoffman and Haim are both family friends: The latter's mother was Anderson's childhood art teacher, which turned out to be the detail that cemented Anderson's professional and personal relationship with her sisters and their band. The production was shot under a veil of COVID-era secrecy. At the same time, there's something open-hearted about the feeling that the filmmaker is circling the wagons and working close to home. "When I came to visit the set, and learned that all his kids were in the movie, and that you would be in it, it felt like he'd decided to say, 'Fuck it, this is the truth about me,'" said John C. Reilly in a recent interview with Alana Haim, referring to Anderson's long-held preference to be "the mysterious wizard behind the curtain," which was the satirical subject of Phantom Thread.

Because we're in a moment when movies are treated like scorecards for moral inventory, Licorice Pizza's rollout has been dogged by social media skirmishes over the problematic aspects of its central love story—concerns that Anderson has paid lip service in interviews. "Do you think it's weird that I hang out with Gary and his loser friends?" Alana asks one of her peers, and while an answer isn't forthcoming, it also isn't really required. Of course it's weird that Alana, who's a decade beyond high school and staring down her 30th birthday, is playing Wendy to a tribe of lost teenage boys, and the film's repeated visualizations of characters—especially Alana—hurtling hellbent in one direction or another belie communal anxieties about which way they're all headed.

What attracts Alana to Gary is the swaggering contradiction of a kid who makes a living playing prepubescents on television while projecting a swinging-bachelor vibe well beyond his years off screen. ("Two Cokes, please," he lobbies a bartender at the Tail o' the Cock, like Bart Simpson ordering three fingers of milk from his mom.) She can't tell whether he's ridiculous or charming, but the confusion is more interesting than anything else going on in her life, and gradually, her curiosity metastasizes into a fierce, ambivalent devotion with quasi-incestuous subtext. ("Don't you dare get into that car," she chides him at one point, sounding distressingly like his mother.) Gary, meanwhile, is crushing on Alana because, on a purely abstract level, she represents a sort of holy grail—a lanky, experienced older woman whose inaccessibility offers the thrill of the chase. And yet she's not necessarily out of his grasp; in a wonderful sequence involving a silent late-night phone call in which neither party wants to speak first, it's clear they're on the same wavelength. What bonds them beyond the butterflies in their stomachs is the pleasure they take in feeling like they're getting away with something—a pleasure that Anderson, whose movies are characteristically filled with confident men, charlatans, and start-up entrepreneurs, romanticizes with easy charm.

Back when Rysher Entertainment insisted on retitling Anderson's debut, Sydney, as Hard Eight, the director joked that the name "sounded like a porno." The original title for Licorice Pizza was Soggy Bottom, which refers literally to the fly-by-night waterbed business that turns Gary and Alana into business partners and figuratively to the horned-up vibes that leave nearly every scene coated in a sticky residue of desire. If there's something inevitably moving about watching Philip Seymour Hoffman's kid play a self-styled Mattress Man, there's also a bit of Punch-Drunk Love's deadpan surrealism in the idea that a 15-year-old could manage a store like that fueled only by pure, hustling chutzpah. The film is set in a world where adults barely exist, and the grown-ups who do get face time—like the arrogant, sexually proprietary Peters, who brags about banging Barbra Streisand, or Sean Penn as a lecherous and barely disguised stand-in for William Holden—are depicted as predatory creeps. The same frustration with her own stalled present tense that draws Alana to Gary is also what pushes her toward Penn's lizardly movie star in a subplot about her attempts to become an actress. (The movie she auditions for, a hippie-chick romance called Rainbow, riffs on Clint Eastwood's Breezy.) But Penn's character, who knows his way around the casting couch, is chasing a different kind of teenage glory, and ends up ditching his date in lieu of doing motorcycle tricks—an explicit callback to The Master in a sequence that has a slapstick punch line and a hopelessly romantic coda that finds Gary and Alana splayed out together on a bobbing waterbed, hands almost but not quite touching as Anderson keeps delaying the moment of release.

Because Licorice Pizza is so light and freewheeling, there's a temptation to praise it—or write it off—as an auteurist doodle, but the seams between the scenes are teeming with political critique. Whether flipping through the newspaper or glancing at televisions blaring speeches by a pre-impeachment Richard Nixon about the floundering American economy, Gary and Alana commiserate in a sense of shared alienation that ultimately begins to pull them apart. Where Gary is content to luxuriate during a crisis of authority, Alana refuses to stay stuck in neutral, and, disillusioned by dating, decides to jump-start her own idling social conscience. The last act of the movie is set in and around the mayoral campaign of a young, skilled, ostensibly progressive Valley politician (played by Uncut Gems codirector Benny Safdie) and evokes period political dramas like The Candidate, with a little bit of Taxi Driver and Nashville sprinkled in.

Because Anderson has historically structured his movies around eruptive outbursts of violence—think of the New Year's Eve party in Boogie Nights or the titular prophecy of There Will Be Blood—we're preconditioned to worry about what might happen to Alana as the collateral damage of her ideological awakening, or else to anticipate a detour into SoCal civic corruption, à la Chinatown. But when the film shows its cards, the revelations are less terrifying than tender—a melancholy variation on Anderson's running theme of wounded masculinity that also confirms Licorice Pizza as a movie propelled by fears of compromise.

The not-so-secret source of Anderson's heroic stature in the eyes of so many has been a refusal to compromise. When he sent a copy of Hard Eight to Cannes behind his distributor's back to ensure that his preferred cut would be the one seen by critics, the 26-year-old director was prematurely throwing his hat in the ring with the Coppolas and Ciminos of the Movie Brat generation. That kind of stubborness makes for good copy—and good movies—but a case can be made that PTA's movies got even better once it was clear that he wasn't so much pushing against something as toward something. What makes The Master one of the only truly visionary American movies of its era is the confidence it takes in being discombobulating—in reconfiguring a deep and existential sense of confusion from a bug into a feature. Phantom Thread is a beguiling and phantasmagorical gloss on Gothic romance pitched just this side of madness, and yet its status as a kind of social-media meme monster is due to how closely it hews to sketch comedy; the scene when Alma feeds Reynolds the poisoned omelette and leans in for a kiss just before he starts puking up his guts splits the difference between Hitchcock and the Farrelly brothers. It's in refusing to choose between severity and goofiness that Anderson ends up with films that cut both ways—and draw blood in the process.

Licorice Pizza doesn't show its teeth that often, and when it does, it's usually in the form of a grin. While neophytes Hoffman and Haim aren't as polished as actors like Vicky Krieps or [checks notes] Daniel Day-Lewis, they have great, malleable faces, and Anderson likes nothing more than to hold on them until they light up. But like all premium teen movies—from American Graffiti to Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Dazed and Confused—a lot of what's funny in Licorice Pizza comes from how seriously its characters take themselves and their feelings, while whatever's profound accumulates in throwaway moments. A shot of Gary and his pals pantomiming masturbation with empty gas cans works as a tender metaphor because it's seen from Alana's point of view, engendering the realization that this kind of boys-will-be-boys stupidity is actually more innocent and unguarded about its impulses than the world of smooth operators waiting on the other end of adolescence. And that image of Gary's fingers creeping toward Alana's but holding back becomes a humane, relatable emblem of temptation—of the things that hold us back, of longing as its own state of grace.

Because Licorice Pizza doesn't really have a plot, there's no way to really spoil its finale, but it's enough to say that the final moments—featuring, once again, characters breaking out into a dead run—are flush with the same conflicting yet complementary sensations of arrival and departure as the codas of Punch-Drunk Love, Inherent Vice, or Phantom Thread. In the space of a single image, the characters are lost and found all at once. What makes it such a good ending—one of Anderson's best—is that it makes uncertainty feel like its own kind of homecoming.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 09:00:16 AM
https://www.vox.com/22791221/licorice-pizza-review-alana-cooper (https://www.vox.com/22791221/licorice-pizza-review-alana-cooper)

I found her analysis interesting.

QuoteLicorice Pizza proves Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of unexpected romance
There's more to it than swoony love in his films — including this one.

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteMemorable images abound in Paul Thomas Anderson's movies — frogs dropping from the sky in Magnolia, Adam Sandler stockpiling pudding cups in Punch-Drunk Love, Bradley Cooper yelling in his latest, Licorice Pizza — but the scenes that stick with me most crackle with electric connection between two weirdos who've spotted, at last, their match.

Like Emily Watson telling Sandler, ecstatically, that "I want to chew your face, and I want to scoop out your eyes and I want to eat them and chew them and suck on them." John C. Reilly and Melora Walters in Magnolia confessing to one another that they're afraid if the other knows them, they won't like them. Joaquin Phoenix intently listening as Philip Seymour Hoffman, the leader of a cult in The Master, tells the group that "when we're in love we experience pleasure, and extreme pain." A much younger, sweatier Hoffman eyeing new adult film star Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights and struggling to contain his desire. Clean-shaven Daniel Day-Lewis watching with hungry eyes as Vicky Krieps makes him a poisonous mushroom omelet in Phantom Thread. Even mustachioed Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood hurling bowling balls at his nemesis, Paul Dano, in his absurd private bowling alley, hollering about drinking his milkshake.

You could cut the tension with a hacksaw in every scene, and dozens of others, and yet you couldn't easily describe what's going on. Hate? Lust? Yearning? Envy? Love? The characters don't know either, but they'll spend the whole movie trying to figure it out, and so will we.

Anderson makes romances, even when they're not exactly romantic; he's always looking for what connects two people with a bond that seems etched by fate. There's always something wild and untamable and unnerving in his pairings. They're never quite what you expect. They explode the narrow borders we draw around the definition of romance.

It's why Licorice Pizza, his latest, feels so assured and confident, so perfectly notched into his filmography. This time the pair at its center is young, though not exactly carefree. Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the band Haim, who is perfect) is a photo assistant in her mid-20s living in the San Fernando Valley with her parents and older sisters, all of whom have experienced failure to launch. (They're played by the whole Haim family.) It's 1971, and everything from the Vietnam War to mounting gasoline shortages looms in the background, but mostly Alana's just bored.

Disaffected and having no idea what she wants from life, Alana is drawn into a strange friendship — a romance, kind of — with Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman), a teenager who has the world by the tail. Or, at least, he acts like it. He's an actor who's booked some mid-level gigs; he talks like he's 40; he's always coming up with some new business to run. He, of course, lives with his mother (Mary Elizabeth Ellis).

Gary spots Alana in line on school picture day and asks her out. When she scoffs at the notion — she is, after all, technically an adult, 10 years older than him, and he's technically a child — he doesn't give up. Through some conniving on Gary's part, and surrender to the inevitable and a growing curiosity on Alana's, they become not a couple, but friends. Gary's constantly asking Alana for more, with the eagerness only a teenage boy can muster. A master of the devastating eye roll, she looks like she wants to punch him all the time, but she does like his company. Something about hanging out with him and his friends invigorates her and reminds her of ... what? She doesn't even know. But it's been a long time since she's smiled.

That push and pull between them leads them on all kinds of adventures, backed by the kind of soundtrack you've got to dance to and shot with the shaggy, grainy looseness that richly demonstrates Anderson's ease with films of the era. Gary starts a waterbed company and gets Alana on board (after all, she has a driver's license). They have a wild night on the town with director Jack Holden (Sean Penn) and daredevil Rex Blau (Tom Waits) in which they realize they've got to protect one another. The greatest and most memorable scene happens when they have to bring a waterbed to the home of Jon Peters (a gonzo Bradley Cooper) — who in real life was a film producer, Barbra Streisand's boyfriend, and the inspiration for the movie Shampoo — and run into hilarious trouble with, well, everything.

Strife and frustration with one another drive them apart. But when Alana brushes up against the reality of adulthood while working on the mayoral campaign of the idealistic Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie), it's clarifying, for both Alana and for the movie. Licorice Pizza (named for a series of record shops in LA at the time) is about a couple of young people who may or may not be in love but certainly love one another. It's also about how much adulthood sucks, and about a girl who can't quite bring herself to wade into those waters, not yet.

And it's all set in a Los Angeles that's sitting right on a fault line, a mere two years after the Manson murders famously rocked the city's glitterati and in the midst of an upheaval in the movie business, which was getting busted open by independent filmmakers. Everything was changing, and not everyone was ready.

Anderson has said he based the film on his own memories (though he's younger than his characters, born in 1970) and on the experiences of real-life actor Gary Goetzman, who among other things co-founded Playtone with Tom Hanks. You can tell; the film, which is structured as a series of set pieces that Alana and Gary stumble into and out of, is far too strange and specific and sometimes cringey to simply be made up, even by someone with as fertile an imagination as Anderson.

But, of course, he's treading familiar ground. This is a romance. The key ingredients are all there. We're used to thinking of romance in terms of moony lovey-dovey smooches, longing sighs, stolen glances, maybe passionate romps in the hay. But in Anderson's vocabulary, the word is more capacious. In his worlds, a romance springs up between two people who cross one another's eyeline and instantly recognize that something they're missing, something they need to survive — a comforter, a cheerleader, a lover, a nemesis — is right in front of them.

Those are never uncomplicated romances, and they're always backed, not (always) by sex, but by the desire to keep the thread that ties one to the other intact. In his past films, some manifest as outright antagonism — you're never quite sure if Daniel and Eli or Freddie and Dodd will kiss or kill one another. Others come in terms that are sweeter, but always laced with danger; a mushroom omelet is never just a mushroom omelet.

In the case of Licorice Pizza, the central (and fundamentally goofily chaste) romance is about feeling safe in the middle of a world that seems to be barreling downhill backward into madness. It's about knowing someone really sees you and likes you, even loves you, anyhow.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 09:49:24 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 08:05:25 AM
Apparently Nayman said "fuck it" and wrote a whole new chapter for his book instead of a review.

I think this is the smartest review/musing on LP I've read to date.  Got all the way to the bottom before I realized it was Nayman.  Liked the New Yorker review, too.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 10:00:48 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on November 26, 2021, 09:00:16 AM
https://www.vox.com/22791221/licorice-pizza-review-alana-cooper (https://www.vox.com/22791221/licorice-pizza-review-alana-cooper)

I found her analysis interesting.

Yes, also excellent.   I love how intelligent people are actually seeing, understanding that the relationship--the connection--between Gary and Alana isn't pervy or predatory.

Unfortunately these takes will never reach those who will only ever see it in more absolute, reductionist terms.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 12:04:28 PM
More interesting analysis:

https://www.insidehook.com/article/movies/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-feel-good-movie

Quote[Alana's] roundabout personal track dictates the episodic hangout format this film takes, the clearest sign of Anderson's relaxed vibe. (As my colleague Tim Grierson has noted, switching from cocaine to marijuana may have something to do with this shift into a relatively chilled-out mode.) For followers of his career trajectory, it's deeply rewarding to see someone whose work has always been marked by some inner torment taking it easier on himself and his characters. He seizes the tale of Gary and Alana as an opportunity to indulge in his favorite habits: curating a soundtrack of off-the-beaten-path oldies, exploring the halcyon LA of his boyhood dreams, setting up elaborate dolly shots in the way ordinary folks solve crossword puzzles. There's been a palpable pleasure to every movie PTA's ever made, his flashy, immodest style ensuring that much. But in the past, it's felt like the man makes his movies because he'll die if he doesn't get all of this urgent, burning stuff out of him; here, one gets the impression he's simply enjoying himself.

The more of a single director's movies a person watches, the more inclined they are to divine some insights about the artist's personal life from the stories they choose to tell and the way in which they tell them. Licorice Pizza suggests a PTA not in decline, but recline, allowing himself to relax in tone while maintaining his aesthetic rigor and slavish attention to detail. Unburdened by his distance to youth, wistful about its joys while clear-eyed about its foolishness, he's made as graceful an entree to middle age as anyone can hope for. This is his "those crazy kids" movie, made in the knowledge that the phrase comes from a place of affectionate contentment. Behind each scene, there's a smile and a shake of the head — an acceptance that the good times are behind us, and that that's a fine place for them to be.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 26, 2021, 12:32:50 PM
For as much as I loved the stuff with the two youthful leads, I think my favorite part of the movie was when Sean Penn and Tom Waits were playing two old macho drunken jackasses.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 12:36:15 PM
Bradley, Harriet, Sean & Tom really almost steal the movie. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 26, 2021, 01:45:30 PM
Quote from: Pringle on November 26, 2021, 12:32:50 PM
For as much as I loved the stuff with the two youthful leads, I think my favorite part of the movie was when Sean Penn and Tom Waits were playing two old macho drunken jackasses.

Waits' entrance is priceless.

Spoiler: ShowHide
"You shiny, gold, tall, inexpensive prick!!!"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on November 26, 2021, 04:14:04 PM

Can anyone pls copy and post the NYTimes Dargis review? - This paywall got me locked out! Exciting seeing the reviews go up all over Letterboxd and the queues around the cinema!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 08:02:21 PM
'Licorice Pizza' Review: California Dreaming and Scheming
Manohla Dargis

GARY
"Licorice Pizza," a shaggy, fitfully brilliant romp from Paul Thomas Anderson, takes place in a 1973 dream of bared midriffs and swinging hair, failures and pretenders. It's set in Encino, a Los Angeles outpost in the shadow of Hollywood and the birthplace of such films as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Boogie Nights," Anderson's 1997 breakout about a striver's passage into pornographic stardom. There's DNA from both old and New Hollywood in "Licorice Pizza," a coming-of-age romance in which no one grows up.

The film's improbable teenage hero is Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman), another classic striver. A child performer who's hit maximum adolescent awkwardness, Gary is 15 and aging out of his professional niche. He still performs, but has started to diversify. Yet even as he embraces uncertain new ventures, his faith in himself remains steady, keeping his smile lit and smooth talk oozing. Deranged optimism and self-importance are American birthrights, and if his confidence weren't so poignantly outsized — and if Anderson were in a tougher mood — Gary would be a figure of tragedy rather than of comedy.

Anderson always maintains a level of detachment toward his characters, letting you see their unembellished flaws, both insignificant and defining. He loves them with the prerogative of any director. But his love for Gary is special, as lavish as that of an indulgent parent, and his affection for the character is of a piece of the soft nostalgic glow he pumps into "Licorice Pizza," blunting its edges and limiting the film's overall effect. The gap between what you see in Gary and what he sees in himself makes the character hard to get a handle on, and more interesting. Gary blunders and bluffs, finding success and defeat, fueled by a braggadocio that, much like one of the earthquake faults running under the city, threatens to bring the whole thing tumbling down at any moment.

This instability suits the freewheeling, episodic structure, even if Gary wears out his welcome. The film opens on a school picture day with high-school boys preening in a bathroom and lines of students snaking outside. An amusingly portentous cherry bomb explodes in a toilet and before long Gary is ogling Alana (Alana Haim, the rock musician), an assistant for a creep who's taking the kids' pictures. The photographer slaps her ass. Gary is more of a romantic. He's knocked out by Alana, instantly smitten, a thunderbolt moment that Anderson memorializes with a prodigious tracking shot that gets both the camera and the story's juices going. Gary has met the girl he's going to marry even if she doesn't know it.

Anderson keeps the camera and characters beautifully flowing through minor and major adventures of varying interest. Most of these are inaugurated by Gary's entrepreneurial hustling, which takes him all over the nabe and sometimes beyond. He dips into bars and restaurants, shops and audition rooms, and belts out a tune in a show where he upstages a cruelly funny stand-in for Lucille Ball (Christine Ebersole), who threatens to castrate him (not really, but the rage is real). He jousts with his enemy (Skyler Gisondo), a wee smoothie who slides in like Dean Martin in his cups, which is as sleazy and silly as it sounds. Gary also gets busted, starts a few businesses, runs from the law and into Alana's arms, which remain as dependably open as a late-night diner.

ALANA
"Licorice Pizza" has its seductions, most notably Alana. She's a fabulous creation, at once down-to-earth real as a friend who grew up in the Valley and as fantastical as a Hollywood dream girl. When Alana first walks through Gary's school, Anderson makes sure to show her in long shot, head to toe, exasperated and slumped, hair and miniskirt gently in sync. This is Haim's first movie but she has a seasoned performer's presence and physical assurance. Her expressive range — her face drains and fills as effortlessly as if she were handling a water tap — and humanizing lack of vanity are crucial, partly because she's a delight to watch and because Hoffman is a frustratingly limited foil.

For reasons that only she knows, Alana agrees to go out with Gary, initiating a relationship that makes no sense but one that Anderson certainly enjoys. She's about 10 years older than Gary, maybe more. He's big for his age and taller than her, and with his swagger and belly bulging over his belt, you can already see the used car salesman he might one day become. But right now he's a kid. "Do you think it's weird," Alana asks a friend, while smoking a joint, "that I hang out with Gary and his friends all the time?" Alana says she think it's weird (it is), but what she believes doesn't have much bearing on the story and she continually bends to suit Gary's needs as well as Anderson's, which don't include psychological realism.

Anderson asks a lot of Haim: He makes sure we see her nipples at full mast under her shirt and parades her around in a bikini when everyone else is dressed. These moments are in line with some of the more flagrantly obnoxious stereotypes that he folds in, just like a studio hack might have done back in the day while having a witless chuckle. There's a sycophantic assistant who's a mincing cliché, and the white owner of a Japanese restaurant who speaks in broken English. Anderson deploys these stereotypes without editorializing, which is a commentary on their use, and just enough timing and attention to make it clear that he's enjoying tweaking contemporary sensibilities.

These moments are cheap and stupid and add nothing to a movie that throws out a great deal to alternating scattershot and lasered effect: the OPEC oil crisis, water beds, the silhouette of palm trees against a night sky and the kind of stars who no longer shine bright. One of the recurrent beats that Anderson hits best in "Licorice Pizza" is what it's like to live in a company town like Los Angeles, where everyone is in the business, seems to be, or wants to be, and so keeps hanging on to Hollywood and its promise, whether it's Gary or the faded and midlevel stars idling in the neighborhood joint. There, Sean Penn roars in as a old-studio lush as Tom Waits and other pals grin on the sidelines.

Throughout, Alana keeps fuming and blazing, steadily lighting up Gary and the film as brightly as Fourth of July fireworks, even as the story slides here and there, and gathers and loses momentum. The movie doesn't always know what to do with Alana other than dog after her, and it's a particular bummer that while Anderson makes her an object of love and lust, he shortchanges her sexual desire. Alana may be lost, but she isn't dead, quite the reverse. She's a woman who's alive to the world and aware of her own attraction. But she's a blank libidinally, as virginal and safe as a teen-comedy heroine. She doesn't even ask Gary to pleasure her, not that he would know what to do.

Alana deserves better, dammit! Everyone knows it (OK, not Gary) even the Hollywood producer based on the real Jon Peters (a sensational Bradley Cooper) knows it. Resplendently fuzzed, a white shirt framing his chest hair, a kilo of coke (probably) up his nose, Peters appears after Gary starts a water bed company. The business is a long, not especially good story, but Peters, who's dating Barbra Streisand, wants a bed and he wants it now. This initiates a tour de force sequence in which Alana, who's helping Gary run things, natch, takes the wheel of a monstrous moving truck. She's a natural, a genius, Streisand, Andretti, a California goddess, and, as she brakes and slows and goes, Alana gives you a vision of perfection and "Licorice Pizza" the driver it needs.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on November 26, 2021, 08:46:53 PM
Just got back from my third viewing. Just keeps getting better for me.

I noticed Sam Harpoon was listed in the credits but didn't see who was the credited actor.

Did anyone manage to catch that?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 09:27:46 PM
The only new credit I caught this time is that the Ed Sullivan substitute is played by Goetzman.   (And I mentioned that Alana's photographer boss is First A.D. Adam Somner, yes?)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on November 26, 2021, 09:35:10 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on November 26, 2021, 09:27:46 PM
The only new credit I caught this time is that the Ed Sullivan substitute is played by Goetzman.   

Hey that's a nice catch.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 27, 2021, 01:18:18 AM
https://icsfilm.org/reviews/review-licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson/ (https://icsfilm.org/reviews/review-licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson/)

QuoteHow much time takes place in the story of Licorice Pizza?

It's a deceptively tricky question. Historically, certain events being (very loosely) adapted here take place across six years. There are hints within the film itself that it covers at least three (beyond the logistics of a particular company's rise and fall, listen closely for a character giving two different answers as their age late in the film, and note too another character's critical reveal that they have learned how to drive). And yet there are other hints that it all takes place in 1973 (look closely at a marquee in a climactic scene – if you can look away from the glorious, swooning culmination of a particular visual motif).

The answer, I think, is that it simultaneously takes place across three years and no time at all. The vignettes here are like snatches of memories, condensed into one wondrous, unbroken summer of eternal youth by nostalgia and the first flush of love. It's little surprise, then, that Paul Thomas Anderson chooses to place this story in the Valley, that part of Southern California just over the hills from Hollywood: where else are you going to find such an unending summer, where fame and fortune and adulthood are within sight, but just slightly out of reach?

So this place on the cusp, in this perpetual sun-drenched season, is where Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) first strikes up a conversation with Alana Kane (Alana Haim). He's fifteen and apparently on the rise, a child star, a born salesman with seemingly endless optimism, full of the belief that the world is his oyster. She's twenty-five and already on the downward slope, working as a photographer's assistant with a creep of a boss and a young adult's exasperated and dreadful realization that in fact the world is not what she and her generation had been promised.
Spoiler: ShowHide

Anyways, they begin to talk. And they keep talking. And the rest of the film – across those three years and that eternal summer – is the rest of the conversation that they keep being drawn back to with each other. Somehow these two born hustlers recognize within each other a mysterious kindred spirit – that they will push each other forward, pull each other a step back, and struggle onwards together towards adulthood. They will encounter washed-up drunken Golden Age of Hollywood legends, bulldozing agents, violent cops, racist restauranteurs, a terrifying coked-up harbinger of New Hollywood, liberal reformers, and much more. And yet somehow it always keeps coming back to Alana and Gary.

As he has matured as a director, Anderson has become increasingly interested in unexpected co-dependency – the ways two people can connect and bring out odd new qualities within each other, for good or ill. Whether the almost superheroic romance of Punch-Drunk Love, the desperate need to believe and to be believed in The Master, how unfettered capitalism and religious faith feed off each other in There Will Be Blood (until they violently devour each other in the end), the struggle for control of a relationship (and unexpected pleasures of relinquishing it) in Phantom Thread, Anderson is supremely attuned to these strange nuances, how relationships can balance on the point between friendship and love and resentment and a million other tiny things, and how individual each relationship is. So it is too with Alana and Gary as they continue to walk (and run – and oh boy do they run) and talk all across Encino. Is it a deep friendship, a chaste romance of like minds, a gently sarcastic lesson on the disappointments of adulthood, a chance to relive the immortal optimism of youth? Well, it's kind of all of them at once.

So let's talk about Alana and Gary, both played by extraordinary young actors making their debut here. As Alana, musician Alana Haim has the trickier role. Alana's spiky ferocity and outward disaffectedness is concealing a deep well of fear that this is all there is. She is constantly reinventing herself – maybe she'll be an actor, maybe she'll work for an inspiring politician – trying to cross over into full independence and maturity. The moments when she thinks she's found it (whatever it is) are deeply affecting and charming. And when those things fall away and she's left back where she started, she drops the armor to reveal a powerful sense of exhaustion, anger, and melancholy. Alana exists at the perfect Venn diagram meeting between the hopefulness of youth and the disillusionment of adulthood, and the film's greatest point of suspense is which way she'll go. She's up there with Anderson's finest cinematic characters, and so much of that is on Haim for selling the absolute tightrope walk that Alana must balance for this film to work.

But let's not forget her costar. Cooper Hoffman, also making his cinematic debut here, is of course the son of arguably Anderson's most storied collaborator, the much-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman. Gary is the middle ground between two of Anderson's favorite types of characters, the born romantic and the unrepentant salesman. While the film never really talks about it, it's no accident that Gary has no father, and indeed serves as father figure to his eight-year-old brother. He acts like the man of the house because he's had to be, constantly hustling to help provide for his family. He's essentially a racehorse with the blinders of youth, always running headlong at the next scheme when the current one runs out of juice. He's simultaneously charming and exasperating, you simultaneously want him to grow up and yet you're absolutely on the hook for his sheer confidence and never-say-die attitude. It's no accident that someone as dissatisfied as Alana is intrigued to keep talking with him, even when she rightfully tells him from the outset that this isn't a romance (and also sees how full of shit he is).

But as good as they are separately, when they're playing off each other it's equivalent to a cinematic magic trick. One of the smartest observations I've ever heard about film is that movie stars as made in long, unbroken shots where we really get to see them command the screen and do what they do best. So it is here, in the long glorious opening scene where Gary half-asks, half-dares Alana to come meet him for dinner that night at (the very real Encino establishment) Tail o' the Cock as Alana is nominally supposed to be assisting Gary and his classmates get ready for their school photos. As Nina Simone's "July Tree" plays on the soundtrack, and the camera keeps tracking Alana and Gary as they move in and out of frame, dancing around each other, crackling with wit and charm and chemistry, two movie stars are indeed born.

We've already talked about how Anderson uses time in this film. Now let's talk about the next key: how he uses movement. This is a film of long tracking shots, and a film of shots of people constantly in motion, sprinting to the next hustle. He lets the audience live in those moments alongside Gary and Alana, reinforcing that these memories, these flashes of time are is what they will take away out of the hundreds of days like this, all the adventures they share together. But more importantly, these shots, and the onscreen motion within create a remarkable sense of cinematic gravity: no matter which direction they move, Gary and Alana are always, always, always drawn back towards each other. Again, and again, and again they run alongside each other, run away from each other, and then turn back and collide once again, a motif that pays off in spectacularly moving and hilarious fashion in the film's climax.

The film is, by and large, technically impeccable. There is one point where the pacing starts to slow late in the film, but otherwise it flows beautifully from one vignette to the next. The art direction is great (particularly in one spectacular shot craning through an expo of desperate hustlers) without calling too much attention to itself. And the soundtrack is lovely, a great mix of Johnny Greenwood's charming-yet-ominous score and pop hits. From the above-mentioned "July Tree", to David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" (played thrillingly as Gary runs past cars caught up in the gas crisis gleefully yelling "It's the end of the world!"), to the concluding Blood Sweat & Tears track "Lisa, Listen to Me," the music acutely reflects Gary and Alana's many adventures.

As for those adventures – the memories that will stay with Gary and Alana decades in the future – and the assorted oddballs they encounter along the way. The showiest comes when Gary, Alana, and Gary's various younger minions must make a waterbed delivery to infamous movie producer/Barbara Streisand boyfriend/cokehead Jon Peters and encounter the horror movie villain of the year. As Peters, Bradley Cooper is a hilariously terrifying white-clad livewire (and Anderson makes incredible use of him unexpectedly popping into frame with a flash of white. Even him just suddenly appearing in the background of a scene is explosively funny). This sequence is the one most fraught with danger, as Peters rants and raves and threatens, and Alana must make a very, very difficult truck drive reminiscent of The Wages of Fear. It's the film's exhilarating highpoint, and yet one with surprising emotional payoff – and a note-perfect comic button.

While in his earlier career Anderson was accused of trying to ape Scorsese, in his later career Anderson feels far more interested in studying the films of Jonathan Demme, and Demme's influence extends here to how he treats his cast. More than perhaps any of his peers, he has become exceptionally adept at giving essentially every character on screen a rich inner life no matter how small the role. Sean Penn's wild appearance as a drunken Golden Age Hollywood legend who is completely out of his mind makes for a terrific payoff (and another instance of Anderson paying homage to his beloved Melvin and Howard). Ringers like Tom Waits, Skyler Gisondo, Harriet Sansom Harris, Christine Ebersole, Maya Rudolph, Benny Safdie, and Joseph Cross make an absolute meal out of brief pop-ins, and the more global work done by Hoffman's kid friends and the various Haims (yes, PTA gets the entire Haim family to play Alana's onscreen family – stoner Danielle Haim and grumpy Jewish Dad Haim are especially hilarious) is wonderful. The entire world feels so lived-in, from the smallest bit parts to its leads.

There is one running "gag", however, that doesn't land. John Michael Higgins, usually a wonderfully funny actor, is here cast as a deeply racist restauranteur who is so into orientalism that he marries a series of – to him – interchangeable Japanese wives to whom he speaks English in a dreadful mock-Japanese accent. Anderson has said this is based on his own mother-in-law's experiences, and the subtle payoff is that Alana immediately knows how to properly convey respect when she meets Higgins' latest wife, but it's an awful lot of difficult runway to get there.

Another moment when Anderson leans into a negative trope, however, is saved by execution. Late in the film, Alana is asked to essentially perform as a beard in a scene where two gay men argue about their relationship. From this scene, Alana recognizes some truths about her relationship with Gary. This does dabble in the unfortunate cliché of queer pain being used to fuel realizations in straight people. And yet Anderson takes the time and effort to invest this relationship with immense feeling and make it its own story. Alana may figure some things out because of this interaction, but this is not solely a pantomime being played out for her benefit. Anderson's love of these characters and empathy towards them wins out. It's instead a scene where Alana briefly drops into another world, one that will continue without her.

Some will (fairly) be turned off by the film's premise. Again, the relationship between Alana and Gary is essentially a chaste relationship, but it is not one without romantic undertones – and Anderson is deeply aware of how uncomfortable and complicated those undertones are. They are one of the film's principal drivers of conflict, in fact. The film takes incredible care with the lines it does not cross while still letting their relationship be complex and untidy and yet completely heartfelt. Because Anderson has become so incredibly astute at portraying this level of codependency and inner life, he (and Haim and Hoffman) pulls off the tightrope walk of this relationship and turn it into something rich and strange and utterly compelling. What all three key into here is specificity. It's in the finer points of characterization and narrative that you get it, you see why these two spark so precisely, one looking back and one looking forward. Anderson invests as much heart and sensitivity in these two as he has in any two characters in his whole career. And that's what makes the film work.

A final grace note: the phrase "Licorice Pizza" is never said in the film. For reference, "Licorice Pizza" is a nickname for old LP records, coming from an Abbott and Costello routine. "If they don't buy 'em as records," the routine says, "We'll sell 'em as food, call 'em licorice pizza." That comic entrepreneurial spirit is the animating force of this wildly funny, humane and wonderful film. It's what drives Gary and Alana as they run endlessly forward, always seeking out the next adventure in their eternal summer of youth, in that permanent 1973 state of mind.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 27, 2021, 03:45:11 AM
https://thespool.net/reviews/movies/film-review-licorice-pizza/ (https://thespool.net/reviews/movies/film-review-licorice-pizza/)

QuoteLicorice Pizza suffers in shying away from an uncomfortable subject

Sweet, lighthearted and boasting two excellent newcomer performances, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest nevertheless avoids addressing a very large elephant in the room.

Paul Thomas Anderson set out to make a love story with Licorice Pizza, and ended up creating his most joyful flick to date. Seemingly lacking is the dark heart so many of his stories contain, whether it's in the wildly toxic relationship between designer and muse in Phantom Thread or brutal depictions of loss and loneliness in Magnolia. Instead, Licorice Pizza has a lightness he hasn't truly approached since Punch-Drunk Love.

It's an intoxicating ode not just to young love, but youth itself, the '70s, and the San Fernando Valley.
Eschewing the majority of his regular cast of players (keep an eye out for John C. Reilly in a bit part, though), we're introduced to not just one, but two scene-stealing newcomers: Cooper Hoffman (Philip Seymour Hoffman's son) and Alana Haim (of Grammy-nominated band Haim). Both of them are revelations in their on-screen debuts and watching the two of them interact through quick-witted barbs and banter, and withering stares across the room is what makes the film sizzle exactly the way Anderson surely hoped it would.

Child-actor Gary (Hoffman) is all confidence and posturing, a boy perpetually play-acting as an adult in an attempt to impress those around him. It ingratiates him with adults, who clearly find him more tolerable than other kids, and it wows his peers, for whom being ordered a round of Cokes at a fancy restaurant feels like an extravagance.

Meanwhile, Alana (Haim) mostly walks around with a thousand yard stare, overwhelmed by adulthood and completely unclear what her role in it is supposed to be. More often than not, she's reverting to comfortable teenage immaturity, screaming at her sisters and sticking out her tongue when almost no one is looking. She doesn't know what it means to be grown up, she's only sure that Gary's act isn't it.
Spoiler: ShowHide

As we bounce from vignette to vignette following the pair over the course of the summer, it's obvious that this mismatch in understanding of adulthood is what's bringing them together. Gary thinks he's got it all figured out, Alana knows she doesn't. Both Haim and Hoffman manage to hit the exact right balance between naivete and overconfidence, their natural charisma translating perfectly into the blossoming romance on screen.
But while Anderson clearly didn't intend for Licorice Pizza to foster something dark, it does regardless. Because as captivating as Gary and Alana's relationship is, the fact of the matter is that it's a relationship between a fully grown adult and a child, and there is no way to avoid the pause it's going to give some viewers—including a long-time P. T. Anderson fan like myself.
Gary is 15. Alana is 25. The gap between them is more of a gulf than anyone in the film wants to admit. In fact, aside from a few of Alana's teasing rejections, there isn't a single character that takes pause at their relationship. Alana briefly wonders in a conversation with her sister, "Do you think it's weird that I hang out with Gary and his friends all the time?" And when her sister brushes the question aside, she stares off repeating, "Because I think it's fucking weird that I hang out with Gary and his 15-year-old friends all the time..."

But that's both the beginning and end of the conversation, because the film is intent on pulling the audience onto Gary and Alana's team. Or more plainly, it doesn't ask the audience to question their relationship because it doesn't want them to. Everything in the film resists it, from the actors' incredible chemistry to the way Anderson films them. The camera captures the glow of the California sun and points it directly at the two of them. It's borderline impossible not to want them to be together, or at least spend time in each other's orbits.
And this is the issue I find myself wrestling with because the second you flip the genders in this script, things immediately feel a little more unsettling. If it's a 25-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl, would we be quite so quick or eager to brush any uncomfortable feelings aside? To justify the relationship? I'm not convinced we would, and unfortunately that taps directly into society's sad and storied history of dismissing the abuse of boys in this country.
To be crystal clear, Gary and Alana's relationship in Licorice Pizza is neither predatory nor abusive. I am quite far from arguing that. The problem is not that the film merely features such an unconventional relationship, rather that it goes to such great lengths to keep audiences from feeling remotely uncomfortable with it, when being uncomfortable seeing an adult and a kid together is, well, pretty normal. Even if the adult in question is good person and kind. Even when the kid in question is the pursuer. Even when they "seem older." Even when their closeness develops out of genuine friendship and care.
Even then, it's still reasonable to ask that the film acknowledge and really engage with the possibility that no amount of stunning cinematography or on-screen personality will get some people on board and that's valid.

Again, to be clear, I think it's possible for Licorice Pizza to engage with this uncomfortable truth more honestly and tell the story it wants to tell. I'm not asking for a different movie to exist, simply for it to sacrifice some its sunniness to deal with reality.
It's a movie chock full of things that are both easy to love and well worth loving. Anderson's sense of humor really shines, particularly in the scenes that feature Bradley Cooper as the over-sexed, ultra-coked-up Jon Peters (his performance here alone is worth the price of admission). In fact, nearly every side character has at least one absolutely perfect moment to shine. And outside of the relationship between our Gary and Alana, it approaches youth with such empathy it's likely to rocket you back to your own teenage years or young adulthood no matter when you grew up. That's what's so frustrating about this uncomfortable aspect of it all—it sits like a brick in your stomach if you see it.
Whether or not that experience will ring true for you certainly varies, and your ability to get on board with where Licorice Pizza goes will determine where you land when the credits roll. In short? For all its obvious charms, mileage may vary—even among super fans.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 27, 2021, 01:46:19 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
 To be crystal clear, Gary and Alana's relationship in Licorice Pizza is neither predatory nor abusive. I am quite far from arguing that. The problem is not that the film merely features such an unconventional relationship, rather that it goes to such great lengths to keep audiences from feeling remotely uncomfortable with it, when being uncomfortable seeing an adult and a kid together is, well, pretty normal.


This sounds like nonsense to me. This aspect of the film is directly addressed multiple times in the film.

I don't mind people who have an issue with this aspect of the film, but most of the writing coming from that perspective has just been pretty vague  and flimsy IMO.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: lawavaca on November 28, 2021, 10:26:05 PM
Hiya! I'm the guy that was adamant some time ago that Stiller was not in the movie because he had said so himself that he's not in it. I thought the movie coming out would settle it but the mystery surrounding Sam Harpoon has only prolonged it. I didn't want to weigh back in yet because I thought maybe there was some chance I was wrong and he was under some strict NDA or lied to not give away the bit, but after finally seeing Licorice Pizza today (loved it btw) I don't really see him as Harpoon, although I can understand why some do.

I made sure to pay close attention to the credits. Sam Harpoon is credited as Dan Chariton. I'm not familiar with him but from a quick search he seems to be a close friend of Rian Johnson and has been thanked on each one of Johnson's films.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on November 29, 2021, 12:46:58 AM
Quote from: lawavaca on November 28, 2021, 10:26:05 PM
Hiya! I'm the guy that was adamant some time ago that Stiller was not in the movie because he had said so himself that he's not in it. I thought the movie coming out would settle it but the mystery surrounding Sam Harpoon has only prolonged it. I didn't want to weigh back in yet because I thought maybe there was some chance I was wrong and he was under some strict NDA or lied to not give away the bit, but after finally seeing Licorice Pizza today (loved it btw) I don't really see him as Harpoon, although I can understand why some do.

I made sure to pay close attention to the credits. Sam Harpoon is credited as Dan Chariton. I'm not familiar with him but from a quick search he seems to be a close friend of Rian Johnson and has been thanked on each one of Johnson's films.

I can certainly see it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 29, 2021, 01:18:43 AM
Good catch!  Credits go by REALLY quickly!  I only recently noticed that Goetzman is in a scene with "Lucy".
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Montclair on November 29, 2021, 02:02:23 AM
So, this was a really good movie and the age gap stuff didn't bother me, up until
Spoiler: ShowHide
the kiss at the end. I felt uncomfortable. A 15 year old boy kissing a 25(maybe 28) year old woman isn't sweet, innocent or romantic. Plus we hear her voiceover say, "I love you, Gary." Weird. I would've loved to kiss a woman in her mid-late 20s when I was a 15 year old boy, but I would've looked back on it and realized I wasn't old enough to consent.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 02:43:33 AM
SPOILERS ENDING OF LICORICE PIZZAGATE

Quote from: Montclair on November 29, 2021, 02:02:23 AM
So, this was a really good movie and the age gap stuff didn't bother me, up until
Spoiler: ShowHide
the kiss at the end. I felt uncomfortable. A 15 year old boy kissing a 25(maybe 28) year old woman isn't sweet, innocent or romantic. Plus we hear her voiceover say, "I love you, Gary." Weird. I would've loved to kiss a woman in her mid-late 20s when I was a 15 year old boy, but I would've looked back on it and realized I wasn't old enough to consent.


Spoiler: ShowHide
And even immature adults know better than kissing teenagers.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 29, 2021, 04:19:48 AM
It's as innocent as a Wes Anderson flick ("Rushmore", "Moonrise Kingdom") - even Hoffman's character is very simillar to Max Fischer.
And noone ever accused Wes Anderson for lack of realism because, well, that's his point.

Spoiler: ShowHide
The final shot is as "optimistic" as IV's final shot ("this doesn't mean we are back together"), and even Anderson acknowledges that in the Daily Bruin Q&A.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 04:34:20 AM
In what universe is Rushmore described as an heartwarming romance where the teacher indulges the romantic feelings of the student? Moonrise Kingdom? They're two kids. I don't see where these relationships lack realism.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 29, 2021, 04:49:53 AM
Not talking about the treatment of the relationship because I can't discuss a movie that I've not seen, obviously. Talking about the treatment of the characters - Gary is fundamentally a cinematic character (quite possibly Alana, too).
A bit about the relationship, apparently there are many people who seem to not having issue with its handling through the movie
Spoiler: ShowHide
except the ending, which I assume is the projection of the director's young male fantasy (but at the same time, based on his remarks, he recognizes that it's what it is, just a fantasy).

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 04:52:24 AM
He's fifty years old, though. He should know better.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 29, 2021, 05:13:14 AM
Quote from: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 04:52:24 AM
He's fifty years old, though. He should know better.

He does know. Know that you can tell whatever story you want .

To be fair all this so called controversy is only going to help really. Anyone who wasnt planning on watching the film who thinks this take is stupid will now go out to watch it.

The only thing it could effect is oscar chances. Though seeing how they seem to not love Paul that much anyway is that such a big deal.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 05:19:30 AM
My point/worry is that he may be avoiding the story in front of his eyes, though. Making it worse by trying to make it safe.

But I'm overjoyed that men who want to date teenagers will be interested in Licorice Pizza! Wonderful!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 29, 2021, 05:46:13 AM
Quote from: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 05:19:30 AM
My point/worry is that he may be avoiding the story in front of his eyes, though. Making it worse by trying to make it safe.

But I'm overjoyed that men who want to date teenagers will be interested in Licorice Pizza! Wonderful!

what men on here want to date teenagers?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on November 29, 2021, 09:26:08 AM
Quote from: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 02:43:33 AM
SPOILERS ENDING OF LICORICE PIZZAGATE

Quote from: Montclair on November 29, 2021, 02:02:23 AM
So, this was a really good movie and the age gap stuff didn't bother me, up until
Spoiler: ShowHide
the kiss at the end. I felt uncomfortable. A 15 year old boy kissing a 25(maybe 28) year old woman isn't sweet, innocent or romantic. Plus we hear her voiceover say, "I love you, Gary." Weird. I would've loved to kiss a woman in her mid-late 20s when I was a 15 year old boy, but I would've looked back on it and realized I wasn't old enough to consent.


Spoiler: ShowHide
And even immature adults know better than kissing teenagers.


[minor spoilers ahead]

I would be fine with the kiss alone if it weren't for the fact that the movie's final leg ends in a generic rom-com fashion (totally out of character for PTA) which doesn't leave one with the sense of ambiguity or unresolvedness of Inherent Vice or The Master (both superior films, imho).

Licorice Pizza is still a fun and entertaining movie, but it largely dances around the incompatibility of Gary and Alana's relationship (age-gap and personality incongruities) which highlights its lack of willingness to really explore the ins-and-outs of their relationship (and interior lives -- does anyone feel they fully understand either character?). Phantom Thread didn't run into this issue, and it was a romance centered around a toxic relationship as well, and that's a central reason why LP isn't as great as that film.

In the end, the overwhelming acclaim for LP can be chocked up to the fact that it's a highly cinematic and impressively directed/acted film that is also an entertaining and accessible rom-com at a time when people are clearly hungry for both of those things (pandemic streaming malaise antidote), and we know people loved their young love rom-coms like Lady Bird (an *extremely* overrated film, btw -- The Spectacular Now is better).

Side-note: The discourse around the "racist" Asian joke in LP is ludicrous, and only being pushed by oversensitive white people and absolute dullards. I say this as an Asian person. I don't think that line of critique will have much legs.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 29, 2021, 10:16:55 AM
Quote from: Drenk on November 29, 2021, 05:19:30 AM
My point/worry is that he may be avoiding the story in front of his eyes, though. Making it worse by trying to make it safe.

But I'm overjoyed that men who want to date teenagers will be interested in Licorice Pizza! Wonderful!

Have you seen this movie yet?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on November 29, 2021, 10:53:51 AM
Quote from: Montclair on November 29, 2021, 02:02:23 AM
So, this was a really good movie and the age gap stuff didn't bother me, up until
Spoiler: ShowHide
the kiss at the end. I felt uncomfortable. A 15 year old boy kissing a 25(maybe 28) year old woman isn't sweet, innocent or romantic. Plus we hear her voiceover say, "I love you, Gary." Weird. I would've loved to kiss a woman in her mid-late 20s when I was a 15 year old boy, but I would've looked back on it and realized I wasn't old enough to consent.


But hes not grown up yet   he wouldnt feel like YOU feel now.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on November 29, 2021, 11:12:11 AM
Point of clarification: Gary is at least 16 by the end of the film, no? I seem to recall him saying to Jon Peters that he turns 16 in a month, and that was before Alana got her job at the campaign office, and before Gary got the idea for the pinball parlor. Assumedly at least 3 or 4 months must've passed at minimum by the end of the film (possible much longer, too).

Considering he's the one pursuing her for most of the film, it can hardly be said she was grooming him, either. Though it would be  very trendy and #woke to say she was and just write it off sight unseen, as if life can ever truly be boiled down to simple rules to follow like the Bible.

All that to say, the romantic relationship (if there is one) clearly can't work for a number of reasons, but the movie's final act would like us to believe that it could. Regardless of what PTA says in interviews, his intention of having it be clear that they won't go on to have a anything more than a friendship does not come across narratively or cinematically in that last stretch of the film. Maybe some of the deleted scenes made that clearer, but that's an editing problem, not something that can be chocked up to the viewer's lack of comprehension. I've only seen the film once, but don't think I missed anything as this film isn't as dense or subtle as his other works.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on November 29, 2021, 11:20:30 AM
IMO, the clear implication of the film is that they are in love, and when Alana sees that another character is forced to hide their love due to societal constraints, she decides to go for it and reach out to the person that she loves.

She is also very impulsive in the movie though, and she was totally ready to date both Wachs and the campaign worker only like an hour or so (in terms of the characters reality) before the last line of the film.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 29, 2021, 12:15:16 PM
A little behind on this thread, so sorry if this restates stuff that's already been said.

Saw it the other night and have been holding back thoughts because I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, aside from some specific scenes that I don't want to get too into. I loved it and could easily see it moving near the top of my PTA ranking on even just one or two rewatches (although I can never really consistently rank his movies).  I gotta say, everyone said the cinematography is great, but it is even better than I expected. The colors, the tracking shots, the beautiful lens flares, and ESPECIALLY so many of those shots that he composes like nobody else, with characters close to the lens obstructing the focus of the scene, or mirrors obstructing characters faces... there is just nobody out there who is composing interesting shots like that anymore, even the best cinematographers out there. It felt like the culmination of all the things I love about his style, and honestly I think has my favorite cinematography out of any of his movies (or at least top 2 with The Master). Gonna make me insane when it inevitably doesn't get nominated.

And I agree with a lot of what Montclair said in their review, but I do disagree about the acting—I was honestly looking for moments that felt 'acted' to me and really couldn't find any. It felt so authentic, no moment felt forced. I love Dillon Freaser and Jeremy Blackman so much, but in my opinion these performances were a bit better. Alana's performance is so complex, and I feel like Hoffman's is being undersold. How the fuck does a seventeen year old who's never acted before do that? It is possible, of course, that I will change my opinion on future watches, but those are just my thoughts on the performances on first viewing.

Figured I'd mention that the moments that got the biggest laughs in my theater were
Spoiler: ShowHide
Bradley Cooper walking back up the hill to the truck, and especially when he ran back to talk to the tennis girls after smashing the window.
People were falling out of their seats for that one.

The storytelling felt the most similar to Phantom Thread I think, which is strange because that hasn't been said much. In terms of the rhythm of their relationship—the fighting, the jealousy, the drifting apart and then coming back to each other without logical explanation, it felt very similar. I fucking loved the moment where
Spoiler: ShowHide
Gary gets arrested, and it serves absolutely no purpose in the plot aside to heighten his and Alana's relationship, and lead to the Sonny and Cher-scored running down the street scene. It was perfect. Not to mention that "It wasn't him" was another moment that got a huge laugh.


I'm still working through the ending, it's one of the only things I'm not sure I love yet.
Spoiler: ShowHide
It feels like sort of a horny-teenager fairytale ending to a story that doesn't seem to be leading toward it, and I would really love to hear Paul's reasoning for it. He mentions in interviews that he doesn't see them together romantically in the future, so it's curious that he ends it that way. I think it was beautifully done and still affected me emotionally, I was just a little surprised by it honestly and I'm still figuring out if I think it was right for the story. The Nate Mann character seemed like a great age-appropriate love interest for Alana, and I'm curious if the story would have still felt like it worked if the movie would have implied that she ends up with him, and just left her and Gary as a platonic love story. (keep the "I love you Gary," get rid of the kiss?) Just don't feel like much would have been lost (besides that great swirling-light shot) without the kiss. However, the "they're all shits, aren't they" almost made me cry, and so did the running immediately following it. Just gotta work through how I feel about the end-end.


Overall I had an amazing time and was incredibly satisfied, so many brilliant moments to rewatch a thousand times.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on November 29, 2021, 12:21:09 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Alana really is a bit foolish not to pursue a relationship with the Nate Mann character, that dude is a hunk and a half.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 29, 2021, 11:54:42 PM
I was thinking about Higgins on the way home last night.  Hope he doesn't have too much (negative) residue from all of this.  (Some positive residue would be welcome, of course.)

https://twitter.com/JarretNathan/status/1465546315232800775
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 30, 2021, 10:57:39 AM
As a minor footnote to our ongoing discussions, and for the possible interest of future digital archeologists, here is TheLastSnowKings review of LICORICE PIZZA. 

Because I know some of you were wondering: LastSnowKing's review of Licorice Pizza...
Posted with permission.

from u/TheLastSnowKing sent 3 hours ago

Spoiler: ShowHide
Yes, I've seen it. It's not good. I know it's a shocker that I think that, but walking into the theater I really did hope it would be good. It's not. It's just Inherent Vice 2, but with Anderson's much weaker writing in place of Pynchon. With some cutesy Punch-Drunk Love moments thrown in. And what a pointless title that meant nothing.

Good soundtrack/needledrops.

The "romance"/"relationship" is weak and never believable at all. Hearing his ridiculous story about how he conjured up the idea was hilarious. No Anderson, it was not a good idea and it just sounds like you had to come up with an excuse for the unnecessary age gap because you were desperate to put the Haim family in a movie. The Alana character is such a male writer creation and confirms to me that Anderson is never going to write a good female character. The bigger surprise is how little Gary registered. This connection felt empty and thus the film has no substance. I don't blame the actors. For first timers, they're pretty good. Especially Haim. But they're let down by the weak script and poorly written characters. Who are Gary and Alana and why should we care about them? We never really find out.

Back to the story, or lack there of, what stakes are here? It never even felt like a "hangout" film to me. We watch Gary basically do what he wants with little consequences (the false arrest excluded). How is this interesting? And the whole Joel Wachs plot is a mess that's ultimately just a weak red herring. Regarding Jon Peters and "Jack" Holden, I think Anderson actually thought he was making some sort of commentary about predatory men which fell completely flat. And in the end, Alana has to settle for this doofus Gary? And we're supposed to cheer? What was Anderson even going for here?

I'm not even going to go into the whole Asian bit or the age gap (again). Those have been covered ad nauseum. I'm more interested in some of the vile undertones. People will think I'm reading too much into it. But Alana falling off the motorcycle on the ground was chilling and HAD to have been a reference/response to Fiona revealing that he shoved her out of a car. That's immediately what I thought of. And Alana's boredom at Penn and Waits' rambling was an obvious reference to her "quitting cocaine after listening to Anderson and Tarantino" story. Ditto Alana trying to drown out Jon Peters' meltdown as he trashes everything. That had to be referring to him throwing the chair across the room after he lost the Oscar. And even the Chumash line could've been mocking her for including land acknowledgments on her album. Isn't this all just further abuse? And Maya must feel so great being used once again as nothing more than a pointless, token cameo as he ogles the the young female lead.

I guess this was his OUATIH (a film I don't think is good in the first place). Congrats, I guess. He and Tarantino's "competition" is just sad to me at this point.

These are just what my initial thoughts are. The film just made me feel pretty gross.


USER REPORTS
1: This is spam
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on November 30, 2021, 11:49:22 AM
Lol
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on November 30, 2021, 11:50:35 AM
LMAO
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on November 30, 2021, 01:54:02 PM
Another angle from which to micro-dissect the LP?  (Article is very spoilery.)

In 'Licorice Pizza,' P.T. Anderson shows us what makes Jews — and Haim — unique (https://forward.com/culture/478839/licorice-pizza-alana-haim-family-shabbat-paul-thomas-anderson-jewish-1970s/)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 11:36:20 AM
Those little moments.  I was just thinking of when...

Spoiler: ShowHide
Alana falls off the back of the motorcycle, and when Cooper runs to her, all she can say is,  "I fucked-up Danielle's guitar."  And then, in a sort of beautiful callback to the first few seconds of their first meeting--she repeats it.  ("You say everything twice", Gary points out to her when they first meet.)   
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 01, 2021, 11:39:56 AM
Love the way she sez that. Also love how she sez

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" Stop talking slimey" to Gary in the school gym
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 12:01:14 PM
And how often

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teenagers annoy the shit out of her--within the very first few seconds we see her.   More than once they're literally in her way, and impeding her progress.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 12:04:30 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Quote from: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 11:36:20 AM
("You say everything twice", Gary points out to her when they first meet.)


Spoiler: ShowHide
"I do not say everything twice, what is this 'say everything twice?'"


Always gets a big laugh  :yabbse-smiley:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 01, 2021, 12:10:49 PM
I have no doubt that her smile and head shake during that line will be where audiences suddenly find themselves in love.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 12:12:15 PM
Hard to remember as far back as 24 days ago (!!), but I believe that was it for me, yes.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 12:19:55 PM
I remember maybe the first fifteen seconds into my first viewing, being like 'okay nice, looks good, when's it gonna hook me, when's it gonna..." and then *that* sequence takes off and I was suddenly reminded of why I love movies so much...  :yabbse-smiley:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on December 01, 2021, 01:07:04 PM
Read the whole thread. Basically another interview.

https://twitter.com/kylebuchanan/status/1466117601902403594
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 01, 2021, 01:32:13 PM
Wild that PTA always considered Harriet Sansom Harris for cameo parts.

I already suspected for a while that the whole film is seen through the POV of either Alana or Gary.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Alma on December 01, 2021, 01:56:59 PM
I had no idea that water beds were such big business.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 02:10:49 PM
Quote from: Alma on December 01, 2021, 01:56:59 PM
I had no idea that water beds were such big business.

Spoiler: ShowHide
"Sleep and dream technology!"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 02:49:22 PM
Quote from: Alma on December 01, 2021, 01:56:59 PM
I had no idea that water beds were such big business.

Many people I knew had one--including my girlfriend when I moved in with her.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 01, 2021, 03:04:40 PM
I had a water bed briefly when I was young, given to me by a cousin. Overall not recommend. You have to care for it like a swimming pool, and it will leak at some point. The heat was nice in the winter though.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 03:24:57 PM
I found it much better for sleeping than for...other things.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 04:05:35 PM
Quote from: Drill on December 01, 2021, 01:07:04 PM
Read the whole thread. Basically another interview.

https://twitter.com/kylebuchanan/status/1466117601902403594

Spoiler: ShowHide
Leo's dad owned a waterbed company irl called Foggy Bottom? That has to be bullshit lol
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 01, 2021, 04:11:57 PM
Quote from: eward on December 01, 2021, 04:05:35 PM
Quote from: Drill on December 01, 2021, 01:07:04 PM
Read the whole thread. Basically another interview.

https://twitter.com/kylebuchanan/status/1466117601902403594

Spoiler: ShowHide
Leo's dad owned a waterbed company irl called Foggy Bottom? That has to be bullshit lol


Spoiler: ShowHide

It's true.  In research for the movie, PTA misremembered Foggy Bottom as Soggy Bottom.  Source: one of the panels.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 04:14:49 PM
Quote from: ono on December 01, 2021, 04:11:57 PM
Quote from: eward on December 01, 2021, 04:05:35 PM
Quote from: Drill on December 01, 2021, 01:07:04 PM
Read the whole thread. Basically another interview.

https://twitter.com/kylebuchanan/status/1466117601902403594

Spoiler: ShowHide
Leo's dad owned a waterbed company irl called Foggy Bottom? That has to be bullshit lol


Spoiler: ShowHide

It's true.  In research for the movie, PTA misremembered Foggy Bottom as Soggy Bottom.  Source: one of the panels.


Spoiler: ShowHide
Ah, I see. I was thinking he learned of Foggy Bottom after having already come up with Soggy Bottom.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 01, 2021, 04:22:52 PM
Richard Brody's -ecstatic- review for The New Yorker.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/licorice-pizza-reviewed-paul-thomas-andersons-thrilling-coming-of-age-story (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/licorice-pizza-reviewed-paul-thomas-andersons-thrilling-coming-of-age-story)

Quote"Licorice Pizza," Reviewed: Paul Thomas Anderson's Thrilling Coming-of-Age Story

With audacity and insight, the filmmaker fuses a comedic romp of romance and self-discovery with a sharp debunking of classic Hollywood myths and heroes.

The best example of Chekhov's gun I've seen in a while is in Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, "Licorice Pizza." The movie, set in the filmmaker's native San Fernando Valley, in the early nineteen-seventies, is a partly autobiographical, pugnaciously romantic coming-of-age story for a teen-age actor and a hectic trip of self-discovery for a twentysomething dreamer. But, picking up on movie-business details that nudge the action along, Anderson displays a rare and gleeful narrative audacity: he turns the film into a full-blown version of "Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood," albeit one that's vastly superior to Quentin Tarantino's, because, unlike Tarantino, Anderson doesn't drink the Kool-Aid. He doesn't defer to Hollywood's self-serving and self-aggrandizing mythology but, rather, submits it to sharply detailed, dramatically exhilarating, satirically incisive examination.

The film starts as the story of a pickup by a young would-be hustler: the fifteen-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), on his way to the high-school gym to get his yearbook picture taken, is instead taken with a young woman named Alana Kane (the musician Alana Haim), who's working for the photographer—and who's ten years older (maybe even a little more; she changes her story). He asks her out with bravado, and when she asks how he can afford it he brashly flaunts his scant credits as an actor, including minor roles in major movies and a couple of talk-show comedy-sketch appearances. Gary, despite his youth, is a mini man of the world, active, connected, ambitious; Alana, despite her age, is somewhat lost, living at home with her parents and two sisters (yes, played by the other two members of Haim and their real-life parents—and the family introduces an antic Jewish angle to the story).

The protagonists' differences in experience and temperament form the linchpin of the movie. It's important to note that there's no sexual relationship between Gary and Alana (though it's not for his lack of interest). The age difference is definitive: he's a minor, and she doesn't even consider it. But there is an emotional relationship, an intense one, and the very plausibility of it is rooted in the experience of work, which makes Gary, an otherwise goofball adolescent with a gift of worldly gab, fascinating to Alana. For her part, Alana, too, is passionately energetic, but her wheels spin unengaged. Without any Hollywood connections, she is, in effect, a townie, an outsider to her home town's center of attention and excitement, and, with her natural imagination and lack of a specific art, the movies—the art of nature—emerge, through Gary's influence, as a sudden and plausible new possibility.

These energies keep the entire movie running at a hectic pace. In the early seventies, when the action is set, there were only two ways to make things happen—phone someone or go somewhere—and the movie is filled with fast talking and fast walking, with running and driving and flying, with dashing off and dropping in, and with the sudden, surprising handshake opportunities that spark dramatic shifts in fortune. For all its linear drama (it's not a movie of flashbacks or leaping time frames), "Licorice Pizza" is a film of immense, swirling complexity, and its elaborateness—like that of other recent films, including "The French Dispatch," "Zola," and "C'mon C'mon"—comes off as a sort of defiance, of resistance to current modes of easy and consumable viewing. It is also a form of access to the past. The movie hurtles and lurches ahead, as if escaping its own present tense and leaving nothing but memories, ones without nostalgia, because they are filled with the era's cruelty and indifference, but clear-eyed about the chances for experience that the time and place presented nonetheless. When, soon after meeting, Alana and Gary go out to a bar—Gary's mother, a restaurant publicist, has connections that make him a welcome regular in the adult world of fine dining—she sees him as a future star and big shot who'll quickly forget her. "I'm not going to forget you. Just like you're not going to forget me," the cocky yet romantic young man says. The movie itself is the mark of that memory, as well as a memoir of the times.

They were times of grotesque power imbalances and under-the-radar abuses, which Anderson portrays unstintingly. Alana works for the photographer in a uniform of tight-fitting hot pants and silently endures his casual sexual harassment. Gary's mother, Anita (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), works for a restaurateur (John Michael Higgins) who speaks to his Japanese "wives" (yes, more than one) in a racist parody of Japanese-accented English, and his waitresses are Caucasian women required to make themselves up as geishas. Minding his own business at a youth fair, Gary is arrested by police, who drag him out, handcuff him to a station-house chair, and then, when their suspicions that he's a murderer are allayed (with no lawyers and no parents contacted), unceremoniously let him go. Yet Anderson, neither one-sidedly critical nor one-sidedly nostalgic, also depicts the time as one in which much could be accomplished quickly by the right kind of person in the right place, thanks to the less litigious and legalistic and bureaucratic way of doing things back then, the office buildings without guards or passcards, the few safeguards and fewer questions asked. With the force of his personality, Gary hustles his way into the water-bed business and then barges into a local radio station to cadge some free advertising from a hip d.j. Alana is his partner in this loose and wild enterprise, and their joint entrepreneurship is what solidifies their relationship—their bond to each other is also Alana's bond to the world, the first thing she does that echoes with a practical effect. (In a remarkable comedic scene, she does telephone sales that come across as a knowing and loving parody of similar scenes from "The Wolf of Wall Street.")

Yet amid the two friends' (or, rather, platonic lovers') inspired schemes, the biggest prize remains the one that lies tantalizingly at hand: the movie business. "Being the Ricardos" isn't the only movie of the year in which Lucille Ball figures; here, she's portrayed (by Christine Ebersole) under the pseudonym of Lucy Doolittle, the star of a movie in which Gary appears (one that resembles "Yours, Mine and Ours"). Needing a chaperone for his appearance with her, alongside a host of other child actors, on a New York talk show, Gary recruits Alana for the trip, which seethes seriocomically with microaggressions of Hollywood one-upmanship and crackles with Gary's showoff romantic bravado. (Lucy is profane, asking Gary whether his two-finger peace sign means " 'V' for 'vagina,' " and literally violent, whupping him backstage for his unscripted onstage antics.) Yet, back home, the working actor's banalities take over, with Gary auditioning for a pimple-cream commercial and Alana sparking his jealousy with a more successful young actor from the broadcast.

Avoiding spoilers, these scenes are far from the only visions of the business—and not nearly the most significant ones—that "Licorice Pizza" offers. When I saw the movie, I was gobsmacked by the derelict Falstaffian majesty of the Hollywood scenes that burst in midway and take over the story, and all the more dazzled by the outrageous yet meticulously logical narrative audacity with which Anderson constructs and resolves them, both plot-wise and emotionally. Gary manages to get Alana in on the ground floor as an actress—and she finds herself the prey of a middle-aged blowhard glamour man, Jack Holden (Sean Penn), who holds court in a bar called Tail o' the Cock (a real place) in a gargling jargon that blends the screenplays of movies he's acted in (similar to ones starring the real-life William Holden) and his own crude sentiments with the P.R. fabrications that he's come to believe. His routine of seduction, combined with his desperate love of applause, egged on by a buzzsaw-voiced wingman played by Tom Waits, risks doing real harm. Then the water-bed business plants Gary, Alana, and their young cohorts in the bedroom of Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), who in real life was Barbra Streisand's partner at the time and who here is both repulsively crude toward Gary and brazenly creepy toward Alana. (Revenge is both sublime and thrillingly dangerous.)

Anderson's view of Hollywood involves mighty personalities inflated grotesquely and unhinged by the machinery of celebrity and the prerogatives of wealth and power, and, what's more, detached from a sense of reality by the fictions that these figures themselves purvey, perpetuate, and come to believe. It's a vision of sublime characters rendered monstrous by the system that exalts them—and which thrusts its monstrosity off the screen and into the world at large. Anderson builds daring upon daring as he even works real-life politics deeply and elaborately into the action, merging major sequences involving both the macropolitics of the oil embargo and resulting gasoline shortage of 1973-74 as well as Los Angeles's local electoral turmoil with Gary and Alana's poignantly, piercingly intimate dramas. Amid the crises of cinema and history, Alana gets her overflowing good will and untapped competence into gear, and Gary, a lout in the making, learns to be not just a man but a mensch.

Despite the two young protagonists' Zelig-like proximity to the real-world celebrities and eminences of the time, Anderson never loses the finely woven thread of Alana and Gary's breathless, rapturous, turbulent, achingly vulnerable relationship, which, in turn, is what holds the wild array of incidents together with an incontrovertible emotional logic. In turn, it's the spontaneous, ingenuous, charismatic, high-intensity yet gracefully poised performances by Haim and Cooper—in poignant contrast to the calculated gloss of the movie's venerable stars, both real-life and fictitious—that bring Anderson's audacious methods and ideas overflowingly to life. In debunking the myths of classic Hollywood and its stars, Anderson reinvents a mode of authentic stardom. Haim brings a constant and instant focus even to riskily inchoate emotions, and Hoffman lends his driven energumen a lambent glow of innocence. Both inhabit the screen with a sympathetic responsiveness and a rare immediacy. Their incarnation of the ardors and audacities of youth is among the marvels of recent movies, and with them Anderson rediscovers something greater than his own youth—the youth of the cinema itself.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 05:54:47 PM
This is a pretty smart group, I'm curious if you guys picked up on the "Holden" film reference in LP.  I'm not sure I've ever actually seen the film--but I had to read the book in high school, so I was familiar with the title.

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://i.imgur.com/XiqJNDL.png


Needless to say, a watch is probably now mandatory.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 01, 2021, 06:17:06 PM
I knew about the Breezy / Rainbow connection but not this one (which is like a direct ref)!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 08:51:44 PM
I don't think I understood how historically 'accurate' the

Spoiler: ShowHide
Jack's Wig Store scene was!    https://twitter.com/licoricepizza/status/1466215795575312387
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 01, 2021, 08:54:40 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Nobody sleeps on mattresses anymore. Thatz old hat, Jack.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 11:00:37 PM
I must admit until I saw this, it didn't make any sense to me
Spoiler: ShowHide
that there'd be a waterbed inside a wig store...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 11:21:41 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 01, 2021, 05:54:47 PM
This is a pretty smart group, I'm curious if you guys picked up on the "Holden" film reference in LP.  I'm not sure I've ever actually seen the film--but I had to read the book in high school, so I was familiar with the title.

Spoiler: ShowHide
https://i.imgur.com/XiqJNDL.png


Needless to say, a watch is probably now mandatory.

Spoiler: ShowHide
And Grace Kelly's character in "Toko-Ri" is "Nancy". 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: md on December 01, 2021, 11:22:57 PM
It all makes sense now!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 03, 2021, 01:56:00 PM
https://www.gq.com/story/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-los-angeles-landmarks (https://www.gq.com/story/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-los-angeles-landmarks)

QuoteIn the Land of Licorice Pizza: Paul Thomas Anderson's New Film is Filled with Landmarks From a Lost L.A.

A guide to the very specific slice of '70s L.A. settings in PTA's latest.

"'Are you really going to make another film in Los Angeles in the '70s again? Don't you think you've done that?,'" Paul Thomas Anderson recalled saying to himself while recounting the origins of Licorice Pizza in a recent Variety interview. Licorice Pizza is Anderson's ninth feature and his fifth to be set largely in California's San Fernando Valley, where he's spent most of his life. In Anderson films, the journeys of his characters get mixed up with the director's personal history and local lore. That's to say nothing of memories and subconscious flashes of recognition created by the many movies and television shows that have used the city as a location, which can make it look familiar even to those who've never set foot there. "The Valley is everywhere and nowhere in media," Valley native Molly Lambert wrote in a 2014 look at Anderson's Valley films' locations for Grantland. "But in reality, it's peculiar and extraordinary, which is exactly what Paul Thomas Anderson captures in his movies set there. He portrays the Valley as a specific place, rather than as a stand-in for Anytown, USA."

That's true, too, of Licorice Pizza, which offers a teen's eye view of a transitional moment in Valley history, when the freewheeling '60s started to give way to gas shortages and other '70s headaches. The film is littered with places and events specific to the era and presented with little explanation. Anderson drops viewers into the heart of his Valley and expects them to navigate the strange terrain for themselves. That's part of his film's pleasures, though digging deeper can be enriching as well. For those wanting to know a little bit more about where Licorice Pizza came from, here's a guide to a few key settings and other elements.

Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza never visits the L.A. record store-chain that gives the film its title. That doesn't mean it was easy to ignore in its day. At its height, the store had 34 locations. The peculiar name is said to have been inspired by the folk duo of Bud & Travis, who self-deprecatingly talked about sprinkling sesame seeds on one side of a low-selling album and selling it as "licorice pizza" on their 1960 album Bud & Travis... In Concert. But the joke's at least a year older than that. A news-in-brief column from 1959 quotes Bob Hope as joking that one of his albums sold well in Naples "because the inhabitants there think it's a licorice pizza." That the name can be shortened to "LP" adds another layer.

Founded in 1969, Licorice Pizza became an L.A. fixture by the early '70s, advertising widely in local papers and dreaming up wacky promotions, like a 1974 discount offered to customers who streaked into the store. The store began renting movies with great success in 1983, but by 1986 Licorice Pizza had run its course. When Musicland purchased the chain in 1986, it announced the Licorice Pizza locations would keep their name. They soon became Sam Goodys.

Tail O' the Cock

Licorice Pizza's teen protagonist Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) spends his evenings at the local restaurant Tail O' the Cock, the name of a real L.A. restaurant with two locations, including one in Studio City at 12950 Ventura Boulevard. Since 1987, a shopping center that currently includes a Five Guys has occupied the spot. When the location closed in 1987, the Los Angeles Times recalled it as "frequently the place where stars took their lunch breaks while working on pictures at nearby studios. Celebrities who have eaten at the restaurant, according to employees, include Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Robert Kennedy."

In a recent L.A. Times profile, Anderson remembers it as a hangout for a different echelon of stardom, one where "Hanna-Barbera animators, commercial directors, writers and voice-over artists, mixed in with families and grandmas." Licorice Pizza, a film about coming-of-age in an era when the lines between childhood and adulthood got blurry, makes use of that culturally porous quality. It's a place where kids can wander about while grown-ups get smashed, and one where Gary can arrange to meet Alana Kane (Alana Haim), the twentysomething woman he's sort of pursuing, much to her dismay. It's also one where movie star Jack Holden (Sean Penn, playing a thinly veiled William Holden) can bump into a hard-drinking movie director (Tom Waits) and head out into the night to create chaos. For a cross-section of Valley residents, all roads led to the Tail O' the Cock.

The Teen-Age Fair

A child actor-turned-entrepreneur, Gary's interest in the budding waterbed business brings him to the 1973 Teen-Age Fair at the Hollywood Palladium. Though this was a real event, Licorice Pizza is fudging history a little bit by stretching its existence into 1973. Staged between 1962 and 1972, the Teen-Age Fair (briefly known as Pop Expo) was a ten-day festival focusing on teen interests, from rock bands to fashion to, as the years went by, astrology experts and other counterculture-inspired elements. The Fair played host to everyone from Soupy Sales to Jimi Hendrix. It's final year included a backwards-looking 1955 Pavilion and an exhibit on venereal disease that invited teens to "Play the VD Game," though Anderson packs it with wonders like the original Batmobile and an actor playing Herman Munster with an extremely familiar voice. (A vestige of the fair continues to exist via the Miss Teen USA pageant, which once called the Fair its home.)

The Mikado

Licorice Pizza features several barely disguised real-life figures but uses real names for some of its least-flattering depictions. That includes producer Jon Peters, depicted as a rampaging monster, and Jerry Frick, owner of the Japanese restaurant the Mikado, portrayed as a business selling a carefully selected vision of Japanese cuisine (and Japan itself) designed not to scare off Western diners. It also portrays him as a man who boasts of his time spent in Japan yet speaks no Japanese and uses an exaggerated accent to convey the thoughts of his wife, whom he replaces mid-film, a gag that's caused even viewers who otherwise admire the film to cringe.

Whether or not the film depicts Frick accurately, both he and the Mikado were real places. The Mikado opened in 1958 as the Brass Rail but changed its name and focus in 1964. Frick seems really to have spent time in and run a business in Japan. He told the Van Nuys Valley News he lived there for 15 years in a piece covering a "Far East Get Together" event in 1965. The Mikado does seem to have been careful about offering timid Valley diners baby steps into the world of Japanese food. The writer of a short 1974 profile of the restaurant, also in Valley News, informs readers the Mikado offers "American or Japanese spirits" and "[f]or the daring, sashimi (fresh raw fish in season)."

The Pinball Ban

Yes, Los Angeles really did ban pinball, an ordinance in effect for decades. Starting in 1939, Los Angelenos had to do without, per The Los Angeles Times, "Pin-ball games, marble boards, scoop claws and similar devices" which had been deemed dangerous due to "petty gambling, so widespread that the police are totally insufficient in number to enforce the law." The California Supreme Court overruled the ordinance in 1974. Gary Goetzman, the film producer whose life and stories provided the inspiration for Licorice Pizza, really did run a waterbed business and pinball parlor out of an Encino storefront, too. It's long gone, though the set dressing fooled some pinball enthusiasts into thinking it was a new operation last year. If it's any consolation, a recreation of the original will be open in Westwood through December 18th.

The El Portal Theater

Not every place featured in Licorice Pizza has met the wrecking ball. One key moment takes place in front of the El Portal, a movie theater boasting its current hit attraction, the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. (In another sign of changing times, it's the first to feature Roger Moore.) Opened in 1926 and located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., the El Portal is still in business, though it's undergone some changes over the years.

The El Portal began life as a vaudeville theater before becoming a single-screen movie house. The theater underwent a facelift in the late 1940s and was owned by the Mann chain in August of 1973 when it did play Live and Let Die, which alternated screenings with the Charles Bronson thriller The Mechanic. It suffered heavy damage in a 1994 earthquake but has since been repaired and now operates as a performing arts center. (You can currently catch Hair and ABBA Mania.) Declared a historical landmark by the City of Los Angeles, it will likely be standing for years to come. Maybe someone can even use it for a nostalgia trip back to 2021 decades from now.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 03, 2021, 01:58:26 PM
https://www.pastemagazine.com/movies/licorice-pizza-san-fernando-valley/ (https://www.pastemagazine.com/movies/licorice-pizza-san-fernando-valley/)

QuoteHow Licorice Pizza Gives the Valley the Brilliant Film It Always Deserved

The valley has become a cultural punching bag. Epitomized by "valley girl" films that portray the San Fernando Valley as filled with vapid teens and suburban sprawl, what the valley means to anyone outside of it has become distorted by the perception of vocal frys and saying "like" in between every other word. Thanks to films like Valley Girl and Clueless, which depict this exact stereotype while wrapped in '80s and '90s nostalgia, this hyper-exaggerated image has stuck in people's minds. But anyone who's lived in the valley can tell a very different story. That's exactly what Paul Thomas Anderson has done in Licorice Pizza, the 1970s coming of age film set entirely in the valley I know.

While it takes place decades before I lived there, the valley is a place that defies time. One intersection could be littered with modern outlets while another is home to vacant lots, colorful liquor stores, and a restaurant from the 1970s. Licorice Pizza introduces us to a different, better kind of valley girl. Alana, played by Studio City native Alana Haim, represents a familiar valley girl that I feared I might one day become: Stuck, surrounded by people and a place you feel you should have outgrown.

The valley, ironically enough, is an easy place to get stuck in. It's a place where every second feels like forever, but where years go by in an instant. Licorice Pizza plays with time like the uneven thing it feels like as a young adult. Anderson, a valley boy in every sense, is able to grasp this feeling better than any other filmmaker. Anderson, while from Studio City, attended schools throughout the valley as a child and has been outspoken in his fascination with the place. He treats the valley not as an existing cultural touchstone but as the place it truly is: A place that alternates between desolation and tight-knit communities, enveloped in a casual culture that lacks the intensity of the rest of Los Angeles. Through this background, Alana is allowed to be lost in the way many valley girls are. She is frustrated and warm and messy and uncertain in a deeply funny, human way that defies previous misconceptions.

This isn't the first time Anderson has depicted his home. Boogie Nights plays up the porn industry for which much of the valley became known in the 1970s. Magnolia also returns to the valley, focusing more on the mosaic of characters that inhabit it. But Licorice Pizza feels different from these because its valley acts not just as a place but as a hometown.

Licorice Pizza is not a love letter to the valley, and that's a good thing. Sherman Oaks and Encino are not romanticized. There are no sweeping shots from the mountains over the thousands of nestled homes. The beauty in the valley comes from running distances where it feels like the land will never end. Anderson's films often return to this motif, emphasizing the vast surroundings his characters travel through. But it feels much warmer and familiar when set in his hometown. The beauty comes from wide streets and tiny shops you could walk by every day and never step inside. It's a place you become numb to and can swear you hate, but struggle to say anything bad about to a person who isn't from there.

Growing up is a deeply weird thing. It's no wonder coming-of-age films are one of the most reliable genres. Every individual experience feels so deeply strange and emotional that filmmakers can't help but reflect on their own specific transition from adolescence into adulthood. It's an experience that is both intensely personal and specific yet entirely relatable to anyone. As a kid or teenager it feels like it happens in one giant wave, but it's only something you can truly reconcile with in hindsight.

When I tell people growing up in the valley is weird I often say "It's hard to explain." It's difficult to get into the emotional feeling of living in the shadow of something greater, but being encompassed by the world around you that's so dry and bright and unlike any other city. But while I have never started a waterbed business with my friends and delivered one to Jon Peters, I somehow feel like I have. Surreal brushes with fame become a casual experience to tell your friends about years down the line. The valley is where the chaos and celebrity-ness of Los Angeles leaks down into. Licorice Pizza resonates so strongly because of its skill in depicting the atmosphere of the valley when you're young: Experiencing everything and processing nothing.

When I tell people I'm a valley girl I say it as a joke. That term feels far removed from how I think of where I'm from. The valley is so wrapped in other people's perceptions that it feels like outsiders have already made a judgment on what life there must be like. That's exactly what feels so cathartic about Licorice Pizza: It's a film free of the judgment and influences of other valley depictions. When I saw Alana sitting alone on the curb, watching Gary and his friends dance in the dusk after a death-defying drive down the canyons, I saw that Licorice Pizza understands the isolation and chaos of my hometown, but also the humor and joy. It's a moment that's beautiful and sad, but punctuated by a joke when Peters returns. The film never takes on any point of view but the one of someone who knows the valley for exactly what it is: A strange place that is given life by the people tied to it. The valley is a waterbed shop that appears, then one day becomes an empty storefront, and the next becomes a lively arcade.

After a film so defined by chaos and small moments that culminate into one story, it's the final shot that cemented my love for Licorice Pizza. The film ends with one of those rare moments where you finally feel at peace. As Gary and Alana walked into that brilliant blue evening I felt a wave of calm wash over me. Anderson captured that loving and uncertain valley moment that feels like it lasts forever until one day, it's years in the past. It was the moment I've so often failed to describe with words or photos. In all my searching, the closest I can get is: It's home.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 03, 2021, 02:06:14 PM
Woah.  Great finds!  :bravo:

[edit]  I had no idea that Jerry Frick was a real guy!   This article (https://www.lamag.com/askchris/chris-nichols-the-indiana-jones-of-sushi-history/) adds,

QuoteI tracked down the origins of the roadside motel and dining spot in Valley Village. It opened in 1958 as the Brass Tiger and by 1964 had become Mikado. I found the names of the owners mentioned in a period dining guide, and I began to track down Jerry Frick and the person the reviewer described as "the real boss...his lovely Japanese wife, Yoko." Mr. Frick showed up in the Social Security Death Index, but Mrs. Frick still lives in Beverly Hills. I figured that an interview with a pioneer might open some new doors. Unfortunately, an afternoon spent calling every Frick in the phone book and in our research editor's databases got me nowhere (although one called back to say that her Frick was 17 years old and therefore did not own a sushi restaurant in the '60s, thank you very much).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 03, 2021, 06:14:57 PM
Someone asked this over on reddit:

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteIn that scene where Gary first discovers waterbeds, as he's being led back to the bed (and DiCaprio's dad) by the girl, he looks directly into the camera, right?

He's right!  It's not even that subtle!  Gary is looking off-camera to our left, when he suddenly looks directly at us--and smiles--before looking back towards her.   Five viewings, and that never really registered!


Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 03, 2021, 06:27:30 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I noticed two other instances of actors looking straight into the lens: Gary's mom, when first speaking with Jerry Frick; and Gary, again, at the moment he pulls the hose from the waterbed and decides to fuck up Jon Peters' house.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 03, 2021, 06:35:02 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Waterbed Girl is looking directly into the lens--Gary's POV--but Gary's glance to us is a deliberate look to us--the audience.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 03, 2021, 11:46:42 PM
I had no idea that "Steve" (Peters' assistant) was played by choreographer Ryan Heffington. (Someone, I will confess, I was not familiar with.  His credits include Baby Driver and Tick, Tick...Boom. )

But I still wanna know why he was holding those two large wooden sticks.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 04, 2021, 05:19:30 PM
My silhouette might be in here for, like, 2 frames...  (In front of the El Portal.)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXEsfzzF4Pn/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 04, 2021, 05:28:02 PM
Gone, but not gone?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 04, 2021, 05:35:35 PM
You mean my link?  Still there for me...

This has sufficient wilberness to be moi, I think:

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 04, 2021, 09:01:50 PM
I watched The Bridges at Toko-Ri

in regards to its Licorice Pizza relation:
Spoiler: ShowHide
No motorcycle but the monologue's there! PTA cites it in its entirety.


Incredible fighter jet + carrier photography. It seems to have really influenced Nolan, McQuarrie, and even Lucas with the way its attack is shot from POV dogfight-trench angle. And there's both a Keiko and a Kimiko in the film. As well as Mickey Rooney, which could easily translate to the Frick scenes even further.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 05, 2021, 12:15:55 AM
I watched Toko-Ri a couple of day ago, and had your same reactions.  Did you notice that

Spoiler: ShowHide
Grace Kelly was playing a character named "Nancy"?  And, yes, disappointing there was no motorcycle!  I guess a jet was way cooler anyway...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 05, 2021, 10:13:42 AM
The new Paul Thomas Anderson has leaked.

(https://xixax.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimage.noelshack.com%2Ffichiers%2F2021%2F48%2F7%2F1638720746-shiva-baby-1-1.png&hash=cbc5f0b66f09890c3d1ff455a385b2bc1957678e)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 05, 2021, 10:16:37 AM
I want to delete so bad
Another Cursed Image hops over to this thread lol.
>_<


DREEEEEEEENK
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 05, 2021, 10:22:07 AM
I'm glad to share my cursed thoughts.  :yabbse-grin:

And I'm not even mentioning what kind of apps Gary would be creating in Shiva Pizza!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 05, 2021, 10:24:17 AM
 :yabbse-grin:
Yeah, we ought to count our blessings the 'lil entrepreneur is stuck without the web.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 05, 2021, 03:27:55 PM
Here's an easier link to that vid I tried to post yesterday.

https://ktla.com/news/tour-these-licorice-pizza-filming-locations-all-over-the-san-fernando-valley/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 05, 2021, 05:21:45 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
(https://i.ibb.co/Bj9gv1s/FJIMG-20211205-151834.jpg)


Reppin' Sam Harpoon on the machine now
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 10, 2021, 01:17:45 PM
https://youtu.be/1sYziUL7OrE
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 10, 2021, 01:23:20 PM
Cool.  I love how much the band is enjoying it.   She looks like she's 4'8" next to Jimmy...!

And she stole my dance moves...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 11, 2021, 03:04:41 PM
Thread

https://twitter.com/JackLumberPK/status/1469773340147597321
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 12, 2021, 11:40:54 PM
https://youtu.be/0vudvCisVYQ
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 13, 2021, 09:10:43 AM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 12, 2021, 11:40:54 PM
https://youtu.be/0vudvCisVYQ

is this filled with spoilers? not sure if I should pull the trigger on watching it just yet.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 13, 2021, 09:31:23 AM
"I don't like talking about actors.  I don't think acting matters in movies."

He gets a whole lot wrong, but this is the worst.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 14, 2021, 07:39:55 AM
https://www.newsweek.com/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-racism-backlash-1659137?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1639480231 (https://www.newsweek.com/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-racism-backlash-1659137?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1639480231)

I'm not quoting the whole thing cause it's extremely long and extremely spoilery.

QuoteThe film Licorice Pizza, which has received four Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture - Musical/Comedy, has been blasted by social media users ahead of its general release on Christmas Day.

Some users have slammed the film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, which is set in the 1970s, for "showing racism" without challenging or criticizing it.

Anita Sarkeesian, an Armenian and Iraqi filmmaker, author and media critic, tweeted Monday: "After you watch Licorice Pizza please have a conversation with your friends about how just showing racism isn't a critique of racism. It is actually doing racism." The post had over 500 likes at the time of reporting.

Sarkeesian explained her critique of the film in a lengthy Twitter thread highlighting different points including: "Licorice Pizza is set in the 70s and therefore one could argue it is presenting dominant attitudes of the time but that in and of itself is not enough to justify its existence in perpetuating racist attitudes to modern viewers today, we are not beyond anti-Asian racism in 2021."

Claiming "there is also anti-semitism in the film," Sarkeesian noted the possibility that the intention of the film may have been "to show how blasé the dominant culture was at the time."

But the user added it is "irresponsible to just throw that in as an aside without actually signaling that this is both currently AND was always bad."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 14, 2021, 09:20:07 AM
I wish insane rhetoric like that wouldn't be at the forefront of any serious article/discussion.

I basically agree with that point:

https://twitter.com/judysquirrels/status/1470770813293023239

Sometimes, a lame South Park joke is a lame South Park joke and adults can deal with it like normal people.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 14, 2021, 02:07:32 PM
https://twitter.com/lysatronix/status/1470762451205509122
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 14, 2021, 03:00:49 PM
Thank God she's they've got an editor.

Good Lord:

Quote@jpollackauthor
Replying to
@lysatronix
The fact that they used music by David Bowie - a man known for statutorily raping teenage girls as a grown man  - in the trailers and promos for this bullshit movie seems like even more of a kick in the teeth.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 14, 2021, 04:14:14 PM
The discourse is popping off today with the racism & age gap convos happening simultaneously. The biggest trend I've seen for LP on Twitter so far, a bit over 6k.

Major spoiler in this one:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FGmDF_EWQAsADES?format=jpg&name=medium
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 14, 2021, 05:32:12 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Not to mention she exposes herself after he begs for it and then she slaps him when he asks for permission to steal second. I mean this movie illustrates consent. What more do these people want? /s
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on December 14, 2021, 06:32:08 PM
Quote from: Drenk on December 14, 2021, 09:20:07 AM
I wish insane rhetoric like that wouldn't be at the forefront of any serious article/discussion.

I basically agree with that point:

https://twitter.com/judysquirrels/status/1470770813293023239

Sometimes, a lame South Park joke is a lame South Park joke and adults can deal with it like normal people.

I mean, it'd be fine if people weren't calling the joke "racist." Because that is a stupid and incorrect argument being pushed by Twitter personalities for virtue-signal clout.

Agree that it's essentially a South Park joke that has diminishing returns though.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on December 14, 2021, 06:33:05 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on December 14, 2021, 04:14:14 PM
The discourse is popping off today with the racism & age gap convos happening simultaneously. The biggest trend I've seen for LP on Twitter so far, a bit over 6k.

Major spoiler in this one:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FGmDF_EWQAsADES?format=jpg&name=medium

Did this troglodyte really tweet *during* the movie?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Robyn on December 14, 2021, 06:58:30 PM
Quote from: achordion on December 14, 2021, 06:32:08 PM
Quote from: Drenk on December 14, 2021, 09:20:07 AM
I wish insane rhetoric like that wouldn't be at the forefront of any serious article/discussion.

I basically agree with that point:

https://twitter.com/judysquirrels/status/1470770813293023239

Sometimes, a lame South Park joke is a lame South Park joke and adults can deal with it like normal people.

I mean, it'd be fine if people weren't calling the joke "racist." Because that is a stupid and incorrect argument being pushed by Twitter personalities for virtue-signal clout.

Agree that it's essentially a South Park joke that has diminishing returns though.

David Chen isn't a "Twitter personalitity" that does it for clout or whatever. I take his word for it making him feel uncomfortable. It's good to have the conversation.

With that being said, I don't think a bad joke makes it a lesser film. And Chen would probably agree with that too. He just thought it was an unfortunate joke in an otherwise good film.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 14, 2021, 07:36:35 PM
I'll join Robyn in coming to David Chen's defense. I don't always agree with him (it pained me to listen to his Game of Thrones podcast, which was overcritical imo), but he is far and away my favorite podcast host. He's legit. His problem with the racial stuff is all in good faith and comes from specific personal experience, so I don't begrudge it.

He's since clarified a number of times that he understands the difference between depiction and endorsement, etc. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will trust you guys that his interpretation is a bit skewed or oversimplified. He's definitely not out to get the movie, though – he actually loves it except for those scenes.

There are certainly others courting woke clout. For sure. But the only clout-chasing David Chen is doing mostly involves his goofy tiktoks. (See below.)

https://twitter.com/davechensky/status/1469718394685452288
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 01:40:40 AM
You might be (or not) surprised that MGM asked PTA to cut the two Asian-related controversial scenes, and he refused.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 15, 2021, 08:39:58 AM
Interesting. Not surprised at the MGM part. Source?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 15, 2021, 09:18:35 AM
it's nice to see a little pushback on some of the nonsense.

TikTokers Are Accusing 'Licorice Pizza' of Pedophilia. Huh? (https://www.thedailybeast.com/tiktokers-are-accusing-licorice-pizza-of-pedophilia-huh)
A number of viral TikTok posts have accused the acclaimed Paul Thomas Anderson film of "pedophilia" over its central relationship. It's ludicrous.

Marlow: Now that we've broken down Adam McKay's star-studded Netflix satire Don't Look Up (alternate title: America Is Royally F*cked), we can move on to a "controversy" that's somehow captured the imagination of liberal TikTok/Twitter: Licorice Pizza. The latest from filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, of There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights fame, is a coming-of-age story set in '70s Los Angeles—The Valley, to be precise.

Kevin: It's neither here nor there, but honestly this is the best movie title of our time.

Marlow: Named after a real-life chain of record store shops in Southern California. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, a regular PTA collaborator) is a 15-year-old child actor who's been hit hard by puberty, judging by his acne clusters, towering height and paunch, but it hasn't dimmed his confidence.

Kevin: I'm not kidding when I say that, after the credits rolled, I turned to my friend and said, "Acne representation." What a treat to see normal/bad skin on screen!

Marlow: Especially in the Maskne Era. One day, he happens upon Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the band Haim, in a revelatory debut), who is a photographer's assistant and ten years his senior. It marks the start of a beautiful and thrilling friendship as they navigate a bizarre cast of Hollywood characters, including producer/Barbara Streisand-lover Jon Peters (a hilariously manic Bradley Cooper), action hero Jack Holden (Sean Penn, playing a character based on William Holden), and more. It was named Best Film by the National Board of Review and has received near-universal critical acclaim. In recent days, however, pearl-clutching lefties on TikTok and Twitter have come after the film, with some even going as far as accusing it of "pedophilia." Make it all make sense, Kfal!

Kevin: Make sense of a TikTok controversy? You've come to the exact wrong place.

Marlow: Listen, I don't blame you. I wish I wasn't aware of this!

Kevin: The context here is, as you mentioned, that this is both a coming-of-age story and a romcom. Alana is 25. Gary is 15. People are viewing that relationship dynamic as predatory and abusive, especially given that we're made as viewers to root for them and applaud their connection. There are a whole host of criticisms being lobbed at the film: that the trailers and marketing purposefully obscure the age difference, that it is pedophilia played for laughs, if the genders were reversed we'd be flagging the movie as problematic, or that the grooming is excused as forgivable because it's a celebrated film auteur (Anderson) at the helm, hence making it cool. So now we're in the situation where there's a decision to be made over whether those criticisms are valid and the movie should be called out, or if this is just another case of hyperbolic, reactionary social media seizing a news cycle.

Marlow: And it's definitely the latter, in my opinion. Audiences these days often make the mistake of allowing their personal politics to color their feelings toward a film or TV show—to the point where if a given film or series doesn't directly align with their current views, they deem it a moral failure of some kind. But movies hold a mirror to society and should thus be afforded the opportunity to be messy, as life itself is very messy, assuming the picture doesn't veer into exploitation territory, which Licorice Pizza most certainly does not.

Kevin: The only thing it exploits is my crush on Bradley Cooper, who looks like an absolute snack in his hippie outfit in this movie.

Marlow: He is *so good* at playing coked-up maniacs. Sign me up for a Jon Peters spin-off. As you watch Licorice Pizza, you root for Gary and Alana to succeed at their various entrepreneurial endeavors, be it the waterbed venture or a pinball arcade, and want them to remain friends, but you never view it as a sexual, grooming, or predatory relationship. Gary surely has a bit of a crush, but teen boys crush on any attractive woman in their orbit who gives them the time of day; Alana, meanwhile, never views Gary as a sexual object. It's all about friendship. I'm genuinely curious if some of these folks are just kooky conspiracists on some "Pizzagate" bullshit and coming for the film because they read the synopsis and it's got "pizza" in the title ("Pizzagate" is wildly popular on TikTok and these are deeply stupid times, after all).

Kevin: If only it were as easy as writing the whole thing off as Pizzagate-conspiracy nonsense. The people who are criticizing the film do seem to be in their right minds, and their arguments are, as bullet points, convincing. If you watch the movie with the mindset and understanding that this age difference is gross and abusive, it is alarming and concerning. You're left wondering what the intentions are. Is it glamorizing such a relationship? Is it normalizing it? But when you do that, you're reducing the film to just one thing, and it's the thing that I don't think it's actually about.

Marlow: I couldn't agree more.

Kevin: I didn't feel like the movie was about the relationship between Alana and Gary as much as it was about how each other's presence in their respective lives helped them to understand who they are in the moment, and then grow in the future. I think that's why all these criticisms are confusing to me, because they make the assumption that Alana is preying on Gary and that love or sex is the end-all goal of their narrative arcs. I never felt that, but if you watch it through the prism of this backlash, it can be difficult to focus on anything else.

Marlow: Yes, it's about how they've helped each other grow as people, which is the polar opposite of what an exploitative relationship does. It's worth noting that the two do share a brief kiss toward the latter part of the film, but by that point Gary is not only around 17 years old, as the film takes place over the course of years, but it's not sexually charged at all.

Kevin: "Not sexually charged at all" is also how I would describe my last few dates.

Marlow: Ha! As Paul Thomas Anderson himself told The New York Times of the age gap, "There's no line that's crossed, and there's nothing but the right intentions. It would surprise me if there was some kind of kerfuffle about it, because there's not that much there. That's not the story that we made, in any kind of way. There isn't a provocative bone in this film's body." PTA sadly forgot that it's 2021, and certain corners of the internet tend to lose their marbles about anything and everything that could potentially disagree with them. As you said, intent is important here, and at no point do you feel like Gary and Alana's relationship is building toward a romance of any kind; on the contrary, the film implies that these two perpetually-in-motion dreamers will soon grow apart.

Kevin: I guess I'm just glad that, even while very self-aware that we now have a piece with two bylines about it on this website, the movie seems to have skirted this outrage. It's one of my favorite movies of the year. Watching it in a crowded theater where everyone was giggling and applauding at every joke and set piece (the truck sequence!) was rejuvenating for me as a movie lover. Alana Haim is so damn good, making the fact that this is her first leading role all the wilder. So much of film reaction these days seems to live in bad-faith controversy, exploding the smallest critiques into potentially ruinous backlash. It's exhausting. Sometimes I just wish we could let good movies just be good.

Marlow: Amen.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 15, 2021, 09:22:44 AM
The nonsense is adults making articles about Tik Tok Teens as if they were a powerful cultural force.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on December 15, 2021, 11:24:53 AM
Wasn't familiar with this David Chen fellow, but that fact that he works for Amazon (you know, the company that just killed several of their workers, who they were treating like robots anyway) and does a podcast about "pop culture" (barf) makes the validity of his opinion and the intellectual spirit of it incredibly less valid.

Just my two cents. Last I'll say about it.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on December 15, 2021, 11:39:02 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 01:40:40 AM
You might be (or not) surprised that MGM asked PTA to cut the two Asian-related controversial scenes, and he refused.

If that's the case, then he probably should've had a better, more thorough explanation handy for when he was asked about it. Basically saying "Gotta show the times. Besides, my mother-in-law is Japanese." is pretty weak. Plus, Jerry Frick was a real guy. Why not mention that? Is that portrayal accurate?

Spoiler: ShowHide
I think those scenes don't work because the wives aren't given any POV. There's a closeup or two to show that they're upset, but nothing to portray why they were with this guy in the 1st place and why they'd put up with that for the time being. And thus, it's understandable why people feel they come off as props for a gag.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 15, 2021, 12:04:22 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
What's frustrating about this bad bit is that it diminishes some subtle work about the « racism of the time ». The first wife is upset about the mention of the « dolls », then Gary doesn't notice that the second wife is another person. The mere fact that he keeps marrying Japanese women as trophy wives gives a sense of who the guy is. My most generous reading is that PTA wanted a weird tonal shift with this South Park bit. Still. Doesn't work.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on December 15, 2021, 12:41:28 PM
This same cycle is gonna keep repeating itself until after the Oscars. People are gonna get mad about the movie, other people will get mad at the people who are mad at the movie, a third group of people will get mad about people getting mad about the people getting mad about the movie, and lazy film journalists will keep cashing in on articles centered around random social media accounts criticizing the movie.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 15, 2021, 01:01:47 PM
Quote from: achordion on December 15, 2021, 11:24:53 AM
Wasn't familiar with this David Chen fellow, but that fact that he works for Amazon (you know, the company that just killed several of their workers, who they were treating like robots anyway) and does a podcast about "pop culture" (barf) makes the validity of his opinion and the intellectual spirit of it incredibly less valid.

Just my two cents. Last I'll say about it.

This is a completely valid take, but for what it's worth, he's made it abundantly clear that he's trying to leave Amazon to pursue his own projects full-time. Still, no one's forcing him to work there.

He's not a film critic, just a very good podcast host imo, better at generating great coversation than anything else. I tend to disagree with him a fair amount but it doesn't phase me. His whole vibe is just offering a personal perspective and not really trying to persuade anyone. So it's hard to get mad.

I would apologize for the diversion, but we're in a LP thread.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 04:06:28 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 15, 2021, 08:39:58 AM
Interesting. Not surprised at the MGM part. Source?

The same one that, among other things, knew about the film's title three weeks before the official announcement.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on December 15, 2021, 09:03:03 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 04:06:28 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 15, 2021, 08:39:58 AM
Interesting. Not surprised at the MGM part. Source?

The same one that, among other things, knew about the film's title three weeks before the official announcement.

can you the name of the source of no?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 11:50:09 PM
Quote from: PaulElroy35 on December 15, 2021, 09:03:03 PM
Quote from: pynchonikon on December 15, 2021, 04:06:28 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 15, 2021, 08:39:58 AM
Interesting. Not surprised at the MGM part. Source?

The same one that, among other things, knew about the film's title three weeks before the official announcement.

can you the name of the source of no?

I'm sorry, but you have to take my word for it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 17, 2021, 12:05:58 PM
In Licorice Pizza, Everyone is Pretending to Be a Grown-Up. Especially the Grown-Ups. (https://lithub.com/in-licorice-pizza-everyone-is-pretending-to-be-a-grown-up-especially-the-grown-ups/)

Olivia Rutigliano on Paul Thomas Anderson's Latest Film

Licorice Pizza, the new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, is full of children who act like adults and adults who act like children. Blurring these divisions is precisely the point—every character is in an equal state of pretending, all the time.

The film's promotional materials have sold it as a coming-of-age story, and it is, but in many ways for its gang of childish fourflushers, it is also a staying-of-age story. In Licorice Pizza, everyone must fight to find meaning in their lives at their own pace and in their own time, and however mismatched that meaning is for one's expected age group doesn't really seem to matter. What matters seems to be finding meaning at all.

The film follows Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a 15-year-old self-described "showman," as he lives a bustling life in 1973 Los Angeles. A child actor, he travels across the country to attend auditions and appear on TV specials, while also running his own public relations firm with his mother (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). He has a "usual table" at a local watering hole, initiates numerous lucrative business ventures, and insistently hits on older women, all with the confidence of a much older man—which is to say, a teenage boy.

The main object of his affections is Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the band "Haim" fame), a pissed-off 25-year-old he meets working his high school's picture day. He flirts with her aggressively, she rebuffs his affections, but they have an undeniable connection, and it's not long before they become best friends.

The film's promotional materials have sold it as a coming-of-age story, and it is, but in many ways for its gang of childish fourflushers, it is also a staying-of-age story.
Alana lives with her parents (played by Alana Haim's real parents, Moti and Donna Haim) and her two older sisters (played by her real sisters and bandmates, Este and Danielle Haim) and she is both chagrinned and intrigued that Gary, a precocious adolescent, has accomplished more in his short life than in her slightly longer one. She is immature—insecure, naïve, angsty and longing to be loved and feel important—and although she is clearly older than Gary, she also often acts like a stereotypical teenager more than he does. (Most notably, while Gary goes after women of all ages, Alana has clearly never had a boyfriend.)

As in Peter Pan, permanently transforming into an adult is the film's biggest peril.
Then again, that Gary is a kid aping grown-up life so dramatically—like the Artful Dodger, he is the ringleader of a band of skinny preteens who aid him in his various hustles—only makes him seem like more of a kid. As these two orbit each other, Licorice Pizza winds itself in circles, emotionally aging its protagonists up and down, back and forth, as their bond grows into something like love.

Alana and Gary go into business together selling and delivering waterbeds (alongside Gary's attempt to get Alana into the movies). However, Alana is trying to find herself, while Gary knows who he is, and this causes tension that sends them into potentially threatening situations, and also wrests them apart. Notably, there is a distinction between their give-and-take brand of immaturity and the kind practiced by the much older folks in the film: particularly, the bevvy of egomaniacal and unhinged Hollywood types the various youngsters find in their path.

These individuals are disgusting at best—like John Michael Higgins's racist restaurateur—and dangerous at worst—like the actor Jack Holden (Sean Penn), who longs for his glory days making 60s war movies so much that he drunkenly pulls off a treacherous stunt in the backyard of a family restaurant. Or worse, the volatile celebrity Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), who offers a threat of physical violence, giving a deranged and menacing ultimatum to the kids installing his waterbed.

Licorice Pizza takes place in the early 70s; watching the film in 2021, it's impossible to forget that these young people will become—have become—real adults. Is this unpleasant world the fate that waits for them, especially because, in their current youthful moments, they are already perched atop their own slippery slopes?

Licorice Pizza is suffused with the idea of becoming "another version of yourself"—most specifically by Alana's constant attempts at reinvention, her constant hopes for attention from someone who will make her feel like more than herself, and then her realization that she must be this person for herself. (There's a scene in the middle in which we wonder if she has changed her identity, but this turns out to be pretend, too.)

As in Peter Pan, permanently transforming into an adult is the film's biggest peril, until it becomes the film's biggest necessity. Alana is delaying this for as long as she can. A nice visual indicator of this theme is that Alana and Gary (but mostly Alana) spend much of the film breaking into runs—powerful, pavement-slapping, breathless runs—the kind of running you do when you're a kid and you're either really mad or really happy. "Running" is to Licorice Pizza as "flying" is to Peter Pan—ignited by feeling and belief and camaraderie, it is a physical attempt to outrun fate, to prolong youth, to maintain freedom.

Its frames are full of reflective surfaces (mostly via store windows), that project the characters as having second lives, alternate selves.
Gary wants to age into his next stage, but Alana doesn't want to grow anymore until she can accomplish more in her life so as not to feel like a failure. This is interesting, especially because the real Alana has been in a successful pop band for nearly a decade. She and her family (playing characters with the same names), are alternate, time-traveling versions of themselves. (Alana Kane's birthday, mentioned briefly, is even the same day as Alana Haim's.) And in a recent interview in The New York Times, Paul Thomas Anderson mentioned that he was inspired to make the film with the Haim family after realizing that the Haim matriarch, Donna, was one of his own teachers (whom he adored) when she was a young, unmarried woman. As such, Licorice Pizza often feels like an exercise in ruminating on "what once was" just as much as "what might have been." The film asks us to consider this visually, too; its frames are full of reflective surfaces (mostly via store windows), that project the characters as having second lives, alternate selves.

Licorice Pizza is a sunny affair. Anderson, who also does the film's sun-bleached cinematography (along with Michael Bauman), has visually engineered the kind of lushness with which you might remember the San Fernando Valley in the summer of 1973, if you were looking back on it now. The light is golden, somehow, even when it's nighttime. The streets look like a place where anything can happen, to us and its characters tortured by possibility.

The film finds a period-appropriate anthem in the David Bowie song "Life on Mars." It's prominently featured in the film (as well as its promotional materials), not to mention that its lyrics seem to literally say much of what's at work in the film itself, the story about a disillusioned "girl with mousy hair" who lives with her parents and takes refuge from her disappointing life via a flirtation with the movies—which in turn surround her with meaningless, myriad spectacles that don't fulfill her anyway. But the song also seems to underscore the film's cryptic thesis statement. If there is any line in "Life on Mars" that can unlock the mysteries of Licorice Pizza, I think it might be its most quizzical and damning sentence, "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow." In this moment, as in Licorice Pizza on the whole, a joyous symbol of childhood magic grows up to resemble what it has actually, truly been all along: a distorted product of its capitalistic milieu.

Is this the road that Gary, a born wheeler and dealer (and a veritable harasser of women), is headed on? What about Alana, a woman in her twenties who grows attracted to someone a decade younger than she is, after he brags to her about being semi-famous? For all that Licorice Pizza is about the very real, very powerful feelings that we have when we are young that propel us towards the magical moments we dream about, it is also constantly threatening to us that we might lose those things about ourselves, and become people we barely recognize, in the process.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 18, 2021, 07:06:32 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I've seen LP twice now.  It definitely makes me sad that the Japanese scenes are there.  I never thought I would say this either.  They stick out like a sore thumb and add nothing to the film.  They are cringeworthy, and not the fun kind of cringe.  The first time I saw this, I was like... "what's going on?  Is this really in this movie?"  And then, what's the payoff?  Well, nothing really.  For someone who's generally so thoughtful, I didn't think this would ever be an issue.  I think one thing PTA suffers from at times is underwriting his characters and then somehow in tangential breaths, many people still find way to praise him for his great character development.  It's still left me scratching my head.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on December 18, 2021, 08:07:13 PM
Quote from: ono on December 18, 2021, 07:06:32 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I've seen LP twice now.  It definitely makes me sad that the Japanese scenes are there.  I never thought I would say this either.  They stick out like a sore thumb and add nothing to the film.  They are cringeworthy, and not the fun kind of cringe.  The first time I saw this, I was like... "what's going on?  Is this really in this movie?"  And then, what's the payoff?  Well, nothing really.  For someone who's generally so thoughtful, I didn't think this would ever be an issue.  I think one thing PTA suffers from at times is underwriting his characters and then somehow in tangential breaths, many people still find way to praise him for his great character development.  It's still left me scratching my head.


Fits the tone of the film for me so I'm cool with it.

Of course thinking about it in comparison  to his other films then it would probably seem out of place but not here.

If people are uncomfortable by it then  I'm not mad at  that I dont want to tell someone how to feel but boy do i think people are going overboard with the complaints.

I cant wait untill films arent aloud to have any characters who arent the same race as the filmmaker haha 

In all fairness it's in the film it's what Paul wanted and people just need to accept that but if course it can still be talked about but theres so much more to the film than these scenes. To tally this work up to these two scenes and the age gap is overlooking what is a fantastic film. Just the type of film aswell I was up for after how crazy the world has been.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: md on December 20, 2021, 12:08:24 AM
The Japanese bit was a true anecdote, right?  Could see why PTA insisted, because 'it did happen.'

Is anyone amazed at all the accolades LP is getting.  I'm due for a rewatch,  and I'm sure the timing, plus overdue-ness comes into play,  but part of me, while sitting through the 2nd act watching all of this fun chaos ensue was thinking about how much I'd love a serious PTA movie right about now.  It's understandable that this lighter film has it's quirks like PDL,  and while some of the films moments truly shine like Jon Peters,  the heartbreaking Wachs Dinner scene and the longing lost and found moment scene where Gary and Alana are walking and they match cut to flashbacks,  this film, imo,  is probably one of the leaser deserving attempts to receive enormous amounts of praise across the board.  Weak line up this year?  PTA cultism? Shit,  I've been drinking the Kool-Aid since day one, but as an OG I'm surprised and impressed at some of the critical reception.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on December 20, 2021, 01:06:23 AM
Quote from: md on December 20, 2021, 12:08:24 AM
The Japanese bit was a true anecdote, right?  Could see why PTA insisted, because 'it did happen.'

Is anyone amazed at all the accolades LP is getting.  I'm due for a rewatch,  and I'm sure the timing, plus overdue-ness comes into play,  but part of me, while sitting through the 2nd act watching all of this fun chaos ensue was thinking about how much I'd love a serious PTA movie right about now.  It's understandable that this lighter film has it's quirks like PDL,  and while some of the films moments truly shine like Jon Peters,  the heartbreaking Wachs Dinner scene and the longing lost and found moment scene where Gary and Alana are walking and they match cut to flashbacks,  this film, imo,  is probably one of the leaser deserving attempts to receive enormous amounts of praise across the board.  Weak line up this year?  PTA cultism? Shit,  I've been drinking the Kool-Aid since day one, but as an OG I'm surprised and impressed at some of the critical reception.
##


I think because its a lighter more breezy film people are acting like its not as worthy in his filmography as his others which i think is ridiculous. 

And to say its not a good as other potential awards films is weird considering what else is being talked about. Theres great stuff out there but some generic oscar bait as usual being talked about which this film is not.

I mean does liking a really great new PTA film mean your'e  drinking the kool aid then if it does then fill me up a bucket full.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 20, 2021, 01:09:07 AM
Quote from: PaulElroy35 on December 20, 2021, 01:06:23 AM
Quote from: md on December 20, 2021, 12:08:24 AMI mean does liking a really great new PTA film mean your'e  drinking the kool aid then if it does then fill me up a bucket full.

Oh we know. You're drunk of it
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on December 20, 2021, 01:19:24 AM
Quote from: Yes on December 20, 2021, 01:09:07 AM
Quote from: PaulElroy35 on December 20, 2021, 01:06:23 AM
Quote from: md on December 20, 2021, 12:08:24 AMI mean does liking a really great new PTA film mean your'e  drinking the kool aid then if it does then fill me up a bucket full.

Oh we know. You're drunk of it

Yeah  and thats weird for some reason but hey ho guess im new to being a fan of things . I should  be more cynical like you innit haha
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 20, 2021, 01:28:19 AM
Y'all need to take a second look at your quote tags.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 23, 2021, 02:15:55 PM
Very spoilery discussion on "Pop Culture Happy Hour (https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=1066373138:1066858161)" (NPR)

Trigger-Warning:  Multiple minute conversation about Jerry Frick   :yabbse-wink:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 23, 2021, 03:13:57 PM
Nada to do with LP;
Something that irks me about English iz that minute (min-ut) and minute (my-noot) are spelled the same but have quite a different effect. More of an observation but like if you'd consider the phrasing above, to anyone who it's not their first language it could be either, but each means something different in terms of content. Minutes-long versus, multiple sparse instances.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 24, 2021, 12:00:06 PM
I never made the connection that the
Spoiler: ShowHide
Skyler character in LP is Tim Matheson!
  (Paul reveals this in the Increment Vice interview.)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: md on December 26, 2021, 09:38:49 PM
After a 2nd viewing, I found Alana's performance even more wonderful than the first time around.  Her charm is settling in nicely and has officially won me over. 

A few afterthoughts:

When Gary and Alana first meet at the 'Cock,  there is a large commotion offscreen. Does any one remember the diner scene in Hard Eight, where the couple get into an argument and camera abruptly rack focus's off of John C Reilly and PBH's convo?  For some reason, I felt like PTA was staying consistent to his own sensibilities or honing in on his 'tone' for the film.  Could be completely arbitrary, but curious if anyone else picked up on that nugget.

There was talking about character's breaking the 4th wall and looking directly into the camera - the black model at the waterbed store - but I don't think she is directly looking at the camera fwiw.  She is looking slightly towards the right of frame although I could see how people could be confused.



Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 26, 2021, 09:47:08 PM
I agree Alana's performance is swoon-worthy

I also adore that waterbed scene. It does look like Hoffman directly changes eyeline to address camera contact?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 10:13:03 PM
Gary looks directly at us and smiles before looking back.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on December 26, 2021, 10:37:09 PM
Momma Anita also looks directly into camera during the first Jerry Frick scene.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 26, 2021, 10:49:49 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 10:13:03 PM
Gary looks directly at us and smiles before looking back.

I don't think that's how those eyelines were working in that scene.

Pretty much that whole portion of the scene Anderson's having them both looking into the lens, she's looking into the lens at him, he's looking into the lens at her.

He's not breaking eye contact with her to glance at us the audience, he's breaking eye contact with the waterbed he's walking towards to glance at her and give a nervous smile.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: md on December 26, 2021, 11:03:05 PM
Quote from: jzakko on December 26, 2021, 10:49:49 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 10:13:03 PM
Gary looks directly at us and smiles before looking back.

I don't think that's how those eyelines were working in that scene.

Pretty much that whole portion of the scene Anderson's having them both looking into the lens, she's looking into the lens at him, he's looking into the lens at her.

He's not breaking eye contact with her to glance at us the audience, he's breaking eye contact with the waterbed he's walking towards to glance at her and give a nervous smile.

That's how I interpreted the scene as well.  Its not like a 'Silence of The Lambs' Hannibal Lector or Leslie Mann type stare down, but rather a very close and intimate exchange.  The black model never looks directly into the camera lens, but just camera right at Gary.  So the reverse shot is just complimenting the same exchange.   I could be wrong though.

Also, as we are talking about cinematography -- I just saw American Underdog - the Kurt Warner football story.  Looks like it was shot on anamorphic lenses and a RED camera system making it look like a well shot Hallmark movie.  It exceeded my (very low) expectations and to be fair, I can't hate the movie for what it is and how it was made.  Dare I say it was actually pretty entertaining, albeit a bit contrite and predictable.  Anyways...going back to Licorice Pizza,  I saw the 70mm print on first viewing and just saw a DCP version at a Regal Cinema and boy do the colors pop.  The cinematography is so fucking good and emotive when compared to modern day digital movies shot with Anamorphics  The inherent property of film just feels so much more alive and real.   Even on the naturally low lit scenes where it's not pretty, particularly the shabbat dinner scene and the golf scene, where the film is underexposed and noisey/grainy, it's just breathtaking.

Lastly, how do we think this film is going to perform in the box office?  I've been telling all my friends and family about the movie, but for some reason, in contrast to the early indie theater numbers, I think this film might not resonate with a wider audience like I was hoping it would.  A few people walked out of the theater right before the Wach's sequences which surprised me.  And only about 12 people were in the theater on an 8pm Sunday night screening.  The film doesn't lack conflict or drama, but I think the lack of a driving plot really loses modern day audiences.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 26, 2021, 11:14:14 PM
I'm pretty sure they both look directly into the lens, it's just that Gary only glances into the lens briefly because his eyeline is mostly on the bed the whole time - it's not that he's looking at her the whole time and then quickly breaks the 4th wall to acknowledge the audience.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: md on December 26, 2021, 11:23:03 PM
Gary's eye line shifts but I was looking closely at the first CU shot of the black model and while she's looking towards the lens,  the camera does not represent Gary as she is looking at the right side of the camera frame (or literally the left portion of the lens itself) -- if that makes sense.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 11:31:40 PM
Quote from: jzakko on December 26, 2021, 10:49:49 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 10:13:03 PM
Gary looks directly at us and smiles before looking back.

I don't think that's how those eyelines were working in that scene.

Pretty much that whole portion of the scene Anderson's having them both looking into the lens, she's looking into the lens at him, he's looking into the lens at her.

He's not breaking eye contact with her to glance at us the audience, he's breaking eye contact with the waterbed he's walking towards to glance at her and give a nervous smile.

I'm prepared to admit that I think you're correct.   When Gary walks into the store, he's transfixed by the bed.  His turn to camera is towards her to acknowledge her flirty invitation to come in and check it out.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 27, 2021, 12:50:22 AM
Had to share this.

Spoiler: ShowHide

https://i.imgur.com/nyQBbvo.png

(Brian is a friend of Paul's from way back.  He shows up in a lot of Paul's films.  He can be seen for a few frames playing keyboard in the Adult Awards band in Boogie, and a couple of times in Magnolia.  In fact, Brian is the guy that recorded the conversation that became the inspiration for T.J. Mackey in Magnolia...)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 27, 2021, 01:57:34 AM
Quote from: wilberfan on December 26, 2021, 10:13:03 PM
Gary looks directly at us and smiles before looking back.

Spoiler: ShowHide
I'm pretty convinced every instance you guys mentioned of people looking into camera is actually them looking past/through the camera. In the waterbed scene Gary is looking at the bed and then glances through camera at the sales-girl, definitely not US, the audience (IMO). in the first Frick scene, his mom looks past camera to Gary, who it cuts to. When Gary looks into camera and pulls the hose out of the bed, he's looking at Alana, who gets a brief reaction shot.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 27, 2021, 10:20:51 AM
two viewings under my belt.

for starters: I liked it. But, it's pretty difficult to organize my thoughts on this one so I'm just gonna ramble.


Spoiler: ShowHide

- Endless, effortless tracking shots.
- You really cant stop looking at Alana.
- Cooper Hoffman is such a charismatic salesman, hard not to root for the kid even tho the movie feels slightly detached from his headspace (alana, too)
- Bradley Cooper is annoying in every movie BUT this one. In this one he slays. Fantastically coked-up mania. Praise be.
- Got completely lost in the structure of the story the first viewing. (not in a bad way, its a whirlwind.)
- The needledrops are delicious.
- The undercurrent of racial and religious tensions runs through the whole thing in a way I wasn't expecting. Using the cameo characters to breathe life into The Valley around them.
- Larger scope of the world the film creates, compared to Inherent Vice. You see a lot more of LA. Or at least it feels like it.
- The cinematography might be the best of his career? I'm serious. Jaw-dropping shots wall to wall. Beautiful colors and textures.
- Seriously bummed there's only 1 Greenwood song, but it is effective where its used and then reprised.
- Tom Waits is a gift to mankind.
- Alana dancing in that slooow panning shot at Fat Bernie's. Time dilates here beautifully.
- Gary's brother Greg is fucking hilarious. I love this little kid.
- The Wachs dinner scene. Really heartbreaking.  I was genuinely surprised at the turn of events here. Didn't know how Wachs would be handled but when you finally find out why he called Alana there... aches in my heart, for sure. Acts as a nice wake-up call to Alana,too.
- Interesting mix of the constantly moving camera of his earlier work, with the locked-off, sure-paced camerawork of his later stuff. He found a nice middle ground.
- Scope felt nice to return to BUT, I still wish this movie was  1.85:1
- The Jon Peters/Truck sequence is good ole fashioned moviemagic. A real classic moment in his career, freshly birthed.
- The age-gap stuff is a non-issue for me. The movie BASHES you over the head with the information that they cannot be together and plays with that tension in a satisfying way (IMO).
- The Jerry Frick scene's require some patience from the audience but honestly, that "I dont know, I dont speak Japenese" line in the second scene was worth the gag. Got a massive laugh at my screening. People have said the scenes add nothing to the narrative but I would argue this kind of stuff is pretty tightly woven into deeply racist fabric of the 70s. Sure, it's a silly joke, but you cannot tell me someone exactly like Jerry Frick didnt exist (yes, I know Frick is a real person, but I just mean the tokenistic obsession he seems to have.) He's not even trying to be racist... he's just a total moron. He probably thinks he's doing the "right thing", even. We are laughing at HIM, not asians. The lingering CU on the first wife says it all.
- Still processing the ending. Cant decide if it's real, imaginary, perfect, rushed...
- Very much feels like 4-5 episodes of the Alana and Gary show. Not a bad thing... makes for an interesting, dreamy structure.
- Harriet Sansom Harris.... where did this shooting star come from?!? After stealing both this and Phantom Thread, I hope she's a PTA regular from here on out.
- Tim Conway gets one of the biggest laughs with his "divorced but losing weight" line. Hilarious.
- The toxicity of Alana and Gary's relationship is way more like Phantom Thread than I was expecting. The whole film is basically them getting back at each other over and over.
- There's only one moment in the movie that I really cant figure out how I feel about: right after Gary gets arrested and released... Alana shoves him asking what he did... and then they just start... running? Kinda doesn't make any sense? I cant help but feel this moment of "[conflict] [conflict]" and then "...uh, fuck it, just start running to the next plot point." Anyone reconciled this scene better than I have? [EDIT] - After some thought, this scene DOES start a sequence of Gary and Alana teaming up, starting a business, hanging out, working together, scheming together, RUNNING, radio ads, caring about something together, etc...  so... "off to the racing", so to speak. This does make sense. (PTA films can be a bit like a mountain bike trail of sorts. Once you learn the terrain you can really soar elegantly through them but, initially, some bumps will trip you up... Anyways, Hope that smooths the bump on next viewing.) [EDIT]
- Sam Harpoon is not Ben Stiller. Not even close.



Alright. That's it for now.

Looking forward to another slice soon.



Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 27, 2021, 10:26:06 AM
My new best friend.  :bravo:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 27, 2021, 01:15:22 PM
Love the detailed response Hackanut!

The running scene set to Sonny and Cher does feel like it starts off forced, but it redeems itself for me for the pure joy of it all.

It's really that first cut, from the reflection shot to her taking his hand and running, it feels like he needs to get to the next music-driven setpiece and the cut didn't quite work in the end.

For some reason my feeling is that Alana was improvising a bit with the 'did you kill someone?' part, and PTA liked it, but it didn't cut too well into the run but he liked it enough to accept that.

We also found in a recent interview that the running was going to have a bunch of dialogue as they ran, which he took out. That's fascinating to me as he often tells his actors to do a take like charades where they act out the dialogue, but that's usually just an exercise to get somewhere for when they bring the dialogue back in.

Also, after 5 viewings, I'm starting to think I won't ever really like the final shot/line.

Finally, in a long list of pitch-perfect takes, you prefer the movie would be 1.85?! I can't see it personally, does anyone else wish this were 1.85?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 27, 2021, 01:31:03 PM
Thanks, glad you got something out of it.

I've always strongly preferred flat ratios. 1.66:1 is my favorite because of the extra head room :)
I'm fascinated with portraiture and you can much more naturally frame a face in ratios that are taller. Widescreen is cool, but not my favorite.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 27, 2021, 01:45:30 PM
Benny Safdie Talks With Joel Wachs, Whom He Plays In Licorice Pizza, About Life in the Closet in '70s LA (https://www.gq.com/story/benny-safdie-joel-wachs-licorice-pizza-interview)

Paul Thomas Anderson's new film is a love letter to '70s LA, but the longtime councilman explains to the actor why his memories are more complicated.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on December 27, 2021, 06:42:34 PM
Quote from: jzakko on December 27, 2021, 01:15:22 PM
Love the detailed response Hackanut!

The running scene set to Sonny and Cher does feel like it starts off forced, but it redeems itself for me for the pure joy of it all.

It's really that first cut, from the reflection shot to her taking his hand and running, it feels like he needs to get to the next music-driven setpiece and the cut didn't quite work in the end.

For some reason my feeling is that Alana was improvising a bit with the 'did you kill someone?' part, and PTA liked it, but it didn't cut too well into the run but he liked it enough to accept that.

We also found in a recent interview that the running was going to have a bunch of dialogue as they ran, which he took out. That's fascinating to me as he often tells his actors to do a take like charades where they act out the dialogue, but that's usually just an exercise to get somewhere for when they bring the dialogue back in.

Also, after 5 viewings, I'm starting to think I won't ever really like the final shot/line.

Finally, in a long list of pitch-perfect takes, you prefer the movie would be 1.85?! I can't see it personally, does anyone else wish this were 1.85?

I've only seen it once, but the cut from her scolding him to them running is the only thing that really bugged me. It feels so jarring to me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 27, 2021, 06:44:13 PM
I love the running after prison scene for so many reasons. It's operating on many different levels.

The film is about finding temporary catharsis whenever you can as an escape from darkness in the world. In this case literally escaping prison.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 27, 2021, 06:55:25 PM
Also, am I crazy, or was Gary hesitant in leaving the jail because he wet his pants while being roughed up by the police and was embarrassed to get up only for Alana to embrace him anyway?

Sorry if this is super obvious and everyone saw it, but every time I rewatched the movie I looked for it and we don't see a wet spot from the front when he gets up, but then when he runs off with Alana we see he has a Soggy Bottom, right?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 27, 2021, 07:10:49 PM
You're right. It's a very soggy bottom. I read it the way you did, but maybe he only sweats out the back.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 27, 2021, 11:15:04 PM
Interesting interpretation of the chronology. If it really is 71-73, it makes sense given how the episodic structure feels.

"I wondered about this, as we see them bump into each other at the Teen-Age fair after not talking for a while, how long exactly was that? Reviews all say the film takes place during 1973, but I think it's actually 1971-1973. I think the picture day and trip to NY is fall '71, The Teen-Age Fair is Easter '72, the water bed business takes place through until the gas crisis which would have been fall of '73.

I know there is some fudging and some things are fake versions of real events, but when Gary discovers the waterbed in that store he's never really heard of them before. The waterbed was patented in '71 so it wouldn't make sense for someone like him to have not heard of one in '73 and get in on the "ground floor." The market was already saturated at by then. There are a lot of things that would take some time to happen (going from just getting an agent to being in a meeting with a director for example) that I the movie has to be a couple years long."

https://www.reddit.com/r/paulthomasanderson/comments/rh6pf5/comment/hopa6yv/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on December 28, 2021, 01:57:18 AM
Quote from: HACKANUT on December 27, 2021, 11:15:04 PM
Interesting interpretation of the chronology. If it really is 71-73, it makes sense given how the episodic structure feels.

"I wondered about this, as we see them bump into each other at the Teen-Age fair after not talking for a while, how long exactly was that? Reviews all say the film takes place during 1973, but I think it's actually 1971-1973. I think the picture day and trip to NY is fall '71, The Teen-Age Fair is Easter '72, the water bed business takes place through until the gas crisis which would have been fall of '73.

I know there is some fudging and some things are fake versions of real events, but when Gary discovers the waterbed in that store he's never really heard of them before. The waterbed was patented in '71 so it wouldn't make sense for someone like him to have not heard of one in '73 and get in on the "ground floor." The market was already saturated at by then. There are a lot of things that would take some time to happen (going from just getting an agent to being in a meeting with a director for example) that I the movie has to be a couple years long."

https://www.reddit.com/r/paulthomasanderson/comments/rh6pf5/comment/hopa6yv/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Gary still can't legally drive pretty late in the movie, judging by Alana's reaction when he takes the car by himself, so I think PTA just fudged the numbers a bit.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on December 28, 2021, 07:15:40 AM
I took her reaction being severe because she wants Gary to have to depend on her. He's definitely old enough to drive by that point since he tells the cops He's nearly 16 earlier in the film.
There's something with driving = power in Phantom Thread too when Alma tells Reynolds to let her drive for him.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 28, 2021, 07:49:21 AM
Quote from: HACKANUT on December 28, 2021, 07:15:40 AM
I took her reaction being severe because she wants Gary to have to depend on her. He's definitely old enough to drive by that point since he tells the cops He's nearly 16 earlier in the film.
There's something with driving = power in Phantom Thread too when Alma tells Reynolds to let her drive for him.

I liked this observation.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 28, 2021, 10:49:56 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide

THE SECOND VIDEO.

https://twitter.com/dinhster/status/1473307250282401796
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on December 28, 2021, 12:02:23 PM
Quote from: Yes on December 27, 2021, 06:44:13 PM
The film is about finding temporary catharsis whenever you can as an escape from darkness in the world. In this case literally escaping prison.

This is a great analysis
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: gaucho_marx on December 28, 2021, 01:45:22 PM
Interesting musical tidbit about this film: about the piece of music used in the teenage fair sequence, Blue Sands by Chico Hamilton, from his 1956 album Chico Hamilton Quintet, the VERY NEXT TRACK on the album is a piece called The Sage which was used in Boogie Nights when little Bill comes home to his wife fucking someone else. Side note that track, The Sage, has some cello that always reminds me of the piece used in TWBB as Daniel is dealing with HW's recent loss of hearing.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 28, 2021, 02:10:43 PM
From an interview on Inherent Vice for Wondering Sound:

Quote"A lot of the time we were shooting stuff that was silent. So there was a ton of stuff during dailies [where] there wasn't a lot of dialogue. So it was very easy to plug the iPod into the speakers and kind of navigate around, whether it was Chico Hamilton again, or weirder stuff. A lot of the songs I kept playing, like 'You Go To My Head,' or 'Two Blind Loves,' some of which ended up in the movie, some of which didn't. I remember particularly loving the feeling of 'Two Blind Loves,' and just having the knowledge of that song really was useful. There was one classical piece that I can't remember now, that I'd play during the rushes, and even though it didn't end up in the movie, it ended up informing how I shaped the mood of one of the beach scenes. So it's always useful to play with material even if it doesn't end up being used." (One song used to startling effect is "Slow Boat to China," sung in full by Philip Seymour Hoffman at the end of the film.) "What can I say? Nothing. Except maybe that I'd trade all my screenplays for a writing credit on that song. My ex-old lady Fiona [Apple] sings this song better than anyone."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 28, 2021, 02:17:59 PM
That's a great quote, I remember that interview but don't remember it well, but the original wondering sound link is dead.

Anyone know if it's archived somewhere?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Montclair on December 29, 2021, 07:21:21 AM
Saw this the weekend it first opened but didn't post my review in this thread yet:

Wow, this movie was so fun and it made me love going to the movies again(I made the mistake of seeing the awful "House of Gucci" the day before) and it made me want to be a teenager again, too! I saw this in NYC and I walked in 15 minutes early to 1970s period specific previews: "Life on Mars" music video, "Aloha Bobby and Rose" trailer, "Yours, Mine and Ours" trailer, "Adam-12" commercial for NBC that also talked about the NBC Thursday movie, ABC Sunday Night Movie commercial advertising the lineup for the year("The Longest Day", "Von Ryan's Express", "Cleopatra", "Day of the Evil Gun", etc), 1970s News clip about gas shortage with a Nixon address to the nation, "Star-Team" toy commercial with 2001: A Space Odyssey theme in it, A Barbie-like doll commercial where the doll has a pinball machine, A "Happy 1974 From Theater Management" clip, "Breezy" trailer, 1970s French music video where the man singing is superimposed into a pinball machine and so is a beautiful dancing girl in hot pants and knee high red patent leather boots and, finally, an animated commercial for "Country Boy Water Beds." These really got you into the mood of the film(and some of these clips would be featured in it as well), followed by trailers for movies coming soon('The Batman", "Red Rocket", "Nightmare Alley," etc). Plus an advertisement for a "Licorice Pizza Mixtape" with films programmed by Paul for the theater, including his own("Boogie Nights", "Inherent Vice") plus "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "American Graffiti," "Car Wash" and a few others. It really makes you excited to go to the theater.

Okay, now to the actual movie! Seeing this in 70mm really made the start of the film feel like I was watching an actual artifact from the 1970s, in the best way. This started off really strong, with effortless tracking shots that almost had an invisible style(think of the dolly shots from "The Master" and "Inherent Vice") and helped establish how Gary and Alana have instant chemistry. Cooper plays "Gary" as a very confident, optimistic hustler and Alana Haim plays "Alana Kane" as a very moody, bratty 25 year old who I forgot was in her mid twenties and at times felt like she was a teenager herself. The pacing and slice-of-life aspect, plus all of the businesses Gary starts up and leads in his precocious manner seemed like Paul smashed together "Dazed and Confused" and "Rushmore" but in his own way. The needle drops were really nice, with a mixture of songs that you rarely hear and some classics as well. There's a scene where a song by Wings plays and it's a real standout(and is still stuck in my head to this very moment). The period perfect design with the art direction and costumes was flawless and no detail was overlooked. Not a single one. Nobody does period pieces like him. The scope of this film is bigger than the trailer leads you to believe, which was a nice surprise. Also, Benny Safdie doesn't get a lot of screen time, but when he does, his character's story is the most mature and touching moment in the film, which was another surprise. And, in a way, that points to some of the problems with the movie ...

So, I love, love, love "hangout" movies. "Everybody Wants Some" and the aforementioned "Dazed and Confused" are great examples of this(Linklater has perfected them throughout his career). Along with movies like "I Vitelloni", "American Graffiti", "Metropolitan", "Sideways" and all of Eric Rohmer's masterpieces. These are not plot driven films, they're character driven mood pieces and what makes them great is the cast and the director's ability to forego plot for sharp storytelling where the editing lets scenes play out for a while, when need be, and tightly cuts from scene-to-scene, when need be, as well. I like Cooper and Alana, but this was the first PTA film where the acting from the leads wasn't brilliant. In fact, there were many scenes where it sounded like an actor saying lines instead of just inhabiting the character and making you forget you're watching a movie. When they were in scenes with stars making cameos and even the unknown actors, the difference in skill level showed. They simply got upstaged. Also, the first half was paced really well and you're just along for a fun ride from amusing episode-to-episode, but once Bradley Cooper's Jon Peters shows up, it's funny, but this is where the film becomes self indulgent and then scene after scene plays out, seems to go on and on, but leading to nowhere. I like episodic movies, but when the episodes feel a little too long and don't really reveal anything new or interesting about the characters, it feels a little tiring. Benny Safdie and Joseph Cross have a scene towards the end that made me wish the movie starred them, because they were more natural in front of the camera than Cooper and Alana. So, just imagine how it feels when Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper and Harriet Sansom Harris(god I wish she was a bigger part of this movie, she stole the show again) are on the screen. I feel like Paul, for the first time, missed the mark with casting amateurs or unproven talent in the leads(Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Blackman, Dillon Freasier, Madison Beaty, Katharine Waterston, and Vicky Krieps were all perfect and felt like they WERE the characters). Again, Alana and Cooper weren't mediocre, but they weren't great either. Alana had a few moments but it just felt like Paul let his love for his friends blind him to their limitations.

This movie was like a cameo overdose for film geeks. The Haim family and the Anderson family plus the Spielberg daughters, Jack Nicholson's son and Leonardo DiCaprio's dad really made it feel like I was watching a cinephile version of Family Feud(and I'm sure it made many struggling actors PISSED). I now know which actor played Sam Harpoon plus a familiar voice is dressed up as Frankenstein. Also, there are certain voices you hear that remind you of PTA's 90s movies and Tim Conway Jr has one of those voices. Plus, the up and coming supporting actors were really great, especially Skyler Gisondo and Nate Mann. Also, I have to say, it's refreshing to see a movie full of beautiful young women with natural faces and natural bodies who look like real, healthy people(if I see another actor with fillers and botox in a period piece that takes place 100 years ago or playing a real life character that never had any cosmetic work done, I'm gonna lose it). Interestingly enough, this movie makes several references to Jewishness in a way you rarely see in films or TV shows where being Jewish isn't what the story is about. Not sure if that's tied up in Paul's Freudian motivations for casting the daughter of his art teacher that he had a crush on in the 70s when he was a little kid, then having his late good friend's son play a 15 year old in love with the 25(or older?) character played by said daughter who looks just like her mom, or ... what? But, it was interesting. Also, the movie is clearly making fun of the idiot white guy with Yellow Fever who speaks English in an exaggerated "Asian" accent to the Japanese women in the story. It's not making fun of Asians and anyone who says it is, just wants to be offended so they can cheat their way to a Bronze medal in the Oppression Olympics. Now, as far as the age gap goes, I'll just say, there's a clear double standard at play when it comes to boys, something many of us probably already knew. If the genders were reversed, this movie doesn't get greenlit, at least not for more than a production budget of $5 million. I'll steer clear of spoilers, but when you see it, you can make up your own minds about what does or doesn't count as "innocent." Also, Alana's character being in her mid 20s and hanging out with and being possessive of a 15 year old isn't really explored, it just happens. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to write a really authentic female character. Also, the kiss at the end and her voiceover saying, "I love you Gary Valentine" made me feel uncomfortable.

All in all, though, this was a film I'd recommend for everybody to go out and see, especially if you're a fan of Paul's work. He went back to anamorphic and the 70s, but this didn't feel like a retread of "Boogie Nights" or even his style in "Magnolia." This is very much his own evolved style that he used to make his version of the hangout movies he loved. This was funny and sweet but surprisingly un-challenging for a PTA movie. What I love is when great movies leave you with a lot of questions to ponder after you see them and "There Will Be Blood", "The Master" and even "Phantom Thread" did that. This one was uncomplicated and felt like a light workout for Paul, in comparison to his other films, even "Punch Drunk Love", which was shorter but a lot more eccentric and much tighter, storytelling wise. But, Paul Thomas Anderson doing a light workout is still better than almost every other living director at the top of their game. It amazes me that the same filmmaker who did this, also made "Phantom Thread" a few years ago! That says a lot about his skill and integrity. But, there was some filler that should have been cut out(I wish Dylan Tichenor or someone like Jennifer Lame edited this) and the leads should've been actors who were much better at disappearing into the characters. "Lady Bird" isn't as artistic as this and doesn't have anywhere near the cinematography or attention to detail in production design, costumes and hair and makeup(seriously, I really felt like I was in 1973-74 via a time machine) but the performances from the young leads and the editing,(especially the editing)are much better. But, make no mistake, this was a really good movie and I can't wait to see it again. It made me want to visit the valley and run to the love of my life. If you can see it projected on film, you owe it to yourself to do so.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on December 29, 2021, 11:42:58 AM
Quote from: Montclair on December 29, 2021, 07:21:21 AM
Saw this the weekend it first opened but didn't post my review in this thread yet:

Wow, this movie was so fun and it made me love going to the movies again(I made the mistake of seeing the awful "House of Gucci" the day before) and it made me want to be a teenager again, too! I saw this in NYC and I walked in 15 minutes early to 1970s period specific previews: "Life on Mars" music video, "Aloha Bobby and Rose" trailer, "Yours, Mine and Ours" trailer, "Adam-12" commercial for NBC that also talked about the NBC Thursday movie, ABC Sunday Night Movie commercial advertising the lineup for the year("The Longest Day", "Von Ryan's Express", "Cleopatra", "Day of the Evil Gun", etc), 1970s News clip about gas shortage with a Nixon address to the nation, "Star-Team" toy commercial with 2001: A Space Odyssey theme in it, A Barbie-like doll commercial where the doll has a pinball machine, A "Happy 1974 From Theater Management" clip, "Breezy" trailer, 1970s French music video where the man singing is superimposed into a pinball machine and so is a beautiful dancing girl in hot pants and knee high red patent leather boots and, finally, an animated commercial for "Country Boy Water Beds." These really got you into the mood of the film(and some of these clips would be featured in it as well), followed by trailers for movies coming soon('The Batman", "Red Rocket", "Nightmare Alley," etc). Plus an advertisement for a "Licorice Pizza Mixtape" with films programmed by Paul for the theater, including his own("Boogie Nights", "Inherent Vice") plus "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "American Graffiti," "Car Wash" and a few others. It really makes you excited to go to the theater.

Okay, now to the actual movie! Seeing this in 70mm really made the start of the film feel like I was watching an actual artifact from the 1970s, in the best way. This started off really strong, with effortless tracking shots that almost had an invisible style(think of the dolly shots from "The Master" and "Inherent Vice") and helped establish how Gary and Alana have instant chemistry. Cooper plays "Gary" as a very confident, optimistic hustler and Alana Haim plays "Alana Kane" as a very moody, bratty 25 year old who I forgot was in her mid twenties and at times felt like she was a teenager herself. The pacing and slice-of-life aspect, plus all of the businesses Gary starts up and leads in his precocious manner seemed like Paul smashed together "Dazed and Confused" and "Rushmore" but in his own way. The needle drops were really nice, with a mixture of songs that you rarely hear and some classics as well. There's a scene where a song by Wings plays and it's a real standout(and is still stuck in my head to this very moment). The period perfect design with the art direction and costumes was flawless and no detail was overlooked. Not a single one. Nobody does period pieces like him. The scope of this film is bigger than the trailer leads you to believe, which was a nice surprise. Also, Benny Safdie doesn't get a lot of screen time, but when he does, his character's story is the most mature and touching moment in the film, which was another surprise. And, in a way, that points to some of the problems with the movie ...

So, I love, love, love "hangout" movies. "Everybody Wants Some" and the aforementioned "Dazed and Confused" are great examples of this(Linklater has perfected them throughout his career). Along with movies like "I Vitelloni", "American Graffiti", "Metropolitan", "Sideways" and all of Eric Rohmer's masterpieces. These are not plot driven films, they're character driven mood pieces and what makes them great is the cast and the director's ability to forego plot for sharp storytelling where the editing lets scenes play out for a while, when need be, and tightly cuts from scene-to-scene, when need be, as well. I like Cooper and Alana, but this was the first PTA film where the acting from the leads wasn't brilliant. In fact, there were many scenes where it sounded like an actor saying lines instead of just inhabiting the character and making you forget you're watching a movie. When they were in scenes with stars making cameos and even the unknown actors, the difference in skill level showed. They simply got upstaged. Also, the first half was paced really well and you're just along for a fun ride from amusing episode-to-episode, but once Bradley Cooper's Jon Peters shows up, it's funny, but this is where the film becomes self indulgent and then scene after scene plays out, seems to go on and on, but leading to nowhere. I like episodic movies, but when the episodes feel a little too long and don't really reveal anything new or interesting about the characters, it feels a little tiring. Benny Safdie and Joseph Cross have a scene towards the end that made me wish the movie starred them, because they were more natural in front of the camera than Cooper and Alana. So, just imagine how it feels when Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper and Harriet Sansom Harris(god I wish she was a bigger part of this movie, she stole the show again) are on the screen. I feel like Paul, for the first time, missed the mark with casting amateurs or unproven talent in the leads(Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Blackman, Dillon Freasier, Madison Beaty, Katharine Waterston, and Vicky Krieps were all perfect and felt like they WERE the characters). Again, Alana and Cooper weren't mediocre, but they weren't great either. Alana had a few moments but it just felt like Paul let his love for his friends blind him to their limitations.

This movie was like a cameo overdose for film geeks. The Haim family and the Anderson family plus the Spielberg daughters, Jack Nicholson's son and Leonardo DiCaprio's dad really made it feel like I was watching a cinephile version of Family Feud(and I'm sure it made many struggling actors PISSED). I now know which actor played Sam Harpoon plus a familiar voice is dressed up as Frankenstein. Also, there are certain voices you hear that remind you of PTA's 90s movies and Tim Conway Jr has one of those voices. Plus, the up and coming supporting actors were really great, especially Skyler Gisondo and Nate Mann. Also, I have to say, it's refreshing to see a movie full of beautiful young women with natural faces and natural bodies who look like real, healthy people(if I see another actor with fillers and botox in a period piece that takes place 100 years ago or playing a real life character that never had any cosmetic work done, I'm gonna lose it). Interestingly enough, this movie makes several references to Jewishness in a way you rarely see in films or TV shows where being Jewish isn't what the story is about. Not sure if that's tied up in Paul's Freudian motivations for casting the daughter of his art teacher that he had a crush on in the 70s when he was a little kid, then having his late good friend's son play a 15 year old in love with the 25(or older?) character played by said daughter who looks just like her mom, or ... what? But, it was interesting. Also, the movie is clearly making fun of the idiot white guy with Yellow Fever who speaks English in an exaggerated "Asian" accent to the Japanese women in the story. It's not making fun of Asians and anyone who says it is, just wants to be offended so they can cheat their way to a Bronze medal in the Oppression Olympics. Now, as far as the age gap goes, I'll just say, there's a clear double standard at play when it comes to boys, something many of us probably already knew. If the genders were reversed, this movie doesn't get greenlit, at least not for more than a production budget of $5 million. I'll steer clear of spoilers, but when you see it, you can make up your own minds about what does or doesn't count as "innocent." Also, Alana's character being in her mid 20s and hanging out with and being possessive of a 15 year old isn't really explored, it just happens. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to write a really authentic female character. Also, the kiss at the end and her voiceover saying, "I love you Gary Valentine" made me feel uncomfortable.

All in all, though, this was a film I'd recommend for everybody to go out and see, especially if you're a fan of Paul's work. He went back to anamorphic and the 70s, but this didn't feel like a retread of "Boogie Nights" or even his style in "Magnolia." This is very much his own evolved style that he used to make his version of the hangout movies he loved. This was funny and sweet but surprisingly un-challenging for a PTA movie. What I love is when great movies leave you with a lot of questions to ponder after you see them and "There Will Be Blood", "The Master" and even "Phantom Thread" did that. This one was uncomplicated and felt like a light workout for Paul, in comparison to his other films, even "Punch Drunk Love", which was shorter but a lot more eccentric and much tighter, storytelling wise. But, Paul Thomas Anderson doing a light workout is still better than almost every other living director at the top of their game. It amazes me that the same filmmaker who did this, also made "Phantom Thread" a few years ago! That says a lot about his skill and integrity. But, there was some filler that should have been cut out(I wish Dylan Tichenor or someone like Jennifer Lame edited this) and the leads should've been actors who were much better at disappearing into the characters. "Lady Bird" isn't as artistic as this and doesn't have anywhere near the cinematography or attention to detail in production design, costumes and hair and makeup(seriously, I really felt like I was in 1973-74 via a time machine) but the performances from the young leads and the editing,(especially the editing)are much better. But, make no mistake, this was a really good movie and I can't wait to see it again. It made me want to visit the valley and run to the love of my life. If you can see it projected on film, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Weren't you the one insisting that this was a minor movie and not worth seeing in a theater?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 29, 2021, 12:44:58 PM
https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/licorice-pizza/ (https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/licorice-pizza/)

Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza by Vikram Murthi

In December 1999, the Los Angeles Times profiled director Paul Thomas Anderson ahead of his third feature, Magnolia, under the headline "The New New Wave." The article placed Anderson among an ascendant peer group of youngish white male directors like David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, and Darren Aronofsky, most of whom had recently released films. Crucially, however, it also positioned Anderson as the leader of this pack, someone whose talent was so widely recognized that he had the ear of Francis Ford Coppola and dined with Warren Beatty. The profile characterized him as a classic '70s New Hollywood auteur, à la Robert Altman or Martin Scorsese, someone with complete creative freedom and an exacting level of control over every aspect of the production and release of his films, down to editing the trailer himself.

The article's writer, Patrick Goldstein, goes to some lengths to depict Anderson as a brash kid caught up in the Hollywood scene that he had always orbited, having grown up in the San Fernando Valley with a showbiz father. The young director wants people to see him at dinner with his famous friends. He's slightly jealous that everyone recognizes Quentin Tarantino when they walk down the street together but not him. However, at age 29, he is self-aware enough to be wary of "the spotlight," despite wanting attention and acclaim. The piece ends with Anderson asking rhetorically, "Is it possible that when you get older you get a little more clarity on these things?"

That the answer to that question is yes has been borne out by his post-Magnolia output, as each of Anderson's subsequent films evince greater emotional maturity and formal control. They trade in the influence-laden hyperactivity of his '90s work for an understated spontaneity, and Anderson has slowly settled into a more confident, less needy register, which allows him to explore unfamiliar territory. His latest film, Licorice Pizza, returns to the San Fernando Valley setting of his youth and his early films: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love. Yet despite the youth of the film's protagonists, Licorice Pizza doesn't display any juvenile tendencies. It's the work of a 51-year-old former wunderkind, now established as an American auteur, who might indeed have gained a little more clarity in the intervening decades.

Set in 1973, Licorice Pizza follows the extended flirtation between wayward twentysomething Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the pop-rock group Haim) and 15-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), a child actor and hustling entrepreneur whose slick confidence affords him professional opportunities and the trust of many adults far beyond his years. Alana and Gary's passionate yet unconsummated romance makes up the spine of Licorice Pizza, but Anderson uses it to explore various liminal states of being, especially the trying, unpredictable period between childhood and adulthood. Gary uses his preternatural charm to move through adult spaces with a transparent desire to rid himself of his boyhood limitations. Alana, however, lives in the world that Gary desperately wants to conquer and sees how unfulfilling and dissatisfying it can be. Both are impulsive and reckless in their own ways, but they share an intriguingly lopsided attraction for each other. Gary falls for Alana because he sees a "mature" woman who can facilitate his entry into adulthood, whereas Alana falls for Gary because she envies his naive view of the grown-up world. The irony, of course, is that Alana is far less mature than she appears, and Gary (despite his relative inexperience) has savant-like street smarts that will inevitably take him far. The swooning romanticism, the twisted relationship dynamics, and the celluloid vision of Anderson's hometown during a time he never experienced all make for a syncretic and career-spanning work. In a way, it's a culmination of the director's interests and his most personal film yet.

Anderson structures Licorice Pizza as a series of anecdotes from Gary and Alana's lives, with each sequence resembling a story told second- or thirdhand. The pair meet when Alana, a photographer's assistant, shows up at Gary's high school for class picture day; he asks her out to dinner, an invitation she uneasily accepts. Sometime later, Alana acts as Gary's chaperone on a trip to New York so he can appear in a variety show with Lucy Doolittle (Christine Ebersole). Gary and Alana eventually start a waterbed business and deliver one to a volatile, lascivious Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), the movie producer, boyfriend of Barbra Streisand, and suspected inspiration for Warren Beatty's character in Shampoo. At one point, Gary is falsely accused of murder; at another, Alana auditions for a film opposite a legendary actor named Jack Holden (Sean Penn). Later, she accompanies Holden on a risky motorcycle stunt at a local golf course. It's unclear how much time passes between any of these episodes. Licorice Pizza plays like a slideshow of memories, with each moment seamlessly progressing into the next.

Since Gary and Alana reside on the edges of Hollywood, their adventures are mostly rooted in actual showbiz tall tales that Anderson exaggerates for comedic or dramatic effect. Hoffman's character is based on the formative experiences of Gary Goetzman, a former child actor who became a music supervisor and producer for Tom Hanks and director Jonathan Demme, a hero and mentor of Anderson's. Goetzman really did start a waterbed company (and later an arcade) and actually delivered one to Jon Peters (Peters was reportedly much nicer in real life). Many of the characters in Licorice Pizza have real-life counterparts: The cantankerous Lucy Doolittle is a stand-in for Lucille Ball, with whom Goetzman acted in the film Yours, Mine and Ours; Jack Holden is William Holden, and the film Alana auditions for is Clint Eastwood's Breezy, about a romance between a middle-aged divorcé and a younger woman; the motorcycle stunt is based on a similar legend featuring a drunken Evel Knievel.

With Licorice Pizza, Anderson mines the space between fiction and reality to unearth an ineffable authenticity, one that's more concerned with lived experience than literal truth. It's not just that almost everything that occurs in the film feels ripped from someone's life; Anderson also populates Licorice Pizza with regular professional collaborators and trusted members of his personal life to lend the film an even more intimate atmosphere. Having directed roughly half of Haim's music videos, he not only cast Alana as the lead but included her entire family (two sister bandmates and their mother and father) in the production as well. Andy Jurgensen, the film's editor, previously cut Anderson's Haim videos as well as his documentary Junun and his music videos for Radiohead. Anderson's own family, including his four children and their friends, all play bit parts or appear as extras. Most poignantly, the presence of the young Hoffman casts a subtly spiritual effect over the film, reuniting the director with one of his most cherished actors via his son.

Anderson's choice of collaborators, combined with filming in the San Fernando Valley, creates a cozy, familial energy, as if he'd literally made Licorice Pizza in his own backyard. The film's palpable tenderness arises from an amalgamation of formal elements. The camera work emphasizes long takes and scenes, not unlike Anderson's Haim videos, especially the 14-minute short performance film "Valentine," which creates a fluidity of motion between the actors and their environments. Similarly, Anderson's use of '70s-era camera lenses lends a warm texture to the film's imagery, rendering it less artificially crisp. Licorice Pizza sports a wistful yet energetic soundtrack, contrasting cuts from well-known artists like Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and the Doors with tracks from more off-the-beaten-path artists, including Clarence Carter and Taj Mahal.

Of course, the film's most winning element, the one most easily perceived on the surface, is the chemistry between Haim and Hoffman, which feels natural and unaffected from the first moment they share the screen together. It helps tremendously that the two look and sound like real people instead of spotless models, but crucially, neither actor reaches for the big emotions and gestures most associated with on-screen romances. Instead, their relaxed rapport communicates bountiful, unexpressed desire. Much hay has been made on social media and in the entertainment press out of the characters' age disparity, and while Anderson recognizes that teenagers have sexual desires for adults ill-suited to them, the relationship here remains fairly chaste. (It's worth noting that the film acknowledges the discomfiting nature of Gary and Alana's relationship, along with the importance of consent and the historically lecherous behavior of older men toward younger women.) Yet Anderson conveys the obvious: These two have made an indelible impression on each other, and even if they're not meant to be together, they're still bonded for life.

Though its earnest appreciation for its early-'70s period setting might suggest otherwise, Licorice Pizza is hardly a hollow exercise in nostalgia. The film's affectionate tone and Gary and Alana's various high jinks thinly disguise an air of sexual menace that pervades a Hollywood environment crowded with creeps. Licorice Pizza opens with an innocent meet-cute between Gary and Alana, but it's punctuated by a photographer slapping Alana on the ass; she barely registers it, indicating its frequency. During her audition, Holden leers at Alana with the practice of a veteran, insisting on referring to her as "Breezy" rather than her real name. Later, when he liquors her up, Holden feeds her "war stories" from his life about the dangers of the jungle, but they're really just taken from his on-set experiences. Bradley Cooper's hilarious, show-stopping performance as the explosive Peters aside, the character is a walking sexual harassment lawsuit, such as the one filed against the real-life Peters in 2011, which resulted in a judge ordering him to pay $3.3 million to a former assistant. There is no moral editorializing from Anderson in these scenes; this behavior is simply expected in a culture of unchecked fame and considerable wealth.

Anderson depicts the Hollywood of Licorice Pizza as one in a state of flux: a time when the American film industry firmly moved out of the confines of the Production Code era into unmarked territory. But the scene is still filled with old-timers like Holden and director Rex Blau (Tom Waits, playing some kind of John Huston figure) who throw their weight around. A child actor with show business aspirations, Gary speaks the industry language and knows he still has to pay respect to the old guard. While he can move through their thicket of codes and traditions with ease, he also knows his verve will outlast the numerous aging authorities blocking his path.

Alana, however, remains stolid, a defiant young woman seeking purpose and identity, who nonetheless demands respect from the world Gary idolizes and she disdains. She admires Gary's can-do attitude, guile, and ingratiating nature, yet she constantly pursues men who represent his opposite. That list includes Lance (Skyler Gisondo), another child actor with more swagger and professional success than Gary; the older and supposedly wiser Jack Holden; and Joel Wachs (Ben Safdie), a mayoral candidate whom Alana begins to work with because she sees him as a man of honest conviction—someone who wants to give back to the community instead of profiting off it like Gary with his various businesses and con-man-like exterior.

All these men disappoint her, but especially Wachs, who invites Alana out for a drink but only to press her into service as an emergency beard for his wounded boyfriend, who's tired of being hidden away. Another real-life character, Wachs was a 30-year city councilman in Los Angeles who wasn't open about his sexuality until 1999; Safdie plays him as someone so committed to assimilating that he would thoughtlessly hurt his loved ones for a shot at mainstream recognition. It's after this dispiriting experience that Alana runs back into the arms of Gary, now the proprietor of a pinball emporium located in the same spot as his waterbed business, who's slowly learning that his dominion extends only to people close to his own age. Generous adults humor his ambitions, but when he tries to control a particularly aggressive older patron at the arcade, he's immediately belittled because, well, why would someone listen to a kid, even if he's in a suit?

This undermining of Gary's authority suggests Anderson's true intentions and indicates that Licorice Pizza, while generally exuberant and lush, isn't some uncritical fantasy. Alana and Gary's romance wears an innocent veneer of young, misguided love, but it reveals itself to be another of Anderson's explorations of codependency. The two share a mutual fantasy built around combativeness and dissatisfaction, one destined for collapse. Licorice Pizza's bright, luminous present inevitably conceals a cloudy future. Unlike in other, more typical coming-of-age films, neither Alana nor Gary learns any lessons from their time together. They only know what Anderson has been professing, from Boogie Nights through Phantom Thread: Love hurts, but that's what makes it fun.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on December 29, 2021, 02:06:53 PM
https://newsconcerns.com/we-need-to-talk-about-the-love-stories-in-licorice-pizza-and-red-rocket/ (https://newsconcerns.com/we-need-to-talk-about-the-love-stories-in-licorice-pizza-and-red-rocket/)

by Freddie Johnson

When does entertainment cross the line from fun and cheeky to problematic? That's the question that sprung to mind while watching two of the most lauded comedies this year, "Licorice Pizza" and "Red Rocket." On one hand, both films feature flawed protagonists striving for their versions of the American dream in ways that are irresistible to audiences. On the other hand, these stories involve romantic relationships with minors.

Amid the escapades of a young entrepreneur and former child actor (Cooper Hoffman) in "Licorice Pizza" and a washed-up porn star's (Simon Rex) devil-on-a-tightrope act in "Red Rocket," we see them pursue romances that are questionable, at best. And the critical discussion about this has been lackluster at best.

While no film should be tasked with presenting sanitized reflections of humanity with morally sound characters, viewers should still take it upon themselves to question the images they consume and not strictly leave it up to the film, or its characters, to address those conflicts.

After all, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson waits about an hour into "Licorice Pizza" before he even broaches the question of decency when it comes to the budding romance between 15-year-old Gary (Hoffman) and 25-year-old photographer Alana (Alana Haim). "Do you think it's weird that I hang out with Gary and his friends all the time?" she asks her sister.

The obvious answer is: Uh, yes. Definitely. And to her credit, Alana at first repeatedly rejects Gary's incessant flirtations and proposals to be her significant other. But ultimately, she, like much of the audience apparently, can't refuse his charm and they begin a friendship. As we watch the two engage in shenanigans in the 1970s-era San Fernando Valley — like speeding backward in a moving van in an attempt to dodge Barbra Streisand's unhinged lover (Bradley Cooper) — it becomes clear that we're supposed to root for them to be together.

Their relationship has certainly won over a large swath of audiences. This is "the stuff that young love is made of," writes the Daily Beast. There's a lot to unpack here with both Alana and Gary being grouped as "young," even though she admittedly matures a lot in this film, when non-white minors are often treated as adults.

But it is equally hard to ignore not just an age gap but the reality that Alana is an adult and Gary is a child at the beginning of the film, no matter how enjoyable it might be to watch their love blossom over time, which is a strangely nebulous yet important concept in the film. That is further complicated when Gary walks away when Alana refuses to show him her breasts, so she caves in and does so. Because until that point, they could almost get away with being a passionately platonic pair.

Why doesn't she more vehemently decline this suggestion? That is one of many questions left unanswered in this nostalgia-soaked film that doesn't think about anything too deeply, least of all race and age. It simply exists on cool vibes and a paper-thin-yet-pleasant plot as we watch its central duo eventually seal the deal with a kiss.

"There's no line that's crossed, and there's nothing but the right intentions," Anderson told The New York Times in response to his protagonists' disparate ages. "That's not the story that we made, in any kind of way. There isn't a provocative bone in this film's body."

But just because the film — and its storyteller — doesn't take itself too seriously doesn't mean there's no space for open dialogue. While it's good, even necessary, to show disagreeable situations like the one at the core of "Licorice Pizza," it's also crucial to be discerning about it. We should ask: Should we really want this love to happen?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 29, 2021, 03:01:19 PM
Film "journalists" are really down bad this year. A lot of bad faith writing. It's just contradictory to compare Licorice Pizza to Red Rocket.

Now I understand why others would have issues with this film. Not dismissing them. They're going to say what they want and have their opinions. Nothing will change. It's fine. Personally, I had no issues. The casual racism of the era is depicted as to showcase the film as non-nostalgic and romantic. The restaurant owner exploits culture and his partner for his business, which is in contrast to Gary's escapades. Gary and Alana's relationship is clearly given evidence that it's not sustaining (like every relationship in the film) and the attraction is a dependency based on manipulated validation. They're lost souls who can't help but intersect in various stages of growth in their stagnant lives. Yes, the boobs scene is inappropriate but I don't buy the sentiment the film doesn't take any of these moments or characters seriosuly. Danger is all around the corner when you're growing up. Sometimes it isn't obvious and you're hurt. What people should focus on is how the boobs scene is developed, the previous scene is Gary pestering her to show him her boobs. Yes, she's an adult and shouldn't. But it would be a less interesting film otherwise. She regrets all of her decisions and lives in a world of domineering men.

And Red Rocket is a much different, worse film. Although I liked many aspects of it, the film is very confused. There's blatant allusions to Trump with Simon Rex's behavior. He grooms a 17 year old girl with the purpose of personal exploitation and career gain. However,
Spoiler: ShowHide
the young girl shifts the dynamic and is the one who gives into the grooming, being the one to sexually come onto him, etc. The film wants to test your sympathy and empathy in regards to these two characters. She is eventually interested and open to idea of a career in porn


So that's about the last I'll say of this. I don't take any of this material lightly
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Pringle on December 29, 2021, 03:22:31 PM
It sure seems like the more seriously we take pop culture in America — the more fiercely we debate it, the more importance we place on it in relation to our society and our identity — the worse our actual lives get. Imagine if all of the energy expended on this shit was actually directed toward affecting material change toward the lives of Asian Americans or the lives of people who were victimized by older people when they were underage. Instead, we'll all just move on to the next movie and get outraged over that.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 29, 2021, 03:30:32 PM
Pringle, that's a comic-book view of the world.  :yabbse-grin: Because clickbait websites are drive like sharks to the most sensationalist nothing news possible doesn't mean that people aren't doing real work about these issues.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 29, 2021, 03:33:47 PM
All you have to do is just ignore clickbait headlines and Twitter!

Trust me, it's soo easy to not engage
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Montclair on December 29, 2021, 03:48:33 PM
Quote from: Pringle on December 29, 2021, 11:42:58 AM
Quote from: Montclair on December 29, 2021, 07:21:21 AM
Saw this the weekend it first opened but didn't post my review in this thread yet:

Wow, this movie was so fun and it made me love going to the movies again(I made the mistake of seeing the awful "House of Gucci" the day before) and it made me want to be a teenager again, too! I saw this in NYC and I walked in 15 minutes early to 1970s period specific previews: "Life on Mars" music video, "Aloha Bobby and Rose" trailer, "Yours, Mine and Ours" trailer, "Adam-12" commercial for NBC that also talked about the NBC Thursday movie, ABC Sunday Night Movie commercial advertising the lineup for the year("The Longest Day", "Von Ryan's Express", "Cleopatra", "Day of the Evil Gun", etc), 1970s News clip about gas shortage with a Nixon address to the nation, "Star-Team" toy commercial with 2001: A Space Odyssey theme in it, A Barbie-like doll commercial where the doll has a pinball machine, A "Happy 1974 From Theater Management" clip, "Breezy" trailer, 1970s French music video where the man singing is superimposed into a pinball machine and so is a beautiful dancing girl in hot pants and knee high red patent leather boots and, finally, an animated commercial for "Country Boy Water Beds." These really got you into the mood of the film(and some of these clips would be featured in it as well), followed by trailers for movies coming soon('The Batman", "Red Rocket", "Nightmare Alley," etc). Plus an advertisement for a "Licorice Pizza Mixtape" with films programmed by Paul for the theater, including his own("Boogie Nights", "Inherent Vice") plus "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "American Graffiti," "Car Wash" and a few others. It really makes you excited to go to the theater.

Okay, now to the actual movie! Seeing this in 70mm really made the start of the film feel like I was watching an actual artifact from the 1970s, in the best way. This started off really strong, with effortless tracking shots that almost had an invisible style(think of the dolly shots from "The Master" and "Inherent Vice") and helped establish how Gary and Alana have instant chemistry. Cooper plays "Gary" as a very confident, optimistic hustler and Alana Haim plays "Alana Kane" as a very moody, bratty 25 year old who I forgot was in her mid twenties and at times felt like she was a teenager herself. The pacing and slice-of-life aspect, plus all of the businesses Gary starts up and leads in his precocious manner seemed like Paul smashed together "Dazed and Confused" and "Rushmore" but in his own way. The needle drops were really nice, with a mixture of songs that you rarely hear and some classics as well. There's a scene where a song by Wings plays and it's a real standout(and is still stuck in my head to this very moment). The period perfect design with the art direction and costumes was flawless and no detail was overlooked. Not a single one. Nobody does period pieces like him. The scope of this film is bigger than the trailer leads you to believe, which was a nice surprise. Also, Benny Safdie doesn't get a lot of screen time, but when he does, his character's story is the most mature and touching moment in the film, which was another surprise. And, in a way, that points to some of the problems with the movie ...

So, I love, love, love "hangout" movies. "Everybody Wants Some" and the aforementioned "Dazed and Confused" are great examples of this(Linklater has perfected them throughout his career). Along with movies like "I Vitelloni", "American Graffiti", "Metropolitan", "Sideways" and all of Eric Rohmer's masterpieces. These are not plot driven films, they're character driven mood pieces and what makes them great is the cast and the director's ability to forego plot for sharp storytelling where the editing lets scenes play out for a while, when need be, and tightly cuts from scene-to-scene, when need be, as well. I like Cooper and Alana, but this was the first PTA film where the acting from the leads wasn't brilliant. In fact, there were many scenes where it sounded like an actor saying lines instead of just inhabiting the character and making you forget you're watching a movie. When they were in scenes with stars making cameos and even the unknown actors, the difference in skill level showed. They simply got upstaged. Also, the first half was paced really well and you're just along for a fun ride from amusing episode-to-episode, but once Bradley Cooper's Jon Peters shows up, it's funny, but this is where the film becomes self indulgent and then scene after scene plays out, seems to go on and on, but leading to nowhere. I like episodic movies, but when the episodes feel a little too long and don't really reveal anything new or interesting about the characters, it feels a little tiring. Benny Safdie and Joseph Cross have a scene towards the end that made me wish the movie starred them, because they were more natural in front of the camera than Cooper and Alana. So, just imagine how it feels when Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper and Harriet Sansom Harris(god I wish she was a bigger part of this movie, she stole the show again) are on the screen. I feel like Paul, for the first time, missed the mark with casting amateurs or unproven talent in the leads(Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Blackman, Dillon Freasier, Madison Beaty, Katharine Waterston, and Vicky Krieps were all perfect and felt like they WERE the characters). Again, Alana and Cooper weren't mediocre, but they weren't great either. Alana had a few moments but it just felt like Paul let his love for his friends blind him to their limitations.

This movie was like a cameo overdose for film geeks. The Haim family and the Anderson family plus the Spielberg daughters, Jack Nicholson's son and Leonardo DiCaprio's dad really made it feel like I was watching a cinephile version of Family Feud(and I'm sure it made many struggling actors PISSED). I now know which actor played Sam Harpoon plus a familiar voice is dressed up as Frankenstein. Also, there are certain voices you hear that remind you of PTA's 90s movies and Tim Conway Jr has one of those voices. Plus, the up and coming supporting actors were really great, especially Skyler Gisondo and Nate Mann. Also, I have to say, it's refreshing to see a movie full of beautiful young women with natural faces and natural bodies who look like real, healthy people(if I see another actor with fillers and botox in a period piece that takes place 100 years ago or playing a real life character that never had any cosmetic work done, I'm gonna lose it). Interestingly enough, this movie makes several references to Jewishness in a way you rarely see in films or TV shows where being Jewish isn't what the story is about. Not sure if that's tied up in Paul's Freudian motivations for casting the daughter of his art teacher that he had a crush on in the 70s when he was a little kid, then having his late good friend's son play a 15 year old in love with the 25(or older?) character played by said daughter who looks just like her mom, or ... what? But, it was interesting. Also, the movie is clearly making fun of the idiot white guy with Yellow Fever who speaks English in an exaggerated "Asian" accent to the Japanese women in the story. It's not making fun of Asians and anyone who says it is, just wants to be offended so they can cheat their way to a Bronze medal in the Oppression Olympics. Now, as far as the age gap goes, I'll just say, there's a clear double standard at play when it comes to boys, something many of us probably already knew. If the genders were reversed, this movie doesn't get greenlit, at least not for more than a production budget of $5 million. I'll steer clear of spoilers, but when you see it, you can make up your own minds about what does or doesn't count as "innocent." Also, Alana's character being in her mid 20s and hanging out with and being possessive of a 15 year old isn't really explored, it just happens. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to write a really authentic female character. Also, the kiss at the end and her voiceover saying, "I love you Gary Valentine" made me feel uncomfortable.

All in all, though, this was a film I'd recommend for everybody to go out and see, especially if you're a fan of Paul's work. He went back to anamorphic and the 70s, but this didn't feel like a retread of "Boogie Nights" or even his style in "Magnolia." This is very much his own evolved style that he used to make his version of the hangout movies he loved. This was funny and sweet but surprisingly un-challenging for a PTA movie. What I love is when great movies leave you with a lot of questions to ponder after you see them and "There Will Be Blood", "The Master" and even "Phantom Thread" did that. This one was uncomplicated and felt like a light workout for Paul, in comparison to his other films, even "Punch Drunk Love", which was shorter but a lot more eccentric and much tighter, storytelling wise. But, Paul Thomas Anderson doing a light workout is still better than almost every other living director at the top of their game. It amazes me that the same filmmaker who did this, also made "Phantom Thread" a few years ago! That says a lot about his skill and integrity. But, there was some filler that should have been cut out(I wish Dylan Tichenor or someone like Jennifer Lame edited this) and the leads should've been actors who were much better at disappearing into the characters. "Lady Bird" isn't as artistic as this and doesn't have anywhere near the cinematography or attention to detail in production design, costumes and hair and makeup(seriously, I really felt like I was in 1973-74 via a time machine) but the performances from the young leads and the editing,(especially the editing)are much better. But, make no mistake, this was a really good movie and I can't wait to see it again. It made me want to visit the valley and run to the love of my life. If you can see it projected on film, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Weren't you the one insisting that this was a minor movie and not worth seeing in a theater?

No, I said it looked and sounded like it was minor in comparison to PTA's past work, which is what I also said in this very review. I decided to see it anyway at the theater and I did like it a lot, but I'm still much more excited about that challenging, bigger script he was having trouble with before he decided to take a detour and make Licorice Pizza.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 30, 2021, 03:47:17 PM
Probably Day 1 or 2 of shooting.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on December 30, 2021, 05:30:34 PM
This is from a mixed review that brought down the Metacritic score to 89, but as someone else here who's struggling with the ending and what PTA is trying to say with it, it was interesting to me.

Spoiler: ShowHide
QuoteAnd while the film's central dynamic, for the most part, sticks with "besotted teenage boy and bemused woman", it does reach a point where Anderson simply gives up and gives in to Gary's own self-aggrandizing fantasy. Where exactly Alana stands from that point on doesn't seem to matter all that much – it's a good enough fate simply to be seen and adored, even if all that's really being perceived is a reflection.


The full review: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson-b1983850.html

Obviously,
Spoiler: ShowHide
they don't REALLY end up together in the end
but one of the main criticisms is that other than the
Spoiler: ShowHide
freak false arrest, Gary goes through the whole film basically doing whatever and getting everything he wants.
So, it makes me even more confused about the ending. Can we *really* say that this film is Alana's story? I think I agree with Drenk (can't remember if he said it here or in the shoutbox) the film would've been better if it had just been told fully from one of their points of view. And the ending strongly suggests that it should've been Gary's.

I've been critical of his writing/handling of female characters here before. I think he's genuinely made an effort with these last 2 films to get better in that department but I still don't think he's there yet. He's made them more prominent but not necessarily more three-dimensional IMO. Hopefully, he's working through it (even at the expense of the films having a few more glaring flaws/stumbles) to become an even better, more well-rounded writer/filmmaker.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 09:38:45 PM
I saw it for the third time tonight. First time on the screen, finally. It's clear to me that this is Alana's story. After all the ending is her professing her love for Gary after having seen Joel and Matthew's love go stifled. One can argue whether it's right or wrong. It feels like a couple years have passed making Gary legal. But that's never outright said.

On this third time I had less of a problem with the mock Japanese scene. It's still sticks out like a sore thumb but I think if you take each line as it is especially in the first scene, it feels a little bit more innocuous. The first scene is punctuated by a ridiculous Japanese karate type sound. I go back and forth on this obviously but I think that's just because PTA has successfully walked a tightrope here. Did it need to be in the movie? No. Would it be disingenuous to have left it out for fears of cries of racism? Yes.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 30, 2021, 10:14:34 PM
Whether or not the Japanese scene is funny or not is absolutely valid. I think the scene adds context to the era and correlates well to Gary/Alana's relationship. An exploitative businessman. I also like the 2nd scene when Alana properly bows and shows cultural respect. Also plays well to her background and the Jewish scenes.

As for the ending meaning Gary gets everything he wants? Well, throughout the film he's shown as a shortfuse and all his businesses quickly shutter. Even during pinball scene, he's arguing and combative with the clients.
Spoiler: ShowHide
Alana calls him idiot when he introduces her as "Alana Valentine"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 30, 2021, 11:19:29 PM
Where are people getting the time-jump ideas from? What makes anyone think this takes place over more than one year?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 30, 2021, 11:26:20 PM
Some people desperately want him to be 18 by the end of the film?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:27:12 PM
I mean, Yours, Mine, and Ours was 1968, the modern waterbed was patented in San Francisco in 1971, and the oil crisis was 1973.  So... it doesn't seem that long ago that Gary did the former, and the latter is in the film.  To me, it FEELS like a couple years had to have passed, if only because we at least see Gary through the motions of all of these grand schemes, all of which have overhead which would take so much more than just a couple months to get up and running.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 30, 2021, 11:31:25 PM
But the gas crisis stuff happens at the height of the waterbed arc.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:32:16 PM
That doesn't change anything.  And pinball was legalized in 1974.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 30, 2021, 11:34:32 PM
I think it's a mistake to try and get the timeline of the film to match history that closely.  It's a movie--not a documentary--time fudging is allowed.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 30, 2021, 11:38:30 PM
Not to mention that PTA has noted time-jumps quite specifically in the films that do span time (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood). And Greg Valentine doesn't age by the end ;p
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:38:58 PM
Without anything else to go on, it makes sense that the film spans over a few years more than it doesn't.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 30, 2021, 11:40:03 PM
Quote from: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:38:58 PM
Without anything else to go on, it makes sense that the film spans over a few years more than it doesn't.

They hand out Pinball Palace fliers at the school. Do you think Gary graduated? lol
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:40:45 PM
He has his FRIENDS hand out the flyers.  Lawyered.  :)  And there's not anything wrong with him being on campus if he had graduated.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on December 30, 2021, 11:42:35 PM
(https://i.ibb.co/ZX3T02L/4gp3h4.jpg)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 30, 2021, 11:42:59 PM
Goetzman's adventures were probably over a few years.  I don't think Valentine's were.  If 3 years had gone by he'd have his Driver's Licence, would have bought a car, and wouldn't be running all over the Valley.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:45:16 PM
Alana ran too.  And she's 25.  Or is it 28?  Alana ran too.  And Gary did have his license at the end.

And Gary calls her "old lady" -- I mean "milady".  Hehe.  She's obviously over the hill now that she's pushing 30.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 31, 2021, 12:39:08 AM
I'll never be able to square the idea inherent in the "multiple year(s) theory" that that volatile relationship would continue like that over a period of 3 years.   
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 31, 2021, 12:55:49 AM
Quote from: ono on December 30, 2021, 11:38:58 PM
Without anything else to go on, it makes sense that the film spans over a few years more than it doesn't.

Honestly without anything else to go on, it makes more sense that the film takes place over a few months, though I think these longer-timeline theories are interesting w/r/t the historical background.

The whole thing has a summer feel for starters, and it's hard to imagine they are going in and out of different seasons.

There isn't a single time marker except '73, and the film isn't explicitly a biopic and doesn't need to get dates of pinball or Yours, Mine, and Ours right. And if it did, that would mean almost the whole first act of the film is late-sixties, pre-Manson, for it to be around the release of that film. Does that feel right that all that is happening offscreen but the only big current events they mention are the gas crisis, waterbeds, and pinball machines?

Also Gary doesn't look like he is comfortable behind the wheel at all at the end there and I think it's pretty clear he does not have his license.

But the most damning thing to me is that Alana claims to be 25 in the very first scene, and late in the film again with Peters.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 31, 2021, 01:11:06 AM
Wasn't Alana clearly lying about her age? In the opening she hesitates before saying 25 and quickly corrects herself by saying 25 to Jon Peters
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 04:32:52 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
The timeline in the movie is as abstract as Alana's character; or, well, you could describe her as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (or Bratty Pixie Dream Girl since it seems to fit more accurately PTA's fantasy) designed to be awkwardly delivered to Gary at the end in what, I hope, will stay the weakest ten minutes of his career.

Alana is between 25 and 28 and Gary is a teenager. Nobody is claiming that Reynolds is 80 years old by the end and Alma 56 despite the fact that Phantom Thread has the same dreamy, narrative flow. And when The Master does a time jump toward the end, Freddie looks like shit, and The Master has clearly used that time to create a school in London, something that follows clearly the narrative: he got arrested for his sketchy business. Since LP is not bothered with characters, time becomes a Big Nothing; we can cope and rationalize the aesthetic by saying it fits the elastic time of youth, but that would be an underwhelming conclusion…

Emily Watson in PDL is as much a fantasy as Alana, but she doesn't fit the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope and the movie is entirely from Barry's PoV. She's often described as an alien, too. It's almost science-fiction. Imagine PDL from the point of view of Watson but filmed in the same style. You've got a movie with a weak character and a style that doesn't fit.

His best female character is Alma, and the character relies heavily on Vicky Krieps (...a general thing with PTA: ambiguities are sometimes black zones filled by the performances) and what Tichenor came up with in the editing room: Alma poisons Woodcock halfway through the movie, she isn't *only¨ lovingly attending her sick lover. Amy Adams is great in The Master, but you can imagine how flat it could be if a lesser actress were playing a Boss Wife. That said, the scene in the bathroom, as it is written, is fantastic. There would always be that, at least.

Alana Haim is correct. But the way she gushes at Sean Penn like a twelve years old makes the Manic Pixie Dream Girl even more apparent. Or her angry fits supposed to be quirky or charming: a lot of energy, but only that...

PTA also writes her as the butt of a lot of jokes in the movie. Like: "Haha, she is silly! Not mature! Haha!", so I don't even blame her: the material is weak. I think the first twelve minutes would work as a great short story ending with the reversal at the end—she becomes suddenly the "kid"—because what's funny is the CONCRETE SITUATION and DYNAMIC between them, and she's also shown as annoyed, amused, self-loathing, reflexive in a short amount of time. The rest of the movie: Jealous, Pissed off, Jealous While Drunk, HAPPY RUNNING, a vehicle for lust (ex: that shot of Alana watching Gary before he kisses her, the way he lovingly frames them touching their legs) and amusement.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jzakko on December 31, 2021, 07:12:53 AM
Quote from: Yes on December 31, 2021, 01:11:06 AM
Wasn't Alana clearly lying about her age? In the opening she hesitates before saying 25 and quickly corrects herself by saying 25 to Jon Peters

If she's lying in both of those scenes, she's most likely the same age in both those scenes, even if that age is 28. If she claims to be 25 at the beginning and the end and both times she's within Gary's earshot, you'd think it takes place within one year, no?

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on December 31, 2021, 09:37:47 AM
Many of us are probably tired of this debate by now (perhaps only speaking for myself), but, Your Honor, I'd like to submit this into the record in the interest of documenting the discourse at this time and in this place.

Analysis: A Close Reading of 'Licorice Pizza's' Japanese Wife Scenes  |  The Hollywood Reporter
by Rebecca Sun

Spoiler: ShowHide
Licorice Pizza, the 1970s San Fernando Valley-set coming-of-age comedy from Paul Thomas Anderson, one of today's most respected and versatile auteurs, is already a fixture in this season's awards race, including landing eight Critics Choice nominations, accolades from critics groups and a best film win from the National Board of Review. That makes the movie a prime target for rival campaigns looking to seize on two of its perceived points of scandal: the 10-year age gap between central "couple" Alana (Alana Haim) and Gary (Cooper Hoffman), and the inclusion of a white character who repeatedly breaks into an exaggerated caricature of a Japanese accent.
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The age gap discourse is inevitably baked into the film's central premise, but the latter controversy feels like an unforced error. Two scenes, which make up a sliver of Licorice Pizza's 133-minute runtime, have marred many of its otherwise rave reviews (the film has a 92 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and resulted in the watchdog group Media Action Network for Asian Americans decrying any awards recognition for the movie. The scenes do not appear to be integral to advancing the plot, as MANAA noted, and serve mostly as "color" to flesh out the film's hyperspecific, historically inspired setting — as well as to play into the well-worn trope of deploying casual anti-Asian racism in the name of art.

The scenes in question both involve side character Jerry Frick, the real-life owner of Mikado, the first Japanese restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. Played by John Michael Higgins, Jerry is first introduced with his wife Mioko (Yumi Mizui) in the offices of Gary's mother Anita (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), a publicist working on promotional copy for the restaurant. After Anita reads the copy, Jerry turns to Mioko and asks for her opinion in a jarring, unnatural accent. Mioko responds sternly in Japanese, which is not subtitled.

Later, Jerry appears again when Alana and Gary go to Mikado to ask about placing ads for their waterbed business on the restaurant's tables. Gary greets the woman standing next to Jerry as Mioko, but Jerry responds, "No, no, no, Mioko's gone. This is my new wife, Kimiko." As before, Jerry uses the same accent to ask his wife for her opinion about the business proposition, and Kimiko (Megumi Anjo) responds in un-subtitled Japanese. But this time, Alana asks for a translation, to which Jerry shrugs: "It's hard to tell, I don't speak Japanese."

As tedious and undermining as it is to attempt to explain comedy, it's clear that Jerry's final line of dialogue is intended to be the punchline, the payoff for the vignette sketched by the two scenes. It's slightly less clear who is intended to be the butt of the joke, but there's no doubt that Jerry remains the most buffoonish presence in the room, so he is certainly a candidate. Jerry's wives are presented as disapproving straight men, and it's ambiguous whether or not they are in on the joke.

Yet regardless of whether the audience is laughing with or at Jerry (or, as some viewers have reported, sitting in stunned discomfort), Jerry's accent is identical to the syntax and tone used to mock and demean Japanese, Chinese and other Asian people across the U.S. for the past two centuries. The accent is undeniably grotesque, and its mere presence in a film that takes a rose-colored view of the old days is triggering for some viewers.

Some Licorice Pizza defenders have interpreted the scenes' inclusion as "tell it like it was" social critique, and Anderson told The New York Times that his intention was "to be honest to that time," adding that he has witnessed people speak English to his own Japanese mother-in-law in such a way.

Regardless of whether or not one finds the Mikado scenes offensive, they serve as the latest evidence that the portrayal of anti-Asian expression remains a go-to creative device for American auteurs. Two awards seasons ago, it was Quentin Tarantino's usage of Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) as a foolish foil for his fictional hero Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Tarantino has since continued to double down on his characterization of the real-life Asian American icon, insisting simultaneously that he was deploying narrative license and that Lee was an egomaniac. Also in 2019, Guy Ritchie's gangster comedy The Gentlemen lobbed racist barbs at its Asian antagonists (repeatedly referred to as "Chinamen"), the old-fashioned yellow peril excused as part of Ritchie's signature shock dialogue and true to the movie's criminal lowlife characters.

These three films have all incorporated Asian signifiers to serve different means, but what they have in common is a disinterest in exploring the interiority of those characters themselves as well as a blindness to the real-world context of the audience receiving their stories.

Not much has been written about Jerry Frick's real-life wives. His first, Yoko, sued him for divorce in 1968, a year after he began dating his eventual second wife, Hiroko, who also was married at the time. Jerry and Hiroko were wed in 1971 and separated a decade later, when they would spend the next several years tied up in court disputes over division of property and spousal support.

A much richer vein of material exists in the public domain about Anderson's Japanese mother-in-law, whom he referenced when talking about the scenes with the Times. Kimiko Kasai is a retired jazz singer who began performing in Tokyo clubs at age 16. Signed to Sony Music Japan in 1972, she moved to the United States in 1978 and has recorded with such jazz legends as Herbie Hancock, Gil Evans and Paulinho Da Costa. After 30 years, she stopped performing for the simple reason of needing a life change. "In Japan there is a phrase, owari no bigaku, which means 'beautiful end,'" she said in a 2018 interview. "Quietly, I put a 'full stop' to all my musical activities."

The fascinating lives of the two Mrs. Fricks and Kimiko Kasai — excerpted for a gag in Licorice Pizza — merit narratives of their own, whether or not they're told by Anderson, who as a filmmaker has the prerogative to tell whatever stories resonate with himself. Ultimately, an industry — which includes studio gatekeepers, financiers and the elite critical class — interested in putting its avowed principles of inclusion into practice ought to consider whether it has elevated all possible voices to the level of auteurship, with all the resources and creative freedom such a designation entails.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on December 31, 2021, 09:46:52 AM
Two things: One, given that there is a correlation between the order of events in the film and the order of events in real life (that is, there is no fudging of the order in which things occur) it is less likely that the correlation isn't intentional.

Two, the scene in the truck with Jon Peters is improv.  The instructions were, just hit on her.  So he asks Alana her age, and being new to improv, she answers her real age, and then corrects herself when she catches herself.  She answers her real sign.  She says she has two sisters.  True, and true in the movie by coincidence.  So now then: because this was improv, it's not in the script.  So, the only instance of Alana's age as canon is at the beginning of the film.  We can't attach Alana's age to canon here, but we can attach it to intention after the fact.  That it is vague lends more to PTA being sloppy with the facts.  To what end, I don't know.  This is one of my frustrations with PTA at times.  He leaves a lot of things open to interpretation.  These fuzzy, hazy corners of his picture.  Is it laziness/underwriting or something else?  He doesn't have the same attention to detail as someone like Kubrick.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 10:56:24 AM
Really struck me a few hours after seeing LP that the previous character of PTA's that Alana most closely resembles is Freddie Quell; she's like a gender-swapped, less conspicuously unstable version of the same personality. They're both these lonely casualties of a wider historical reality unfolding around them and passing them by, searching for something to cling onto in all the most unlikely places. The end of LP rings deliberately hollow, I think; Alana is really left as adrift as Freddie at the end of The Master. She gets back with Gary on the rebound from her disappointment in Wachs and what he represented for her, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that their relationship is likely to break down again soon afterwards.

Still think that people are underselling how sad LP is. For me, at least, that was much more its prevailing register than knockabout comedy. In fact, I do wonder if I saw the same movie as a lot of the reviewers! This is partly why I am baffled as to some of the ongoing criticism of the age gap and Asian racism elements – it seemed to me that the whole film was quite deliberately and insistently hinting at something very dark and fucked up under the surface of all these characters and their moment in time?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 10:58:54 AM
QuoteThey're both these lonely casualties of a wider historical reality unfolding around them and passing them by[...]

You have to be more specific. One is a traumatized veteran after World War II, the other is...?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 11:05:36 AM
Quote from: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 10:58:54 AM
QuoteThey're both these lonely casualties of a wider historical reality unfolding around them and passing them by[...]

You have to be more specific. One is a traumatized veteran after World War II, the other is...?

Obviously superficially they're very different, but the personality type is the same: both are adrift and looking for something to give their lives a meaning. For Freddie this becomes the cult that Dodd is building, and with Alana it's a succession of things, all bound up in the character of Gary whom she resentfully looks at as a potential anchor: she tries to share in his enthusiasms – acting and commerce – and then when that doesn't work out she tries to develop her own – politics – but there's that same nagging disillusionment underneath that keeps returning.

It's there in other PTA characters, too: that sense of going after something because you think it will help to complete you, but in the end it's a hollow victory or a disappointment e.g. Plainview. But the particular kind of pinball quality of Alana and Freddie makes them seem quite similar to me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 11:16:43 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I see. That works wonderfully for me in The Master because the historical context echoes Freddie's state of mind and his relationship with Dodd is a better romance/friendship/codependency (how similar they are despite acting differently, how they're both yearning for freedom despite one being a prisoner of his own cult). And Alana doing whatever the plot demands of her is a symptom of PTA doing a collage of different episodes: the characters have to be there somehow. Once again: I felt the melancholy in the beginning with that long look she gives to Gary in the restaurant after he says she will never forget him, followed by Jonny's track, but the rest of the movie is light, happy, and triumphant. There's a short moment where she feels self-pity after the truck sequence but its sole purpose is to separate Gary and Alana for them to find each other at the end.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 11:25:07 AM
Quote from: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 11:16:43 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
I see. That works wonderfully for me in The Master because the historical context echoes Freddie's state of mind and his relationship with Dodd is a better romance/friendship/codependency (how similar they are despite acting differently, how they're both yearning for freedom despite one being a prisoner of his own cult). And Alana doing whatever the plot demands of her is a symptom of PTA doing a collage of different episodes: the characters have to be there somehow. Once again: I felt the melancholy in the beginning with that long look she gives to Gary in the restaurant after he says she will never forget him, followed by Jonny's track, but the rest of the movie is light, happy, and triumphant. There's a short moment where she feels self-pity after the truck sequence but its sole purpose is to separate Gary and Alana for them to find each other at the end.


Strongly disagree that the rest of the film is 'light, happy and triumphant'. Alana is repeatedly thwarted in her attempts to form an identity for herself: when she tries to be an actress, she gets hit on and forgotten by the Hollywood actor; when she joins in Gary's waterbed business it ends with her almost killing herself in a reckless stunt with a truck and feeling stupid for hanging out with a bunch of teenagers; and when she tries to get involved in politics she is humiliated when she realises that her boss' ultimate interest in her is that she should serve as a 'beard' to help him in his personal campaign. The movie moves so fast and busily that a lot of this sadness didn't really sink in for me until after it had finished and it had rattled around in my head for a few hours.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 11:47:28 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
The tone of the movie is light, happy, and ultimately triumphant. It's also not concerned with any form of reality. All the sisters living with their parents past their is never treated seriously, never a story. It's just a COVID bubble. When Barry Eagan gets attacked by a bunch of blond brothers, this isn't dangerous. The same goes for the truck: it looks like a videogame speedrun. Yes, the movie mistreats her with men, but the movie ends with her returning to Gary because "men are shits". Everything from the shots, the music, the writing is triumphant. That's a very dubious development. I see nothing organic in Alana's character, what happens to her and what she does.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 11:58:12 AM
I didn't see the tone of the film as 'happy', to be honest. It's certainly often amusing or outright funny, but I didn't perceive a lot of happiness, more frustration, disappointment etc.

If I had to sum up the movie's theme, I'd say that it's about how almost any prolonged exposure to the 'adult' world is a ritual of disillusionment. It's all about how no one has really got their shit together. That just doesn't strike me as the vibe of a film that is straightforwardly 'happy' or 'triumphant', whatever those things mean.

Also, a small point, but I just accepted that all the daughters would be living with the parents, since the implication is that the parents are quite conservative in a way and that the daughters are as yet unmarried. Didn't have a problem with that.

And the ending seemed laced with irony to me, in the same way that the supposedly happy ending of Phantom Thread was ironic: we all but know that the dysfunctional cycle is going to repeat. Why wouldn't it? What has really changed?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 12:05:29 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
The disillusionment of the adult world is a theme, but it is incarnated with the with men mistreating Alana, a narrative plot in service of the plot leading to a twenty-five/eight years old romantically running toward a teenager and kissing him. That's why I said it is dubious.

I agree that adulthood is a myth. I also believe that "age is an illusion" as a rhetoric tool to get involved with teenager is fucked up.  :yabbse-grin:

I also believe that the ending of Phantom Thread is happy; twisted, but happy. They found a key to the toxicity through toxicity. It's about making peace with the asymmetry.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 12:16:27 PM
I read the ending differently. The very fact that it is dubious and highly unlikely to work long-term seemed like precisely the point to me i.e. Alana has made another impulsive and misguided decision off the back of her devastating experience with Wachs, which didn't lead to where she thought it was going.

I wonder if expectations have got something to do with some people's reactions to this. It is possibly the fault of the marketing in part, which understandably plays down the PTA-ness of the film i.e. its knottiness. I went in expecting the marketing to be misleading and for this to be another rather melancholy and discombobulating PTA flick like IV and that was largely what I got (with perhaps a little more of a knockabout element).

If I had a criticism, it's that precisely how Gary is able to fund all of these business ventures could've been explored a lot more; it's all left rather vague and improbable. It didn't really bother me, but I'd be prepared to call it a weakness in the writing, I guess partly excused by time shortages.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 01:04:36 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
The ending reads as an "epiphany". Two lovers can't express their love and have to hide, so why should Alana lie to herself about loving Gary? They belong to each other. It's Fate. Yes, they're fucked up! But they should be fucked up together! That's the ending, and PTA seems to have lost the plot. Alana is never totally at that point before. Why does she happily run with Gary after he's arrested? No idea. PTA doesn't bother. She was scared, I guess. But she's still only flirting with the guy, trying to avoid "Fate". The ending of LP shows a new step. And PTA is with them at 100% even if they won't end up together.

There's a movie where the cycle repeats in a very, very melancholic way, and it's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: it's text. They have the tapes. They know they'll hate each other guts, and yet they're not at that point yet. So they repeat the cycle. The movie is also very self-conscious about Winston playing a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. First of all, she's Joel's memory, so a projection, and she directly adresses the fantaisies of men.

I was thinking about the religious family explaining why the sisters live at home and it still doesn't work. In the seventies, they would have been married by now. Especially if the family is very religious. Also, her father wouldn't have let Alana fly with a boy (...age definitely doesn't matter for religious patriarchs), so there's conflict there, an opportunity for Alana to make a choice even if her family isn't pleased. I've grown up in a strict, religious family and I've been infantilized: the movie isn't interested in this. My opinion is that PTA has too much respect for the Haim family, for Cooper Hoffman, to dig deeper. And his statement about only working with "family" in the future worries me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 01:20:55 PM
Wellll, agree to disagree. Guess it just goes to show how two people can take away wildly different interpretations from the same film.

I liked it a lot, especially as I've reflected on it. I have a lot of time for this new, more improvisatory-feeling period in his career.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on December 31, 2021, 02:13:21 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Yep, certainly. Like the age difference, the movie tries hard to bury all the sadness of the premise to me. I would barely call it an undertone. I've just read a LB review that shares this sentiment:

QuoteGoes to considerable lengths to (mostly successfully*) distract from or suppress the profound sadness and immaturity, if not also potentially undiagnosed mental illness, of a floundering adult who plays house with a teenage boy while herself living at home with her parents well into her mid-to-late twenties. On some level, while there are a few legitimately great performances here in spite of the cringe factor(s) and a few scenes that gave me an honest giggle (i.e. the female casting agent with the quivering lip and the dangling cigarette), I would have been far more interested in am honest depiction of the same. In other words, to show someone who is genuinely wrangling with the combination horror and heartache of the proposed scenario. Instead of cutesy and saccharine, it would be dangerous, uncomfortable, and... probably wouldn't sell.


Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on December 31, 2021, 04:12:00 PM
Hmm, I just don't agree that it does shy away from those things. I think they're built into the material. The way that review suggests the film could've been made would certainly be a different choice, but it would seem a more obvious and belaboured one to me. I found the movie plenty sad and unsettling beneath the surface just as it is. Appreciate many others won't agree though. Just happy that there's a movie out that it's worth arguing and disagreeing over. Hard to think of how you could have a convo of this kind about the new Spider-Man!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on December 31, 2021, 04:26:00 PM
Yeah I think it's especially sad and melancholy
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 01, 2022, 09:36:36 PM
Great write up by Lauren Wilford, critic and author



A warm tribute to a kind of relationship I feel like lots of us have stuffed way in the back of a mental drawer: the ill-advised crush turned briefly, oddly, achingly mutual, transmuted not into a romantic relationship but into an ambiguous, charged entanglement.

Alana's reluctant seduction by Gary in the first few scenes strikes me as incredibly psychologically realistic. She outlines a boundary upfront and continues verbally repeating it, but by her actions edges toward it out of curiosity. She's reflexively annoyed at first, but as she becomes more impressed by his gumption, the annoyance becomes more of an act. She's caustic in order to maintain plausible deniability, mostly to herself, about her interest in Gary. She's lightly thrilled by the attention, and mostly just interested that something is happening at all. Why does she show up for their "date"? In large part, I imagine, for the hell of it. To be the subject of interest of someone who interests you is one of the most interesting things there is. She decides to let something happen, even as nothing "happens."

A mutual inappropriate crush is propelled by an engine of flattery. If you are not "supposed" to be desired by someone who nevertheless desires you, you must, presumably, be desirable indeed. Being a forbidden crush object is a high-amperage emotional experience, and if two people can provide that for one another, they can generate enough voltage to power their lives on for a while.

The question of what each of them is to one another is always a live one. The early plot development of Alana serving as Gary's legal chaperone is apt; it doesn't really matter what they are to one another, so long as they are something. Gary is thrilled to have gotten her to agree to this; soon after, Alana is thrilled to be party to Gary's performance in an official capacity. "I'm the chaperone," Alana whispers, annoyingly, to no one. Later on, she'll emphasize that they're "business partners." The movie makes sure to have other people ask Gary and Alana about their relationship status several times, and the answer never matters—it's that the question was provoked that counts.

The threats to Gary and Alana's connection aren't framed so much as threats to a relationship, but threats to their status as exclusive crush object—and thus their respective understandings of themselves as interesting and worthy. And maybe, in the end, that's what lots of romantic jealousy is. It's not about what they're doing with someone else so much as about what that says about you.

After being impressed by Gary's initial romantic pitch, Alana realizes that Gary is an enthusiastic pitch-man wherever he goes. A key threat to Alana's understanding of the relationship comes from a friend she runs into in the bathroom of the Mikado restaurant. The friend is more familiar with Gary's schtick than Alana is comfortable with; Alana has to confess that she's working with Gary, who, she's quick to observe, "actually a great businessman." The friend cuts Alana to the quick with a casual comment about Gary's sexual proclivities. In this moment, Alana has to recast her experience with him; perhaps she's not special to Gary at all, but just a ready mark. And she can't confront Gary about it, because it would reveal that she cares.

Alana has her revenge in the Felliniesque Tail o' the Cock sequence with Sean Penn, which is wonderful for several reasons—the lighting, the editing, the dance of eyes!—but no moment is better than the climax, in which Alana is unceremoniously flung from the back of Jack Holden's motorcycle, and a Paul McCartney needle drop heralds the arrival of Gary as romantic savior. "Let Me Roll It" is an exquisite tonal match for the scene: a big satisfied grin of a song, the central guitar lick like a repeating nod of affirmation. It's a dumbstruck love song with simplistic, childlike lyrics, heart on its sleeve and hands in its pockets at the same time: "You gave me something I understand / You gave me lovin' in the palm of my hand / I can't tell you how I feel / my heart is like a wheel / let me roll it to you." This is, in the course of the movie, a kind of cathartic reunion for the non-couple, but they do very little at all—it's enough to lay next to each other, content in the tacit admission of what's really been going on here. All it is is two people who have been buzzingly, distractingly aware of one another's attention in the midst of other things, finally basking in that awareness and that attention, for a moment.

I love, though, that we get to see some of Alana's relationship with other men, because this makes clear that she hasn't worked out how to deal with male attention broadly, and that Gary is only a part of that. She lives in an ambient atmosphere of objectification, as seen in the first scene with her Tiny Toes boss, or later with Jon Peters; how she feels about this is unclear. She responds to the romantic advances of aging star Jack Holden much the way she responds to Gary's—flattered by the attention, she decides to let something happen out of curiosity. But she can eventually tell that Jack isn't interested in her as a person ("Do you even remember what my real name is?"), which spoils it. Something similar happens with Joel Wachs, who provides a compelling adult alternative to Gary in the latter half of the film. Like Gary, he's got a vision for his life, which appeals to her; better than Gary, it's a wide-reaching, altruistic vision that makes Alana think bigger about her future. The idea that Wachs could be interested in her personally is enough to briefly, almost, turn her life around. But his attention, like Holden's, proves to be instrumentalist, too. Running back into Gary's arms is Alana returning to the person who actually made her feel special, even if imperfectly.

There are some things in common with Phantom Thread here. Both center on a relationship in which the terms are undefined, which gives things a possessive charge. (Compare Alma's "I live here" scene with the princess of France to Alana's bikini-clad confrontation with Gary's same-age love interest: "Is she your girlfriend or something?" "No, she's my manager. Does it seem like she is?" "Kind of!") Both films also feature a female character who gets sucked into the vortex of a talented male character's business enterprise, mostly because she doesn't have a lot else going on, which both empowers her and also, eventually, leads her to get edgy and defensive. Both films are about love as brinksmanship. And both films also feature a devastating mid-film humiliation scene for the female character (the asparagus scene in Phantom Thread; the opening night of Fat Bernie's in Licorice Pizza).

The whole arc of scenes with Alana in that lilac bikini are an acutely observed rendering of feminine shame: wearing a daring outfit, and going from feeling really sexy to feeling completely pathetic over the course of some hours. Starting with those loving close-ups of Alana's face as she receives Gary's praise in the morning, followed by her subtle misgivings apparent at having to manage a business in her underwear in the afternoon, and then watching her make a clown of herself at the afterparty, gyrating in front of a junior-high band, flinging herself at a random guy on the street, the day finally ending, bathetically, with her father's perfect "What the fuck!" It's miserable and it's genius, and a great example of how a director can use costuming to tell a story. Anderson is always great with subjectivity, and really lets us experience this stupid night WITH Alana, rather than making her the object of our scorn or pity. (I'm doing less writing about the filmmaking than I'd usually like, but that's easier for me to do on a second watch, and I wanted to engage with the thematic stuff this time).

But overall, one of the big differences between Licorice Pizza and Phantom Thread (and indeed, between LP and most of the rest of Anderson's catalogue) is the lack of tension, the lower stakes. PTA movies may be a little shaggy and weird, but they're almost always tense, whatever else they are. There's something different about Licorice Pizza, something looser and easier. Anderson is still carefully arranging the emotional notes in the scenes, but it's as if the characters themselves know that this stuff isn't life-or-death. These are just some things that happens sometimes, worth observing. In the Anderson catalogue, maybe the thing it most reminds me of is the flashback in Inherent Vice where Doc and Shasta never do find the dope.

This is a movie about someone who doesn't have their emotional shit together, who hasn't figured out how to live in the adult world, and as such I think it's compassionate and critical in the right measures. And actually, scratch that, because it makes it sound like I'm evaluating the movie based on whether it's conveying an appropriate moral message. Rather, better, I think it's an honest film. I think this stuff happens, often kind of like this, and you can see why. If you're saying you can't, I kind of think you're lying.

Is it romantic? Is it a love story? Kind of. Structurally, it's a romance, and there's all that running. I have found it sort of disingenuous when people (including cast and crew!) have described the movie as about "friendship" or "connection," or something; it seems very clear to me that it's about attraction, but not about sexual attraction, per se. It's much more about what infatuation represents, existentially. Infatuation is about wanting someone, about being pulled toward them like a magnet, but it's also about your magnetic pull on them. Wanting to be wanted is a little adolescent, but it's also quintessentially human, and it's an itch most of us have found weird ways to scratch in this life at one point or another. At its worst, this kind of thing is self-involved. But at its best, infatuation is like the McCartney song; two people giving each other something, unable to verbally express their gratitude, rolling their wheel hearts to one another.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 01, 2022, 11:42:22 PM
A fascinating peek into the real Jerry Frick/Mikado.  (Make sure to read the entire thread and follow the tangents.)

https://twitter.com/mollylambert/status/1477482380793319424

Maybe this?  https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1477482380793319424.html
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 02, 2022, 01:39:38 PM
Let's talk about the theatre marquee. 

You can't convince me that Paul chose that film just to pinpoint the narrative at a specific time.  Too many other things (eg, the needle drops) are working on multiple levels....

So, does "Live and Let Die" describe the relationship?   ("Live it and then let it run it's inevitable course.")  Is Gary--in his white suit-a kind of Bond-ian character?  (That feels like a stretch.)  And what of "The Mechanic"?

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 02, 2022, 01:50:27 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on January 02, 2022, 01:39:38 PM
Let's talk about the theatre marquee. 

You can't convince me that Paul chose that film just to pinpoint the narrative at a specific time.  Too many other things (eg, the needle drops) are working on multiple levels....

So, does "Live and Let Die" describe the relationship?   ("Live it and then let it run it's inevitable course.")  Is Gary--in his white suit-a kind of Bond-ian character?  (That feels like a stretch.)  And what of "The Mechanic"?

Thoughts?

If Gary is a kind of Moore's Bond, does that mean Alana could be the Spy who Loves him?  :ponder:

("Are you a spy? Are you here to destroy my evening, and possibly my entire life?")
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 02, 2022, 01:53:37 PM
He's not a spy.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 02, 2022, 02:11:35 PM
He does tell Alana "I'm not a secret agent"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 02, 2022, 02:41:59 PM
You're right; forgot about that line.  It's gotta go deeper than that, tho...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Shughes on January 02, 2022, 07:05:54 PM
Finally caught this today (in the UK).

Loved it and can't wait to watch again.

Spoiler: ShowHide
About the ending - is there any chance that the kiss is a fantasy? Of his/hers? There's something about the shot construction that suggests it could be. We cut from them running, to the pinball palace/kiss, but end on them running again. Like they haven't arrived at the pinball palace yet...

Also, I know this has been discussed (I've been dipping in and out trying to avoid spoilers) but I'm interested in whose film we think this is.

There's an argument that it's Gary's - he's the first and last person we see, suggesting point of view. And if the kiss IS a fantasy it could be his.

But there's also a strong(er) argument that it's Alana's film - she drives a lot of the action. Once she is in the film do we ever spend time with Gary when she's not there?

Also (as someone here pointed out) the final scene seems to be a direct reaction to seeing a stifled relationship (Wachs) and her actions stem from this - the kiss is real, she decides not to let her own love be stifled (I love this, and it's great fucking writing - one thing reflects/affects the other).

Maybe we shouldn't get hung up on whose film it is and just say it's a two hander, and enjoy the central relationship.

I found the film melancholy and sad at times, despite a lot of laughs.

Lastly, as much as I enjoyed seeing B Cooper and Sean Penn in a PTA film, this just made me want to see him work with them as lead characters. Something they can all get their teeth into. I think the balance of these extended cameos are about right, any more in this film and it would detail that central relationship. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 02, 2022, 07:25:50 PM
I definitely think the ending is
Spoiler: ShowHide
fantastical. Throughout the movie they both manipulate and tease themselves to behave in the specific manner they perceive each other, this dream-like temporary dream-like fantasy that escapes reality. The ending is this big classic rom-com ending which is a great irony. And the ending almost concludes on 2 separate moments--Gary's fantasy (?) inside the shop (in which alana still calls him an idiot) and Alana's fantasy running.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 06:00:13 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Just read this in a five stars review of the movie.

QuoteThe takeaway is if all men are children, might as well choose the actual child if he's the one that genuinely loves you.

This is unfortunately the major focus and final point of the movie. And it sucks. Embarrassing male fantasy.

And I have to quote this eloquent, yet insane first paragraph from Lauren Wilford'review on Letterboxd:

QuoteA warm tribute to a kind of relationship I feel like lots of us have stuffed way in the back of a mental drawer: the ill-advised crush turned briefly, oddly, achingly mutual, transmuted not into a romantic relationship but into an ambiguous, charged entanglement.

At least, the first review is honest about what the movie portrays. To pretend that an ill-advised crush is comparable to being attracted to a teenager is a stretch beyond belief. That way, you can project your life experience into the characters while ignoring Gary's age. I suppose that she isn't assuming that we've all been in love with teenagers. But the movie welcomes that kind of projection, though. Gary is a "teenager" and Alana is an "adult". They shouldn't be together...but should...they're soulmates...it's fate...Isn't life a bitch to constantly break them apart...Adulthood is a myth...
So even Lauren's analogy falls flat. The movie doesn't think this is ill-advised at all. They belong to each other. It's simply not correct. (Everybody around Alana is a cheerleader, so...not much pushback, actually, she could have kissed him earlier.)

You'd note that the openly romantic of Licorice Pizza being denied its romance is also very dishonest. It's only an "entanglement". But don't describe that kind of writing as "mental gymnastics" even though the performance is worthy of a gold metal.

 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 03, 2022, 11:48:51 AM
Quote from: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 06:00:13 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Just read this in a five stars review of the movie.

QuoteThe takeaway is if all men are children, might as well choose the actual child if he's the one that genuinely loves you.

This is unfortunately the major focus and final point of the movie. And it sucks. Embarrassing male fantasy.

And I have to quote this eloquent, yet insane first paragraph from Lauren Wilford'review on Letterboxd:

QuoteA warm tribute to a kind of relationship I feel like lots of us have stuffed way in the back of a mental drawer: the ill-advised crush turned briefly, oddly, achingly mutual, transmuted not into a romantic relationship but into an ambiguous, charged entanglement.

At least, the first review is honest about what the movie portrays. To pretend that an ill-advised crush is comparable to being attracted to a teenager is a stretch beyond belief. That way, you can project your life experience into the characters while ignoring Gary's age. I suppose that she isn't assuming that we've all been in love with teenagers. But the movie welcomes that kind of projection, though. Gary is a "teenager" and Alana is an "adult". They shouldn't be together...but should...they're soulmates...it's fate...Isn't life a bitch to constantly break them apart...Adulthood is a myth...
So even Lauren's analogy falls flat. The movie doesn't think this is ill-advised at all. They belong to each other. It's simply not correct. (Everybody around Alana is a cheerleader, so...not much pushback, actually, she could have kissed him earlier.)

You'd note that the openly romantic of Licorice Pizza being denied its romance is also very dishonest. It's only an "entanglement". But don't describe that kind of writing as "mental gymnastics" even though the performance is worthy of a gold metal.

 


Time to move on Drenk or you might get sick from worrying too much.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 11:59:22 AM
Quote from: PaulElroy35 on January 03, 2022, 11:48:51 AM
Quote from: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 06:00:13 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Just read this in a five stars review of the movie.

QuoteThe takeaway is if all men are children, might as well choose the actual child if he's the one that genuinely loves you.

This is unfortunately the major focus and final point of the movie. And it sucks. Embarrassing male fantasy.

And I have to quote this eloquent, yet insane first paragraph from Lauren Wilford'review on Letterboxd:

QuoteA warm tribute to a kind of relationship I feel like lots of us have stuffed way in the back of a mental drawer: the ill-advised crush turned briefly, oddly, achingly mutual, transmuted not into a romantic relationship but into an ambiguous, charged entanglement.

At least, the first review is honest about what the movie portrays. To pretend that an ill-advised crush is comparable to being attracted to a teenager is a stretch beyond belief. That way, you can project your life experience into the characters while ignoring Gary's age. I suppose that she isn't assuming that we've all been in love with teenagers. But the movie welcomes that kind of projection, though. Gary is a "teenager" and Alana is an "adult". They shouldn't be together...but should...they're soulmates...it's fate...Isn't life a bitch to constantly break them apart...Adulthood is a myth...
So even Lauren's analogy falls flat. The movie doesn't think this is ill-advised at all. They belong to each other. It's simply not correct. (Everybody around Alana is a cheerleader, so...not much pushback, actually, she could have kissed him earlier.)

You'd note that the openly romantic of Licorice Pizza being denied its romance is also very dishonest. It's only an "entanglement". But don't describe that kind of writing as "mental gymnastics" even though the performance is worthy of a gold metal.

 


Time to move on Drenk or you might get sick from worrying too much.

Too bad I don't have breasts or you would have made a demeaning comment about them, right?  :yabbse-smiley:

And I'm commenting a long, in depth review that has been massively retweeted by critics yesterday, there's another place for quoting random reactions; I'm sorry if you're bored with the main dynamic of the movie and how it is discussed.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 03, 2022, 07:41:14 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 11:59:22 AM
Quote from: PaulElroy35 on January 03, 2022, 11:48:51 AM
Quote from: Drenk on January 03, 2022, 06:00:13 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Just read this in a five stars review of the movie.

QuoteThe takeaway is if all men are children, might as well choose the actual child if he's the one that genuinely loves you.

This is unfortunately the major focus and final point of the movie. And it sucks. Embarrassing male fantasy.

And I have to quote this eloquent, yet insane first paragraph from Lauren Wilford'review on Letterboxd:

QuoteA warm tribute to a kind of relationship I feel like lots of us have stuffed way in the back of a mental drawer: the ill-advised crush turned briefly, oddly, achingly mutual, transmuted not into a romantic relationship but into an ambiguous, charged entanglement.

At least, the first review is honest about what the movie portrays. To pretend that an ill-advised crush is comparable to being attracted to a teenager is a stretch beyond belief. That way, you can project your life experience into the characters while ignoring Gary's age. I suppose that she isn't assuming that we've all been in love with teenagers. But the movie welcomes that kind of projection, though. Gary is a "teenager" and Alana is an "adult". They shouldn't be together...but should...they're soulmates...it's fate...Isn't life a bitch to constantly break them apart...Adulthood is a myth...
So even Lauren's analogy falls flat. The movie doesn't think this is ill-advised at all. They belong to each other. It's simply not correct. (Everybody around Alana is a cheerleader, so...not much pushback, actually, she could have kissed him earlier.)

You'd note that the openly romantic of Licorice Pizza being denied its romance is also very dishonest. It's only an "entanglement". But don't describe that kind of writing as "mental gymnastics" even though the performance is worthy of a gold metal.

 


Time to move on Drenk or you might get sick from worrying too much.

Too bad I don't have breasts or you would have made a demeaning comment about them, right?  :yabbse-smiley:

And I'm commenting a long, in depth review that has been massively retweeted by critics yesterday, there's another place for quoting random reactions; I'm sorry if you're bored with the main dynamic of the movie and how it is discussed.

Im not bored of discussing the film or even the age gap which is interesting as thats a huge point of the film. . However the whole thing of saying the film shouldnt have had an age gap is so stupid. People now for some reason are acting like immoral characters should not be in films which is fucking mad.

People just giving reviews by writing " cant believe theres an age gap this film and everyone involved are despicable " just shows to me how people completely missed the point and dont look further then stuff on the surface.

The reason this discourse is weird is that saying people who love the film or Paul or the people involved are in some way backing the bad actions of characters is so mind-numbingly asinine.

I have no personal problem with you drenk or anyone who doesnt want to watch a film for whatever reasons i respect that. Paul is a diverse filmmaker thats why i love his work and anyone else like that. Just dont try and die on the hill of saying films cannot depict certain actions by characters. At the end of the day thats trying to censor art which is just wrong.





Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Dr_Chile on January 03, 2022, 11:57:48 PM
 
Spoiler: ShowHide
 The ending of Licorice Pizza might be the best ending of Paul Thomas Anderson's career. I found it very haunting and sweet. I don't think Alana explicitly says that she loves Gary. Isn't it said as a voiceover, implying that this is all a dream? Something didn't seem right at Fat Bernie's Pinball. You see the entire cast of the movie lingering in the background. The weird lighting added with no one paying any attention to Gary's management style suggests that this is some kind of dream or at least a heightened sense of reality. The greatest teenage daydream. It reminded me of the Mayham episode on The Sopranos where Tony is about to step into that weird country club that's clearly some kind of purgatory, hell, or afterlife. Remember how frightened he was? This is obviously much more happier and less terrifying than that.

To all of the prudes and normies out there: this ain't for you! I wanted to stand up and cheer when I saw the both of them kiss. Movies, baby! Don't you love 'em??
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 04, 2022, 02:05:53 AM
Just checked.  Alana actually says it.  You can see her lips moving.  Not a voiceover.  Went back and looked at the backgrounds of the Fat Bernie's scenes and I'm not really seeing any of the cast lurking there either.  Pretty sure this is reality, else Gary wouldn't have had such an unpleasant time trying to maintain the crowd.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 04, 2022, 02:36:10 AM
Spoiler: ShowHide
Exactly 45% of the movie is a dream. The waterbed store with DiCaprio is only Gary sleepwalking. The rest is an inception.

Glad to be a normie if teenage daydreams and contrived romcom endings where people run into each other arms aren't made for me—there are atypical aspects in Licorice Pizza, and that's definitely not that.

May have been your first romcom, Dr Chile. Maybe only PTA could make you watch that. See you in 2024.

EDIT:

Here is another quote from a Letterboxd review that I find relevant. Because...predatory romance depicted as a cute, toxic relationship aside...the writing is weak, which means he will get his Oscar this time.

QuoteAnd that's possibly the biggest problem with Licorice Pizza. Anderson's writing. I found it particularly lazy compared to the past, constructed from an entitled point of view. Uninspired is the first adjective that comes to mind. "Forgive me if this doesn't bite, I am still Paul Thomas Anderson. Remember Magnolia?". Another part that doesn't work very well is the supposed "romance" between Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. It lacks of chemistry and truth to the point of feeling artificial. Was that on purpose to expose the lack of maturity with Alana's personality, and the evident age issue with Hoffman? Maybe, but for that to click with the audience you'll have to do a bit better than filming this recycled portrait of jealous and possessive lovers at every chance you get.

It's as if being afraid of the fact that Alana is in love with Gary from minute fifteen made him repeat the same trite jealousy trope over and over again. Even when Gary almost gropes her while she's sleeping, it is portrayed as his tender yearning for Alana while the cool needle drop is playing. By the end, PTA is convinced by the innocence and charming ridiculousness of the romance. I'd love to see the shooting script.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 04, 2022, 07:43:29 PM
SPOILERS

I liked this movie (non-spoiler review here (https://xixax.com/index.php?topic=13743.msg375087#msg375087)), but I have so much to say about the age gap that this post will be devoted entirely to that. In short: #drenkwasright

For me, this is a will-they-won't-they story that unambiguously ends with "yes they will." The feeling I got from the end is that joy can be found in an unconventional relationship.

The first five minutes goes heavy explaining how problematic their potential relationship might be. The generous interpretation is that PTA is simply hanging a lantern. The less charitable interpretation is that it's CYA (and it felt like that a bit, even in the moment). Either way, I think it's establishing the age gap as being absolutely central to the film.

So where does it go with the age gap theme? Well, after the opening scene, we get a solid 20 minutes or so of potent romantic tension. At that point I already clocked it as going for something like this: These two are so wrong for each other that it just might work—especially in this crazy world of ours.

Midway through the film, when Alana gets jealous of Gary's new girl, she's meant to be seen as pathetic. Falling for a 15-year-old boy is rock bottom—a clear signal that she must finally get her life together. I appreciated this scene and was grateful the movie had finally reckoned with the central problem. And I was ready for the story to take a new direction. Except... that's not really what was happening. Instead, this was the second act of a romantic comedy, where the lovers get split up and are destined to get back together.

And let's be honest, this is absolutely PTA's romantic comedy. More than PDL or Phantom Thread.

The age gap isn't incidental or glossed over or ignored. Not only is the age gap foregrounded, the movie is very much about it. But I would say this. Certainly depiction is not endorsement, but by the same token, acknowledgement is not reckoning.

Licorice Pizza examines the age gap issue and comes to a conclusion. First its characters do: our relationship is crazy because of our age difference, but let's try to make it work anyway. It's worth it to try, because we're truly in love, and our connection is that special.

I would have to stretch pretty hard to view the end of this movie as a critical examination of Gary and Alana's relationship. Their fateful reunion is depicted as positively euphoric—about as close to endorsement as you can get. One could argue that this sequence, with its heavenly lighting and electric energy, is just a depiction of the character POVs. But it's very very hard to believe the movie isn't rooting for them. If the film means to cast a critical eye on their future, I'm not seeing it.

It almost seems as if PTA has constructed a scenario in which this type of age gap might end up being okay. The film does its due diligence, acknowledging and grappling with the age gap, and then ultimately decides it's probably fine.

How you react to that is an open question and is clearly a full spectrum. I honestly don't feel equipped to pass judgment on any of those reactions. I'll definitely say I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling sick about it. Somehow I've arrived at a position (and trust me, I didn't expect this) where I 100% understand the hysterical tiktoks and people who walked out because the whole thing felt gross to them.

Personally I wasn't too disturbed, because I didn't really see Gary as a victim. But how can I even judge that? He's squarely a 15-year-old boy—an awkward oaf who's still growing into his body. Which is somewhat unsettling considering where things are clearly going. (I don't buy for a second that they're stopping at one innocent kiss.)

It's not even fair to say that Gary and Alana are at a similar level of emotional or mental maturity. They're just not. Alana is often the most mature/sane/observant/competent/correct person in a given situation. Gary's precocious entrepreneurship, rather than being a sign of maturity, is a pure expression of his teenage self-centeredness. He's a child.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 04, 2022, 07:55:36 PM
But is Alana really that mature or sane?  She's super volatile.  If she were more mature and less stunted, no way would she be as into Gary.  She pines for almost every guy who gives her attention.  Lance is an idiot but "might be her boyfriend."  Jack, she snaps out of it after she realizes he doesn't even know her name.  Jon she ignores.  Brian she gets hopeful about up until the point Joel calls her for a drink.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 04, 2022, 08:18:05 PM
I can see why people have issues but I just personally don't see how Alana at any point is preying over him or behaving in a way that's lustful or sexual. Inappropriate but everything is a means for her own goals and not exploitation. The relationship is inappropriate in general. It's why the waterbed scene and Gary's refrain is poignant. And I think the ending is pretty keen in showing that the relationship has so many issues as with every other relationship in movie. She calls him an idiot.  And I liked her response in a review that "Gary would pull her wrist too hard and they'll fight and not speak for a week". Every time they run off together in movie, they almost immediately break apart.

And yeah, while she's clearly talented, her character is constantly immature or impulsive and reactionary
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 04, 2022, 08:32:25 PM
Here's another observation that kinda dawned on me.  In all of Alana's interactions with older men, I never entertained them as viable partners for her.  I saw them all as lecherous old men hitting on her and somehow shifted Alana's age in my mind to something so much younger (even under 18) that their hitting on her is inappropriate.  A reflection of her lack of maturity.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 04, 2022, 08:49:50 PM
Quote from: ono on January 04, 2022, 08:32:25 PM
Here's another observation that kinda dawned on me.  In all of Alana's interactions with older men, I never entertained them as viable partners for her.  I saw them all as lecherous old men hitting on her and somehow shifted Alana's age in my mind to something so much younger (even under 18) that their hitting on her is inappropriate.  A reflection of her lack of maturity.

I agree with this, as well. She's mistreated by every male in the movie, even her infantilizing father, her boss, Safdie. I've said this in the discord but even her brief thing with Lance wasn't sexual or serious. A casual thing that never extended beyond his posturing and included him lying about being Jewish.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on January 05, 2022, 03:40:16 PM
Quote from: Yes on January 04, 2022, 08:49:50 PM
Quote from: ono on January 04, 2022, 08:32:25 PM
Here's another observation that kinda dawned on me.  In all of Alana's interactions with older men, I never entertained them as viable partners for her.  I saw them all as lecherous old men hitting on her and somehow shifted Alana's age in my mind to something so much younger (even under 18) that their hitting on her is inappropriate.  A reflection of her lack of maturity.

I agree with this, as well. She's mistreated by every male in the movie, even her infantilizing father, her boss, Safdie. I've said this in the discord but even her brief thing with Lance wasn't sexual or serious. A casual thing that never extended beyond his posturing and included him lying about being Jewish.

Is he lying about being Jewish? I know Skyler Gisondo is Jewish, and I never got the sense that Lance lied about being Jewish. But I've only seen it once so far, so it's entirely possible I missed some details!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 05, 2022, 03:47:44 PM
Quote from: Rooty Poots on January 05, 2022, 03:40:16 PM
Quote from: Yes on January 04, 2022, 08:49:50 PM
Quote from: ono on January 04, 2022, 08:32:25 PM
Here's another observation that kinda dawned on me.  In all of Alana's interactions with older men, I never entertained them as viable partners for her.  I saw them all as lecherous old men hitting on her and somehow shifted Alana's age in my mind to something so much younger (even under 18) that their hitting on her is inappropriate.  A reflection of her lack of maturity.

I agree with this, as well. She's mistreated by every male in the movie, even her infantilizing father, her boss, Safdie. I've said this in the discord but even her brief thing with Lance wasn't sexual or serious. A casual thing that never extended beyond his posturing and included him lying about being Jewish.

Is he lying about being Jewish? I know Skyler Gisondo is Jewish, and I never got the sense that Lance lied about being Jewish. But I've only seen it once so far, so it's entirely possible I missed some details!

He lied and concealed his atheism basically
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on January 05, 2022, 03:48:18 PM
He doesn't appear to be lying about being Jewish... he out-right says he was born Jewish. Unless you are saying he's only saying he's Atheist because he's lying about being Jewish (and thus wouldnt know the tradition Moti offered him to carry out)? But that seems like a stretch. Kinda just think his Atheism is  helping outline how complex the religious and political landscape was becoming.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 05, 2022, 04:08:39 PM
It’s just another character designed to lead to a punchline around character whose dynamics are undercooked/make no sense (the Haim family). He’s Jewish. His atheism isn’t hidden.

Only Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper act like horny, childish, drugged assholes with Alana. I’m sorry, but Wachs is not a disappointment. He’s trusting Alana at the end with very sensible information. What? He’s bad because Alana has a crush with every man in the movie? And once again, PTA is writing these characters, he’s deliberately using them as plot devices to unite Alana with Gary at the end after establishing that adults aren’t as different as children. Wach’s homosexuality is actually used to make a parallel between his relationship and Alana being in love with a teenager. One is valid, yet tragically repressed, and therefore so is the other, thinks Licorice Pizza. If that doesn’t make you raise multiple eyebrows…Homosexuality as the road to pedophilia…

It sounds insane. But the movie is very straightforward about all this. You can argue that PTA pandering backfired at the end, but how does he revise the script without considering all this?

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 05, 2022, 04:38:08 PM
There seems to be two divergent interpretations of the way this story concludes:

A) Relax, Alana is basically a child anyway. Age is just a number. They're meant to be together, and their relationship could sort of work in a funny messed up way.

B) The ending is sad and dark for both of them. Alana is pathetic. She almost turned her life around but relapsed. Gary doesn't know any better. It's never going to work.

I would normally say the truth may lie somewhere in the middle, but that final scene is so powerfully cathartic and euphoric that I don't see much meaningful space for ambiguity that could be supported by "the text." Either the end of this movie is striking a note of sarcasm and depicting Alana & Gary's delusion, or it celebrates them finally overcoming the "obstacle" that Paul identifies in this interview (https://xixax.com/index.php?topic=14590.msg374975#msg374975). My take after one viewing is that it's the latter.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on January 06, 2022, 05:09:37 AM
Quote from: Drenk on January 05, 2022, 04:08:39 PM
It's just another character designed to lead to a punchline around character whose dynamics are undercooked/make no sense (the Haim family). He's Jewish. His atheism isn't hidden.

Only Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper act like horny, childish, drugged assholes with Alana. I'm sorry, but Wachs is not a disappointment. He's trusting Alana at the end with very sensible information. What? He's bad because Alana has a crush with every man in the movie? And once again, PTA is writing these characters, he's deliberately using them as plot devices to unite Alana with Gary at the end after establishing that adults aren't as different as children. Wach's homosexuality is actually used to make a parallel between his relationship and Alana being in love with a teenager. One is valid, yet tragically repressed, and therefore so is the other, thinks Licorice Pizza. If that doesn't make you raise multiple eyebrows...Homosexuality as the road to pedophilia...

It sounds insane. But the movie is very straightforward about all this. You can argue that PTA pandering backfired at the end, but how does he revise the script without considering all this?

I'd say Wachs is very definitely a disappointment for Alana: he calls her over under false pretences, when really he just wants to use her to conceal his identity and further his career. Yes, one feels for him too in the situation, because of the homophobia he's having to deal with, but that doesn't excuse his behaviour. It is another moment of disillusionment for her.

As for the 'homosexuality is the road to paedophilia' thing that you say the film is implying, I'm sorry, but that is really reaching.

The idea that because an ending presents as 'euphoric' it is necessarily endorsing the outcome is highly questionable. There is such a thing as the contrapuntal in art, where the style of presentation is in ironic counterpoint with the underlying impression. After two hours of witnessing Alana pinball through a succession of dysfunctional relationships and poor decisions, I really can't see how at the end we're supposed to think 'Ah, thank goodness, a happy ending. No potential problems or pitfalls here!' You can't take the ending in isolation, guys, our response to it is surely coloured by what has come before i.e. the volatile character trajectory of Alana through the whole film!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 06, 2022, 05:34:24 AM
The rest of the movie where Gary is presented as her "savior" from all the shitty men, the "nice guy" she's denying herself? The woman he can't grope in her sleep? Their age difference in the movie is a tragedy/an obstacle, and the whole narrative of the movie is about surmounting it. She is finally surmounting the age gap at the end to find her true soulmate.

So it doesn't matter if you're telling me: "Oh, but in two weeks, they'll break up! She'll find a seventeen years old lover!" The movie is clear about how sad it is that Alana and Gary can't be together, and it ends that way to grant them a victory.

Where is the irony at the end? Because that sounds to me like the people saying "I was being ironic" in bad faith to defend an argument. You're talking about what's theoretically possible. Tell me about what's ironic in the ending.

I'm not reaching about Wachs. His love life being repressed by society is what inspires Alana to finally accept her love for Gary, something else society deems inappropriate. The parallel is there. It's straightforward, stupid, rushed. It's didactic in a way Paul Thomas Anderson usually avoid to be. It's also ironic, I suppose?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 06, 2022, 12:13:47 PM
Quote from: RudyBlatnoyd on January 06, 2022, 05:09:37 AMThe idea that because an ending presents as 'euphoric' it is necessarily endorsing the outcome is highly questionable. There is such a thing as the contrapuntal in art, where the style of presentation is in ironic counterpoint with the underlying impression. After two hours of witnessing Alana pinball through a succession of dysfunctional relationships and poor decisions, I really can't see how at the end we're supposed to think 'Ah, thank goodness, a happy ending. No potential problems or pitfalls here!' You can't take the ending in isolation, guys, our response to it is surely coloured by what has come before i.e. the volatile character trajectory of Alana through the whole film!

The idea that the ending is contrapuntal or sarcastic is quite a stretch in my opinion.

Clearly the film is aware of the pitfalls of their relationship, and that they're a bit mismatched. That's supposed to be the charm of the whole thing. The mission of the narrative is to help these two lovebirds work through and overcome enough of those obstacles, such that they can finally profess their love and enjoy being together like a normal couple (not an adult/child couple).

Ending on a euphoric note is not about saying everything is 100% perfect. It's about emotion. It's about expressing the essential wholesomeness and goodness of their connection. If you interpret the ending as dark, more power to you, but I just don't see it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on January 06, 2022, 03:50:55 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 06, 2022, 12:13:47 PM
Quote from: RudyBlatnoyd on January 06, 2022, 05:09:37 AMThe idea that because an ending presents as 'euphoric' it is necessarily endorsing the outcome is highly questionable. There is such a thing as the contrapuntal in art, where the style of presentation is in ironic counterpoint with the underlying impression. After two hours of witnessing Alana pinball through a succession of dysfunctional relationships and poor decisions, I really can't see how at the end we're supposed to think 'Ah, thank goodness, a happy ending. No potential problems or pitfalls here!' You can't take the ending in isolation, guys, our response to it is surely coloured by what has come before i.e. the volatile character trajectory of Alana through the whole film!

The idea that the ending is contrapuntal or sarcastic is quite a stretch in my opinion.

Clearly the film is aware of the pitfalls of their relationship, and that they're a bit mismatched. That's supposed to be the charm of the whole thing. The mission of the narrative is to help these two lovebirds work through and overcome enough of those obstacles, such that they can finally profess their love and enjoy being together like a normal couple (not an adult/child couple).

Ending on a euphoric note is not about saying everything is 100% perfect. It's about emotion. It's about expressing the essential wholesomeness and goodness of their connection. If you interpret the ending as dark, more power to you, but I just don't see it.

I'm not trying to make out that I think the ending is as dark and despairing as something like There Will Be Blood. I'm just saying that it's of a piece with the whole film and with PTA's filmography as a whole: the exploration of a messy, dysfunctional and ambiguous relationship whose ultimate fate remains unknown. Sure, in that moment at the end, Alana and Gary seem happy, but a large question mark remains over their future and their suitability, because of everything that we've seen prior to this moment and as far as I can see the film supports this interpretation at every turn. I don't buy that the 'mission of the narrative' is anything as contrived as simply engineering a situation whereby their relationship can be legitimated; I find it to be a much more nuanced and intelligent film than that, alive to its characters as three-dimensional, flawed human beings, not instruments to convey some corny 'love conquers all' message.

I don't accept Drenk's assertion that Gary is presented as Alana's 'saviour': is he her saviour when he goes off with another girl at the waterbed company launch, humiliating her; or when he gets her into a hazardous situation with Jon Peters, which he keeps on escalating; or when he uses insider knowledge to launch a pinball company, despite the professional embarrassment it might cause her? Neither am I saying he's a villain, just a messy, complicated person.

Anyway, there's not much point in harping on the same points again and again. If you don't see it, you don't see it, and that's fine. Maybe I'm wrong. From reading other reviews / responses, I know some people agree with me at least, so I'm pretty sure I'm not crazy.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 06, 2022, 04:20:40 PM
I don't even disagree too strongly with that. As you say, the film does explore problems with their relationship. The difference is that I view the ending as much more of a resolution and a victory for them. The story is largely the process of Alana ironing out her hangups and realizing that she can find joy in this romance with a boy. The end is letting them have that, and letting us enjoy them having that, at least for a little while.

It very much reminds me of the Breaking Bad series finale. That ending was not right for the characters and betrayed much of the moral complexity that the show had been building. It deserved something darker, but, as Vince Gilligan has alluded to interviews, the urge to give people a crowd-pleasing ending was just too powerful.

Paul loves Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. In no universe was he going to write a movie where she's any sort of predator and he's any sort of victim. The urge to make a sweet love story was always going to win out and sweep away most of the moral complexity. Paul talks about this pretty openly in the interviews. But the homework that he does to overcome those obstacles seems pretty surface-level to me. PTA just doesn't have the tools or the actual interest to deal with it in a serious way.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 06, 2022, 04:52:06 PM
Bad conscience is their (well, mostly Alana’s) problem in the movie. After the (false) arrest, the movie unfolds twenty minutes of sexual tension. They talk about fucking, they touch legs, they look at each other like rabbits ready to copulate, but the tragedy is that Alana refuses to. So Gary gets a girlfriend his age for some action in the bathroom. So Alana tries to find an adult. But no: Gary and Alana are made for each other. Proof enough: he helps her stand up and they get to (water)bed somehow. But our savior can’t touch her breasts. There’s a shield. How do they overcome the shield? Well: a repressed gay couple opens Alana's mind. But Alana can run. You need to accept love if it is self-evident, even if it is a sixteen years old kid who can barely drive. Then the movie ends because they’re probably gonna fuck. There's even the less than subtle image with Beard Man looking like he's humping a doll on the left corner of the screener in the pinball palace when Alana is looking for Gary.

Her thirty years old sisters who live at home for some reason are also very happy to help whenever they can.

Great mise en scène. A lot of quirky details and moody, atmospheric sequences, too. Too bad about the rest, which in our case means: a movie about the physical yearning of a twenty eight years old woman for a teenager and the very contrived ways it legitimates and downplays it. Everything revolves around this.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on January 06, 2022, 05:30:42 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 06, 2022, 04:52:06 PM
There's even the less than subtle image with Beard Man looking like he's humping a doll on the left corner of the screener in the pinball palace when Alana is looking for Gary.

I think it's legit some woman, lol. He's humping her and motioning as if teaching her how to tilt (https://retroonly.com/why-do-pinball-machines-have-the-tilt-feature/).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 06, 2022, 05:36:43 PM
Yep, it's a real woman. It's an intentional trick of perspective, actually. But my initial thought was that he had brought his doll to the Palace!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 06, 2022, 06:08:08 PM
Funnier still is the woman isn't there at first.  The greaseball is alone at the machine.  Alana comes up, asks where Gary is, and the woman is revealed after she leaves.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 07, 2022, 03:01:25 AM
You can accuse Anderson for being morally/socially irresponsible (if you do believe in such thing) for choosing the taboo and provocative -by the real life's standards- interaction between a 25y.o. and a 15y.o. in order to subvert/have fun of the motives and the cliches of a typical 30's-40's old-school classic Hollywood screwball romantic comedy, but he's totally honest about the type of story you are about to witness right from the first sequence in the high school, right from the first shot and the first (the apparent rip off from American Graffiti) of the huge amount of cinematic references that are about to be used as (some more inconspicuous and some so obvious that you can't but smile when you notice them) alienation effects (the film never really forgets that it's... a film), until the very end where for the first time in his career he's showing the film's main characters along with the actors that portrayed them (the beginning and the ending of the film are almost identical on how they let cinema interfere into the "reality" - which by definition is never the reality since everything you see is an act of trickery, what you watch as reality is what the movie is presenting you as reality).

He's both the literal (since he's the writer, it's him who wrote them) and the metaphorical (since he's the director, it's him who directs them) father of these two cinematic characters, and he chooses to give birth to them by putting them talking about movies and movie stars, with Lila Simmon's "July Tree" on the background (the film almost plays out like a musical on how spot-on the use of the songs is), presenting you the screwball obstacle (the age gap) and the main central theme of the story (will they ever be able to be together?), and literally finishing the sequence with the photographer slapping Alana's ass. So he practically not only introduces us to this universe in just about 10 minutes, but he practically establishes it: here are these two virgin (i just gave birth to them - but i also define their sexuality status since this is my universe [Alana is a straight young woman that lacks sexual desire -she's established as too immature and innocent to try or want to fuck- and I tried as much as I could to see her in other way than that without success]) cinematic characters who will be the stars of their own romance, the one wants to lose his virginity(=sexual innocence) because he wants to grow up as soon as possible and the other wants to keep her virginity because she wants to remain a child for as long as possible, and they will try to make it through this world of adult creepiness.

In the ending scene we practically meet them in the same position as we firstly met them, Gary still being incapable of entering the world of adults (he's trying unsuccessfully to control the adult guy in the pinball machine who's doing the move that ressembles sex), Alana still being incapable of letting the child inncocence behind her. And cinema will help (they meet each other in front of a cinema, the cinematic kiss - which can be read on at least three different ways and none of them is that this fictional work endorces pedophilia) to surpass reality and make this type of relationship work. They love each other for different reasons, cause they need each other for different reasons. He still wants to lose his virginity in order to grow up, she still wants to keep hers in order to remain child for ever, the screwball paradox of this twisted cinematic fairy tale that is destined to keep going for ever (the out-of-nowhere scene in the beginning when Gary tells his brother that he just met the girl he wants to marry to get his aloof response, is mirroring to the line delivery in the end when he's calling her mrs Valentine and she answers "idiot" with the annoyed look).

You have certainly the right to feel confused or disappointed for this film being the follow-up to Phantom Thread, a film that also made a romantic story plausible but was essentially a romantic story which had response in real life's human romantic relationships.

Licorice Pizza on the other hand can be read as the response to OUaTiH, if QT's film showed the power of cinema to interfere into real human history and change its outcome (even if once the end credits stop rolling we are still back into the painful reality), PTA's film shows the power of cinema to make the most impossible love story plausible (even if once the end credits stop rolling, this kind of interaction which is used as the main premise will still be wrong, creepy, immoral, whatever, and Anderson clearly knows that). But apart from the romantic aspect (which is the surface-level of the film), LP also talks about youthful escapism and the desire to remain child forever (and since adult PTA -the film can also be read as his open discussion with his younger self and the early part of his body of work- certainly feels more related to Alana than Gary, because he shares the same anxiety about getting physically older, i do understand why this is essentially Alana's story and why it's she who says the final voice-over line "I love you").

I don't claim that this is THE right interpretation of the film (since art is and will always be subjective), you have every right to dismiss it as naive or simplistic (but yet the whole film IS seen through their eyes so the young naivety and simplicity becomes instantly part of the film's nature!), but I do believe it works this way (how successfully/unsuccessfully is again subjective) and I do have the feel that this is the story that Anderson always had in mind when he wrote this, based alone on the first ten minutes of the movie - but yet not only them. You're free to believe that it is what you think it is, as he himself practically says through Danielle's mouth in one of the many (they are really so many that it could definitely be called a deliberate artistic choice) fourth-wall breaking moments in the film. He certainly knows what shit he got himself into, he doesn't need a pleader.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 07, 2022, 03:08:22 AM
I added paragraph breaks to your post, but feel free to re-edit if I messed anything up.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on January 07, 2022, 10:53:10 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on January 07, 2022, 03:01:25 AM
You're free to believe that it is what you think it is, as he himself practically says through Danielle's mouth in one of the many (they are really so many that it could definitely be called a deliberate artistic choice) fourth-wall breaking moments in the film. He certainly knows what shit he got himself into, he doesn't need a pleader.

Definitely! This iz not merely "something that happens"

Bumping up previous posts of mine cuz they're buried in the 'ye olde times of November when it was legit on two screens. This iz in the hopes of further discussion that wrestles with the film's thematic intent through the lens that the problem is what they want. And that PTA gladly complicates our relationship to the characters by giving it to them.

Personally, I can't vibe with seeing Alana as lacking sexual desire as pynchonikon has suggested. It seems to me that she is being mature about her libido in that it ought not be directed toward Gary; 'til the end, where I totally agree with JB. We cannot be naive to assume it'll stop at one kiss if she loves him (and he's gotten handjobs from Buzzy Lee.

(https://i.ibb.co/JkRjwXt/nair-comb.png)

Quote from: WorldForgot on November 18, 2021, 06:18:45 PM

i can hear you breathing


Not just a love story, not just an ambition tale, when Gary or Alana approaches they advance. And others trespass too, but more often on Alana than Gary. If the Japanese jokes are to be understood the context makes it quite clear what the film displays against where the character sits. If you cannot abide trespasses, then do not enter. Because all of these characters are splintered .

Our entanglements will undo us. I liked the short shrift of the Wachs plotline for coloring parallel thematic tracks in terms of unspoken betrayals and the impositions on another side of the glass.

But Gary and Alana aren't where that plot is, they're nigh near honeymoon. Their dance you cannot disbelieve. If the audiences judge it it reflects back on what they know to be real. Yes this feels real, in the matter that we toy with others. But did we feel like toys ourselves when we did? There's neat constellations of performance and adopting roles throughout.

The men in this film orbit Alana Kane, but they might not be planets to her sun.
Spoiler: ShowHide
Which one's the one that doesn't crater? Dang did I fear that the film would sour and that impact would happen at the end of any setpiece.
Nah, what it is iz that Gary and Alana ache for that gravity and our supporting cast can all feel it.

A competitive paramour, with wax on top.

Quote from: WorldForgot on November 22, 2021, 11:02:09 AM

Spoiler: ShowHide
As I've written about a few times on the forum now, to a degree this film isn't even shy about it being about hustle and unsettled exploitation. Just cause Alana Kane and Gary Valentine don't get toxic-toxic, they are manipulative and playing a psychological game. We can find them endearing while acknowledging that.

Shouldn't have to spell out the profit thing, that part's even highlighted in the trailer, you know? But they aren't doing so by losing their hearts. In fact, they both want their dream with their hearts in tact and that's part of the what conjures the gravity of their orbits. But there's plenty of cash exchanged hands. And to be sure, Gary meets Alana at a gig and gets her one under him.

Add that to the swirling framing devices of other LA/Valley ambitions bound to couplings ( racist restauranteur // Wach's storyline // George DiCaprio's Mr Jack and Iyana Halley's assistant Brenda // Jon Peters & Streisand // even Waits' commanding drunkard director could be seen in this light). You can see that these people enter the relationship, but it doesn't mean there aren't ends of profit therein.

Quote from: WorldForgot on November 22, 2021, 11:51:07 AM
Good post, I dont think you're missing any points - it's a story that's going to hit diff people differently!

Spoiler: ShowHide
As for you asking where the distinction between your anecdote lies, Drenk has illustrated it more than once I think by highlighting that it's not precisely the gap that's the issue (we've seen Alma and Woodock), but closer to your spoilerized allusion of H&M. It's not the quite gap that's in question, but the particular phases of life they're both in, a valid angle being that Gary has no inkling of really being an adult, is very much still a child. Alana having lived that already and knowing what it must be like in particular because men are still objectifying her in numerous scenes (as they must have in HS too). She objectifies herself too, though, as Gary objectifies himself and we all do but that's even another branch.


But as with Harold & Maude- how do we learn if not by living?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 08, 2022, 02:45:37 AM
I believe Pynchon's influence on Licorice Pizza isn't just superficial (Inherent Vice's stylistic and artistic similarities are more than apparent), but also crucial into the writing of the script. Anderson uses four of Pynchon's common writing techniques into this film:

1)big ensemble of characters, most of them appear for only 2-3 scenes and then disappear
2)huge amount of cultural references (cinematic and musical, amongst others)
3)mix of real persons/events and fiction
4)treatment of the characters not as real human beings, but essentially as symbols in order to make his point/statement (this technique especially provides a completely new reading of the film, from a political/social perspective, that is actually very powerful, *more details on that soon*).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 06:33:59 AM
My thoughts on a first viewings of a PTA movie are always very blurry. I don't want to fell obliged to love them, i don't want to convince myself that i persuade myself that i love them, i also don't want to not trust my love for them as being a fan convicing himself... They're always so rich, i always feel how complex they are on the inside and that i could watch them 20 times and still net entirely get how amazing it is on the outside. Anyway, i get out of the first viewings with feelings more than anything.

His first three movies, i feel, were very emotional. When he became a dad and stopped doing coke, he then became very intellectual. This new movie, i feel, is his first "organic" one. There's life everywhere, love, energy, the writing doesn't seem to come out of his guts, or of his brain, but from his life. Everything seems way less controled, throught, rehearsed. He let life come into his work. The bad side of this is that is writing is way less impressive that it was before, from structure to dialogue to the way characters and themes are explored. The good side of this is that a lot of this feels new (which is exciting after a 25 years career), and his mind blowing camera work doesn't suffer from it at all.

I watched a q&a with cooper and alana and he really loves them so them so much. I do feel he is kind of blinded by his love for the HAIM sisters that are not as amazing as he seems to believe. And i fell in love with him as he made me discover fiona apple or aimee mann and yeah, they're not playing in the same league. But as i watched the movie, his love for them transpired. As did his love for that time period, that city. There's just so much love all around in this movie, it feels great.

It can also be misleading. i read several reviews that said it was nostalgic, or that you wanted to jump into the movie and never leave it. But one thing i loved is that this feeling is actually an illusion. I felt that, mostly, all relationships in the movie were toxic, he's actually very aware of how fucked up the LA world is. i don't think it's a matter of adults being awful as a way to say alana is more comfortable with teenagers, i think it's a matter that LA is full of insane things and insane people, in which beautiful things might eventually happen.

That may be the main thing i love across all pta movies, fucked up people having fucked up relationship that, in the end, are kind of beautiful and ease the soul of the protagonists. Gary and Alana are charming and cute, but they ARE fucked up. Alana has no idea what to do with her life, her family life seems very toxic, she falls for mostly any man entering her life, and she has a crush on a 15 years old. Gary is a former child actor who is basicaly told that his is old and fat when he has an audition, his mother doesn't take care of him, it feels like he's been deprived of being a teenager and acts and behaves like an adult at 15, and we know how that usually ends. This relationship is weird, just as Julianne Moore and Mark Whalberg in BN, just as Joaquin et PSH in The master, not to mention the Woodcock couple. The weird, twisted beauty that arises in unhealthy, unusual, unorthodox relationaships is, i feel, one of his most recurring and beautiful themes and this is no exception.

a thing i've been surprised not to read more often his how 'similar' the movie is to almost famous, way more than to fast times at ridgemont high. William Miller and Gary are pretty similar characters (William is "uncool" and Gary is Cool, but they both are equally charming and precautious and 15yo and thrown in a world of adults and fans of art). The feelings of the 70s, the script as a recollection of anecdotes and small stories, crazy celebrities encounters and of course the Penny Lane / Alana character, as the older crush, the iconic girl whose life is actually a mess but works as a fantasy for the 15yo character and the 45yo director. The "i'll never forget you, just as you'll never forget me" really made me think of the William Miller / Penny Lane relationship.

The 70mm print looked great, this really felt, visually, like a movie straight out of the 70s and it was very impressive.

ps : excuse the english mistakes, not my first language !
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: itwasgood on January 08, 2022, 06:39:01 AM
Yes! And I went back to Vineland a lot when I watched the film. There's something underneath so Pynchonian about all these running young kids, the kind of lilt, the relaxation and the freedom, reminded me of Vineland so much.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 08, 2022, 07:21:38 AM
Once again: the only unhealthy aspect of their relationship as depicted in the movie is that Alana refuses to fuck him because he's a teenager. Hence the resolution of the movie when she accepts her love for Gary as a beautiful, unorthodox thing, which is as far as possible as a genuine exploration of how fucked up the real relationships of adult with teenagers are. Quite the contrary. That's borderline apologia in this movie where, purposefully, age is a mental construct and everything is possible. Every narrative decision in the movie leads toward Alana making that choice; wilder mentioned that he thought « wait, what? » at the end, and I understand the confusion—but the movie's infatuation with these actors is so strong that it actually thinks that Alana getting away from Gary when she starts working for Wachs is a mistake, that nobody has their life together therefore looking for direction has no sense, so run, girl, run! Get that boy.

A co-dependent friendship where they would both, in this sordid yet cartoonish LA, discover the perils of growing up or not growing up, would have been interesting, but no: 75% of the scenes in this movie are about their magical thirst for each other. Maybe if they'd fucked earlier, their dynamic would have been more profound than the same jealousy loop. Because PTA thinks that's beautiful, actually. Well. Go for it. Write it. Explore it.

tl;dr

https://twitter.com/sbodrojan/status/1471146912187404290
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 09:03:07 AM
i don't really get what's wrong about a fantasy movie.

he obviously wanted to do something new, spontaneous, something light. he didn't want to explore through his writing the darkness of things of how fucked up things are. he wanted to explore the fun and joy of things, including complicated or negative ones. in that sense, the movie is nostalgic, if nostalgia is a way of looking back and seeing all things from the past with a positive outlook.

i do get the complain about the jealousy loop, (even though it didn't bother me at all on the first viewing). it's his first movie since magnolia that feels like this is 90% first draft, and from what i read it was probably the first time he changed dialogues as much on set. i do remember him explaining the harassing process of writing PT and working with DDL, and he said he stopped writing a very long and dark screenplay to do LP. It does come with a price, the jealousy loop and things unexplored or some easy ways out, but it's his first movie with as much life and spontaneity in it, both in individual scenes and in the whole movie's soul.

i do feel like this is his first reinvention since TWBB (and i admire artists being able to do that, especially at his age and at this point in his career), and we can mourn on the things we lost, but i can't help but celebrate the things we gained. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 08, 2022, 09:07:24 AM
Quote from: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 09:03:07 AM
i don't really get what's wrong about a fantasy movie.

he obviously wanted to do something new, spontaneous, something light. he didn't want to explore through his writing the darkness of things of how fucked up things are. he wanted to explore the fun and joy of things, including complicated or negative ones. in that sense, the movie is nostalgic, if nostalgia is a way of looking back and seeing all things from the past with a positive outlook.

i do get the complain about the jealousy loop, (even though it didn't bother me at all on the first viewing). it's his first movie since magnolia that feels like this is 90% first draft, and from what i read it was probably the first time he changed dialogues as much on set. i do remember him explaining the harassing process of writing PT and working with DDL, and he said he stopped writing a very long and dark screenplay to do LP. It does come with a price, the jealousy loop and things unexplored or some easy ways out, but it's his first movie with as much life and spontaneity in it, both in individual scenes and in the whole movie's soul.

i do feel like this is his first reinvention since TWBB (and i admire artists being able to do that, especially at his age and at this point in his career), and we can mourn on the things we lost, but i can't help but celebrate the things we gained.

"and we can mourn on the things we lost"

What do you mean by this if i can ask?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 09:28:09 AM
well, some of the positive reviews here in france say that PTA lost them with his cerebral, dark, uptight movies, and that they now love the new-found life and energy. i'm guessing people feel the exact opposite.

i think drenk would have loved if LP explored alana and gary's relationship with as much depth, personal and thematic complexity that we had in the master. but pta doesn't want try, he doesn't want to, and i get it can be frustrating since he could have and there was a lot of things to say and explore, but that's just not the movie he wanted to do this time around.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 08, 2022, 11:28:02 AM
Quote from: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 09:28:09 AM
well, some of the positive reviews here in france say that PTA lost them with his cerebral, dark, uptight movies, and that they now love the new-found life and energy. i'm guessing people feel the exact opposite.

i think drenk would have loved if LP explored alana and gary's relationship with as much depth, personal and thematic complexity that we had in the master. but pta doesn't want try, he doesn't want to, and i get it can be frustrating since he could have and there was a lot of things to say and explore, but that's just not the movie he wanted to do this time around.

I mean the film isnt as "heavy" as say the master but its still deep and complex as it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 08, 2022, 11:43:51 AM
Quote from: Achpi on January 08, 2022, 09:03:07 AM
i don't really get what's wrong about a fantasy movie.

Well, actually something even better than a fantasy movie, is a Pynchonian movie.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 09, 2022, 11:43:07 AM
Quote from: Drenk on January 08, 2022, 07:21:38 AM
Once again: the only unhealthy aspect of their relationship as depicted in the movie is that Alana refuses to fuck him because he’s a teenager. Hence the resolution of the movie when she accepts her love for Gary as a beautiful, unorthodox thing, which is as far as possible as a genuine exploration of how fucked up the real relationships of adult with teenagers are. Quite the contrary. That’s borderline apologia in this movie where, purposefully, age is a mental construct and everything is possible. Every narrative decision in the movie leads toward Alana making that choice; wilder mentioned that he thought « wait, what? » at the end, and I understand the confusion—but the movie’s infatuation with these actors is so strong that it actually thinks that Alana getting away from Gary when she starts working for Wachs is a mistake, that nobody has their life together therefore looking for direction has no sense, so run, girl, run! Get that boy.

A co-dependent friendship where they would both, in this sordid yet cartoonish LA, discover the perils of growing up or not growing up, would have been interesting, but no: 75% of the scenes in this movie are about their magical thirst for each other. Maybe if they’d fucked earlier, their dynamic would have been more profound than the same jealousy loop. Because PTA thinks that’s beautiful, actually. Well. Go for it. Write it. Explore it.

tl;dr

https://twitter.com/sbodrojan/status/1471146912187404290

I think the script is PTA's least polished which, for some, may be part of its charm. So in a sense, I don't disagree with your analysis, but I also don't agree.

You are fixated on the age-gap. It's equally valid though to look at the film in the way which PTA has expressed it. The age-gap is merely a screwball conceit. The reason why Alana runs back to Gary after Wachs tries to use her as his beard, is because Wachs is choosing his career over the most passionate relationship in his life. Alana realizes she's doing the same, and gets over her self-consciousness about whether she's acting grown-up enough by following the thing that gives her passion (her no-labels relationship with Gary). The only thing that complicates that interpretation is the final line of the film which didn't land for me. "I love you Gary" just feels like typical uncomplicated romcom fluff. Felt like PTA just wanted to end it on a positive and commercial note despite the impact it would have on the thematics and character dynamics that were explored in the film.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 12:16:09 PM
The movie spends ten minutes with Alana working for Wachs, she's not sacrificing Gary for her career (there's no career there anyway). The ending is clearly about repressing a desire that is deemed « unorthodox » by society. Alana doesn't want to repress her romantic love/desire for Gary anymore. Like I said, after the police arrest the movie spends twenty minutes showing them talking about sex without doing it because Alana feels bad about it. Then Gary « respects » her choice by not groping her in her sleep. It's the only narrative thread of the last half of the movie. PTA desperately wants them to be together for reasons that you won't find in the movie, so the problem is dealt with at the end by comparing her situation with homosexuals in the seventies.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 09, 2022, 01:06:50 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 12:16:09 PM
The movie spends ten minutes with Alana working for Wachs, she's not sacrificing Gary for her career (there's no career there anyway). The ending is clearly about repressing a desire that is deemed « unorthodox » by society. Alana doesn't want to repress her romantic love/desire for Gary anymore. Like I said, after the police arrest the movie spends twenty minutes showing them talking about sex without doing it because Alana feels bad about it. Then Gary « respects » her choice by not groping her in her sleep. It's the only narrative thread of the last half of the movie. PTA desperately wants them to be together for reasons that you won't find in the movie, so the problem is dealt with at the end by comparing her situation with homosexuals in the seventies.

How do you know what PTA wants them together?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 09, 2022, 03:34:44 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 12:16:09 PM
The movie spends ten minutes with Alana working for Wachs, she’s not sacrificing Gary for her career (there’s no career there anyway). The ending is clearly about repressing a desire that is deemed « unorthodox » by society. Alana doesn’t want to repress her romantic love/desire for Gary anymore. Like I said, after the police arrest the movie spends twenty minutes showing them talking about sex without doing it because Alana feels bad about it. Then Gary « respects » her choice by not groping her in her sleep. It’s the only narrative thread of the last half of the movie. PTA desperately wants them to be together for reasons that you won’t find in the movie, so the problem is dealt with at the end by comparing her situation with homosexuals in the seventies.

Working for Wachs is Alana taking on an adult world role, and yes, moving her career life forward. This is why there is the element of pride at being noticed for her work by Wachs. Her character motivations for running away from the Wachs situation are many. The thematic link of taboo is there, but to say its equating the two types of taboo is a stretch, plain and simple (and no amount of cataloguing minutes spent on particular topics will make it less of a stretch). Honestly, I think you're too fixated on your one interpretation to see what other undercurrents there are running through the film. Given the plot synopsis of this film, it sounds like you should've know that you would be put off by it going in. Seeing this type of narrative done with this degree of artistic awareness doesn't bother me, but the last shot was a let down, because it leaves things on too much of a romcom note, when the preceding two hours had been anything but typical romcom and we were given every reason to see why a real romance would not work between them.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Achpi on January 09, 2022, 05:50:18 PM
"i love you gary" is especially disapointing because it's hard to not compare it to "here we go..." wich was so sweet, so natural, opened the idea that the real challenge - building a relationship - was ahead of them...

"i love you gary" doesn't tell us anything new - we know they love each other, the question was "what kind of love?" and "what to do with it, now and in the future?" and this doesn't give us any kind of clue.

the cute thing, though, is that i never could imagine barry and lena's love affaire lasting very long, but i can imagine alana and gary staying close for many years. they may be "breaking up" soon but yeah, they'll never forget each other, they'll still love each other even if they lose touch, it will always be that special relationship you had in your youth.

and "i love you gary" doesn't really embode all that.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 09, 2022, 05:57:16 PM
Quote from: Achpi on January 09, 2022, 05:50:18 PM"i love you gary" doesn't tell us anything new - we know they love each other, the question was "what kind of love?"

Oh I don't think there's any doubt that this movie is quite horny. A lot of people (not you, necessarily) have been ignoring Alana's desire, which is sort of everpresent and ends up driving much of the plot.

Quote from: Achpi on January 09, 2022, 05:50:18 PMthey'll never forget each other, they'll still love each other even if they lose touch, it will always be that special relationship you had in your youth.

Crucial pronoun switch for the "youth" descriptor.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 06:20:55 PM
Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 03:34:44 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 12:16:09 PM
The movie spends ten minutes with Alana working for Wachs, she's not sacrificing Gary for her career (there's no career there anyway). The ending is clearly about repressing a desire that is deemed « unorthodox » by society. Alana doesn't want to repress her romantic love/desire for Gary anymore. Like I said, after the police arrest the movie spends twenty minutes showing them talking about sex without doing it because Alana feels bad about it. Then Gary « respects » her choice by not groping her in her sleep. It's the only narrative thread of the last half of the movie. PTA desperately wants them to be together for reasons that you won't find in the movie, so the problem is dealt with at the end by comparing her situation with homosexuals in the seventies.

Working for Wachs is Alana taking on an adult world role, and yes, moving her career life forward. This is why there is the element of pride at being noticed for her work by Wachs. Her character motivations for running away from the Wachs situation are many. The thematic link of taboo is there, but to say its equating the two types of taboo is a stretch, plain and simple (and no amount of cataloguing minutes spent on particular topics will make it less of a stretch). Honestly, I think you're too fixated on your one interpretation to see what other undercurrents there are running through the film. Given the plot synopsis of this film, it sounds like you should've know that you would be put off by it going in. Seeing this type of narrative done with this degree of artistic awareness doesn't bother me, but the last shot was a let down, because it leaves things on too much of a romcom note, when the preceding two hours had been anything but typical romcom and we were given every reason to see why a real romance would not work between them.

She's working with Gary when she's collaborating with Wachs, by the way. I forgot to mention that. They were not separated. I'm not blind to the narrative around adulthood, but I've already mentioned that it builds toward the message that the respectability of adulthood is a myth, that age is a mental construct, in order to make an adult's desire for a teenager as legitimate as any other form of desire. It's done that with almost every adult character in the movie. I also think it is quite stupid. Not the idea that adulthood isn't a myth, but the idea that it can be used as a justification to date teenagers. What's new with the ending is the parallel with repressed desires, which is the main reason why PTA placed it before the romance is fully acknowledged. And the subject matter isn't my issue; its treatment is.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Achpi on January 09, 2022, 06:22:06 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 09, 2022, 05:57:16 PM
Quote from: Achpi on January 09, 2022, 05:50:18 PM"i love you gary" doesn't tell us anything new - we know they love each other, the question was "what kind of love?"

Oh I don't think there's any doubt that this movie is quite horny. A lot of people (not you, necessarily) have been ignoring Alana's desire, which is sort of everpresent and ends up driving much of the plot.


i agree, but (and that may be the reason i don't have a problem with the age gap) they still have a good relationship and the desire's not fullfilled nor looks like it will be fullfilled in the forseeable future, and i 100% believe they will remain close when the desire's long gone.

i actually feel like alana loves gary despite her desire for him.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 09, 2022, 08:09:27 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 06:20:55 PM
Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 03:34:44 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 09, 2022, 12:16:09 PM
The movie spends ten minutes with Alana working for Wachs, she’s not sacrificing Gary for her career (there’s no career there anyway). The ending is clearly about repressing a desire that is deemed « unorthodox » by society. Alana doesn’t want to repress her romantic love/desire for Gary anymore. Like I said, after the police arrest the movie spends twenty minutes showing them talking about sex without doing it because Alana feels bad about it. Then Gary « respects » her choice by not groping her in her sleep. It’s the only narrative thread of the last half of the movie. PTA desperately wants them to be together for reasons that you won’t find in the movie, so the problem is dealt with at the end by comparing her situation with homosexuals in the seventies.

Working for Wachs is Alana taking on an adult world role, and yes, moving her career life forward. This is why there is the element of pride at being noticed for her work by Wachs. Her character motivations for running away from the Wachs situation are many. The thematic link of taboo is there, but to say its equating the two types of taboo is a stretch, plain and simple (and no amount of cataloguing minutes spent on particular topics will make it less of a stretch). Honestly, I think you're too fixated on your one interpretation to see what other undercurrents there are running through the film. Given the plot synopsis of this film, it sounds like you should've know that you would be put off by it going in. Seeing this type of narrative done with this degree of artistic awareness doesn't bother me, but the last shot was a let down, because it leaves things on too much of a romcom note, when the preceding two hours had been anything but typical romcom and we were given every reason to see why a real romance would not work between them.

She’s working with Gary when she’s collaborating with Wachs, by the way. I forgot to mention that. They were not separated. I’m not blind to the narrative around adulthood, but I’ve already mentioned that it builds toward the message that the respectability of adulthood is a myth, that age is a mental construct, in order to make an adult’s desire for a teenager as legitimate as any other form of desire. It’s done that with almost every adult character in the movie. I also think it is quite stupid. Not the idea that adulthood isn’t a myth, but the idea that it can be used as a justification to date teenagers. What’s new with the ending is the parallel with repressed desires, which is the main reason why PTA placed it before the romance is fully acknowledged. And the subject matter isn’t my issue; its treatment is.

You're not going to see an uptick in pedophilia because of this film , or whatever it is you're afraid of. The relationship, as its portrayed in the film, is not of a nature in which Gary would find himself feeling abused or taken advantage of in retrospect. The film does ask you to leave the rigid puritanism at the door, though.

The respectability of adulthood is, in fact, largely a myth. Almost everyone is faking it and/or performing an act. That's one thing the film really gets right. You'll notice however that the film isn't packed with adults getting with teenagers. This is because it isn't prescribing that form of relationship to be ideal or desirable, despite your best mental efforts to try to make it so.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 09, 2022, 08:54:10 PM
Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 08:09:27 PMThe relationship, as its portrayed in the film, is not of a nature in which Gary would find himself feeling abused or taken advantage of in retrospect.

That was also my general impression, or hope, but how can we know? The movie cheats in this regard. It ends exactly when things get serious. From a filmmaking POV I understand why—it would be strange to include those kinds of consequences in a fantasy-inflected narrative. The movie is just not interested in that. In fact the whole thing is sort of contingent on not examining their relationship too closely. Having it truly begin as the film ends is a skillful sidestep, and one that clearly works for a lot of people.

I'd wager there are enough real-life examples of a boy/woman romance being developmentally or psychologically harmful for the boy that's it's presumptuous to assume someone like Gary will be fine. The whole reason adults typically don't have sex with 15-year-olds is that they may not be psychologically or emotionally prepared for a serious adult relationship with an actual adult. Alana has 10-13 years more experience, brain development, emotional maturity etc. that she's about to bring to bear on this relationship, and we just don't know how Gary is going to deal with that.

Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 08:09:27 PMThe film does ask you to leave the rigid puritanism at the door, though.

I don't think puritanism is at play here. Both Drenk and I liked Red Rocket, which is far more explicit than this film.

Spoilers for Red Rocket:

Spoiler: ShowHide
The girl in Red Rocket is clearly being exploited, but she's also very much into the relationship. She's sexually aggressive. She loves being with him. Does that make it right? Clearly not. And she is 2 years older than Gary.


If you're arguing that it's puritanical to want a more serious depiction of an adult/child relationship, that's an interesting definition of puritanism but not one I share.

I'm not saying Licorice Pizza should have been gritty and realistic! It can be a fantasy. But we should acknowledge that's largely what it is, is what I'm saying. I think we should also be honest and acknowledge that the adult/teen taboo is part of what's meant to make the love story exciting. PTA easily could have aged Gary up a bit or aged Alana down, but the age gap is the point.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on January 09, 2022, 09:55:46 PM
I suppose I'm basically in the middle of this. I agree the film is a fantasy, but I do not think the film is shying away from it being a fantasy. I think the age gap is there precisely to be a manifestation of the awkwardness between childhood and adulthood and the myth of adulthood. Similarly to how Scientology was used simply as devise and setting to explore something completely different in The Master, I think the age gap is here simply to set a stage to discuss the push and pull of transitioning to adulthood. However, if it's too much for others, or if others wanted it to be handled more seriously, I get it. I certainly don't think people who are cold to this are puritans.

I don't agree that the film is darker and more sinister than what meets the eye. There is nothing sad about the ending. I think all of that talk is mental gymnastics to try and add more to the film itself and the age gap stuff than there really is to it .

I agree with most of Drenk's points, but  I liked the film. The Wachs situation is absolutely there to show Alana forbidden love and to make her realize she needs to embrace her feelings for Gary. The difference is that just doesn't bother me because I think PTA knows he's telling a fantasy. Even comparing it 30's screwball comedies...most of those have outlandish scenarios that aren't remotely realistic. Therefore, I don't interpret it literally...like as a pro-pedo thing.

I also think the nature of this story leads us into fantasy territory. It's literally a collection of life stories told to PTA by his friend. The fish gets bigger every time you tell the story.  Perhaps the first time the story was told he hooked up with a senior. Then it was a college girl. By now she's twenty five.

But as mentioned, if someone wants to see similar subject matter handled in a more serious, realistic way, yes see Red Rocket.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 12:01:28 AM
Quote from: jviness02 on January 09, 2022, 09:55:46 PM
I suppose I'm basically in the middle of this. I agree the film is a fantasy, but I do not think the film is shying away from it being a fantasy. I think the age gap is there precisely to be a manifestation of the awkwardness between childhood and adulthood and the myth of adulthood. Similarly to how Scientology was used simply as devise and setting to explore something completely different in The Master, I think the age gap is here simply to set a stage to discuss the push and pull of transitioning to adulthood. However, if it's too much for others, or if others wanted it to be handled more seriously, I get it. I certainly don't think people who are cold to this are puritans.

I don't agree that the film is darker and more sinister than what meets the eye. There is nothing sad about the ending. I think all of that talk is mental gymnastics to try and add more to the film itself and the age gap stuff than there really is to it .

I agree with most of Drenk's points, but  I liked the film. The Wachs situation is absolutely there to show Alana forbidden love and to make her realize she needs to embrace her feelings for Gary. The difference is that just doesn't bother me because I think PTA knows he's telling a fantasy. Even comparing it 30's screwball comedies...most of those have outlandish scenarios that aren't remotely realistic. Therefore, I don't interpret it literally...like as a pro-pedo thing.

I also think the nature of this story leads us into fantasy territory. It's literally a collection of life stories told to PTA by his friend. The fish gets bigger every time you tell the story.  Perhaps the first time the story was told he hooked up with a senior. Then it was a college girl. By now she's twenty five.

But as mentioned, if someone wants to see similar subject matter handled in a more serious, realistic way, yes see Red Rocket.

jviness02, since you are perhaps the first one on this thread that is starting to come in terms with the fact that the film might indeed be a fantasy about childhood/adulthood, but still something about the ending doesn't feel right to you, try to answer these questions

1)Why Anderson chose to put Wachs as the final station to Alana's journey into adulthood
(Why he even chose to use a real-life politician that was closeted in real life-and didnt have a boyfriend then as he himself said on a recent interview)

2)Why he clearly (performance, dialogue) wrote Matthew as the "female" part of his romantic relationships

3)Why Wachs says to Matthew "that's not how the world works, you need to grow up"

4)Why Matthew says to Alana "They are all the same (shit), aren't they?"

You need to bring a missing ingredient on the table and you will understand why the ending is great, an ingredient that is apparent in the whole film (the structure of the plot, putting the film on a crucial time period for the States, the oil crisis on the background, the political scenery in the final arc) yet nobody wants to admit it's there and that it might also influenced PTA's writing amongst all the other aspects, because they keep watching this movie literally and because "Anderson was never interest to politics" and because "he always treated his characters as real human beings". The hints are all there, tho. Start from the ending, and then try this with the rest of the film.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 10, 2022, 01:09:09 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 09, 2022, 08:54:10 PM
Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 08:09:27 PMThe relationship, as its portrayed in the film, is not of a nature in which Gary would find himself feeling abused or taken advantage of in retrospect.

That was also my general impression, or hope, but how can we know? The movie cheats in this regard. It ends exactly when things get serious. From a filmmaking POV I understand why—it would be strange to include those kinds of consequences in a fantasy-inflected narrative. The movie is just not interested in that. In fact the whole thing is sort of contingent on not examining their relationship too closely. Having it truly begin as the film ends is a skillful sidestep, and one that clearly works for a lot of people.

I'd wager there are enough real-life examples of a boy/woman romance being developmentally or psychologically harmful for the boy that's it's presumptuous to assume someone like Gary will be fine. The whole reason adults typically don't have sex with 15-year-olds is that they may not be psychologically or emotionally prepared for a serious adult relationship with an actual adult. Alana has 10-13 years more experience, brain development, emotional maturity etc. that she's about to bring to bear on this relationship, and we just don't know how Gary is going to deal with that.

Quote from: achordion on January 09, 2022, 08:09:27 PMThe film does ask you to leave the rigid puritanism at the door, though.

I don't think puritanism is at play here. Both Drenk and I liked Red Rocket, which is far more explicit than this film.

Spoilers for Red Rocket:

Spoiler: ShowHide
The girl in Red Rocket is clearly being exploited, but she's also very much into the relationship. She's sexually aggressive. She loves being with him. Does that make it right? Clearly not. And she is 2 years older than Gary.


If you're arguing that it's puritanical to want a more serious depiction of an adult/child relationship, that's an interesting definition of puritanism but not one I share.

I'm not saying Licorice Pizza should have been gritty and realistic! It can be a fantasy. But we should acknowledge that's largely what it is, is what I'm saying. I think we should also be honest and acknowledge that the adult/teen taboo is part of what's meant to make the love story exciting. PTA easily could have aged Gary up a bit or aged Alana down, but the age gap is the point.

I think it's puritanical to suggest this film is advocating adult/teen romance, in the sense that it's not supported by a clearheaded reading of the film.

Agree that the film is fantasy (like all rom-coms and certainly all screwball comedies) and the excitement of having an off-kilter foil is part of the draw. I wanted the characters to be a bit more clearly defined, and for the denouement to carry more weight, especially since that's a strong suit of all of PTA's other films, but ultimately it's meant to be an airy entertainment picture (his first).
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 01:17:54 AM
Quote from: achordion on January 10, 2022, 01:09:09 AMI think it's puritanical to suggest this film is advocating adult/teen romance, in the sense that it's not supported by a clearheaded reading of the film.

Advocating or prescribing, no, probably not. But celebrating? Absolutely. I read the ending as pretty straightforwardly joyous. I think most people do. It's a victory over the "obstacle" that PTA describes in interviews.

Rather than rephrasing too much, I'll quote my initial spoiler take:

Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 04, 2022, 07:43:29 PMI would have to stretch pretty hard to view the end of this movie as a critical examination of Gary and Alana's relationship. Their fateful reunion is depicted as positively euphoric—about as close to endorsement as you can get. One could argue that this sequence, with its heavenly lighting and electric energy, is just a depiction of the character POVs. But it's very very hard to believe the movie isn't rooting for them. If the film means to cast a critical eye on their future, I'm not seeing it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 01:47:55 AM
Trust me, I'm all for ambiguity and diverging interpretations. I'm all for having your own head canon or taking your own meaning from something.

But LP doesn't check those boxes for me. Maybe I'll change my mind on subsequent viewings, but I genuinely think the ending is pretty straightforward. And I'm personally not persuaded by any of the alternative takes:

- The last section is all a dream/symbol/fairy tale
- Actually three years passed
- The ending is so straightforward that it must not be
- The ending is so euphoric that it must actually be dark

I believe in the audience having an active role in a film's meaning. But some of these takes are so unsupported by the text that they don't seem interesting or useful to me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on January 10, 2022, 01:52:10 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 12:01:28 AM
Quote from: jviness02 on January 09, 2022, 09:55:46 PM
I suppose I'm basically in the middle of this. I agree the film is a fantasy, but I do not think the film is shying away from it being a fantasy. I think the age gap is there precisely to be a manifestation of the awkwardness between childhood and adulthood and the myth of adulthood. Similarly to how Scientology was used simply as devise and setting to explore something completely different in The Master, I think the age gap is here simply to set a stage to discuss the push and pull of transitioning to adulthood. However, if it's too much for others, or if others wanted it to be handled more seriously, I get it. I certainly don't think people who are cold to this are puritans.

I don't agree that the film is darker and more sinister than what meets the eye. There is nothing sad about the ending. I think all of that talk is mental gymnastics to try and add more to the film itself and the age gap stuff than there really is to it .

I agree with most of Drenk's points, but  I liked the film. The Wachs situation is absolutely there to show Alana forbidden love and to make her realize she needs to embrace her feelings for Gary. The difference is that just doesn't bother me because I think PTA knows he's telling a fantasy. Even comparing it 30's screwball comedies...most of those have outlandish scenarios that aren't remotely realistic. Therefore, I don't interpret it literally...like as a pro-pedo thing.

I also think the nature of this story leads us into fantasy territory. It's literally a collection of life stories told to PTA by his friend. The fish gets bigger every time you tell the story.  Perhaps the first time the story was told he hooked up with a senior. Then it was a college girl. By now she's twenty five.

But as mentioned, if someone wants to see similar subject matter handled in a more serious, realistic way, yes see Red Rocket.

jviness02, since you are perhaps the first one on this thread that is starting to come in terms with the fact that the film might indeed be a fantasy about childhood/adulthood, but still something about the ending doesn't feel right to you, try to answer these questions

1)Why Anderson chose to put Wachs as the final station to Alana's journey into adulthood
(Why he even chose to use a real-life politician that was closeted in real life-and didnt have a boyfriend then as he himself said on a recent interview)

2)Why he clearly (performance, dialogue) wrote Matthew as the "female" part of his romantic relationships

3)Why Wachs says to Matthew "that's not how the world works, you need to grow up"

4)Why Matthew says to Alana "They are all the same (shit), aren't they?"

You need to bring a missing ingredient on the table and you will understand why the ending is great, an ingredient that is apparent in the whole film (the structure of the plot, putting the film on a crucial time period for the States, the oil crisis on the background, the political scenery in the final arc) yet nobody wants to admit it's there and that it might also influenced PTA's writing amongst all the other aspects, because they keep watching this movie literally and because "Anderson was never interest to politics" and because "he always treated his characters as real human beings". The hints are all there, tho. Start from the ending, and then try this with the rest of the film.

What's your answer to these questions, in your opinion? (This is not sassy, I'm being genuine. The questions have peaked my interest and provoked thought)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 02:31:16 AM
Quote from: jviness02 on January 10, 2022, 01:52:10 AM
What's your answer to these questions, in your opinion? (This is not sassy, I'm being genuine. The questions have peaked my interest and provoked thought)

I will politely refuse to open my cards for the time being, until more male viewers stop perceiving Alana's character as a horny little bitch who wants -or even tries- to fuck like an animal (they keep ignoring the Lance segment, among all the other hints, but to each their own), which just feels to me like... a very weird -or even scary- hill to die on.

But yes, I was a bit naive when I initially interpreted the film the way I did, this is not just a twisted fairy tale or a revision of Anderson's filmography, this is essentially a remake of Inherent Vice through and through.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on January 10, 2022, 02:42:05 AM
Quote from: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 02:31:16 AM
Quote from: jviness02 on January 10, 2022, 01:52:10 AM
What's your answer to these questions, in your opinion? (This is not sassy, I'm being genuine. The questions have peaked my interest and provoked thought)

I will politely refuse to open my cards for the time being, until more male viewers stop perceiving Alana's character as a horny little bitch who wants -or even tries- to fuck like an animal (they keep ignoring the Lance segment, among all the other hints, but to each their own), which just feels to me like... a very weird -or even scary- hill to die on.

But yes, I was a bit naive when I initially interpreted the film the way I did, this is not just a twisted fairy tale or a revision of Anderson's filmography, this is essentially a remake of Inherent Vice through and through.

Is that what a lot of people are saying? I don't think she comes off that way at all. She clearly didn't sleep with Lance or else she wouldn't have asked him about his penis. Between her handsy boss and Jack Holden and Jon Peters, it's pretty clear she could get sex if that's what she wants. That's clearly not what's driving her.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 02:48:34 AM
No, that's not at all what people are saying. I would say that she's a 25-28yo woman with a normal human libido, and that she's sexually attracted to Gary. These are pretty uncontroversial points that seem thoroughly supported by the film.

(I'm truly not sure where "horny little bitch" is coming from.)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 02:57:29 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 02:48:34 AM
No, that's not at all what people are saying. I would say that she's a 25-28yo woman with a normal human libido, and that she's sexually attracted to Gary. These are pretty uncontroversial points that seem thoroughly supported by the film.

(I'm truly not sure where "horny little bitch" is coming from.)

You would say that based on what? Name certain scenes in the film that are told from her perspective and indicate such thing.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 03:08:57 AM
I don't even know where to start. Hand-holding, leg-touching, literally kissing him? Do you believe she fell in love with Gary without having any sexual desire for him? Speaking of puritanical, this is approaching a demented level of chaste retconning.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 03:27:31 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 03:08:57 AM
I don't even know where to start. Hand-holding, leg-touching, literally kissing him? Do you believe she fell in love with Gary without having any sexual desire for him? Speaking of puritanical, this is approaching a demented level of chaste retconning.

I can't believe how anyone who doesn't watch just Marvel movies, and knows and has watched Paul Thomas Anderson films, would ever watch the leg-touching scene and wouldn't be able to understand that it's told entirely from Gary's perspective, the way he's staring at her, the way he's making the first move, the way his inner sexual desire wishes she would respond. I can't believe that I'm doing this.

I myself already admitted that the basic premise/superficial level of this film will understandably be a deal-breaker for many people, and I won't blame anyone who can't surpass it, but watching people treating this movie as a naturalistic depiction of a based-on-real-life human relationship is beyond me.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 03:33:29 AM
I respect your alternate reading. But you've got to admit that it's a bit of a galaxy-brain unconventional take. And from the outside, it does look like you're cherry-picking which parts you want to be real and which you don't.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on January 10, 2022, 03:53:47 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on January 10, 2022, 03:33:29 AM
I respect your alternate reading. But you've got to admit that it's a bit of a galaxy-brain unconventional take. And from the outside, it does look like you're cherry-picking which parts you want to be real and which you don't.

No, I'm 100% not cherry-picking, I believe nothing in this movie is literal because its own vocabulary isn't literal/naturalistic - something pretty obvious from the first ten minutes already, and I have my take on the film based entirely on its cinematic language and what hints/clues it gives/shows to me, using examples directly from scenes and dialogue from the film, not psychological progression out of nowhere.

But because I'm already starting to feel like I'm taking a defensive position for no reason, I will leave it here, if I may.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 10, 2022, 10:39:18 AM
The unreality/fantasy of the movie is a satisfying way to take it in -- essentially seeing it as just a trip (the aesthetics of the film back this interpretation up).

I've also heard an interpretation of the last shot that says that, instead of running into each other's arms in typical romcom fashion (it mocks that when they fall over in front of the marquee), they're running away from society's attempts to define whatever their relationship, hand-in-hand through blazing light. I'll need to see it again to see if that interpretation is earned/comes through. And then there's the interpretation that they will go on having a hot/cold fraught relationship and just be friends.

Edit: I suppose this wouldn't be the first time he's done an ending that seems positive on the face, but is actually anything but. I'm thinking of the ending of Boogie Nights with Dirk getting back to porn acting --- seemingly positive, but a historical awareness of John Homes' death by AIDS in the 80s haunts the ending. We can assume Dirk undergoes the same fate.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Montclair on January 10, 2022, 05:29:19 PM
Some of you guys who believe that Paul didn't make a movie that celebrates the joy of young love between a 25 year old and a 15 year old sound like the kid who believes that the reason their dad hasn't come back home, after he left for cigarettes 5 years ago, is because he's on a secret spy mission, but will be back soon when he's no longer undercover. Here's the deal, folks:

Paul had a crush on his art teacher as a kid in the 70s when she was in her mid twenties. Fast forward to now and he meets his art teacher's 3 daughters. Out of the 3 daughters, Paul says Alana, who was in her mid twenties when they first met, looks exactly like her mother. Paul casts Alana as the lead of his new movie set in the 70s and casts his best friend's son as a 15 year old who has a crush on her. In the movie, Alana shows him her boobs and eventually, in the end, after a journey of no more than a year, falls for the teen, runs into his arms, kisses him and says "I love you." These are facts.

None of these facts stop "Licorice Pizza" from being a really fun movie with killer visuals, cool cameos and great music. Just like the facts that Mariel  Hemmingway was 16 and Woody Allen was 43 when they filmed "Manhattan" don't stop it from being an artistic masterpiece. So, please, be honest with yourselves and be honest about your idol.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 10, 2022, 08:08:39 PM
"Paul had a crush on his art teacher as a kid..."

Just making things up lol. Nothing more goofy and awkward than trying to psychologize  a person you don't actually know, by using the scantest details of their life which they've divulged to make assumptions about them.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Montclair on January 10, 2022, 09:56:32 PM
Quote from: achordion on January 10, 2022, 08:08:39 PM
"Paul had a crush on his art teacher as a kid..."

Just making things up lol. Nothing more goofy and awkward than trying to psychologize  a person you don't actually know, by using the scantest details of their life which they've divulged to make assumptions about them.



https://www.culturedmag.com/article/2021/12/09/in-emlicorice-pizza-em-alanas-mom-has-got-it-going-on#:~:text=Paul%20Thomas%20Anderson%20recently%20told,Alana%20Haim%20in%202012%E2%80%94was (https://www.culturedmag.com/article/2021/12/09/in-emlicorice-pizza-em-alanas-mom-has-got-it-going-on#:~:text=Paul%20Thomas%20Anderson%20recently%20told,Alana%20Haim%20in%202012%E2%80%94was)

(https://i.imgur.com/OSrbOZJ.png)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 10, 2022, 10:48:06 PM
You forgot to quote the part that says he cast Alana because she looks like her mom. (It doesn't exist, hth.)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 11, 2022, 01:34:56 AM
Quote from: Montclair on January 10, 2022, 05:29:19 PM
Some of you guys who believe that Paul didn't make a movie that celebrates the joy of young love between a 25 year old and a 15 year old sound like the kid who believes that the reason their dad hasn't come back home, after he left for cigarettes 5 years ago, is because he's on a secret spy mission, but will be back soon when he's no longer undercover. Here's the deal, folks:

Paul had a crush on his art teacher as a kid in the 70s when she was in her mid twenties. Fast forward to now and he meets his art teacher's 3 daughters. Out of the 3 daughters, Paul says Alana, who was in her mid twenties when they first met, looks exactly like her mother. Paul casts Alana as the lead of his new movie set in the 70s and casts his best friend's son as a 15 year old who has a crush on her. In the movie, Alana shows him her boobs and eventually, in the end, after a journey of no more than a year, falls for the teen, runs into his arms, kisses him and says "I love you." These are facts.

None of these facts stop "Licorice Pizza" from being a really fun movie with killer visuals, cool cameos and great music. Just like the facts that Mariel  Hemmingway was 16 and Woody Allen was 43 when they filmed "Manhattan" don't stop it from being an artistic masterpiece. So, please, be honest with yourselves and be honest about your idol.

Ad the problem with him doing this is....?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 11, 2022, 03:14:40 PM
The Big Picture Podcast:   Let's Talk About Licorice Pizza.

SPOILERS

https://www.theringer.com/2022/1/11/22878015/lets-talk-licorice-pizza

[edit]  A lot of good takes in this discussion.  (Which means, of course, I agree with almost all of it.)  There's even a POC participating!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on January 11, 2022, 03:31:37 PM
https://twitter.com/rachel_handler/status/1481002752230703110
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 11, 2022, 05:02:46 PM
I love this:

Spoiler: ShowHide
Quote"Part of the story here is that the character Kiki wore that bathing suit when they were at the teen fair — there's a bedspread, and she's on the waterbed at the teen fair in her bikini," says Bridges. "There was a contest for 'Guess how many polka dots are on the bathing suit and the bedspread?', which was something from real life that went on for the character that this was based on, when he sold waterbeds. So we made that full-figure bikini for Kiki, and when I suggested making one that would fit Alana better, Paul was like, 'No, she should just use Kiki's bathing suit, because Gary wouldn't take time to have another bathing suit made.' And I thought, 'Well, that's hilarious.'"

I hadn't noticed that Kiki and Alana both wore the same suit...

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on January 11, 2022, 06:51:47 PM
The teen fair dialogue is also a funny tell to the polka dot hustle.
Spoiler: ShowHide
"So how many are there"
"Dunno. I dont think they even count them"
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 12, 2022, 06:21:19 PM
Another 70 mm screening tonight.

It's unfortunate that despite all these reflections of Alana, Paul Thomas Anderson fails to grasp his character at the end. Because the idea of a woman who sees no worth in herself outside of the desire of other men is interesting, and that truck sequence seems to be a form of breakthrough. There's only Alana in the rearview mirror to save Alana. No Rainbow. No Grace. No Nancy. No teenager's wet dream.

Well. Here's the thing: the movie does see Gary as different. It's ironic that in a movie interested in demonstrating that adults are children in order to make that frontier insignificant, the kid is also supposed to be better than adults because he is—well...—not an adult.  I'm not saying that I expect Alana's issues to be resolved at the end of the movie, but not only is she still self-determining through the eyes of a a guy, that time the movies says that since Gary is the only genuine object of her desire, then it is wonderful. That's supposed to be...not hiding who you really are, as Matthew says...

It's frustrating that the movie intends that deeply to reward Gary's horniness. Because it doesn't need to play as a romance at all. Gary making her feel special is enough for her to stay at his side like a « dog...with sex appeal...and a very Jewish nose ». You can argue that Alana's way to deal with any man or boy showing any interest to her consists in acting sexually available to them, okay.  But then you've got the end of the movie and everything falls apart once again. (And that would still be an eye-rolling way to present a woman sexually attracted by a teenager...but against her will, because she has no self esteem, you see...)

Also, I think that showing a friendship would have made the movie richer on a scene to scene basis. There's enough tension with Gary wanting to have sex with her, she doesn't need to repress anything. That way, the somber part of the movie (a world where adults have abandoned the ship, or are slowly going insane on the corners...) has no dubious endgoal. Everybody is playing. Nothing is serious. That's an epiphany worth having. By not being petrified by the idea of adulthood, Alana could have at least be freed of a weight allowing her to be something. Anything but Gary's prize.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: PaulElroy35 on January 12, 2022, 06:57:25 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 12, 2022, 06:21:19 PM
Another 70 mm screening tonight.

It's unfortunate that despite all these reflections of Alana, Paul Thomas Anderson fails to grasp his character at the end. Because the idea of a woman who sees no worth in herself outside of the desire of other men is interesting, and that truck sequence seems to be a form of breakthrough. There's only Alana in the rearview mirror to save Alana. No Rainbow. No Grace. No Nancy. No teenager's wet dream.

Well. Here's the thing: the movie does see Gary as different. It's ironic that in a movie interested in demonstrating that adults are children in order to make that frontier insignificant, the kid is also supposed to be better than adults because he is—well...—not an adult.  I'm not saying that I expect Alana's issues to be resolved at the end of the movie, but not only is she still self-determining through the eyes of a a guy, that time the movies says that since Gary is the only genuine object of her desire, then it is wonderful. That's supposed to be...not hiding who you really are, as Matthew says...

It's frustrating that the movie intends that deeply to reward Gary's horniness. Because it doesn't need to play as a romance at all. Gary making her feel special is enough for her to stay at his side like a « dog...with sex appeal...and a very Jewish nose ». You can argue that Alana's way to deal with any man or boy showing any interest to her consists in acting sexually available to them, okay.  But then you've got the end of the movie and everything falls apart once again. (And that would still be an eye-rolling way to present a woman sexually attracted by a teenager...but against her will, because she has no self esteem, you see...)

Also, I think that showing a friendship would have made the movie richer on a scene to scene basis. There's enough tension with Gary wanting to have sex with her, she doesn't need to repress anything. That way, the somber part of the movie (a world where adults have abandoned the ship, or are slowly going insane on the corners...) has no dubious endgoal. Everybody is playing. Nothing is serious. That's an epiphany worth having. By not being petrified by the idea of adulthood, Alana could have at least be freed of a weight allowing her to be something. Anything but Gary's prize.


"Alana as Garys PRIZE" thats what you took away from it?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Alma on January 14, 2022, 02:25:18 PM
Just saw this at the cinema; the weird unadvertised gradual roll-out finally made it to somewhere relatively near me. I cannot convey how excited I was when the lights went down having waited for this for so long. I really enjoyed it for the most part, looking forward to catching up with everyone's thoughts (and disagreements!) since I've mostly avoided this thread until now.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 14, 2022, 10:30:52 PM
Licorice Pizza - A View from the Other Valley (https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2022/01/13/licorice-pizza-the-other-valley/)  |  Bright Wall/Dark Room

Westwood

Westwood is a concrete-and-glass ghost town most nights; you'd never know that in the '70s, teens would crowd its wide sidewalks so deeply you had to step into the street to get by. Everyone was always headed to a movie. Successive revitalization efforts rose and fell, finally succumbing to the pandemic's swath, but on one corner tonight, a neon marquee is a night bloom. Inside, couples take pictures in front of the poster for Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film.

The vibe in the air is very much 'Hometown Hero Made a Movie About Us.' We all remember how Anderson evoked '70s L.A. in Boogie Nights. Tonight, we're looking to collectively time travel again; we need it.

I reach for the door to my cinematic flight, but a young man beats me to the handle and opens it for me. Normally I'd give a quick glance of thanks or do a dance of "no, you first," but when I see him, I stop in my tracks. This guy's wearing a Levi's jacket with patches on it; he dips his head to get his long brown hair out of his eyes; he's handsome like early James Taylor. I pause and look at him longer than either of us expected because, well... 

Can I tell you something about what happens when you get older? You will see young people who, looking for a style, choose the garb of another era. They will appear indistinguishable from the people you saw and flirted with in your youth. This can cause a moment of, not déjà vu exactly, but temporal dislocation—the need to recalibrate reality. Peering inside the theater, I see this 'Paul Thomas Anderson Is a God' audience and realize that most of them were born decades after the film's setting. Even Anderson himself was only three years old in 1973.

But Licorice Pizza has a particular gravitational pull for me, beyond my appreciation of its director. I was a 15-year-old living in Southern California in 1973. I've come to the film hoping for both a movie and a collapse of chronology, a celluloid-induced memory trance. Can needle drops of glam rock take me back to those nights in my teenage bedroom when I studied every detail of a Bowie album cover? 

The puzzled and puka-shelled young man gestures me in. I gather myself and thank him.

I hadn't expected my reverie to begin before I even got in my seat.

The San Fernando

Although I'm tremendously disappointed to find out that Licorice Pizza doesn't feature a single scene set in the eponymous Southland music chain—and that Alana Haim will not be playing a record store clerk—I pass through its time portal easily. Anderson opens with an image I remember well: long bathroom mirrors, in which I joined other boys as we perfected the swoops of our hair. This moment of authenticity ushers me into the story of Gary (Cooper Hoffman), a San Fernando Valley sophomore gobsmacked by Alana, a 25-year-old photographer's assistant who is offering students in the school picture line a mirror, navigating indifference from them. Gary doesn't ignore Alana; he sees her and offers brash worship like she's a goddess in a skort.

Alana is a bewitching combination, self-possessed but vulnerable and a little lost in life. In old movies, she'd be the ingenue yet to be discovered, and one of the great rewards of Licorice Pizza is that, in the present, Alana Haim is discovered as an actor of huge talent and potential—wholly original but suggesting Barbara Stanwyck by way of Cherie Currie. Haim has that rare gift of looking like she's listening to other characters and reacting in real time—quizzical, defensive, but still open. Alana's parade of dismissive reactions to Gary's pick-up lines immediately anchor the film. Haim and her ebullient emotional acuity are this generous film's most generous gift.

Licorice Pizza's period details get me drunk. Aqua Princess wall phones. Flowered foil wallpaper. Titanic station wagons that seated 12. My Proustian madeleine is Alana hiding behind a very specific type of plywood three-paneled door found in every SoCal mid-century tract home's bathroom.

I could nearly smell the Clairol Herbal Essences or Lemon Up shampoo in her hair. Did we know witty tough girls like Alana? Yes, and they indeed would shush you by pronouncing "Tell the whole block!" as seven musical notes. Did parents really let their kids run around day and night on their own? Yes, they were all exhausted from working two jobs. At age 11, I took a bus 20 miles just to find a copy of The Hollywood Reporter, and no one noticed. With no such thing yet as 'milk carton kids,' a phone call home pretending to be "at a friend's" was all you needed.

(Speaking of running, Alana and Gary are always sprinting in the film, but if Anderson wanted greater verisimilitude, their galloping would be cut short by "smog chest." The air pollution in LA was so bad back then, after you exerted yourself you'd feel like a burning hoof was standing on your sternum. We were so naïve and accepting of our fate that we would tease anyone whose chest didn't hurt after recess, saying they didn't play "hard enough.")

Did '70s teens really start up random businesses to hustle spending money? Maybe the child actor Gary does so with unexplained sources of capital, but at a lower level, yes. My best friend and I tried to turn the looming Bicentennial into riches by walking door-to-door with stencils and red, white, and blue spray paint, offering to turn a home's curb numbers into Old Glory. Our response to the gas lines depicted in the film was to carry plastic tubs of produce up and down the rows of cars, tempting bored drivers with a saved supermarket trip.

Anderson's remarkable achievement here, as with Boogie Nights, is to immerse us in Los Angeles' past affectionately but with a wary eye for its betrayals. By highlighting the spontaneity of young people on a journey of discovery, Licorice Pizza stays buoyant even when excavating Hollywood's most poisonous sediments. The masterful director stages set pieces with satisfying clarity; a story involving Alana driving a truck is like a perfect short within the film, and every sequence gets an unexpected button. There are scores of cameos from characters you want more time with—my favorite is Gary's agent, with fabulously unpredictable line readings by Harriet Samson Harris, but why choose in such a feast?

All these felicities made it easy to travel back in time; the film screen became a permeable portal to cinematic intoxication. Until.

Until that screen became a wall, and I hit it with a sobering thud. Until a film that felt true began to feel unnecessarily false. Until Anderson, so clear-eyed in satirizing Hollywood and hucksterism, contributes to a perpetuation of one of the film industry's most persistent sins.

Yes, I was 15 like Gary in 1973. But I was also 15, and queer, and Mexican-American. And I lived in L.A.'s other valley—the one, I would argue, you intentionally never see in film.

The San Gabriel

If you oversimplify the topography of Southern California as a straight line—Los Angeles and Hollywood at the center, ocean in front, mountains in back—then the San Fernando Valley rests to the west side, and the San Gabriel Valley sprawls on the other. When you hear people talk in pop culture about "the Valley," what they mean exclusively is the San Fernando Valley.

Johnny Carson and talk show comedians made jokes about "the Valley." Since the start of visual media, numerous films and TV shows have been set there. Licorice Pizza is only the latest within the genre of coming-of-age films: there's Foxes (1980), Valley Girl (1983), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), The Karate Kid (1984), and, more recently, Booksmart (2018). In the '90s, indie directors seized on the Valley for ironic use. Anderson himself has set four of his films there.

Now, count the number of films set in the San Gabriel Valley. You won't need more than one hand—which reminds me of a game my family played in the '70s, and one theory for this puzzling discrepancy.

My movie-mad family enjoyed a double feature a week. In our Bel-Air station wagon on the way home from seeing an entirely white-cast film like Yours, Mine and Ours (which I was obsessed with), we'd ask, "Aren't there any Mexican-American movie stars?" and our parents would tell us to "count them on your fingers." Anthony Quinn, one finger. Ricardo Montalbán, Cesar Romero—now our middle finger was left extended uncomfortably. Quickly we'd cheat and add Chicano singers—Vikki Carr and Trini Lopez. Our parents gave us a You see? look, and then offered, "Maybe when you kids are grown up, you'll need both your hands and feet to count!"

The perception of the San Gabriel Valley is that it's "browner," meaning more people of color live there than in Hollywood's spillover of whiteness, the San Fernando. Since many people in "the industry" come from somewhere other than L.A., they seldom venture beyond its studio terrains; the San Gabriel is what you pass on the way to Palm Springs. Hollywood doesn't look to its other valley not only because of location economics, but because it seems afraid or ignorant of it, in the ways that white people have always been confounded by the culture of color (yet they appropriate it; witness how many characters in Licorice Pizza mangle Spanglish, a white Angeleno habit Anderson captures that can make Latinx people seethe.)

If they had ventured across town, they would have discovered that in the '70s, the San Gabriel was a remarkably integrated place. Once acres of orange groves, it became a sprawl of bedroom communities after WWII, with houses similar to the ones in Licorice Pizza. Home buyers were often vets, and the block I grew up on in Pico Rivera was like a war movie platoon: Italians, Irish, Scandinavians, Germans, all interspersed with many of Mexican descent. In the San Fernando, workers pursued the dream of moviemaking; the dads of San Gabriel pursued the era's other great dream: conquering the heavens. My own Mexican immigrant father installed the heat shield on the Apollo that went to the moon, and he was thanked by the white Neil Armstrong.

I don't want to discount the sting of white conservatism that ruled California under Reagan's governorship; I remember the "Go Back to Mexico!" snarls my mother and I got outside supermarkets when we asked shoppers to "boycott grapes." A mean white kid could still fling "Beaner!" at you as he rode by on his Schwinn.

But in many ways, Southern California then had more of a relaxed diversity than today, when we more self-consciously promote it, and Chicano culture had an influential edge. The ethnically diverse men on our block got together every Saturday to help each family build brick fences, and then hold patio luaus, dancing to rancheras on the hi-fi. White moms used to hang out in my mother's kitchen, begging her to teach them how to make better enchiladas. My best friends were Anglo, Mexican and biracial Black; we readied ourselves for a summer's day by making peanut butter and jelly burritos.

Its near-total whiteness makes the otherwise authentic Licorice Pizza ring bafflingly false. Even San Fernando Valley schools had been integrated through busing by 1973; could Gary and Alana not have a single foregrounded Chicano friend or co-worker? I'm not just being churlish about what we today call representation; it simply rings untrue. It's almost like the fastidious Anderson has intentionally neglected the way the middle class integrated in pursuit of economic survival. I could understand this troubling omission if Anderson was a non-native, but have you ever read an interview with him where he doesn't talk about his California youth? Can a sensitive 2021 film set in L.A. have Latinos in the credits only as extras or waiters? Would my late parents want to know that 50 years on, we still count only on one hand?

Taking cues from scenes in Licorice Pizza, let me counterbalance by offering stories from a queer Chicano's '70s youth in "the other Valley."

The Valley of Memory

Reduced to its plot thread, Gary's brashness as he pursues Alana is not unlike hundreds of other movies. I enjoy their dance of attraction, but from a familiar distance. Gary's open pursuit is afforded by his straightness; it's outside of what was possible for gay youth at the time.

Queer boys still had lusts and infatuations, but my experience in navigating them was more akin to the storyline in Boogie Nights in which porn crew member Scotty (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cooper's father) tries to hide his love for Dirk Diggler. Scotty finally gives himself away in the banality of a tract home driveway, launching Hoffman into indelible self-excoriation with, "I'm such a fucking idiot."

Beds

There is one moment in Licorice Pizza that does approximate the sublimation of teen queer desire; it's the scene when an exhilarated Gary and Alana rest on one of the waterbeds they're selling, which Anderson lights like another planet. Neither moves, but they allow their fingers to touch. Gary lets his hand hover near Alana's breast, and, afraid of rejection, pulls back.

I had an undeclared crush on my high school best friend, Sam. He drove a gold El Camino, wore a cowboy hat, and always smelled like Irish Spring and Tide. (After years of internalizing the racist slur "dirty Mexican," I thought that white people's skin genetically retained the scent of soap.) My waterbed was the El Camino's tonneau at the Starlite drive-in.

'70s drive-ins really were a place of teen autonomy, with everyone freshly driver's-licensed and post-pubescent. We willingly piled into deep Impala trunks to avoid paying for an extra admission; we paraded around with paper shopping bags, grease-spotted with homemade popcorn; we congregated in the kid playgrounds until the cartoons started, taking rowdy command of the merry-go-rounds.

When my buddies and I saw Jaws at the Starlite, instead of parking with the windshield facing the screen, Sam backed his truck bed up so that we could stretch out in the open July air. The four of us laid out blankets to watch a story that played into every SoCal boy's fears, that the ocean we loved could take our lives. With no space between us, our knees and shoulders touched; with every thrumming of that ominous theme music, I could feel Sam's muscles tense. When the shark leapt from the water, cars pounded their horns and we screamed with 500 other teenagers. Our bodies flung up involuntarily with each fright, and, each time, I hoped we'd resettle with Sam's cannonball shoulders pressing contact again. I drank in that intimate sensation more than the canned root beer we downed, only to feel my contentment shattered with every sight of a fin: damn shark!

Like a lot of closeted youth, I was having a double-experience at the Starlite, monitoring myself for any sign, including movement in my OP shorts, that I was enjoying our physical proximity too much. Sam had the freedom to touch or move away, unselfconscious, and I think I was attracted to that most in him; I was only self-conscious.

Though Gary hides his desire on the waterbed, if he experienced rejection, he could move on to another girl without social ramification. But in the '70s, if a boy was discovered to enjoy the nonchalant touch of other boys, it was a sure way to never experience it again—or worse. If Alana rejected Gary, he would get his life back; I could literally lose mine. I loved that night at the drive-in, but whenever I hear people talk about how terrifying Jaws is, I think: you have no idea.

Gary and the L.A. Sheriffs

A bravura shot capturing adolescent-baiting capitalism at a teen expo is suddenly interrupted when Gary is nabbed by L.A. cops, and later unceremoniously released. I thought of how many Latinx people I knew who would often not get released even if they had been arrested in error. I thought of how white L.A. County Sheriffs would pull over Mexican-American girls like my sister just to hit on them, and then harass them if they didn't respond.

And I thought of queer 'house parties.'

When I took my first nervous trip to a gay bar, I went to West Hollywood. My furtive research discovered it as a place where gay men could walk on the streets openly, and the only location I could find where I could do what I enjoyed best—dancing—but with another man.

What I didn't know was that the gay community's liberation did not transcend racism, and my first walk through a queer club door was an instant lesson in social stratification. The whole bar was filled with the era's dominant white-clone look, which ranged from 'Midwestern guy in form-fitting jeans and flannels' to 'Midwestern guy in form-fitting khakis and Lacoste polos.' It was an aesthetic not available to me. Rather than worry that I was too conspicuous, I was instead invisible. It felt horrible, shunning.

One night, I met a fellow Latino, and he clued me in to a Latinx alternative.

He told me about house parties for the jotería in El Monte, a town in San Gabriel with little to offer but blocks and blocks of stucco homes. On weekends after dusk and at houses that looked just like Alana's, brown gay people of different genders would pull up in lowriders or Datsuns, walking in as heterosexual couples, but coupling up or presenting as they preferred once inside. I saw gender-fluid Latinx in drag imitating our gossipy tías, or a tough-looking cholo with his arm tight around his boyfriend near the backyard kegs. Funk and oldies ruled the speakers; couples made out behind the garage. Until.

The sheriffs arrived. They had a special zeal in breaking up queer house parties while not touching the straight quinceañeras down the block. People ran, tires squealed, but if you were unlucky or talked back, they'd cuff you and haul you away with enough commotion to bring the neighbors out and turn on the shame along with the porch light.

Licorice Pizza tries to be attuned to layers of social oppression, including of the era's LGBTQ persons; Anderson includes a portrayal of former L.A. Councilman Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie), a passionate and charismatic politician who in his early career felt compelled to hide his sexual orientation. Yet a scene in which we are meant to see the toll such pressure took on Wachs' relationships serves primarily to provide another step in heterosexual Alana's delayed coming of age; witnessing Wachs' tormented machinations 'wises her up.' When she later walks with a rejected gay man, Anderson's dialogue feels unusually tin-eared, as though the most the writer can muster is, "Men, huh! Whaddya gonna do?" 

Jon Peters' assistant, Steve (played by the choreographer Ryan Heffington), signals as another gay character, and he's bullied by his hyper-straight boss. Heffington skillfully redeems Steve's odd inclusion in the story through hilariously deadpan line readings and gestures, but Anderson's eye here, too, seems to lack confidence. The point may be that Steve's fountain of fabulousness is unfairly constrained to sideline jobs, but he's distractingly dressed and directed like he's right out of The Gay Deceivers (1969) or a Charles Nelson Reilly outtake; it feels off.

The jotería house parties in San Gabriel may have risen from the need for queer people of color to gather because the California promise of sexual freedom did not extend to them. The parties may have been shut down by a hypocritically selective L.A. County Sheriff's department. But the way Latinx LGBTQ persons thrived within the tensions of the '70s was by re-gathering the next Saturday night anyway. Those parties had verve, style, soul, intra-cultural diversity, and gut-busting humor. Most of all, they had something Anderson doesn't seem ever to imagine in his queer characters: sexiness and joy. Connection.

Both Valleys

Licorice Pizza offered me more of the joys of cinema than anything has in years, but I regret its perpetuation of an erasure ironically similar to that practiced in the era Anderson satirizes. The film's generosity doesn't extend widely enough.

When I was 15 in 1973, I used to ride my Stingray up the Slauson hill in Pico Rivera so I could speed down, my black hair flying in the descent. Just before, I'd look out to see a vast technicolor sunset; in those days, the vista extended all the way to L.A.'s city hall. The brilliant sky colors were caused by smog's chemical refractions; in Southern California, as Paul Thomas Anderson knows, illusions rule—beauty has an underside.

From that vantage point, I convinced myself that I could even glimpse the Hollywood sign, and it made me feel things I couldn't find words for, but one of them was hope.

I just wish that, in 2022, Hollywood would turn from the hometown valley it's been so focused on to the valley—and all the stories in it—that it's ignored.

Maybe it would see hope, too.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 14, 2022, 10:43:30 PM
Blah blah blah, this movie isn't the movie I wanted it to be blah blah blah...  It started off okay, then holy tangents.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 14, 2022, 10:56:17 PM
Very interesting memory piece. Thanks for sharing, wilber.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 15, 2022, 01:39:20 AM
Why Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza is an anti-love love story (https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-b1992409.html)

Paul Thomas Anderson's new film is not a salacious story about a power-imbalanced relationship, or even romantic love, at all, writes Katie Driscoll. It's about the exhilaration of losing and then finding yourself

Licorice Pizza is many things: a sun-soaked paean to 1970s LA; an earnest exploration of first love; a joyfully juvenile tribute to screwball cinema; a silly and voyeuristic behind-the-scenes slice of Tinseltown. But most of all, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film is a journey of the self, masquerading as a coming-of-age romance.

We open upon a meet-cute of the most unlikely kind: she's the photographer's assistant at his high school's picture day. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is a precocious 15-year-old former child actor in puppyish thrall to Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the band Haim), a Barbara Stanwyck-esque firecracker. Alana is brimming with the eye-rolling resistance of a 25-year-old made the object of male teen lust, but she never becomes a one-note fantasy. Her gaze is central.

Despite the age difference, the swirling chemistry between them is evident. With Gary, Alana is luminous, putting him and his child-actor charm in their place with a self-possession that is not on display when she's around powerful, older men. They bounce off of one another like pinballs in a machine.

With Alana, Gary is endearingly confident, bringing her into his worlds, whether a Hollywood venture as his chaperone, a waterbed sales girl at his store, or helping her to embrace her dreams of becoming an actor. They're both at odds with themselves; she's a case of arrested development, he talks like he's Frank Sinatra but can't manifest anything stronger than an order of two cokes at the bar.

Many viewers on social media platforms have recently derided the film's age gap (Gary is a minor) as "problematic", some even going as far as to cite it as "predatory" and in danger of "glamourising paedophilia". But the will-they-won't-they dynamic doesn't hang over the film, nor is it even the point. Instead, the film uses an offbeat relationship as a way to explore what Anderson describes as the "sticky stuff" of growing up – the parts of us we dispose of as we age, like youthful optimism or the terrible pleasure of a crush. Within this, Anderson slyly uses Alana's unwillingness to grow up to interrogate the pressures that women in US society faced in the Seventies.

By 1973, the sexual revolution and the Women's Liberation Movement were already in full swing. Roe v Wade had recently legalised abortion, making strides for women's bodily autonomy. But outside of the arena of domesticity, women's futures in the workplace were still a looming question mark. More women were college-educated than any other period in the US, yet only 13.3 per cent of those with a BA degree had gone into the labour force. The Marriage Bar, which prohibited married women from working, was still in place up until 1973. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which finally stopped women being unfairly fired for getting pregnant, didn't come into force until 1978. This is the environment in which Alana would have been brought up.

She is not unaware of the odds stacked against her: "He is rich and famous and was going to take me out of here!" she wails at her father after a Shabbat date with Gary's heartthrob co-star Lance (Skyler Gisondo) goes awry. In opposition to Gary is the world of adult men, characterised by sleaze and ego-massaging, whether it's Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper) and his slimy come-ons or William Holden (Sean Penn) and his obsession with reliving past glories. Even the encouragement of mayoral candidate Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie) ends in disappointment, when he turns out to be using Alana as a cover-up to camouflage his real relationship.

In addition to Alana's desire to remain free, suspended in time with "Gary and his 15-year-old friends", there is the rumbling anxiety that permeates the film's period setting. The hippie period of Free Love was a fire that had already long burnt out, giving way to Nixon's era of cynicism; Gary's corny brandishing of a "peace and love, baby" V sign is met with a sternly crude admonishment. Then there's the unease around the oil crisis, something that affects even the untouchables, the elite of Hollywood. It's no wonder that Alana is queasy about a future that is already unstable. At least Gary offers optimism, and a place of security.

Look closer and Licorice Pizza is not a salacious story about a power-imbalanced relationship, or even romantic love, at all. It's about the exhilaration of losing and then finding yourself, the story of a girl-woman reclaiming herself during a period that did not allow women to put themselves first. As Alana says to Gary earlier on in the film, "You're not my director"; this story belongs to her.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DAPPLE on January 19, 2022, 11:44:02 AM
Don't know if this has already been posted, but fantastic interview of Paul by Adam Nayman delving into some specific aspects of the movie : https://cinema-scope.com/cinema-scope-magazine/show-biz-kids-paul-thomas-anderson-on-licorice-pizza/

Paul Thomas Anderson loves start-up entrepreneurs and fly-by-night schemes: you could run a straight line between There Will Be Blood's (2007) oil magnate Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Punch-Drunk Love's (2002) humble toilet-plunger impresario Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) just as easily as you could imagine the latter signing up for one of the "Seduce and Destroy" seminars run by Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise) in Magnolia (1999). The ultimate huckster in the PTACU would be Philip Seymour Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd in The Master (2012), a Wellesian tyro who's found a way to package and sell the prospect of returning to a "state of perfect"—a costly but finally priceless means of exorcising any and all inherent vice. Operators are standing by.

Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), the resourceful 15-year-old pisher at the centre of Licorice Pizza,is at one the most benign and most unformed of Anderson's confidence men. In between acting gigs that have left him with plenty of walking-around money and a less-than-healthy disrespect for the conventions of adolescence (like going to school), Gary opens a profitable sale-and-delivery business in an abandoned storefront, staffed with pals and charging COD. As is the case with so many grand gestures throughout history, though, he's just a boy trying to impress a girl: if his twentysomething friend Alana (Alana Haim) won't consider dating Gary because he's too young, maybe cornering the market on waterbeds in the San Fernando Valley will make him desirable beyond his years.

Chutzpah is the not-so-secret subject of Licorice Pizza, and Alana—the youngest of three sisters in a conservative Jewish family whose patriarch won't stand for whispers of atheism at the Shabbat table—has at least as much of the stuff as Gary. The film, which, as advertised, is looser and less severe than anything Anderson has made since Punch-Drunk Love, chases Gary as he chases Alana—sometimes passionately, sometimes half-heartedly, sometimes for want of anything better to do—and chases Alana as she tries to grab onto something of her own: an acting career, a political awakening, an age-appropriate boyfriend. Anything to keep her from doting daily on Gary and aiding and abetting his schemes, or dwelling on why someone with her gifts and brains is so content playing Wendy to a tribe of Lost Boys, or wondering whether the grown-up men waiting out there in the wilds of Studio City represent anything better than the juvenile delinquents in her midst.

There is real anxiety here, and Anderson—who specializes in narratives about hinge moments in cultural history—manifests dread around the edges of his portrait of '70s Los Angeles: Nixon on television; a gas shortage at the pumps; cops throwing kids in jail for no reason. Haim, who strutted with her singing siblings through a series of beautifully conceived and choreographed music videos signed by PTA in the 2010s, joins Vicky Krieps of Phantom Thread (2017) at the apex of the director's gallery of female performances: her Alana is plausibly self-divided, with the actress' gawkiness suggesting a body in the process of pulling itself in two directions at once. Hoffman, meanwhile—who, as the son of the late Anderson stock company player, carries inescapable familial associations into his feature debut—is wonderfully crafty and craven as Gary, keeping his eyes on the prize at all times. And if the victories he scores in love and business feel provisional, it suits a movie that finds the seam between definitive and specific—between being a story of a certain generation and the story—and turns into its own cozily interlaced little sweet spot.

Cinema Scope: The first thing that struck me watching Licorice Pizza was the feeling that it was set in a world without adults. There are technically grown-ups in the movie, but they're either preoccupied or far away from what's happening in the story. And so you have all these kids, with all this freedom, working and acting older than they actually are.

Paul Thomas Anderson: Or, more to the point, you have adults acting like the worst kind of fucking kids. I'm thinking of Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper's characters.

Scope: Yeah, and even the Lucille Ball stand-in can't help but smack Gary after he hits her during the television skit. The adults are all pretty juvenile.

Anderson: I was thinking about back then, and about my own childhood and the stories of other people that the film is based on, and you definitely ran a more independent life from adults or your parents. But when you did collide with adults, I think you were treated much more as an equal. Maybe it's a show-business thing. Show-business people are so preoccupied with themselves and their work, and so children become a bit of an afterthought. But there's also a mistake that movies make, where if you have a mom who's working and not around, somehow it's portrayed as a dysfunctional relationship, or as if she's somehow an absentee. And that's fucking horseshit. In the film, that's the reality for Gary's mother: there's no dad around. She has to work. It's all hands on deck, and so in addition to that, the kids are fending for themselves. They have to!

Scope: Gary is very good at fending for himself, and in the world of the kids, he's sort of an authority figure—he's like the ringleader.

Anderson: What's the Anthony Michael Hall line in Sixteen Candles (1984)?"King Shit of Turd Island?" Or is it "King of the Dipshits?"

Scope: I think at one point Alana refers to Gary and "his dipshit friends," right?

Anderson: Does she say that? She says something like "rubber is made of oil, dipshit."

Scope: Well, "dipshit" is a great word.

Anderson: It's great.

Scope: Talking about show-business people, I thought the funniest scene in the movie was when Alana goes to see the agent played by Harriet Sansom Harris, and while she's looking Alana over you just hold this extreme close-up on her face, and you can just see this woman has seen it all...

Anderson: I love that scene, but the funniest part is on the drive over when Gary is coaching her, and tells her, "If she asks if you can dance, say you can dance," and Alana protests: "I can sing and I can dance!" And when she turns to say it to him, you realize she's got way too much makeup on, and she's clearly done it herself—she's looking like Diane Ladd in Wild at Heart (1990). I love how bonkers she looks all of a sudden.

Scope: Alana clearly wants to make something of herself, whether it's by acting or getting into politics. The section of the movie where she volunteers for Joel Wachs' (Benny Safdie) campaign is interesting, because he's another guy who's sort of in-between, age wise: he's young-looking, he's anti-establishment, and he's all about idealism, even though we learn that he's dealing with his own set of personal compromises.

Anderson: He's a young Jewish politician fighting an uphill battle. He's trying to outrun his own sexuality, and his own personal life. Joel Wachs in reality is a very interesting guy. He looks back at that time with some regret. He wishes he had been able to come out earlier, but he couldn't. At that time, if you were a schoolteacher and they found out that you were gay, you were going to be fired. There had not been many, if any, openly gay politicians. This was four or five years before Harvey Milk.

Scope: You evoke Harvey Milk through the idea of surveillance, and the guy who's tailing him at his office. I couldn't help but think of Nashville (1975), and Taxi Driver (1976) as well.

Anderson: That's a dangerous thing, and I was definitely aware of it. I was paranoid that there's a generation of people who know Taxi Driver and expect that there has to be a sense of suspense and impending doom, and while that's what's needed, you also risk having that audience expecting the movie to go places that it doesn't. There's a more melancholy and soft landing to that storyline. So I just sort of had to lean into it and tell the story as clearly as possible. If you start running yourself ragged over what film references are going to mean to somebody, you're gonna fuck yourself, you know? It's maybe a slight exaggeration to say Joel Wachs was a real threat to anybody, but around every corner, there could be an enemy—a real-estate developer, whatever—who didn't like what he was doing on city council, so he was in this position of paranoia. And then somebody could say, "I know what you do at night behind closed doors," and then the wheels are off. It's a quick road to Hell after that.

Scope: There are all these different sources of anxiety creeping around the edges of this movie: Watergate and OPEC, but even stuff like the visit to Jon Peters' (Bradley Cooper) house, where it's a really thin line between a fun escapade and real danger—which, I guess, comes with that feeling of freedom and just running around and doing whatever you want.

Anderson: The scene with the truck at Jon Peters' house is a stand-in for the situations you get yourself into as a kid where you look back and cannot believe that you are still alive, or that you didn't get seriously, seriously hurt. At the time, you're thinking, "That was hilarious,"and years later you say, "What the hell were we thinking?"

Scope: Is it true that you wrote Licorice Pizza while you were in the middle of a different screenplay?

Anderson: Yes and no. It's not really unlike how I would have written anything else. I'm generally working on a few things at once until something hits its stride, or until another idea comes out of the blue. There's a leapfrogging thing that happens. Was I more deeply involved with something else when this came and started nagging at my door? Yeah, I was. But then it just stayed there and stayed there and I realized, "I'm heading in this direction now. We're doing this."

Scope: Was wanting to pursue the story more about the people or the period?

Anderson: The people. If anything, the period was something that was going to put me off doing it. Why do another period movie again, why do something in this place in 1972 or 1973? But it didn't make sense to frame the details of the story any other way. In terms of the genesis of the story, I was at a playground where I saw this kid trying to get a date with a girl who was there to take pictures. What stuck with me was the dynamic: a 15-year-old boy trying to ask out a girl in her mid-twenties.

I think, at the beginning, the film seems to be Gary's story because he's got more going on: he has his auditions, he has this promotional tour for a movie, he has a business, he has all the moves. His whims are swift. He's not bothered by things. But Alana ends up being the more interesting character. She seems grown up: she's dismissive, tough, wise, and disappointed. She's this ball of goodwill and emotion. And the more you see of her, you see that she's really vulnerable. She's the baby of the family. There's a moment where a parent snaps at her, "You remind me of a dog"—and you have to be careful how you say this, but there's something to that. The idea of wanting to be there for someone and by their side, that's a big part of Alana's personality.

Scope: I guess the word in that context would be loyalty: she's fiercely protective of Gary even when she's aiding and abetting all of his scams. There's a slippage between friendship and family and even motherhood, and then all the other stuff between them...

Anderson: Yes. And then human nature takes over. She says, "I can't be with you, you need to be with somebody your own age!" And the second Gary does that, she gets angry and jealous.

Scope: I don't know how interested you are in talking about individual images, but the one that stuck with me is when they're lying together on the waterbed and you see Gary's fingers, and there's this incredible, tactile evocation of what it feels like to hold back.

Anderson: I've learned at this point that if you put something on film that is, let's say, pinpoint-accurate to something that's happened in your life, people will respond. All of us have had moments, somewhere in your adolescence, where you're eager to make it to first, second, or third base. Really, any of the bases. Even a sacrifice bunt. And your courage fails you, or your fear of rejection takes over. Those are the things that are in the scene. So you set it to great music and shoot it well, and you have a really lovely scene, I think. I'm quite proud of it. It's as simple as that.

Scope: The big stylistic thing with the movie overall seems to be the moving camera, which is not new for you, but the tracking shots here are completely synced to the characters, and the characters love running around. There's an abundance of velocity in this movie.

Anderson: I love that about the story. I mean, I think the wheels stay on, but it's always moving, and it's always moving forward. The thing is, when your source material is just stories...when you're adapting somebody's bullshit tales they're always telling, they jump along exactly like that. They always tell it to you sort of in terms of highlights. Like, "Hey, did I tell you about the time I was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968 with Lucille Ball?" Dot dot dot. "Oh my God, wait, did I tell you about the time I was arrested at the Teen-Age Fair for murder?" Dot dot dot. And then what happened? And then what happened? "Well, it all went belly up because of the gas crisis of 1973." The movie is structured like that, like wild tales. It's like skipping a stone across a stream, or how you find your way across a stream without getting your feet wet. Even if you're hopping side to side, you need to stay moving forward to find the dry stone.

Scope: Is there an increased confidence to use ellipsis that way in your filmmaking—to not always show the way from point A to point B, or to not always fill in the gaps? I'm thinking of a movie like The Master,where the skipping is completely essential to the structure of the story and the editing.

Anderson: I think it has grown, yes. One particular fascination of mine, to this day, is the excitement of trying to condense a story down to the best possible form of telling it—the ways that you can help an audience understand it. Those combinations are endless. There are things you find in writing that you know will work, and they do. There are ones you think are going to be winners that fail. But then there's the land of discovery when you get into the editing room and you find the ones you never saw coming. Like, there's a trim that can join one scene to another scene, or you lop four lines of dialogue off of something and suddenly you've achieved lift-off. Those are thrilling to find.

Scope: The roaming aspect of Licorice Pizza seems connected to your videos with HAIM, no?

Anderson: Completely. We did those videos without a lot of money or time. So what could we do? We just had that movement and all of their talent, and I just sort of filmed it. It was the greatest way to work, and after doing that for a few years with HAIM, I wanted to make a feature the same way. Those videos are some of my favourite creative experiences I've ever had.

Scope: The pleasure of their music is predicated on harmony, and it's a nice contrast with some of your movies, which are rooted in dissonance—all that atonal music and elliptical cutting. I think of the last moment of Punch-Drunk Love,where Barry plays the harmonium in alignment with the score, and it's a beautiful thing to be inside of something that's seemingly so casual, even though you know it's not. The compliment is that harmony feels casual, not orchestrated.

Anderson: It is a great compliment. It is casual, even though I like that you said that it isn't. You're never supposed to admit this, but sometimes instinct takes over and everything aligns and it's easy. Next! What's next? As you get older you learn to accept those, because you only get so many before something blows up. Trusting that something being easy doesn't mean it's incomplete is hard for me personally. I used to think it required banging your head against a wall, with blood pouring out of your fingernails, when in fact it doesn't.

Scope: You've talked a fair amount about casting Alana Haim and the connection you've made with her sisters and her family, but I wanted to ask about Cooper Hoffman. Is there more protectiveness there? And did that protectiveness—maybe even something parental—ever intrude upon the process of making the movie? Or was it that once he agreed to do it, then he's just an actor on set and he's got to hit his mark, and that's the standard of making a movie?

Anderson: I mean, there's nothing I wouldn't do as a parent that I would do as a director. Every single actor is directed differently, you know? Somebody needs this, somebody needs that, you give them what you need. Cooper got a lashing like everybody else if he didn't know his lines. But he knew his lines. He was great. He was there to work. The best direction I gave him was pragmatic stuff. Like, "Have you eaten today? How did you sleep last night? Do you need a cheese string and a juice box?" I'm joking a little bit, but not really. There's an athleticism to doing this, to shooting for 65 days, to have concentration the whole time. It's a lot of basic nuts-and-bolts stuff about getting through the day...you'd be surprised how much of directing is just sort of parenting.

Scope: Was this always the way you thought about directing? Has there been a shift from control to caring?

Anderson: I think it was always about care. I mean, look...I have to look after Joaquin Phoenix less than Cooper. Joaquin knows how he likes to do it. He drives himself each day. We both like it quiet, not a lot of distraction. For Licorice Pizza I was with a bunch of children, so I had to make a lot of suggestions that were meant to be helpful, and I was in a strong position because I could look at the kids and say, "Well, that's not how Daniel Day-Lewis would do it."

Scope: I know that when Vicky Krieps was making Phantom Thread,acting against Day-Lewis, especially in the shadow of There Will Be Blood,was intimidating...

Anderson: Well, hopefully the word isn't "intimidation." Hopefully it's that a high, incredibly high standard is in effect. I expect an incredibly high level of concentration, professionalism, and talent. Because I'm used to it, you know?

Scope: I am hard-pressed to think of an American director in the last 30 years who has worked with more great actors, at least off the top of my head.

Anderson: I think so too. Obviously, you know as well as anyone my affection for actors and what they do and how much I need them to tell the kinds of stories that I like. I am in desperate needof actors for the kind of shit I like to do. That's my shit! I like it like that! There are other directors who will say, "Give me any old asshole who can just stand there and say the words I need them to say, as long as they look the way I need them to look." Not me. As Maya [Rudolph] likes to joke, I have a type. I do.

Scope: I have two more questions, one of which is about the movie and one of which is incredibly stupid, because who knows if I'll get another chance for the dumb one. The non-dumb question is: how much do you know about waterbeds now? I don't know if I've ever seen a movie where they're a plot point, but it's so crucial to the movie, this almost fetishistic desire for waterbeds, and what it points to about the period.

Anderson: Fucking waterbeds...

Scope: I want to see what you can do with this.

Anderson: Well, if you wanted to start a business where you buy a bunch of industrial waterbags at like a dollar a pop and sell them for $49.95 each, that's a good turnaround. But the beds break all the time. You have to learn the difference between a lap seam and a butt seam. A butt seam sort of shoves two seams together. A lap seam is more like if you interlace your fingers—that's a good approximation. That keeps them from leaking. So now you're in the waterbed business, and you know how to keep them from leaking. So then, how do you heat them? There are these hilarious episodes in waterbed history where people tried to put coil heaters underneath, and you can imagine what happened. Gary Goetzman told me about all this, and that you wanted your waterbed to be "UL-approved." So then these heaters got UL approval, but it was a mystery organization. What is "U?" What is "L?"

Scope: As long as it stands for something.

Anderson: Anyway, waterbeds are like a dirty secret for people. Like somebody you've known for a long time suddenly says, "You know, my parents have a waterbed," or, "I grew up with one."

Scope: It feels like a weird aftershock of the sexual revolution, or maybe a way of commodifying it. And waterbeds are like a lot of other things in the movie, because they're kind of childish—like a trampoline—but also dirty and exotic. Even the guy who brags that he's "banging Barbra Streisand" wants one. The waterbed is the great leveller that brings Gary to Jon Peters' mansion: the richest asshole in the valley has to call this little dipshit to get a waterbed.

Anderson: Well now, no matter what kind of frame you put around it, it's still a plastic bag with water in it.

Scope: I know some people don't believe that a 15-year-old kid could start a waterbed business in 1973.

Anderson: If somebody has a problem with that, they're not going to like the movie. I mean, are you kidding? Give me a break. Back then, it would take you maybe two-and-a-half days to rent a storefront, get a fold-out desk and some chairs, and some drinks and some Gatorade, some streamers, and you have a company. Do you think anyone was doing anything by the book? You'd hand out flyers, get on the radio. You get the phone number out. The phone never stopped ringing. This is in the days of COD, right? The UPS guy turns up at your house, picks up your waterbed orders, and takes them into the hills of Encino or Reseda or wherever. He comes back at the end of the day with an envelope full of cash. If you're 16, and pull this off, you feel like you've made it. You've grabbed the brass ring. That was the world back then. Cash on delivery. It's pretty great.

Scope: OK, let's end on my stupid question, because I don't know for a fact that I'm ever going to talk to you again and it's been on my mind for years. The Master is a movie that means a lot to me, I want you to know this.

Anderson: Yes.

Scope: When Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) is going back and forth between the window and the wall, were you paying homage to Lil Jon's song "Get Low?" If I'm right, I've blown the lid off this thing for all time.

Anderson: Well, you're the second person who's asked me that.

Scope: This is going to stay in the interview, so please give me a good answer.

Anderson: It's only going to be disappointing. If I did that, it was subconscious. I only sort of put the pieces together later that it was a Lil Jon song. It's hard to know if I'd heard it, and if I did, if it got in there, that's what happened. I'd rather have gotten another song into a movie instead of that one, like Das Racist's "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell."

Scope: Anyway, there is a video on YouTube where somebody has re-edited The Master to "Get Low," so if you want to see your work repurposed that way, it's a click away.

Anderson: Oh my God, I need to see that.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 19, 2022, 12:00:14 PM
How Licorice Pizza Got Caught Up in the Culture Wars (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/licorice-pizza-racism/621285/)  |  The Atlantic
Randy Boyagoda

Are Audiences Smart Enough to Handle Ambiguity?

Critics of Licorice Pizza think the film could normalize anti-Asian mockery.

January 19, 2022, 6 AM ET

About 25 centuries ago, in The Republic, Plato banished poets and playwrights from his ideal city, claiming that their work "is likely to distort the thought of anyone who hears it." Plato worried that after witnessing the extremities of human behavior represented by storytellers, we might imitate that behavior in real life, resulting in disorder, division, violence, and chaos. He was skeptical of our capacity to distinguish between what's real and what's imagined, and likewise of our capacity to draw positive and productive insights for life and action from what we watch. So too are contemporary culture warriors, who are convinced, and keen to convince others, that when, for instance, something racist is depicted in a film and not clearly condemned, the film has incorrigible, racist effects—and deserves condemnation. But unlike Plato and the hashtag brigades, I'm willing to gamble that audiences will get it right, and that something good can come from them struggling to do so.

What's led me to Plato is the controversy surrounding Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, a loose and shaggy tale set in early 1970s California. Critics have praised the easy, electric charisma between the leads: aged-out child actor Gary (played by Cooper Hoffman) and 20-something glowering beauty Alana (played by Alana Haim). They have also admired the loving evocation of a distant-feeling time and place marked by innocent and intense experiences, and by growing up itself—sort of. At the same time, some viewers have reacted negatively to the movie's instances of coarsely accented Asian English, leading critics on social media and at least one Asian American cultural organization to argue that audiences and prize juries should boycott it. The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) announced that to shower Licorice Pizza "with nominations and awards would normalize more egregious mocking of Asians in this country."

In interviews, Anderson has said that he included these scenes for historical verisimilitude; beyond that rationale, I think they offer comedy that variously flatters, entertains, and unsettles. These are interpretive possibilities—all of them now reduced to whether the scenes were meant to be racist, could be taken as racist, or could lead to racism. Licorice Pizza has been caught up in the familiar art-versus-justice culture wars, pitting a self-assured creator's artistic freedoms against activists and advocacy groups made zealous by their puritanical convictions. The debate about this movie isn't just about this movie; it's a stand-in for innumerable such discussions playing out in publishing, theater, and every other creative venue in which artists depict people not exactly like themselves with any kind of ambiguity.

But I don't think the relevant material in Licorice Pizza justifies the outrage and concern. Immediately before Jerry Frick (John Michael Higgins) speaks offensively to his wife, Mioko (Yumi Mizui), about the marketing plans for their new restaurant that Gary and his mother have put together, the camera focuses on Mioko in close-up. Listening to imbecilic American clichés about Japanese women (mysterious beauty, legendary hospitality, small feet, etc.), Mioko's face is composed, if stony. She's clearly not impressed by what she's hearing. In turn, Jerry talks down to her, at length, in an absurdly stupid effort at phonetic translation, which occasions a stern response from her. The offended Japanese woman is the magnetic center of gravity. The offending white American man is peripheral and unappealing. Later, the scene repeats with a partial difference: Jerry has a new wife, also Japanese, also the more serious member of the couple, and he speaks to her in the same idiotic way.
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Within the larger context of the movie, these scenes suggest that the teenage Gary needs to grow up. He's an irrepressible hustler and showman keen above all to impress and win over Alana. Here, he's a witness to Jerry's racism who doesn't seem to see anything wrong; he smirks while Jerry babbles. Meanwhile, as an audience, we get to laugh at Jerry over his ignorant and offensive assumptions, and we get to feel assured and valorized that we are so much more enlightened than he is, decades later. The opposite, anxious reading seems, by comparison, dubious. Who could possibly sit through these scenes and want to be like Jerry, or feel like Jerry has legitimated misogynistic Japanglish?

That said, even the accusation that this could be the case can exert pressure on filmmakers. The American film industry is already anxious about representational politics and not about to ignore nonwhite perspectives. Other moviemakers, watching what's happening to Anderson's latest, could quietly trim or starch their storytelling sails accordingly, particularly following criticisms of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights over a lack of darker-skinned Afro-Latino actors in major roles, and of Quentin Tarantino's depiction of Bruce Lee as a hothouse fusspot who gets beaten up by a shrugging white stuntman in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Miranda has apologized and Tarantino's been coy; Anderson's retroactive justifications are less convincing than the sense, from the film itself, that he trusted his audience to know the proportionate significance of these brief scenes relative to the rest of the movie; to know the difference between racism and the representation of racism; and to parse different representations of racism itself. Such variation absolutely exists, well beyond the debate over Licorice Pizza. Clearly unacceptable, in retrospect, is the juvenile joke of a character in John Hughes's Sixteen Candles: Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), a moronic, English-mangling Asian exchange student who is treated like an exotic pest by the white characters. Likewise, the "me so horny" exchange between the "Da Nang Hooker" character (Papillon Soo Soo) and Private Joker (Matthew Modine) in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket legitimated racist attitudes and stereotypes under the cover of humor. The exchange was later sampled in hit songs by 2 Live Crew ("Me So Horny") and Sir Mix-A-Lot ("Baby Got Back"), to even worse effect.

I don't think many people would mimic Long Duk Dong or sing these songs with as much ease or self-confidence as they would have even five years ago. This is a good thing. But I also wager that many of these same people would still laugh at them—and this is not necessarily bad. The moral judgment here depends on why they laugh: Reactions to representations of racism can be as varied as the representations themselves. If they're motivated by racist animus against Asian people, that's reprehensible. If they're expressing nostalgia for the period of their life when they first saw Sixteen Candles or heard those songs, that strikes me as more benign. Laughter might (and should) also come from a place of discomfort. It may have as its source feelings of deep and challenging recognition, of something both profoundly wrong (morally) and profoundly right (an accurate representation of life as it's lived) about a situation.

During Licorice Pizza, I was laughing at Jerry Frick, not Mioko, and I did so with other members of the audience, though definitely not with all of the other members of the audience. That was unsettling. Why weren't others laughing? What did they think about those of us who were? Was I wrong to laugh? After all, I had no way of explaining why I was laughing. For a moment, I almost wished the scenes didn't exist at all, or had played out in ways that offered absolutely clear evidence of who deserved sympathy and who deserved condemnation. That way, I could feel assured that everyone was experiencing the same thing, that there was no interpretative space between us, no gap between our own imaginative lives and the rest of our lives regarding something as fraught as the question of racism. But if all of that had been the case in this one respect, it no doubt would have influenced other elements of the storytelling, and Licorice Pizza would have been a weaker movie. I think I would have been made a weaker viewer too, less prepared to deal with ambiguity or to create it, for that matter.

I had mocking South Asian–accented English used on me while growing up in white, small-town Canada. Such experiences owed in no small part to my being the only brown kid in groups that reliably had a shared familiarity with Ben Kingsley's title turn in Gandhi and Fisher Stevens's Ben Jabituya, from Short Circuit. The challenge I faced, again and again, was whether to get upset and thus, to my mind, prove that I was a fragile loser. Often, I chose to out-mock the mockers—with even more ridiculous singsong South Asian accents, or with thick, dumb white-guy voices, until they stopped, frequently in awkward silence or uneasy laughter. Such experiences made me feel a distinct kind of creative power to draw on and push back on the world and the people around me that were pushing on me. All of that was formative to my becoming the writer I am.

I use accented English while reading aloud from my novels, many of which are satirical and feature both thick, dumb white guys and melodramatically musical South Asians, among others. I have done so to uncomfortable, uncertain, and limited laughter in public settings (and also, at times, to hearty laughter, usually from nonwhite readers). As a storyteller, this is exactly what I want to provide and provoke: I seek differential responses from audiences so that they are entertained and challenged by what they are experiencing from me and my work, and within themselves, and from one another. Not for me is Henry Fielding's model of prefacing each chapter of his massive 18th-century novels with winking, directive guides to ensure readers know how to take the bawdy bits that follow. Instead, I trust my audiences, but not entirely. Also, they shouldn't trust me entirely, either, or the people around them for that matter.

With apologies to Plato and the good folks over at MANAA, I want Licorice Pizza playing everywhere, exactly as it is, to limited laughter and viral outrage and critical disagreement. The tension and grit between storytellers and their audiences, and inside and among the members of audiences, are what we should seek from page and stage and screen: We want thinking and imagining lives that are active rather than passive, evolving rather than static. A flourishing shared cultural life is one in which the stories we are told, and the stories we tell about ourselves, are free-ranging and risky, not locked down and safe.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on January 19, 2022, 01:51:58 PM

Thank you wilberfan! The Adam Nayman interview you shared is the best one I've read. Need a book in this format, covering every movie.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: jviness02 on January 19, 2022, 01:55:39 PM
I think it's pretty funny that for a week we all talked about Sam Harpoon and once the film became wildly available it quickly became clear it's just a rando playing him and no one gives a shit. lol
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 19, 2022, 01:57:57 PM
Quote from: max from fearless on January 19, 2022, 01:51:58 PM

Thank you wilberfan! The Adam Nayman interview you shared is the best one I've read. Need a book in this format, covering every movie.

I didn't post the Nayman on this page--but I shared it originally back in Nov or Dec so you're retroactively welcome. 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on January 19, 2022, 02:55:24 PM
Quote from: jviness02 on January 19, 2022, 01:55:39 PM
I think it's pretty funny that for a week we all talked about Sam Harpoon and once the film became wildly available it quickly became clear it's just a rando playing him and no one gives a shit. lol

I mean there are something like eight pages ish of runtime speculation, ahha. Peeps were excited!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 19, 2022, 03:15:22 PM
And two Soggy Buddies were convinced it was Stiller!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on January 24, 2022, 02:33:42 AM
I'm convinced this is a psyop and have become a 'Stiller truther'.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: achordion on January 26, 2022, 12:35:35 PM
Quote from: DAPPLE on January 19, 2022, 11:44:02 AM

Scope: Anyway, there is a video on YouTube where somebody has re-edited The Master to "Get Low," so if you want to see your work repurposed that way, it's a click away.

Anderson: Oh my God, I need to see that.

Wait,  I used to be able to find this video with an easy search. It thoughtfully edits footage from The Master set to this Lil Jon song, and is very funny. Now I don't see it... All that comes up is a stupid mashup with Tiny Tim laid over The Master trailer.  :(
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: ono on January 26, 2022, 02:02:19 PM
It was removed for a TOS violation for showing the nudity in the Freddie/Master fantasy singing scene.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 26, 2022, 02:37:11 PM
This discourse continues...

https://youtu.be/HcbFLYSWiI0
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 26, 2022, 03:13:00 PM
This is clickbait from a dude who seems very confused about the basic tools of fiction.

Also, interesting to interpret that writing a conveniently mentally ill women who submits herself to every man/the plot means that she is obviously EVIL...

EDIT: Not quoting the video even if the page changed.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 26, 2022, 05:40:06 PM
'He's Actually a Great Businessman': On Licorice Pizza's Provocative Age Gap (https://artreview.com/hes-actually-a-great-businessman-on-licorice-pizza-provocative-age-gap/)
Philippa Snow
Opinion
26 January 2022     
artreview.com

Paul Thomas Anderson has always had a talent for writing fuck-ups

'There's no line that's crossed,' Paul Thomas Anderson recently told The New York Times, on the subject of the age difference between the leads of his new film, Licorice Pizza (2021), 'and there's nothing but the right intentions. It would surprise me if there was some kind of kerfuffle about it, because there's not that much there [...] There isn't a provocative bone in this film's body.' There has, of course, been a kerfuffle: the movie is about a sort-of romance between a (nominally) 20-something woman and a 15-year-old boy, making Anderson's suggestion that there is nothing provocative about Licorice Pizza somewhat disingenuous. Actually, I think to say that the film is not provocative is to do it a disservice. Do the adult and the child have sex? Certainly not. Do they kiss? Perhaps, depending on how much you take the last ten minutes at face value. Ultimately, whether or not things are consummated does not cancel out the air of obvious and obviously-not-platonic tension that blooms gradually between Gary and Alana, the film's very shagginess and discursiveness letting what exists between them develop slowly and inexorably. On social media, the two loudest factions seem to be those who believe Paul Thomas Anderson has made a dreamy ode to paedophilia and thus should be cancelled, and those who insist that Licorice Pizza is in fact a giddy, feel-good ode to the unlikely friendship that develops between two lost souls. The truth, I think, is somewhere in between: that the film is about romantic-coded love, and that because it is about romantic-coded love between an adult woman and a teenage boy, is a little messed up. Luckily, it is a movie and not an educational film about how to conduct a healthy, fully-functional relationship, making its freakiness an interesting feature, not a bug.

The first meeting between Gary and Alana both upends our expectations, and establishes their unusual dynamic in a few lines: Gary, nerdy-looking but possessed of a frighteningly adult smoothness, is a schoolboy with the patter of a 50-year-old conman; Alana, who at first demurs when she is asked her age and then suggests that she is 25, is a coltish woman who radiates a peculiarly teenage sort of fury and confusion. A photographer's lackey at a company called Tiny Toes, getting her ass slapped by her boss and ultimately going nowhere fast, Alana has arrived at Gary's school for picture day, not so much offering service with a smile as threatening service with a scowl. If the moment the two meet is not exactly what Inherent Vice's (2014) Doc Sportello would call 'cootie food,' it is certainly a moment, and Alana Haim does a fine job of making fictional Alana appear by turns irritated and intrigued by Gary's dinner invitation. It is difficult to explain how elegantly Anderson engineers these characters so that each seems to exist at a similar point on the continuum of maturity without coming across like one of those unsettling guys who has the ages of consent in every country memorised, but their parity is the point – that this funny little latchkey playboy has any luck at all with somebody who claims to be ten years his senior speaks volumes about where Alana happens to be at, professionally and mentally, at the very moment he decides to chance his arm. What drives her is not necessarily attraction, but a longing for his seriousness and decisiveness to transfer to her by osmosis. Gary Valentine, with his Old Hollywood name and his pedigree as a child actor, has done something with his life already at a very early age, and Alana desperately wants 'something' – anything at all – to happen to her, her passivity around the men she meets suggesting that she pictures herself as an inert object that can only be moved by external force.

And yes, it is a little creepy – we are meant to think Alana is not making a sane choice when she meets Gary at the restaurant, so embarrassed and bamboozled by her own decision to be there that she can't look him in the face when she arrives. Male slackers drawn to teenage girls are hardly unusual in the movies, but the inverse is a little less familiar. "He's actually a great businessman," Alana says primly, later, the phrase sounding like an echo of the oft-deployed 'she's actually very mature for her age.' When Anderson depicts her driving an enormous truck down a steep hill in darkness, backwards, her tank empty and her view almost obscured, it's a funny bit of symbolism – going in blind, running on fumes, struggling to keep the enormity of the situation under full control, Alana is barrelling through life and trying not to crash. Licorice Pizza is at once obsessed with inertia and with forward motion, with parked cars and fuel shortages and with endless, reckless sprinting. Of its two leads, it is Gary we feel least concerned for, and it is probably Gary who appears less vulnerable in spite of his being the kid. Every time the (soggy) bottom falls out of another of his enterprises – his career as a child actor, his attempt to make a fortune out of selling waterbeds – it hardly matters, since the point of being a teenager is to make copious mistakes, to fumble, to figure out what we may or may not want. For Alana, stakes are higher: when we see her slump down despondently on the pavement after guiding that careening truck to safety through the darkness, looking on as Gary and his friends make giggling jokes about the phallic nozzle on a petrol can, we are watching her approach rock bottom in real time.

I should say that I am not entirely sure Alana is the age she says she is, as Anderson leaves room for doubt – at one point she says that she is 28, and then corrects herself, and although this was apparently a flubbed line, he still chose to include it in the final film. I'm also not entirely sure that Gary and Alana's sweet reunion in the last scene of the movie actually happens, its suddenness and its dreaminess a hair too close to the ambiguous end of Inherent Vice for me to buy it. Still, to look for loopholes is to some extent to deny Licorice Pizza's genuine strangeness, and to do so is to minimise Alana's genuine strangeness, her quarter-life crisis being the most fascinating aspect of her character. "Do you think it's weird I hang out with Gary and his 15-year-old friends all the time?" she asks her sister at one point, an expression settling momentarily on her face that mirrors the self-flagellating look of shame she wears when she first meets him at the restaurant. "I think it's weird I hang out with Gary and his 15-year-old friends all the time." He may actually be a great businessman, the look says, but he is not technically a man at all, and she is painfully aware of it. Paul Thomas Anderson has always been adroit at writing fuck-ups, and it is a pleasure to see him applying his considerable talent to creating an extremely fucked-up woman – a Janey-come-lately who ends up being the central character of a coming-of-age film despite almost certainly being an actual adult.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on January 26, 2022, 11:17:32 PM
That was a great write up  :bravo:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 28, 2022, 04:12:16 PM
This has to be the single most spoilery 'review' on the web!   :yabbse-grin:

https://kids-in-mind.com/l/licorice-pizza-parents-guide-movie-review-rating.htm
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on January 28, 2022, 04:15:45 PM
The Funniest Scene in 'Licorice Pizza' Almost Didn't Happen (https://www.texasmonthly.com/arts-entertainment/licorice-pizza-funniest-scene/)
Harriet Sansom Harris, who plays an unhinged talent agent, had to be convinced to emerge from her pandemic quarantine in the woods.

Harriet Samson Harris plays talent agent Mary Grady. Melinda Sue Gordon/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
The funniest scene in Licorice Pizza is shot in a close-up on Harriet Sansom Harris that's so tight, you can almost smell her cigarette. Paul Thomas Anderson's coming-of-age ode to the seventies-era San Fernando Valley revolves around the relationship between 15-year-old actor Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) and 25-year-old photography assistant Alana Kane (Alana Haim). Haim's scintillating debut performance, Bradley Cooper's and Sean Penn's explosive cameos, and a certain sequence involving a high-speed moving truck meandering backward through the Hollywood Hills at night are rightfully regarded as Licorice Pizza's high points (while its lowest involve two controversial, racist scenes in which John Michael Higgins imitates a Japanese accent).

But it's Harris, born and raised in Fort Worth, who steals the entire film with just one scene. The character actor behind Bebe Glazer on Frasier and Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives portrays Mary Grady, Valentine's acting agent. She interviews Alana as a potential client in her standout scene. Anderson based Mary Grady on the real Hollywood child talent agent of the same name, but Harris says she didn't do too much research, as "there wasn't so much to discover."

"I've met a lot of agents," she says. "I wasn't given the whole script, just my part. But it seemed to me like I was here to witness [Alana's] ascendancy. The kid with the career is possibly on the way out. He's brought her into my lair, and I'm going to see if she has any potential."

Harris brings the unhinged Mary to life with a panache that you just can't take your eyes off.  She spends the first part of the discussion listening to Alana's exaggerated array of talents. When she does respond, it's with unpredictable edge and intensity. Harris pivots masterfully throughout her few minutes on the screen, from power and seriousness when discussing Alana's potential career to one line—"No, no, no"—with a new delivery for each syllable.

"She's making fantastically ridiculous [claims] about how she can do all of these things. And I keep sort of giving her home truths," explains Harris. "That made for a really fun dynamic in the scene. It was just so much fun. Cooper and Alana were so available and adorable. We were all on a mission to try and have fun."

Harris has received praise for her performance on social media and in reviews, so it's especially exhilarating when she tells me that she almost turned the role down. With the COVID-19 pandemic decimating the film, theater, and television industries, Harris decided to bunker down in the Massachusetts woods with her partner, Matt Sullivan.

Then, in the summer of 2020, she received a text message from her agent saying Anderson had written a part in Licorice Pizza that he thought she'd be perfect for. "I just thought, 'Oh my God. I'm living in the middle of the woods. I haven't even seen a person in weeks.' It just seemed highly unlikely."

But because of her past working relationship with Anderson, Harris couldn't resist giving the scene a read. Back in 1998, she had read for a small role in Magnolia, which she recalls as simply a "really fun day." She wasn't cast, but Harris clearly left an impression.

Nearly twenty years later, when Anderson was making 2017's Phantom Thread, he cast Harris as drunken heiress Barbara Rose. "I loved the part so much," says Harris, who only appears in four scenes in the film. "Paul just makes you feel alive on set. Like you're a necessary ingredient. He is such a great writer. He gives you the essential stuff. The writing tells you what he wants."

Ultimately, it was Anderson's writing, and the appeal of collaborating with him as a director again, that convinced Harris to fly to California during a pandemic and spend just one day on set shooting her scene as Mary.

"They were very sweet and gave me some time to think about it. I just thought, 'Well, if this is the last job I have, if this is going to be it—because who knows what's gonna happen with [COVID]—I really want it to be with him.' "
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 28, 2022, 05:22:58 PM
His courageous genes make him punch all the cowardly genes in his vicinity. Bless his soul.

https://twitter.com/variety/status/1487151384801599492

Maybe he could have played Sean Penn in Licorice Pizza if it were not set in the 70s. But I forget, that was the only time and place where sexism and racism existed...! We're living in an Enlightened and Unsexy world.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 01:20:24 PM

'Well, if this is the last job I have, if this is going to be it—because who knows what's gonna happen with [COVID]—I really want it to be with him.' "

You feel this in her performance. The close up of her is INCREDIBLE. Her pauses are stellar. Whilst I have issues with this film as a whole, the filmmaking and some of the performances (INCLUDING HERS AND ALANAS) are some of the best I've seen in years. I pray Harriet and Paul get to work together again, third times the charm and perhaps a bigger role!?!

Thanks again for the share Wilberfan!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 01:29:24 PM

Just wanna say - the longshot that Alana and Gary walk into Harriet's office is sublime, the light coming through the window is amazing. Cut to the CU of Harriet and then the over the shoulder shot of both Alana and Barry that feels like the lens has been changed to somewhat flatten the image, and ends up feeling super 70s. Just studying the work on this film is crazy. This scene is so well constructed. Paul and his team really took it to another level with this movie.

I'm thinking that is my fav cinematography of his since The Master and TWBB, although I'm still somewhat bitter that I saw Master in 70mm 4 times, only to get the blu ray and have it look a trillion times better - as if my projectionist didn't give a damn, despite the ticket prices and the way it was sold....Whereas my screenings of LP have looked INCREDIBLE (wish mofos weren't coughing through the film but thats another story....) Do these guys have a shot at best cinematography?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on January 31, 2022, 02:10:23 PM
The Master 70mm in Odeon West End, right? It looked very underwhelming. But I saw it twice in 70mm in Paris and it wasn't that much better. The Blu-Ray is truly impressing, though.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 03:47:24 PM
Quote from: Drenk on January 31, 2022, 02:10:23 PM
The Master 70mm in Odeon West End, right? It looked very underwhelming. But I saw it twice in 70mm in Paris and it wasn't that much better. The Blu-Ray is truly impressing, though.

Thats the one! And thats exactly it, very underwhelming! I remember popping in the blu ray and my jaw dropped, the ways the colours popped! The red of Dodd's dressing grown. It's such a shame he didn't check in on the prints/projection in Europe with the Master, because the colours, production design and costumes are incredible and really got let down by those Odeon West End screenings...

But I think the freewheeling naturalism of LP mixed with more formal elements just make it more and more astounding from a cinematography perspective. The silhouette shot of Alana talking to the guy from the Wach's office, and the yellow wall behind? Wow!!! Production Design should also get a nod.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on January 31, 2022, 11:47:39 PM
Quote from: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 01:29:24 PM

...Alana and Barry...

this is very food :yabbse-grin:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on February 01, 2022, 09:51:02 AM
Quote from: HACKANUT on January 31, 2022, 11:47:39 PM
Quote from: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 01:29:24 PM

...Alana and Barry...

this is very food :yabbse-grin:

Oh my God! I'm slipping but it's also very telling about some of my deeper thoughts on LP....
But no, honestly that's maybe the best comeback I've read on this site!  :bravo:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 01, 2022, 10:17:04 AM
Quote from: max from fearless on February 01, 2022, 09:51:02 AM
Quote from: HACKANUT on January 31, 2022, 11:47:39 PM
Quote from: max from fearless on January 31, 2022, 01:29:24 PM

...Alana and Barry...

this is very food :yabbse-grin:

Oh my God! I'm slipping but it's also very telling about some of my deeper thoughts on LP....
But no, honestly that's maybe the best comeback I've read on this site!  :bravo:

haha, the Freudian slip of it all was too perfect  :yabbse-grin:

and it sounds like we're on the same wavelength with the PDL comparisons.

also, couldnt agree more about the Harriet scene. that shot when they're walking into her office is gratuitously beautiful. straight up some of the best cinematography of his career is in this movie.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lots of Bees on February 03, 2022, 01:17:38 AM
Totally agree. Yeah it's not as showy as The Master (weird to call The Master "showy" but the cinematography is in a way) but it's so beautiful and there's something so specific about it... NO other movies look like this. The way light looks coming through windows, the way over the shoulders are framed (no directors frame and light over-the-shoulder and around-the-hip and between-two-character shots the way he does), the constant frames within frames and shots into mirrors and smoke, the subtly moving camera, the unique bokeh, the COLORS, the rotating light outside the pinball arcade... I guess it's a given at this point that it's not gonna get recognized by any awards groups for cinematography but it'd be nice to see it get a nom or something. It's not cinematography that is stand-out incredible on first glance but for my tastes it's about as good as it gets.

EDIT: And this is coming from someone who wasn't really sold on the way it looked from the trailer. I thought it looked great but kind of disappointing when each of his last 5 films did something so bold and obviously beautiful with the visuals. I think I wanted something that looked more like Inherent Vice, and this isn't exactly that. But after seeing it I'm a convert, it combines all of his best visual signatures in my opinion. I'm sure the 70mm had a lot to do with that to be fair but I have a good feeling it'll transfer well no matter where you watch it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on February 03, 2022, 01:56:45 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BorZkr2XQJA
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on February 03, 2022, 02:24:11 PM
Quote from: Drill on February 03, 2022, 01:56:45 PM
Spoiler: ShowHide
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BorZkr2XQJA


This was terrific and makes me miss PTA's audio commentaries even more. How great would it be if he returned to doing them with this release?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 03, 2022, 02:53:09 PM
I agree.  My first reaction was, "MORE, PLEASE!   Do the WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE for the blu-ray!"

But we have to talk about that vid.

Why would they release that entire sequence??   That's a spoilery as they come.  The cynic in me says this is a serious awards-vote-trolling (Oscar noms announced next Tue).  Maybe I'm being a little too 'purist' but it feels kinda...unseemly. 

And is some of the early 'narration' attempting to diffuse all the 'grooming!' bullshit?

Would I like Paul and this film to win all the Oscars?  You bet.  Would it help the grosses if it did?  Probably a little.  Certainly the disc and streaming sales.   Will anyone actually be watching the Oscars this year?   Maybe in the lowest numbers to date? 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on February 03, 2022, 04:29:25 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 03, 2022, 02:53:09 PM
I agree.  My first reaction was, "MORE, PLEASE!   Do the WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE for the blu-ray!"

But we have to talk about that vid.

Why would they release that entire sequence??   That's a spoilery as they come.  The cynic in me says this is a serious awards-vote-trolling (Oscar noms announced next Tue).  Maybe I'm being a little too 'purist' but it feels kinda...unseemly. 

And is some of the early 'narration' attempting to diffuse all the 'grooming!' bullshit?

Would I like Paul and this film to win all the Oscars?  You bet.  Would it help the grosses if it did?  Probably a little.  Certainly the disc and streaming sales.   Will anyone actually be watching the Oscars this year?   Maybe in the lowest numbers to date?

Voting for nominations ended on Tuesday.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 03, 2022, 04:33:29 PM
I don't wanna let go of my cynicism so easily.  So voting for Oscars proper will begin in the next week or two... 

Can anyone think of another reason they would post something like this?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: d on February 04, 2022, 03:14:01 PM
Is it just for me or has the video been deleted?

Fortunately I watched it already and it obviously made me want a PTA audio commentary even more.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 04, 2022, 03:16:29 PM
Someone figured out that entire sequence doesn't belong on YouTube yet.  I actually assumed it wouldn't stay up forever and considered trying to 'save' it... Didn't tho...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Shughes on February 05, 2022, 07:14:13 PM
What was the (since deleted) video?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 05, 2022, 07:16:47 PM
It was the meeting-Jon-Peters (with complete Strei-sand routine and threats) with what felt like the entire truck sequence--start to finish.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Shughes on February 06, 2022, 09:34:33 AM
Thanks.

With Paul's commentary? Damn I want to see that now.

Every time he talks over camera tests, or anything on a blu-ray, it makes me miss the days when he did full commentary tracks. You can tell how excited he is to be doing one on the Hard Eight track (partly to get his side of the story over, I'm sure).

I'd love it if the Lux Lighting guys did another epic breakdown of this, like they did for PT. Would be even better if Paul joined this time!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 07, 2022, 08:16:26 PM
"'Man' — I like that": Gary Valentine and Playing Manhood (https://film-cred.com/paul-thomas-anderson-licorice-pizza-masculinity-gary-valentine-cooper-hoffman-movie/)

When we meet Punch-Drunk Love's Barry Egan (Adam Sandler), he's a simultaneously bullied and sheltered younger brother to seven domineering sisters, whose loneliness and furious desire for respect get him into financial trouble with a call girl and a psychotic mattress salesman.

When we meet Magnolia's Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise), he's a muscular silhouette on stage, the house lights reflecting his sweat-soaked hair, both hands directed firmly to his crotch as he primes himself to teach a room of testosterone and entitlement how to "Seduce and Destroy."

And when we meet Phantom Thread's Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), he's about fifty-five going on eight, an irritable dressmaker constantly on the verge of a tantrum who, fundamentally, needs to be laid out flat on his back, helpless and tender.

A collage of three of Paul Thomas Anderson's protagonists. Barry Egan portrayed by Adam Sandler, Frank portrayed by Tom Cruise, and Reynolds Woodcock portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis.
These are a handful of Paul Thomas Anderson's protagonists. They're men that have managed to navigate their way to adulthood, less because they're emotionally mature and world weary, and more because they've managed to stay alive long enough. They have firm ideas of what it means to be a man and they'll do everything in their power to defend and maintain those ideas, from donning cheap suits, to sleeping around, to disposing of girlfriends that butter their toast too loudly.

This leads us to Licorice Pizza.

When we meet Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), he seems, somewhat, to have it all figured out, especially when compared to the other PTA protagonists. He's an accomplished businessman, an old-school, Hollywood smooth talker having honed his charm during his acting days, and, most importantly, he's kind. He has a knack that none of the aforementioned PTA blokes have, which is that he can make the people he's around feel good and noticed.

Oh yeah, and he's only 15.

Gary makes for a fascinating addition to the line of PTA protagonists, a boy that slots in comfortably amongst the men. At first glance, he feels more mature and adult than all of these actual adults combined. But he's still got his own precarious ideas of manhood that he's attempting to live by, a facade made all the more obvious by his age.

But what lies in store for Gary when he hits "real" adulthood? How will he cope with life beyond the credits? Is he destined to stray down this familiar PTA path, already trodden by Barry, Frank, and Reynolds, or is there yet hope for him, the potential to be better?

Gary plays at being an adult like other kids his age play pinball, this performative manhood showing face most obviously in three places.

Firstly, there's his career. Throughout the film, Gary starts and concludes multiple business ventures, a few of which are actually moderately successful. He's an actor, a PR rep, an agent, a waterbed salesman, a cameraman, and a pinball wizard. It's an impressive resumé for a 15-year-old, at least initially.

But the majority of his clientele, Hollywood producer Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper) and a couple of creeps aside, are barely past puberty. His opening nights feel less like the first day on the job and more like marijuana-scented primary school discos. In Gary's mind, using weed to sell water beds is an intelligent business decision, and the name "Soggy Bottom" reeks of sex appeal.

When his businesses do inevitably, and quite literally, run out of gas, it's almost always down to his naivety. He's the last person to see that the actors he's competing with for roles are all about half his size, and needs Alana (Alana Haim) to explain to him why the oil embargo will affect their vinyl stock. He thought the water beds were made of some sort of "scientific fabric, like rubber," which is, of course, also made of oil.

To give Gary his due, he is a natural salesman; a young Gary was probably shifting cheap watches whilst the other kids were still on lemonade. But he hasn't developed real common sense yet, and without Alana Kane (his business partner/crush/"lady friend") it's hard to imagine his entrepreneurial endeavours ever leaving the sidewalk.

Secondly, there's the way he carries himself: his gumption. He addresses adults as equals, is a regular at the Tail o' the Cock, and orders Coca Colas like they're gins. Adults tend to respond to his gusto, either charmed by the novelty that is Gary Valentine or genuinely taken aback by his supposed maturity. 

But Gary is a showman by trade, and his performance often falls apart when he comes up against older men that exude a more aggressive masculinity. Toward the end of the film, he's donned a freshly tailored suit, Barry Egan-style, and is patrolling his pinball palace. He tries to kick out an old guy that's being rough with the machines, but his age gets in the way. So instead of admitting defeat, he turns on younger, more innocent clientele. He can't assert his manhood in one place, so he has to assert it somewhere else.

It's a performance, and an insecure one at that. He'll smoke a cigarette to prove a point to Alana before he'll admit he's young. It makes you wonder if Gary's personality is less an authentic reflection of a self-assured guy, and more a kid that uses a persona like a fake ID. If Gary acts enough like an adult, then the world will hopefully see him as one.

Finally, there's Gary's relationship with women, most notably Alana. Her age — she's 25 in quote marks — is less of an obstacle for Gary and more of an incentive. He's a serial charmer in general, flirting fairly successfully with air hostesses, waitresses, agents, and even a handful of girls that are actually his own age. He's easily capable of out-seducing Frank T.J. Mackey, albeit he's nowhere near as keen on destroying — not necessarily a bad thing.

But again, there are more than a few caveats. His pursuit of Alana at times borders on a conquest. Marriage is the unwavering goal. He views almost every woman in his life, bar his mother, through this slightly flirtatious lens, peppering his conversations with compliments and charm, unable to cut straight to the point. It's enough to earn Gary the nickname "the Handyman" amongst the waitresses of Mikado.

This gives Gary a streak of childish hypocrisy, for when men show similar interests in Alana he becomes jealous and territorial. This surfaces most obviously in a Woodcock-style tantrum after she says she'd do on-screen nudity but refuses to show him her boobs in private. A simple respect for Alana's choice is out of Gary's reach, and in the space of a scene, he goes from her show-biz savvy agent to a petty, horny 15-year-old. This becomes clearer still after Alana is assaulted by Jon Peters, and sits with her head in her hands on the sidewalk, alone. She's blatantly upset and uncomfortable, but Gary is too busy giving his friend's petrol canister a sloppy blow job to notice. 

It's in these cracks in Gary's performative masculinity that he is most like Barry, Frank, and Reynolds. He has the knee-jerk business naivety of Egan, some of the misogyny of Mackey, and he shares more than a love of military metaphors with Woodcock, both capable of embarrassing, childish tantrums.

But despite these crossovers, something does feel different about Gary. And it's not as simple as the audience falling for his charming act. Even in his ugliest moments, in which he can be mean and solipsistic, it's still hard to picture him ever starting a business akin to the likes of "Seduce and Destroy."

"You may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with you."

To understand why the PTA men are the way they are, you have to look backward. Anderson often explores the childhoods of his characters and pinpoints their upbringing as having stunted or poisoned their growth. 

You can picture young Barry as simply a version of himself that hasn't bought a suit yet, anxious and quiet, wincing every time one of his sisters may utter the phrase "gay boy." His sisters recall that as an angry child, Barry once smashed the sliding glass doors of their home with a hammer, an act adult Barry repeats at the start of Punch-Drunk Love as if to emphasise that he's barely changed.

Meanwhile, Frank had to care for his dying mother, the responsibilities of adulthood forced upon him far too early. The only masculine presence in his life, Earl Partridge, set an unhealthy example, abandoning his family and cheating on his wife because he "wanted to be a man."

And the upper-class upbringing of Reynolds was enough to leave him with what can kindly be described as serious mummy issues. He'd follow his mother like a shadow and has attempted to continue following her even long after her death. His own fragile performative masculinity is an attempt to mask how much he misses her, not as a person but as a maternal figure to sit by his bedside and place a warm flannel upon his sickly forehead.

When we meet Gary, he's at this defining point in his life. He tells Alana he's going to be an actor. "It's all I know how to do," he says, before dropping that dream 25 minutes into the film in favour of becoming a mattress salesman. He's naive, but only because he's still being shaped and moulded. Licorice Pizza isn't about an adult having their worldview challenged, but rather a child having their worldview formed.

In the general absence of Gary's mother, who's away travelling and is largely sidelined by the film, Alana steps in as his concierge, adopting the role of a strange maternal figure. Their peculiar relationship is what'll shape Gary into a man. And whilst it's certainly not idyllic or completely healthy, it does teach him something that the rest of the PTA protagonists are unable to learn until they're well into adulthood.

People are important. As Gary abandons his pinball business to run the streets in search of Alana, it's clear that his priorities have shifted. Gary's world no longer revolves around Gary, around success, power, or the facade of manhood. It revolves around this strange, half-romantic, half-codependent love that he's fallen into, in which you're willing to forgo any ideas of being adult or mature in favour of naively and hopelessly running the streets of the San Fernando Valley.

For to love and be loved is what life is about, the great tragedies of Anderson films occurring where love is misplaced or rejected. Gary learns to open himself up emotionally to the world and to embrace the world in return.

This doesn't mean his learning is done, or that by the end of Licorice Pizza he's guaranteed to grow into a healthy, emotionally mature adult. His relationship with Alana is unsustainable, and the loss of that could twist his path. He hasn't overcome all of his faults or prejudices yet either, announcing Alana as "Mrs. Alana Valentine" to the pinball palace, playing adult in a loud, proud, childish way.

And, in all honesty, it's rare for an adult to ever completely lose their inner child. But Gary is only 15. He has time to keep growing. And he certainly has a head start on the likes of Barry, Frank, and Reynolds. As much as he would love to already be an adult, there's hope for him, not in spite of his immaturity or youth, but because of it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on February 10, 2022, 10:40:03 AM
new tv spot from youtube some new footage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6DAwVTpmHA
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 14, 2022, 02:33:08 PM
Licorice Pizza's Teenage Dreams (https://www.pastemagazine.com/movies/licorice-pizza-teenage-dreams-romance/)
By Aurora Amidon

Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) fusses over his hair with a comb in the boy's restroom mirror. It's picture day at Gary's San Fernando Valley high school, and the snake-charming little hustler—15 in age but pushing 30 in spirit—would likely not be able to live with himself if he didn't look like a million bucks. Even just to sit up straight and force a smile at an underpaid, overworked, middle-aged photographer, whose vocation capturing portraits of children was not where he once thought his artistic career would take him. But Gary Valentine is still young and driven enough to have dreams, young enough to see the world tinted in shades of fuchsia and gold. Or even a mousy brown, as Alana Kane (Alana Haim) saunters, incensed, past the line of teens that Gary is a part of, all waiting to have their picture taken. Teens who could not be bothered to give the poor Tiny Toes photography worker a simple "no thank you," as she half-heartedly—clearly exasperated—offers them a hand-mirror so that they might give their appearance any last-minute touches.

Gary, experiencing an intense attack of love-at-first-sight, hurries over to Alana. He takes her up on her offer of that mirror, even though he had already fixed himself up with the one in the bathroom just minutes earlier. So, Gary is able to strike up a conversation with the impatient, willful girl he's soon proclaiming to his friends that he'll marry someday. For a few moments, the camera frames both of their faces side-by-side, Gary's in the reflection of the hand mirror running a comb through the mop on his head, next to Alana's as she holds the mirror. In more obvious terms, it's a simple composition meant to signify the events to come in Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza—an unconventional love story between a boy who's been forced to grow up before he should have, and a girl who's stuck in an arrested development; a collage of brief snapshots of their disordered lives in Anderson's beloved San Fernando Valley, as they simultaneously struggle to come of age.

But the mirror scene, which indicates the pair's impending connection, also reveals the crux of their tumultuous, unorthodox quasi-romance, and the core of a film which seems to effortlessly flit between planes of reality. In the shot, Alana and Gary are not really side-by-side. Beside Alana is a reflection of Gary, while the real Gary is just out of frame, sweet-talking his way into a not-quite-date with a young woman who is, against her better judgment, caught up in the peculiar charms of a teenage boy offering her the kind of attention that men her age can't quite give. Alana is taken by this reflection of Gary, this reflection she holds—quite physically—in the palm of her hand. It's a reflection of Gary hinged on an extension of oneself that manifests as an idea of romance. It's a view of the world and of people that isn't really real, but can be deeply felt during the melodramatic extravagance of youth.

Alana and Gary meet somewhere in the middle of their own internal crises. Alana is at a precarious time in her early 20s (perhaps mid-20s, but that seems unlikely; when Alana finally reveals her age to Gary during the film's opening, there is an almost unnoticeable hesitance between "Twenty" and "Five," and her behavior comes off as decidedly younger than that), where the siren song of puerility beckons her to a life of hedonistic pleasure, unburdened from the stuffy adult world that she's hopelessly joined to. Gary, whose money mindset and larger-than-life ambitions in Hollywood entrepreneurship partly stem from having to take care of himself and his younger brother in the absence of adult supervision, is awash in the romanticism of adolescence. Gary's affection and the friendship that the two lost souls strike up allow Alana to remain comfortably in the arms of youth, at least for a little bit. When they first connect in that high school gymnasium on picture day, Alana expresses reluctance and establishes clear boundaries between herself and this teenager, while still goading him to see what else he's got to sell her. She finds herself intrigued by his salesmanship and his old soul schtick.

Thus, Alana is pulled to Gary, despite everything telling her that she shouldn't be. Charmed by the chutzpah of their first encounter, she shows up at Gary's age-inappropriate haunt, Tail o' the Cock, still maintaining space between them through her trademark acerbic flippancy. But as the two talk, that space begins to narrow. The boundaries Alana initially establishes begin to weaken as she opens herself up to the kind of attention that Gary can offer her, the kind that other men can't—or at least, don't. There's more to Alana's attraction than experiencing a romantic tug towards someone that toes an ethical line. Gary sees Alana through this beautifully impermanent lens that begins to dim with age; one Alana desperately craves like an addict seeking a fix. Gary both wants to know Alana fully as a person and also romanticize her. Alana's brief boyfriend Lance (Skyler Gisondo), her almost-co-star Jack Holden (Sean Penn), and the local politician she volunteers for Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie), all become conduits through which Alana attempts to recapture Gary's idealistic view of her. "You remind me of Grace," Jack simmers at Alana, attempting to seduce her, after Alana auditions for the part of "Rainbow" in a new film alongside the aging star. Nearly flattered beyond words, Alana barely manages to choke out "...Kelly?"

Alana just wants to be someone's dream girl. But it's clear during the scene where Jack takes Alana on a date to Tail o' the Cock, where adult male immaturity and self-obsession rears its ugly head, that Alana cannot get her fix with older men. Gary, there with his age-appropriate date, is taunted wordlessly across the room by Alana, the two having recently had a falling-out during the opening night of Gary's waterbed emporium. Alana, donned in a skimpy bikini meant to act as a sexualized device to entice customers inside, was eventually dismissed by Gary for a teen girl he knows from school. Fast-forward to Tail o' the Cock, and Alana's sticking her tongue out at Gary like a petulant toddler. Her arms are urgently flung around Jack's neck, her face pressed against his, to prove in utter vain that she doesn't need Gary's attention anymore. She has a real man now.

But, of course, this is all failed subterfuge. Jack Holden and his old director buddy Rex Blau (Tom Waits) are somehow more immature than a teenager, and neither can give Alana what she wants because they're too obsessed with one another and themselves. Gary's attention is prized to Alana above all else, to the point where she doesn't want someone his own age to have it. In her mind, it would be wasted on someone his own age. Gary's attention is akin to Alana's elixir of life, keeping her closer in proximity to youthfulness while also rendering her an ageless object of desire.

What could be better than being a teenager's fixation? You are perfect and flawless and idolized—you are a version of you that does not exist, yet does to them. Through time, the blemishes of the real world start to shift into focus. The all-encompassing intensity of romantic and sexual attraction, the kind that hurts and overwhelms and makes gods out of mortals, starts to fade. But in Gary Valentine's mind, while he's still 15, Alana is Grace Kelly.

It's Gary's perspective that teeters the film into the realm of unreality. Gary's sheer aplomb and charmed ability to, in the simplest terms, make shit happen seems utterly fantastical. At times, it's as if the Gary Valentine we know is merely a projection, a figment of Gary's imagination or the most sought after version of himself. It goes back to the reflection of Gary in the mirror, the one that couples Alana's face at the start of the film. The reflection that both is and isn't Gary at once, and that manages to win the unseemly attraction from the older girl he's pining after. There are also moments in the shaggy story, scenes that hang in this uncanny lull that feel like glitches in the matrix. Gary's mistaken identity arrest at the teenage fair, or his and Alana's confrontation with his agent, Mary Grady (Harriet Sansom Harris)—a tensely comedic sequence that borders on the speculative. Or the bizarre time spent between Gary, Alana and the manic, fictionalized alter-ego of Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), which culminates in Alana impeccably navigating a gasless moving truck backwards down a hill.

In this strange, unbecoming, ill-advised way, Gary and Alana are perfect for each other. Gary, a boy who perpetually lives in his head, whose dreams are bigger than he is, is entangled with a young woman who is still immature, and insecure, and directionless enough to crave the way he sees her and the rest of the world: Lacking the experience and nuance that, over time, reveals the rough edges of love and life. Through Gary Valentine's mind, Alana Kane is preserved in glossy amber, and the world really does revolve around Gary Valentine and his hare-brained, money-making schemes. It's true, as Paul Thomas Anderson himself has pointed out, that no physical line is crossed between the two mismatched people. But it is not monstrous to find oneself bewitched by the promise of being desired in a way that transcends reality. These desires between the characters coalesce into a film dappled in shades of magical realism. Anderson is no stranger to the concept, having demonstrated finesse in nurturing stories that blur the line between reality and dreams, in the wish fulfillment fantasy of Punch-Drunk Love, or in the frog downpour of Magnolia, or in Amy Adams' changing iris hues in The Master.

This idea of teenage love inventing fantastical happily-ever-afters is no more potent than in the final scene of the film, when the camera lens refracts a brilliant streak of flashing, kaleidoscopic light from a pinball machine, intercutting between Gary and Alana as they "Hi" to one another after pulling away from a romantic embrace. It's an otherworldly moment which recalls Punch-Drunk Love, that transitions the frame from the kiss into the concluding, idealistic shot of Gary and Alana bounding away from Gary's pinball palace, hand-in-hand, with Alana admitting that she loves him. But did she really? Did he even kiss her? It all just seems too good to be true, and maybe it is. Barry Egan's wish fulfillment has now become Gary Valentine's. It has also become Alana Kane's.

Indeed, the world of Licorice Pizza is atypical for much of Anderson's work post-Punch-Drunk Love, in the auspicious, fairytale warmth he offers his characters in the end, regardless of whether it's real, regardless of moral ambiguity. Licorice Pizza is, in part, about chasing some form of a dream. Whether it's Gary searching for a place of belonging in the adult world with his hustling schemes and his grandiose visions of personal success, or in the soulmate he believes to be Alana. Or Alana longing for a sense of stability and purpose and a love that is made of pure fantasy; a love that can only come about as youth slips away, as it's already done for her. Or Anderson chasing the nostalgic memories of his youth spent in sun-kissed California, preoccupied with a woman much older than him—a woman who happened to be his elementary school art teacher, who happened to be Alana Haim's mom.

Gary doesn't take his head out of the clouds, and Alana doesn't meet some sort of retribution for whatever it is that she feels for Gary. Instead, Gary and Alana find each other. Two imperfect people, their poles opposed and magnetized, their futures ever uncertain, buoyed by one another and what they stand for, what they could be and, most importantly, what they aren't. Gary and Alana are one another's dream. Who are we to tell them it's not real?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 16, 2022, 10:09:22 AM
Very surprising, but very cool.  Wonder why they would have left the signage in place? (Unless the owner thought it was cool too?)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CaBSrBKFADD/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Find Your Magali on February 17, 2022, 11:53:53 AM
Apologies if this has been brought up before, but does anyone think that Joel Wachs' stalker, while obviously echoing Taxi Driver a little bit, also had some vibes of the assassin in Nashville? That's the vibe I got.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on February 17, 2022, 12:03:52 PM
I've read somewhere that he wears the same jersey in Nashville.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on February 17, 2022, 03:32:27 PM
(https://www.dga.org//-/media/Images/Landscape-Images/DGAQuarterly/1601Winter2016/DGAQWinter2016ScreeningRoomWebHero.ashx?as=1&h=630&mh=630&mw=1200&w=630&hash=3CFC1834637A8593146C636DBE30E90223753F4F?t=12345)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 18, 2022, 08:02:11 PM
That guy certainly has the same vibes as "number 12 guy"... but I dont recall him every wearing a "12" jersey in Nashville. Most definitely not in the assassination scene
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on February 18, 2022, 08:57:19 PM
I didn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger and Guy Pierce ever shared the screen. What movie is that?

Spoiler: ShowHide
Visible in the second row: Neil Young, Jeremy Blackman, Bob Odenkirk, Paul Dano, David Krumholtz, Brian Posehn
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 19, 2022, 08:27:07 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on February 18, 2022, 08:57:19 PM
I didn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger and Guy Pierce ever shared the screen. What movie is that?

Spoiler: ShowHide
Visible in the second row: Neil Young, Jeremy Blackman, Bob Odenkirk, Paul Dano, David Krumholtz, Brian Posehn


LOL

It's Nashville :)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: csage97 on February 19, 2022, 03:09:10 PM
Finally got to see this the other day! It wasn't playing in my area for a long time, until it had a two- or three-week run nearby. I avoided the forum this whole time because it was just making me sad that I couldn't see it, and I didn't want to see any spoilers or anything near that.

I kind of personally had the hype die down because I was expecting theatres here to pick it up, but then they didn't for so long, and then finally did. I was going in with kind of lowered expectations because of that. And then I was blown away. Really a beautiful film. This is like the perfect balance of camera movement and close-up static shots that PTA has alternately delivered along his career, and really what I've been hoping he'd do for some time. Stuff that's like Boogie Nights in its sweeping storytelling, but then these amazingly shot and acted close-ups like we get with Harriet Sansom Harris' character. There's a moment where she kind of tears up and it's so over-the-top bonkers and hilarious. PTA focuses on letting the actors shine in these moments, but then allows the camera to wander and sweep across other moments like the convention when Gary is showcasing what's initially called Soggy Bottom.

I've seen some viewer reviews complain about the story being kind of "vignettes," and of course it's held together by the love story across all these changes. The visual storytelling is perfect for this, drifting along, but focusing in on the colourful characters, and then drifting again. What you really get is these pointed memorable moments with a sense of the times and situations drifting on, all existing in a setting and place which feels really inhabited.

Another thing I've seen in reviews is that some people feel the big name actors come in too briefly just to "be there." But oh, no, their characters are so absurdly and memorably drawn such that these are larger-than-life moments played by larger-than-life actors. These were some of my favourite moments. Like Bradley Cooper's macho-nutso character. Keeps the interest and hilarity going in an otherwise straightforward story at its core.

General impressions: This movie was so fucking funny. Even from the beginning. I mean, the scene early on when Gary and Alana first have dinner at The Cock and Gary is just breathing loudly. It drags on and you can just keep hearing him breathe. There are other jokes scattered throughout that are just downright juvenile and in good fun. Makes me think of PTA talking about how his dad and his dad's friend purposely got pulled over for a joke (can't remember the specifics, but it was in the Marc Maron podcast). It's that kind of thing.

The soundtrack was spot-on.

Cinematography was some of the best as I kind of mentioned above. The anamorphic format is fantastic and they play with light here. Like I was saying before, there's a wide range of techniques and deliberately chosen styles to portray key parts (e.g., Steadicam, close-ups, handheld, etc.) and it's all expertly chosen and blended.

Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are just phenomenal. They're both stars here. But for me, Cooper Hoffman really stands out. And what to say of all the context? Just totally remarkable. Both of them exceeded my expectations and more.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 19, 2022, 03:20:40 PM
  :yabbse-grin: :bravo:  :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 21, 2022, 12:25:57 PM
Just stumbled on this photo (from here (https://losangelestheatres.blogspot.com/2017/03/fox-wilshire.html)).

I've wondered ever since first spotting it during the filming in 2020 if there was any particular significance to these two films.  Seeing this suggests the possibility that they were chosen for no other reason than historical accuracy...

(But I also noticed in the credits during my last watch, that they're also both MGM films!)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on February 21, 2022, 05:37:25 PM
I was a little surprised that Maya & the kids didn't get a thank you in the credits. I guess since they were all in it. His kids randomly being the background of so many scenes is really one the funnier things in the film.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on February 21, 2022, 05:40:16 PM
Quote from: Drill on February 21, 2022, 05:37:25 PM
I was a little surprised that Maya & the kids didn't get a thank you in the credits. I guess since they were all in it. His kids randomly being the background of so many scenes is really one the funnier things in the film.

I can't remember--which films did they get Thanks in before? I think Phantom and Master?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on February 21, 2022, 06:05:25 PM
Quote from: Yes on February 21, 2022, 05:40:16 PM
Quote from: Drill on February 21, 2022, 05:37:25 PM
I was a little surprised that Maya & the kids didn't get a thank you in the credits. I guess since they were all in it. His kids randomly being the background of so many scenes is really one the funnier things in the film.

I can't remember--which films did they get Thanks in before? I think Phantom and Master?

All of them since TWBB.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on February 21, 2022, 06:35:16 PM
Quote from: Drill on February 21, 2022, 06:05:25 PM
Quote from: Yes on February 21, 2022, 05:40:16 PM
Quote from: Drill on February 21, 2022, 05:37:25 PM
I was a little surprised that Maya & the kids didn't get a thank you in the credits. I guess since they were all in it. His kids randomly being the background of so many scenes is really one the funnier things in the film.

I can't remember--which films did they get Thanks in before? I think Phantom and Master?

All of them since TWBB.

Damn, didn't realize. I guess the the on screen roles were thanks enough
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 21, 2022, 11:16:32 PM
For our archives:

https://youtu.be/KmTp4GTZ_jk
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on February 22, 2022, 01:33:00 AM
Excellent video. I mostly agree with her conclusions about LP starting at 46:51.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 26, 2022, 05:23:45 PM
I've been hoping to get a translation of Miyoko's dialogue in LP.  Fortunately, someone made an attempt over in reddit:

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 26, 2022, 08:21:50 PM
https://youtu.be/VZw3G2WmlnY
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on February 26, 2022, 10:21:16 PM
Did not realize 3/4 kids were the ones bothering John C. Reilly
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 26, 2022, 11:45:04 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 26, 2022, 05:23:45 PM
I've been hoping to get a translation of Miyoko's dialogue in LP.  Fortunately, someone made an attempt over in reddit:

Really interesting that this turns Frick's "I don't speak Japanese" line into an attempt to not hurt Gary's feelings.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:14:37 AM
Wait, explain...?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:30:43 AM
Why Joel Wachs let his life as a closeted gay politician be fictionalized in 'Licorice Pizza' (https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2022-02-27/licorice-pizza-joel-wachs-closeted-gay-los-angeles-politician-paul-thomas-anderson)

As president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Joel Wachs often receives messages regarding the licensing of the iconic pop artist's name and image. So when  director Paul Thomas Anderson reached out,  Wachs assumed Warhol  was being featured in a new movie.

"No, no. It's you I want to talk to," Wachs recalls Anderson telling him during a subsequent phone call. "It's  your name I want to use."

Wachs has lived in Manhattan since 2001, but he spent three decades as the City Council member for the same Los Angeles district where Anderson was born and raised. In writing "Licorice Pizza," a rapturously told coming-of-age tale set in the San Fernando Valley of the early 1970s, the filmmaker incorporated many of his memories of growing up in Studio City, from beloved Valley landmarks like Tail o' the Cock and Papoo's Hot Dog Show, to the local politician whom Anderson's parents championed and voted for — and whose office he walked past every morning and afternoon, to and from school.

Anderson told Wachs that if he was uncomfortable being identified in the movie,  the character could be renamed. Of course, the director was hoping Wachs would say yes.  "It mattered to me," Anderson says in an email interview with The Times. "He's an indispensable part of Valley history."

Anderson got the go-ahead, but only after Wachs read the script for "Licorice Pizza" and got to the part most relevant to him: In it, 20-something protagonist Alana Kane (played by Alana Haim) is searching for direction in her life and decides to campaign for an earnest, young and closeted gay city councilman who is running for mayor. 

"I thought, 'There's only really one human being who was a city councilman in the San Fernando Valley in [the '70s] who was running for mayor,'" Wachs says. "Anyone who wanted to find out could easily identify it as me. So I thought, 'Why not?'"

Unlike Anderson, Wachs wasn't native to the Valley ZIP Code. He was born in Scranton, Pa. When he was 10, his father moved the family to the Vermont Knolls neighborhood in South L.A. and opened a string of women's ready-to-wear clothing stores. During this period, Wachs went to high school with future Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and got involved in student government. "He was the A-12 class president and I was a B-10 senator," Garcetti says. "So that's how I got to know him. ... He had he gift of gab."

Wachs' journey to the Valley began after he collected a law degree from Harvard and landed a job at a downtown Los Angeles firm as a tax lawyer. In 1971, living in a rented apartment above the Sunset Strip — which, like portions of the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Monica mountains, fell into District 2 — Wachs aimed his sights on a Los Angeles City Council seat.

Wachs' campaign was a family affair: His mother ran his base of operations while his father stumped for him by standing in front of Gelson's and Ralphs supermarkets holding a sign that said, "Vote for My Son, Joel." Wachs took a hiatus from work and spent five months knocking on doors throughout the Valley, seven days a week. When he won the election, he was 32, the youngest member of the 15-member body. He decided it was time to move over the hill to the Valley.

 Wachs says Anderson was open to receiving notes on the script for "Licorice Pizza." "Some he took, some he didn't," says Wachs, adding that, by and large, the big-screen Joel Wachs portrayed by Benny Safdie was remarkably similar to the real-life '70s era Joel Wachs. This, he learned, was due to the fact that Anderson was close friends with film and television producer Gary Goetzman, the character upon which "Licorice Pizza's" leading man Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is based. Goetzman was in his teens when he energetically burst into Wachs' life. "We were looking for as many volunteers as we could get and he had all these great ideas and he wanted to make a commercial with me," says Wachs. "I said, 'We don't have any money.' He said, 'I'll take care of it all.'"

Of course, there's a scene in "Licorice Pizza" documenting the filming of the TV commercial. How could there not be? There's something inherently funny about a new politician putting his public image into the hands of a nervy adolescent. Set in the Santa Monica mountains, the scene features Joel Wachs delivering anti-developer promises as Gary Valentine films and Alana Kane directs. According to Anderson, this moment was flagged by Wachs as erroneous — he told Anderson that Goetzman also directed. "I had to correct him, and say, 'No, believe it or not, it was Jonathan Demme,'" Anderson says in an email,  referring to the Oscar-winning "Silence of the Lambs" director who had yet to make a feature at that stage of his career. 

Wachs had other notes for Anderson. "I'm not disorganized," Wachs told him in reference to an exchange of dialogue where the candidate admits to Alana that he's absent-minded. There was also the matter of the secret boyfriend who feels attention-starved. According to Anderson, "First off, he said it was completely implausible to be a city councilman and run for mayor and have a boyfriend at the same time! The moment Wachs saw that there was a love interest in the film for him, he wrote in the margin of the screenplay, 'Yeah, right!'"

Wachs knows that "Licorice Pizza" isn't a biodoc about him. Speaking by Zoom from his elegantly appointed, white-walled Manhattan apartment, Wachs, who came out publicly in 1999 at age 60, still feels compelled to explain why, as a public figure back then, he felt he had to keep his true self hidden. "The suppression was enormous," he says. "I knew a lot of gay people in the industry — the most well-known ones like Rock Hudson, but many lesser-known people as well.  Everyone in those days, people were hiding, because the consequences of coming out would be so great. So much has changed since then, for the good.  I'm actually glad that [Anderson] did use my name, because now we can have these discussions."

Still, a guy's got to have a life. Wachs and his friends would meet for dinner at restaurants like West Hollywood's the Carriage Trade, where one could sneak in unseen through a side alley. Or — his favorite — the Golden Bull steakhouse in Santa Monica Canyon. His fear of people putting two and two together in certain public spaces, however, didn't stop him from patronizing Oil Can Harry's, the venerable gay nightclub on Ventura Boulevard. His cover, he rationalized, was that he was a public servant. 

"I'd say, 'This is a business in my district,'" says Wachs, with a light shrug. "'I have to see what it's like and support it.'"

Back in the early '70s, when Wachs was door-knocking and getting to know his constituents, he noticed that an alarming number of people seemed to be at home in the middle of the afternoon. It didn't take long for Wachs, who is chatty, to find out that he was meeting grips, set designers and stagehands, out of work during a time when Hollywood was backing away from big-budget epics. Most of them were struggling to make ends meet. He made it one of his missions to help find federal and local resources for unemployed industry workers as well as people in the arts.

"Not only do I love the arts personally, but it's important to the city," says Wachs. "Creativity is one of the main resources in Los Angeles."

On the wall just behind Wachs hangs a piece by Betye Saar, the famed Los Angeles printmaker and assemblage artist. Since the mid-'70s, Wachs has devoted a quarter of his paycheck to buying art. He has donated 100 works to MOCA and he estimates that 75 have been given to the Hammer Museum. "If, God forbid, a big red bus comes by," says Wachs, "MOCA gets all the paintings and sculpture and the Hammer gets all the works on paper and drawings."

Most of his major collection is stored in Los Angeles. But despite having lived in Manhattan for 20-plus years, there are things about the Valley that make Wachs' voice fill with longing.

"I still miss the Smoke House," he says of the throwback red-booth restaurant across from Warner Bros studios. "Oh my God, I want their garlic bread. It was so good."

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:36:42 AM
Tidbits I found particularly interesting:

Quote...the filmmaker incorporated many of his memories of growing up in Studio City, from beloved Valley landmarks like Tail o' the Cock and Papoo's Hot Dog Show, to the local politician whom Anderson's parents championed and voted for — and whose office he walked past every morning and afternoon, to and from school.

QuoteBack in the early '70s, when Wachs was door-knocking and getting to know his constituents, he noticed that an alarming number of people seemed to be at home in the middle of the afternoon. It didn't take long for Wachs, who is chatty, to find out that he was meeting grips, set designers and stagehands, out of work during a time when Hollywood was backing away from big-budget epics. Most of them were struggling to make ends meet. He made it one of his missions to help find federal and local resources for unemployed industry workers as well as people in the arts.

Quote"I still miss the Smoke House," he says of the throwback red-booth restaurant across from Warner Bros studios. "Oh my God, I want their garlic bread. It was so good."

Can confirm the garlic bread...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 27, 2022, 03:32:51 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:14:37 AM
Wait, explain...?

What I mean is before this translation I believed he didn't really speak Japanese, that THAT was the joke. But now you can see Jerry is just trying to let Gary down easy by lying that he doesn't speak Japanese, avoiding having to translate what his wife just said.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: kingfan011 on February 27, 2022, 04:49:37 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:36:42 AM
Tidbits I found particularly interesting:

Quote...the filmmaker incorporated many of his memories of growing up in Studio City, from beloved Valley landmarks like Tail o' the Cock and Papoo's Hot Dog Show, to the local politician whom Anderson's parents championed and voted for — and whose office he walked past every morning and afternoon, to and from school.

QuoteBack in the early '70s, when Wachs was door-knocking and getting to know his constituents, he noticed that an alarming number of people seemed to be at home in the middle of the afternoon. It didn't take long for Wachs, who is chatty, to find out that he was meeting grips, set designers and stagehands, out of work during a time when Hollywood was backing away from big-budget epics. Most of them were struggling to make ends meet. He made it one of his missions to help find federal and local resources for unemployed industry workers as well as people in the arts.

Quote"I still miss the Smoke House," he says of the throwback red-booth restaurant across from Warner Bros studios. "Oh my God, I want their garlic bread. It was so good."

Can confirm the garlic bread...

The garlic bread is the reason to go there.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 07:08:34 PM
Quote from: HACKANUT on February 27, 2022, 03:32:51 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:14:37 AM
Wait, explain...?

What I mean is before this translation I believed he didn't really speak Japanese, that THAT was the joke. But now you can see Jerry is just trying to let Gary down easy by lying that he doesn't speak Japanese, avoiding having to translate what his wife just said.

That's not my reading at all... I don't think Jerry does speak Japanese... 
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: HACKANUT on February 28, 2022, 09:21:30 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 07:08:34 PM
Quote from: HACKANUT on February 27, 2022, 03:32:51 PM
Quote from: wilberfan on February 27, 2022, 11:14:37 AMWait, explain...?

What I mean is before this translation I believed he didn't really speak Japanese, that THAT was the joke. But now you can see Jerry is just trying to let Gary down easy by lying that he doesn't speak Japanese, avoiding having to translate what his wife just said.

That's not my reading at all... I don't think Jerry does speak Japanese... 

That's definitely what I thought before seeing this translation. If the translation is accurate tho it really seems like he understands what his wife is saying and is reacting to it. Plus, if he really did have a restaurant in Japan for a number of years, is it feasible he wouldn't know Japanese?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: gaucho_marx on February 28, 2022, 09:33:38 PM
(https://i.pinimg.com/474x/b4/16/60/b4166015e6e371ea31aab8fec69e9786.jpg)

Not relevant to the Frick scenes-Japanese-translation-debate but, possible inspiration for pinball kingpin Gary outfit? Tony Montana was an entrepreneur after all.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 02, 2022, 09:02:13 AM
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Rooty Poots on March 02, 2022, 12:36:50 PM
Good lord the recreation was pitch perfect.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 02, 2022, 12:57:17 PM
Someone on Reddit commented, "My God, Licorice Pizza was a documentary!"  :yabbse-grin:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 05, 2022, 05:53:25 PM
Did someone make this comparison already?

Alana mentions in a recent interview that the end of the 'truck sequence' is when Alana has a moment of clarity.  She realizes her life has to change. 

Needless to say, it reminded me of a similar moment--which also took place in the hills South of Ventura Blvd...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on March 05, 2022, 06:36:15 PM
Yes. His car runs out of gas too. The scene from Boogie Nights is five thousand times better, so this is where the main difference lies.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on March 06, 2022, 06:10:32 AM
Quote from: Drenk on March 05, 2022, 06:36:15 PMYes. His car runs out of gas too. The scene from Boogie Nights is five thousand times better, so this is where the main difference lies.

Well at atleast alana can act licorice pizza has that going for it    :wink:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on March 06, 2022, 07:41:45 AM
Not really, Matt.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on March 06, 2022, 10:24:43 AM
Quote from: Drenk on March 06, 2022, 07:41:45 AMNot really, Matt.

Sorry youre defending wahlbergs wooden acting but dismissing alanas seems a bit unfair pal
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 06, 2022, 06:38:08 PM
An (occasionally forced) comparison between AMERICAN GRAFFITI and LICORICE PIZZA (just for fun).

https://www.reddit.com/r/paulthomasanderson/comments/t8crvw/an_occasionally_forced_comparison_between/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on March 10, 2022, 03:33:39 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HylgtUcbgXo

Nice video about the love and relationships in his films.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 13, 2022, 09:33:59 AM
New advice from Blau?

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CasSxnyDKB6/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 13, 2022, 09:49:11 AM
https://www.instagram.com/p/CbBIuvPM8e4/

There was one take in front of the theater that was staged exactly like the Lena-Barry embrace: As Gary and Alana came together, the foreground suddenly filled with cars passing by.

I remember my huge grin of recognition at the self homage.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on March 13, 2022, 03:36:32 PM
I think I may have a vid of that buried deep in my phone somewhere...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 16, 2022, 12:03:13 PM
Licorice Pizza Gets a Night of Glory at the National Board of Review Gala  (https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/03/licorice-pizza-nbr-gala-awards)

All eyes were on Paul Thomas Anderson at Tuesday night's National Board of Review awards gala, where the auteur's summery romance, Licorice Pizza, won best film, best director, and best breakthrough performance for newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.

"The life of this [film] was so sweet and pleasurable and exciting, to go to work every day with these actors," Anderson said in his tender best-film speech, accepted alongside producer Sara Murphy. "We all need encouragement. This is wonderful encouragement."

The writer-director, currently favored to win his first Oscar for the Licorice Pizza screenplay, also gave a shout-out to his actors in the crowd, including Bradley Cooper, who was on hand to present Haim and Hoffman with their breakthrough awards. Anderson kept his speech on the shorter, humbler side, praising his collaborators as well as the movie's marketing and awards muscle, right down to "all the people who get us fuckin' cars to get here and have to deal with annoying actors and directors and all that stuff. Publicity people, you really work so hard to put this stuff on."

Anderson's closing speech was a lovely cap on a mostly routine gala night where everyone knew the winners well in advance, taking the tension out of the supping and speechifying. It was attended by winners such as Will Smith and presenters such as Julianne Moore and Chris Rock, the latter of whom was on hand to present Anderson with his first award of the night, best director. Rock was one of the night's rowdy highlights, introducing Anderson with an expletive-laden, five-minute speech in which he roasted the director, his cast, and the National Board of Review itself, injecting the night with a much-needed boost of unpredictable energy.

"I've come here for Paul Thomas Anderson—a person who's never cast me in shit!" Rock exclaimed. "Nothing! Not even to wash his fuckin' car." He continued, saying Licorice Pizza was the best movie he'd seen all year, though he'd only seen a handful of films this season. "It's a good thing I'm not hosting the Oscars this year," cracked the comedian who has in fact hosted the ceremony twice, most recently in 2016.

Rock continued, shouting out the film's cast, including, "What's her name? Alana Haim's in the movie! She's great." He also mentioned young Hoffman, whom he's known for years through his late father, Philip Seymour Hoffman. "Cooper Hoffman, fuckin' nepotism at its fuckin' best! Best, goddamnit," Rock joked as the audience roared with nervous laughter. "My father couldn't get me shit."

He also went on a tangent about costar Sean Penn, who was not in attendance at the gala, as he is currently making a documentary about the war in Ukraine. "Sean fuckin' Penn, who I know has something to do with this war," Rock quipped. "Somehow, some way, I know he's mixed up in it. Sean Penn's being waterboarded as we speak."

Then he finally brought Anderson to the stage. "Thank you very much, everybody. I really appreciate it. Chris Rock, ladies and gentlemen," Anderson said, delivering perhaps his shortest acceptance speech ever and quickly exiting the stage.

The gala, hosted by the Today show's Craig Melvin and held at Cipriani 42nd Street, was an overall speedy affair, clocking in at just under two hours once the speeches started going. (Academy producers are green with envy.) Attendees included winners such as Questlove, Aunjanue Ellis, Ciarán Hinds, and Zazie Beetz (representing the ensemble of The Harder They Fall) and presenters such as Trevor Noah and Spike Lee.

While the NBR awards aren't always bellwethers for Oscar glory, the gala served as a nice pit stop in a stressful awards season, giving winners months in advance to prepare warm, clever speeches and potentially rub elbows with Academy voters. Tuesday night's gala also served as a helpful boost for Licorice Pizza, whose Oscar chances have only grown in the last few months (in spite of accusations that some scenes in the film contain anti-Asian racism). Tuesday night was, if anything, a preview of the energy Anderson might bring to the Oscar stage if the auteur in fact gets his long-awaited gold.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 18, 2022, 12:43:07 AM
Make the Case: The Unparalleled, Nuanced Writing at the Heart of 'Licorice Pizza' (https://www.theringer.com/movies/2022/3/17/22982718/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-oscars-best-original-screenplay)

Manuela Lazic


"Whatever you do, do it carefully," Alma warns Reynolds Woodcock in Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread. Throughout the film, the young woman proves herself to be more confident, more self-assured, and more dangerous than she'd let on in that hotel restaurant where she and the older fashion designer first met. She ends up shaping the narrative of their love story, to the point that she's the one telling it to the audience while Reynolds is yet again sick in bed. She tames him, and creates a cyclical, almost predictable structure for their life together.

The love story in Licorice Pizza is the antidote to Phantom Thread and its toxic yet expertly concocted romance. One of the first things Alana (Alana Haim) tells Gary (Cooper Hoffman) is, "You're never going to remember me." She begins their relationship full of doubt—about both herself and him—and those feelings only occasionally fade away. Yet theirs isn't even a classic tale of first resisting and then succumbing to love; rather, it repeats that structure over and over again, like a video game that takes you back to the beginning every time you fail. In writing Licorice Pizza, PTA lets go of the calculated, fat-free structure with which he approached Phantom Thread or even There Will Be Blood. He embraces his characters' differences fully, without offering either an ever-after solution (as with the scheduled poisoning of Reynolds) or an absolute end (the death and destruction around Daniel Plainview). It is his most romantic film yet; a movie that cleverly reinvents the romantic comedy; a script that more than deserves the nod for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.

Many of the scenes that 25-year-old Alana and 15-year-old Gary share are moments of disconnection. Their meet-cute begins with hostility as Alana rejects Gary's advances, and ends with Alana still rolling her eyes, albeit with a smile on her face. PTA doesn't shy away from the discomfort that Alana feels being flirted with by a cocky teenage boy—she finds Gary almost offensive and plain weird. They also seem to approach life very differently: He's highly ambitious and confident about his prospects, while she almost entirely avoids thinking about the future. Yet Gary has decided: He is really, really into Alana, and the way she maintains her integrity and doesn't try to protect his feelings when he continuously hits on her only makes him like her more.

The sea of differences that separate Alana and Gary render their relationship wholly nontraditional. (To repeat: They meet at a high school, where only one of them is enrolled.) And although some argue that opposites attract, the way Gary and Alana bicker and push themselves away from each other doesn't support that claim. Yet what emerges through their clashes is something deeper and more meaningful: Together, in a very messy way, they figure out who they are as individuals. With Gary, the lost young adult Alana finds some agency and discovers that she can put herself out there: She becomes an entrepreneur, reveals her acting talent, successfully backs a truck down a winding hill in Los Angeles, and realizes how dangerous the world of adults can be. Gary, too, becomes a fuller person. As Alana entertains dalliances with other men throughout the movie, Gary is forced to learn about restraint and letting others make their own decisions, something that the hustler and seducer in him has a hard time with. His biggest lesson comes when he stops himself from touching her breast when she's not looking—a scene that PTA writes as a comical yet meaningful moment of suspense through which Gary grows up. In fact, their entire relationship exists in this realm of suspense and uncertainty: They have no clear direction together, they don't know what they are to one another, Alana often finds Gary very annoying, and although he brings the idea of fate into the picture, confusion seems to be the real guiding principle.


PTA has always had a particularly keen eye for historical and cultural context, and in Licorice Pizza, California in the early 1970s is the backbone of the relationship between the two protagonists. The film's excellent soundtrack helps re-create the sense of freedom and softer morals that defined the decade, and on the face of it, it almost feels as though PTA wanted to challenge contemporary political correctness by setting his film in that time and featuring a relationship with an age gap, overt racism, homophobia, and police brutality. Yet his writing makes it clear that he's not simply nostalgic for a past era—something much subtler and more complicated is at play.

The illegality of Alana and Gary's relationship is only the most superficial way in which the different, confusing, and sometimes backward mentality of the time influences the story. Gary's scamming attitude and "song and dance man" act echo more loudly how powerful liberal capitalism and commercial entertainment were at the time—and how they shaped men in particular. He expects everything to be available to him, be it money, accolades, or girls. In that way, he's not too dissimilar from Jerry Frick (John Michael Higgins), the American man opening a Japanese restaurant and using a horribly offensive Japanese accent when addressing his immigrant wives; or from Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), a swaggering, violent buffoon who can't stop talking about how he's dating Barbra Streisand. They all feel entitled and PTA frames their racism, misogyny, and sense of superiority as consequences of that. In contrast, the writer-director signals Alana's difficulty in navigating this sexually liberated yet macho world subtly and overtly. When the school photographer slaps her on her behind after she's met Gary and she barely registers it, PTA isn't trying to make a grand statement about feminism, but rather highlight how casually absurd a woman's experience could be: In the '70s, flirting and affection could so swiftly be succeeded by unrestrained degradation.

In their encounter, Alana and Gary confront their opposing places in society directly. When Alana struggles to sell a waterbed to a customer on the phone, Gary suggests she talk sexier, which she proceeds to do successfully despite her simmering anger toward him. In turn, Gary becomes possessive and annoyed that she can so easily flirt with a customer. He indirectly discovers what misogyny and objectification are and how they can affect him, too. Every big clash that separates them is, in fact, due to their preconceived ideas of what society has told them they should want and deserve. After Gary has a fling with a more age-appropriate girl, Alana gives acting a real chance, both to spite Gary and to satisfy her own shaky ambitions. She also accepts an invite to go out with an older, respected actor she meets at an audition, Jack Holden (Sean Penn), and parades their flirtation in front of Gary, at the restaurant she knows is his second home. In that moment, she's also trying to fit into one of the roles available to ambitious women at the time: that of the ingenue whom older men can project their twisted and self-aggrandizing ideals onto, and whose success is dependent on men. After Holden tells her she reminds him of Grace Kelly, he proceeds to talk at her about his past cinematic glory, not even acknowledging Alana when she asks, "Are these lines or is this real?" Guided by PTA's writing, Haim performs both the role of the mindless sex object and that of the confused and dismissed woman perfectly, switching from one to the other as naturally as many women have learned to do. And while Alana feels the pain of limiting herself to an idea, across the room, Gary is going through his own realization. An actor himself, he usually behaves similarly to Holden when he visits this bar; he probably aspires to be Holden. Yet on this evening, all he can see is how far he's pushed his friend away; how she's not being true to herself because of him.


PTA manages to delicately weave this complex social context with romance because while Alana and Gary's different positions in the world keep driving them apart, what brings them back together can't be reduced to circumstances or ambitions. To put it simply, they remain together because they realize that they care about each other. Calling them soul mates might seem counterintuitive, but the way PTA portrays their connection as based on a kind of care that allows them both to grow gives new meaning to the expression. When Jack Holden rides off on his bike and ignores the fact that he's let Alana fall behind, Gary sprints to her aid, worried only about her safety. In such moments, when they both notice their feelings for each other, PTA makes the world that has so profoundly shaped them fall away. In slow motion, they come together and remain speechless, as though neither they nor PTA have a good word for what they are sharing. What follows these suspended moments is pure glee, in which the director writes the characters going against the current, running against the flow of the crowd or through the city to find each other. We've seen these kinds of romantic chases before, but PTA deepens their meaning by making them about breaking free from not only one's environment, but also from one's preconceived ideas of what they want and need.

In the 2004 romantic comedy Along Came Polly, Ben Stiller plays Reuben, a risk-assessment expert whose presumptions about adult life and relationships are shaken when he meets the wild and freewheeling Polly (Jennifer Aniston)—she's the Gary to his Alana, making him uncomfortable in an often salutary way. Stiller's best friend Sandy, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, is an ex–child actor still living off the glory he achieved as a kid, convinced of his own dubious coolness. And yeah, it may be a stretch to imagine Licorice Pizza as a prequel to Along Came Polly and Cooper Hoffman as playing the younger Sandy, but the parallels and differences between the two films are notable and telling in regard to PTA's writing. At the end of Along Came Polly, Reuben learns to loosen up and Polly gets her life more organized—they both shape-shift a little while accepting the other's peculiarities. In Licorice Pizza, after Alana and Gary make up one last time (in the time frame of the film at least), it isn't long before Gary is making her roll her eyes once again. PTA doesn't promise us they will be happy together forever after or that they will even get all that used to each other's annoying tendencies. It seems highly unlikely that either of them will ever fundamentally change. But Alana and Gary do exchange a kiss, a sign that perhaps, somehow, they will always care for each other.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 19, 2022, 11:25:22 AM
Have we seen this yet?   :ponder:

Paul Thomas Anderson brings the sophistication of the French New Wave to a tale of L.A. youth in the '70s (https://feature.variety.com/mgmunitedartistsreleasing/licorice-pizza)

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Lewton on March 21, 2022, 11:54:15 AM
I saw the movie a while ago but never posted about it. I didn't see it right away because I wanted to wait until I could find an empty theater and I sorta succeeded (well, there was one other person).

This post is probably going to sound like "PTA fan in denial but trying to be charitable" or something but that's really not it...I did like it. I want to watch it again. I'll do that in the summer, I think. This was supposed to be a summer movie after all, and I think those little external things can help a viewing experience (IV = great summer movie, PT = great winter movie).

It's probably too early to say but right now, just on a gut level, I think I'd be more inclined to re-watch The Master or IV? Unlike every other PTA movie, I didn't walk away with a strong sense of the ideas or qualities that will draw me back to LP for future viewings. I'll figure that out later. I think that's maybe a good thing, or a good sign that he's not on auto pilot (see my next paragraph). My sense of the movie is still percolating, so we'll see what future viewings bring. I also respect that this movie has opened up PTA's career to perspectives that weren't really explored in his older films.

I'm not saying I walked away from it totally unaffected. There were a lot of beautiful visual touches and the same emotionality and lack of bullshit/phoniness that I like in other PTA movies. I respect how oddly paced this movie is too, and how it seems like PTA isn't conceding to anyone's tastes or pandering to his own fan base or to really anybody. There's a lot of integrity in the way the movie was put together.

I was surprised to find myself slightly more impressed by Cooper Hoffman than Alana Haim, mostly because the press and the audience reactions seem to focus mainly on Alana. She is for sure great here and fits with zero awkwardness into PTA's world/style. However, Cooper as Valentine may be the most immediately likeable character in PTA's work since...Reilly or PSH in Magnolia, maybe? Not that likability is so important in a movie but it ended up being an important part of the motor that kept this movie going, like how Freddie's chaotic mindset really keeps the story moving in The Master.

Oh and when Alana crossed the street to meet the guy spying on the campaign office, my first thought was that the guy sorta looked like a younger PTA circa that behind the scenes YouTube video, or maybe a bit like PTA from the Boogie Nights era, and the effect was kind of spooky for a moment or two...but this is almost 100% just my own weird little subjective experience.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 23, 2022, 10:16:12 PM
I don't post this with any pleasure--more a nod to posterity and the Xixax Archives. There's nothing new here--but on the eve of the Oscars (but after the voting has closed), I suppose it has some historical value. It will be interesting to see how history regards the film--and the controversy.

'Licorice Pizza' made Asians a 'punchline.' And the fallout is bigger than the Oscars (https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2022-03-23/licorice-pizza-racism-controversy-paul-thomas-anderson) [LA Times]

Jen Yamato
March 23, 2022 3:12 PM PT

Paul Thomas Anderson's shaggy '70s coming-of-age dramedy "Licorice Pizza" has garnered more than 125 award season accolades, including a BAFTA screenplay win and three nominations at this weekend's 94th Academy Awards. But the film, which is up for best picture, director and original screenplay Oscars, has also faced accusations of anti-Asian racism due to a pair of scenes some have called harmful at worst and tone deaf at best.

The controversial vignettes unfold early on in Anderson's rambling ode to the San Fernando Valley of his youth. Actor John Michael Higgins, playing Jerry Frick, the real-life owner of the Japanese restaurant the Mikado, speaks to his wife, Mioko (Yumi Mizui) — and later his second wife, Kimiko (Megumi Anjo) — in overly exaggerated Japanese-accented English. Defenders of the film counter that exposing Frick's racism is the point. Its critics say his wives, two of the only nonwhite characters in the film, are robbed of agency and are themselves stereotypes that play into anti-Asian tropes.

Although interpretations of its intent vary, "Licorice Pizza" drew a small but vocal outcry as it rolled out in theaters and prompted articles in the Hollywood Reporter, The Atlantic and NBC. With few exceptions, Anderson and stars Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim — who appear in the scenes as the main characters Gary and Alana, respectively — have largely ignored the controversy while promoting their film. (It likely helps that they have barely been asked about it.)

When Anderson has addressed it, his responses have been viewed as attempts to sidestep any concerns. In February, well into its Oscar campaign and after months of discourse, Indiewire's Eric Kohn asked the filmmaker about complaints over the Frick character.
A man sits in the driver's seat and a woman in the passenger's seat of a car at night

"It's kind of like, 'Huh?' I don't know if it's a 'Huh' with a dot dot dot. It's funny because it's hard for me to relate to," Anderson said. "I don't know. I'm lost when it comes to that. To me, I'm not sure what they — you know, what is the problem? The problem is that he was an idiot saying stupid s—?"

To the suggestion that Frick's racist accent, played to the rafters by Higgins, gives the audience permission to participate in his racism rather than condone it, he answered, " ... that's a possibility. I'm certainly capable of missing the mark, but on the other hand, I guess I'm not sure how to separate what my intentions were from how they landed."

Amid a wave of hate crimes targeting Asians and especially Asian women in the U.S., Anderson's failure to confront the criticism more forthrightly has been particularly deflating. "It's frustrating," says Michelle Sugihara, executive director of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, which works to advance representations of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Hollywood, "because it's as if we're invisible and our voices don't matter."

In the first scene in question, Gary watches his mother, Anita (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), present shallow ad copy for the Mikado to Frick and Mioko. Frick "translates" for Mioko in English, using an over-the-top mock Japanese accent; she responds to him in Japanese. Her words are not subtitled, suggesting that Anderson never meant for her to be understood by the other characters and a primarily English-speaking audience.

In the second, Gary mistakes Kimiko for Mioko, suggesting that he can't tell the difference between the two women, an echo of the casualness with which Frick treats his Asian female partners as interchangeable and disposable. But the punchline comes when Alana asks Frick, who is speaking to Kimiko in the same offensive Asian accent, to translate — and he admits that he does not speak Japanese.

Frick's fetishism of Japanese women may be intended as a cringe-inducing joke at his expense, but it falls flat for viewers who identify more with his wives than with Frick or the film's protagonists. For some, the discomfort adds a provocative dimension to Anderson's quasi-nostalgic love letter to the Valley. For others it feels like Anderson playing with explosive ideas but not sticking the landing, or pressing on a bruise with a bit out of step with the rest of the film.

    I have reached my final galaxy brain Licorice Pizza take which is that it's a movie about fetishization: PTA's fetishization of the Jewish valley girls he grew up around, and that's where the Mikado scene with the guy who fetishizes Japanese women fits in
    — Molly Lambert 🦔 (@mollylambert) March 15, 2022

Even with its 91% Rotten Tomatoes score, several critics flagged the Higgins scenes as clunky detours from the film's otherwise sublime charms. "Strenuous comic nonsense," Times critic Justin Chang wrote of the Frick character in his otherwise enthusiastic review.

Writing for Time, Stephanie Zacharek called the scenes "excesses that could have been excised," writing that "Anderson can't resist including not one but two scenes in which John Michael Higgins speaks loud mock Japanese, for alleged laughs — as if retro-mocking white boorishness of the past were in some way a corrective."

Author and critic Walter Chaw put the insult more plainly: "At its worst, you're reminded of how painful casual racism is when it's used as a gag with not a point but a punchline."

The debate comes only a few years after similar criticisms called out Quentin Tarantino's depiction of Bruce Lee in his L.A. valentine "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood." When clips of "Licorice Pizza" went viral recently, Jenn Fang, founder of the Asian American feminist blog Reappropriate, watched social media flood with reactions to the scenes, in which stony expressions and reaction shots offer sparse clues as to Mioko and Kimiko's interior lives.

"This scene is classic in terms of having an Asian American character serve as a plot device that is there to develop a white or non-Asian American character, rather than a character who is a full-fledged person in their own right," said Fang, who has not seen the full film. Since the women's roles exist solely to make a point about Frick, she argues, Anderson's film lands in a long lineage of problematic Hollywood stories.

"Especially in this moment where we're dealing with the one year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shooting and this massive pattern of anti-Asian racial violence that has predominantly targeted Asian American women," said Fang, "it is particularly heartbreaking for this scene to reinforce a long Hollywood history of Asian American women not being the subject of the story, but rather window dressing."

Anderson was not made available for comment for this article. But his head-scratching responses to questions about the scenes have only added fuel to the flame.

Before the Indiewire interview, at the time of the film's limited release last November, Anderson explained to the New York Times' Kyle Buchanan that the scenes rang true to their 1973 setting and "it would be a mistake to tell a period film through the eyes of 2021.

"You can't have a crystal ball, you have to be honest to that time. Not that it wouldn't happen right now, by the way. My mother-in-law's Japanese and my father-in-law is white, so seeing people speak English to her with a Japanese accent is something that happens all the time," Anderson said, citing the stepmother of his wife, Maya Rudolph, Japanese jazz singer Kimiko Kasai. "I don't think they even know they're doing it."

Film critic Ryan Swen, a contributor to Film Comment and the British Film Institute who writes at the website Taipei Mansions, offers a more positive assessment of Anderson's intentions. He argues for reading the scenes, which "walk the finest tightrope," closely for what is unsaid.

Watch Mioko's face as Gary's mom reads her stereotypical presentation out loud and "the expression on her face changes in this very pointed way," said Swen. "I think that's important." Another clue as to what Anderson is attempting comes after the "I don't speak Japanese" punch line, when Alana runs into a white waitress in Japanese garb in the Mikado ladies' room, implying that Frick, and by extension his business practices, are more invested in superficial Orientalist aesthetics than authenticity.

These moments are clearly critiquing Frick, Swen added, but the bigger question is: "How do viewers feel about the film showing people engaging in Asian caricatures in order to critique them?"
A man in a facemask, left, looks on as another man points to something

There is such a thing as being too subtle in depicting racism without also depicting consequences or addressing it elsewhere in a film, argues sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen, author of "Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism."

"The argument is that those [offended] are just people who were not reading it right," said Yuen. "But ... there's no context. There's no repercussions. There's no discussion. You don't even understand what the women are saying. They might be saying, 'F— you,' but we don't even understand that. It's too subtle for people to say, 'Oh, well, he's racist and it's terrible, and that's what's happening in this scene.'"

Several Asian American moviegoers have shared experiences of going to see "Licorice Pizza" in a theater and hearing strangers laugh at Frick's antics.

"Picture this: You're watching 'Licorice Pizza.' It's brilliant," tweeted podcaster Dave Chen. "Then, early on, a buffoonish character drops an Asian caricature. The (mostly white) audience laughs. And now, you gotta think about that laughter the rest of the film. Did you picture it? Because it f— sucks."

    The character is certainly depicted as a fool. But did your audience laugh at it? If so: What do you think they were laughing at? SOLELY the guy and how stupid he was?

    Or is it maybe possible that they were laughing at us?

    Anyway: that's what was on my mind.
    — David Chen (@davechensky) November 19, 2021

A 2021 study by CAPE, Gold House and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media found that Asian and Pacific Islander characters served as a comedic punch line in 43.4% of Hollywood films from 2017 to2020. More than a third of characters (35.2%) fell into stereotypes such as the "Forever Foreigner," "The Lotus Blossom" and the "Dragon Lady."

According to Stop AAPI Hate, between March 2020 and December 2021, a total of 10,905 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islanders were reported, 69.8% of which were directed at women. The majority of reports (66.9%) were incidents of harassment.

In 2020, the year "Licorice Pizza" was filmed, anti-Asian hate crimes in Los Angeles increased by 76%, according to the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations, as well as nationwide, per the FBI. Preliminary data shows that anti-Asian hate crime in major U.S. cities skyrocketed by 260.5% in 2021, according to Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism's director, professor Brian Levin, and an ongoing wave of shocking anti-Asian violence across the country has many in the AAPI community in fear.

A December statement from Media Action Network for Asian Americans, which urged Academy voters and other groups to not nominate the film for awards, slammed the "Licorice Pizza" scenes as existing "simply for cheap laughs." "What people subconsciously get is the behavior, not the intent," a MANAA spokesperson said. "And that subconsciously can lead to a dehumanization of a race."

Given how much content consumed worldwide is created in Hollywood, said Sugihara, the creative industry has an opportunity and a responsibility to more deeply consider its impact. "What we watch on our screens affects how we feel and act, not only about others but about ourselves," said Sugihara.

It's important to distinguish between intention and impact, Sugihara says. "If you're saying it's a scene about racism or essentially a teachable moment within the confines of entertainment, but you still don't unpack it, you can't say 'that's racist' without at least an acknowledgment that this is really the intent."

One Asian American Oscar voter, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the topic, said he did like "Licorice Pizza" and hadn't taken issue with the "cringey" Frick character. The "white buffoon" was a reminder of many instances of exoticizing racism he'd directly experienced himself. This voter had even witnessed one such incident occur recently on the awards circuit to a female filmmaker of color currently nominated for an Oscar.

Higgins "wasn't Mickey Rooney in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's,'" the voter said, comparing it to arguably the most egregious yellowface caricature in Hollywood history.

But seeing how Anderson responded to complaints about the scenes made the voter reconsider supporting the film, and it subsequently dropped way down his Oscar ballot. "PTA," this voter said, "should be more transparent about why he had that character in there."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 23, 2022, 10:54:07 PM
RIP media literacy

Quoting someone who admits to not having seen the full film. Great journalism!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 23, 2022, 11:18:28 PM
Quote"This scene is classic in terms of having an Asian American character serve as a plot device that is there to develop a white or non-Asian American character, rather than a character who is a full-fledged person in their own right," said Fang, who has not seen the full film. Since the women's roles exist solely to make a point about Frick, she argues, Anderson's film lands in a long lineage of problematic Hollywood stories.

This is a good point at face value and goes to the whiteness of PTA's films in general. But it's worth noting that the Asian American women are not really being used to enrich Frick's character, just to maximize his buffoonery. (He doesn't occupy enough screen time for a fully-formed character to have been a goal anyway.) In fact the women seemed slightly more real and human than him. The eyerolls are key.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 23, 2022, 11:31:23 PM
I just don't understand why Momma Valentine's eye-rolls and Gary's snicker in the background has been dismissed by so many? The first wife is given an empathetic close-up and expresses her wishes for a better business model as opposed to the exploited orientalism Frick wants. In the second scene, Frick dismisses Gary's proposition because this is an "American business", and Alana is the only one who shows respect bowing.

And it's also strange (though, understandable) these moments have been examined, but not the anti-Semitism of the talent agent, or the sexism of both the photographer and Sean Penn. Or the repressed sexuality of Joel Wachs. All part of the text!

But hey, it is what it is.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on March 24, 2022, 11:33:08 AM
Here's someone with some nice and insightful things to say about LP. They seem to have intuited that it's a much darker, tonally odder film than the misleading marketing suggested, which I suspect is part of the reason why some people have had problems with the age gap, racism etc in it - they've not picked up on the fact that the whole world it's depicting is pretty shady and messed up in a lot of ways. This seemed obvious to me, but I know a lot of people didn't see it. Shrugs shoulders.

https://thebaffler.com/latest/the-world-was-just-an-address-hamrah
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on March 24, 2022, 12:04:53 PM
Quote from: Yes on March 23, 2022, 11:31:23 PMI just don't understand why Momma Valentine's eye-rolls and Gary's snicker in the background has been dismissed by so many? The first wife is given an empathetic close-up and expresses her wishes for a better business model as opposed to the exploited orientalism Frick wants. In the second scene, Frick dismisses Gary's proposition because this is an "American business", and Alana is the only one who shows respect bowing.

And it's also strange (though, understandable) these moments have been examined, but not the anti-Semitism of the talent agent, or the sexism of both the photographer and Sean Penn. Or the repressed sexuality of Joel Wachs. All part of the text!

But hey, it is what it is.

Right! Even surprising too that the George DiCaprio scene where he appropriates groovy slang and manages a wig shop hardly goes remarked. The entire film is predicated on permissable exploitation-hustle. Lucille Ball has aged herself out and surrounds herself with cute cherubs for appeal. Cher without Sonny. It's absolutely threaded with dancing duos of gaming the system.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on March 24, 2022, 01:01:48 PM
Because Mrs Valentine knew that the copy ad about the waitresses, probably Gary's idea, would fail—he's amused, she has a backup.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on March 24, 2022, 02:22:47 PM
The scenes just weren't at all worth any of this. Again, I have to wonder if Sellar/Lupi/Tichenor would've put their foot down. Even in that DGA talk, it seemed like Somner was the only one who could stand up to him. Were a first time feature film editor and still relatively new producer ever going to be able to tell him "no"? It's not a coincidence that it's IMO his most self-indulgent work in quite a while.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: pynchonikon on March 24, 2022, 03:28:57 PM
He also liked that shot of Peters smashing the cars' windows, as he said it was in the movie until late in tne editing process, before listening to Penn's suggestion and deciding that cutting it out would be better for the movie.

Peters' characterization and Cooper's excessive energy might be (un)intetionally used as comic relief, similar to Higgins' buffoonery (although the actual joke in the first scene for me is Anita's WTF expression, as Gary's snicker also indicates) or Penn's delusional ravings or Harris' exaggerated facial expressions, but in the end as I see them all these serve the film's motives (female objectification, casual sexism and racism, toxic masculinity, frosty cynicism of the 70s etc), how successfully or unsuccessfully it's up to the viewer.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 24, 2022, 06:29:35 PM
Quote from: Drill on March 24, 2022, 02:22:47 PMThe scenes just weren't at all worth any of this. Again, I have to wonder if Sellar/Lupi/Tichenor would've put their foot down. Even in that DGA talk, it seemed like Somner was the only one who could stand up to him. Were a first time feature film editor and still relatively new producer ever going to be able to tell him "no"? It's not a coincidence that it's IMO his most self-indulgent work in quite a while.

Well, MGM asked him to remove the scenes and he told them no. He probably would have turned down Focus if they suggested as well. He's going to do what he wants at this stage
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on March 24, 2022, 06:51:13 PM
Gary and his mother are not reacting to the accent in that scene. The accent is like Doc yelling in IV, it's not happening, yet it's happening on screen—surreal slapstick. It's meant to be tonally off. The fact that some people say this is supposed to be a realistic depiction of the times is confusing, it isn't. Also, the racism would be present without that particular joke. Obviously, PTA takes delight in that bit. He does it twice in the movie.

The scene with the agent works better as a comical representation of casual antisemitism. Maybe because Alana is involved in the scene? Maybe because he doesn't try to do Pynchon surreality?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Alexandro on March 26, 2022, 07:02:02 PM
Quote from: Lewton on March 21, 2022, 11:54:15 AMI saw the movie a while ago but never posted about it. I didn't see it right away because I wanted to wait until I could find an empty theater and I sorta succeeded (well, there was one other person).

This post is probably going to sound like "PTA fan in denial but trying to be charitable" or something but that's really not it...I did like it. I want to watch it again. I'll do that in the summer, I think. This was supposed to be a summer movie after all, and I think those little external things can help a viewing experience (IV = great summer movie, PT = great winter movie).

It's probably too early to say but right now, just on a gut level, I think I'd be more inclined to re-watch The Master or IV? Unlike every other PTA movie, I didn't walk away with a strong sense of the ideas or qualities that will draw me back to LP for future viewings. I'll figure that out later. I think that's maybe a good thing, or a good sign that he's not on auto pilot (see my next paragraph). My sense of the movie is still percolating, so we'll see what future viewings bring. I also respect that this movie has opened up PTA's career to perspectives that weren't really explored in his older films.

I'm not saying I walked away from it totally unaffected. There were a lot of beautiful visual touches and the same emotionality and lack of bullshit/phoniness that I like in other PTA movies. I respect how oddly paced this movie is too, and how it seems like PTA isn't conceding to anyone's tastes or pandering to his own fan base or to really anybody. There's a lot of integrity in the way the movie was put together.

I was surprised to find myself slightly more impressed by Cooper Hoffman than Alana Haim, mostly because the press and the audience reactions seem to focus mainly on Alana. She is for sure great here and fits with zero awkwardness into PTA's world/style. However, Cooper as Valentine may be the most immediately likeable character in PTA's work since...Reilly or PSH in Magnolia, maybe? Not that likability is so important in a movie but it ended up being an important part of the motor that kept this movie going, like how Freddie's chaotic mindset really keeps the story moving in The Master.

Oh and when Alana crossed the street to meet the guy spying on the campaign office, my first thought was that the guy sorta looked like a younger PTA circa that behind the scenes YouTube video, or maybe a bit like PTA from the Boogie Nights era, and the effect was kind of spooky for a moment or two...but this is almost 100% just my own weird little subjective experience.

You've summed up how I feel about it currently. I've watched it twice, but don't feel the urge to go back and dig into it again as I've felt with every other PTA film ever. I enjoyed the relaxed, fun vibes and the colorful and somewhat dark detours, but not so much that I'm eager to replay them as, I don't know, something like Once upon a time in Hollywood (which I initially wasn't so sold on it, but it grew just by revisiting sequences in my head and I now love it).

I'm not dwelling in the many things that makes this special, because it is, and everyone's already done that here and elsewhere. Hard to point out exactly why I don't feel that involved with it. I can tell that on my two viewings, by the time the Safdie storyline entered the frame I was ready for the film to wrap up. I understand why is there and I like it, but in the context of the whole film, my initial reaction was like "oh, this still has more to go...mmm ok...", and that's never a good sign, particularly on a comedy.

Still, I'll surely revisit it multiple times and find more layers to enjoy, as it usually happens.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 26, 2022, 07:52:58 PM
I'm coming to a new conclusion about the Jerry Frick scenes. Maybe we're overthinking it.

People like David Chen have acknowledged from the beginning that representation does not equal endorsement, and they understand PTA is not condoning the behavior. In fact, most critics of the scene seem to understand the intention.

So why are they still upset about it? Hopefully I'm not overstepping with speculation here, but I'm gathering that a lot of Asian viewers, mostly because of personal experience, are at the point where they sort of just don't want to see this type of racism on screen at all. As Drenk said, it's not worth it. It's not worth it for the joke, or an oblique point about 70s racism. It's not worth it when you have to parse the laughter in the theater to figure out if you're being laughed at.

Does that mean these viewers would never tolerate a depiction of anti-Asian racism ever? Not necessarily. I think the pain point here is that it's a throwaway joke, and the weight of it just isn't taken seriously. A perspective clearly exacerbated by PTA's refusal to take the criticisms seriously.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 26, 2022, 08:08:04 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on March 26, 2022, 07:52:58 PMI'm coming to a new conclusion about the Jerry Frick scenes. Maybe we're overthinking it.

People like David Chen have acknowledged from the beginning that representation does not equal endorsement, and they understand PTA is not condoning the behavior. In fact, most critics of the scene seem to understand the intention.

So why are they still upset about it? Hopefully I'm not overstepping with speculation here, but I'm gathering that a lot of Asian viewers, mostly because of personal experience, are at the point where they sort of just don't want to see this type of racism on screen at all. As Drenk said, it's not worth it. It's not worth it for the joke, or an oblique point about 70s racism. It's not worth it when you have to parse the laughter in the theater to figure out if you're being laughed at.

Does that mean these viewers would never tolerate a depiction of anti-Asian racism ever? Not necessarily. I think the pain point here is that it's a throwaway joke, and the weight of it just isn't taken seriously. A perspective clearly exacerbated by PTA's refusal to take the criticisms seriously.

This is 100% it
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on March 26, 2022, 08:10:56 PM
Pretty much where I ended up on it, too.  It still feels like an 'unnecessary' over-reaction--but obviously from my non-Asian personal perspective.   
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on March 26, 2022, 09:04:41 PM
I still don't know what he was thinking with that response. Or that he wouldn't have had something remotely prepared. Especially the "it's difficult for me to relate to" part. Honest, perhaps, but the whole coy tone was the wrong approach to this.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 26, 2022, 09:16:11 PM
Quote from: Drill on March 26, 2022, 09:04:41 PMI still don't know what he was thinking with that response. Or that he wouldn't have had something remotely prepared. Especially the "it's difficult for me to relate to" part. Honest, perhaps, but the whole coy tone was the wrong approach to this.


He's just a white guy, an artist who does whatever he wants. He's going to have blindsides regardless of intentions and background, it's only natural because his perspective. Especially someone so coy and sheepish who created something that was so obvious to him. And this was his first film in this.. "discourse" era/environment
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drill on March 26, 2022, 09:29:02 PM
True. I guess since he likes to keep up with current music/films/etc., I thought that would've extended to the current social climate a bit more. Not so much as a filmmaker since he's never really been that type anyways, but in general.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: polkablues on March 26, 2022, 10:06:50 PM
To be fair, the current music he keeps up with is Haim. 😕
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on March 26, 2022, 10:20:33 PM
Quote from: Drill on March 26, 2022, 09:29:02 PMTrue. I guess since he likes to keep up with current music/films/etc., I thought that would've extended to the current social climate a bit more. Not so much as a filmmaker since he's never really been that type anyways, but in general.

I agree but I understand it. He's a very nonchalant 50 year old dad who made this really personal movie with his friends and family and the best possible intentions and naivety that any pushback is expected to be jarring for his behalf. He works in his own niche pocket in the filmmaking world. Just like the scene was jarring for many Asian viewers, which valid. Movies spark sensitivity on both sides more than ever nowadays
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on April 07, 2022, 01:04:32 PM
Not a script, but a transcript of LP.  (I've never encountered site(s) like this before.)

https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/movies/licorice-pizza-transcript/
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on April 07, 2022, 01:13:01 PM
Were you guys aware of the Kubrick/O'Neal fallout on Barry Lyndon?  One Redditor took the "Love to Tatum..." remark in LP as another reference to an inappropriate age-gap. 

From Tatum O'Neal's book: A Paper Life

Quote"My father mesmerised full-grown women, so it was no wonder that twelve-year-old Vivian fell for him. He was so handsome, funny, and seductive that she developed a deep and desperate crush on him. I began to worry that she tolerated me only as a conduit to my father. Worse yet, her crush didn't seem entirely unrequited. While I'm sure they never had any sexual contact- my father never had a thing for young girls- he evidently relished her affection enough to keep pouring on the charm.

When Vivian told Stanley about my father's flirtation, he was outraged. I never heard what he said to my father about it, but they had some kind of falling out. Stanley later dropped my father as the narrator of Barry Lyndon."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on April 20, 2022, 11:14:53 PM
LMGI:  Locations Behind the Oscars Chat 2022 (https://vimeo.com/697074803/43f63930bd)

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on April 21, 2022, 04:17:10 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd-LXDXcIYc

 nice little analysis video

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on April 21, 2022, 06:09:28 PM
KODAK film helps serve-up a slice of the '70s for Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza (https://www.cinematography.world/kodak-film-helps-serve-up-a-slice-of-the-70s-for-paul-thomas-andersons-licorice-pizza/) - Cinematography Magazine
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Stefen on May 02, 2022, 10:18:26 PM
Quote from: polkablues on March 26, 2022, 10:06:50 PMTo be fair, the current music he keeps up with is Haim. 😕

OMG.  :lol: BRUTAL.  :rofl:  I bet he's used the phrase "No, I don't like HAIM. I LOVE HAIM." at least once to someone.

But why stop there? Fuck it — this is a safe space where some of us have spent half our lives dorking out in — we can let it out here. Let's pop off and be honest.

PTA lost it — and since you guys promised me this is a safe space, I can confidently say, he hasn't had it for awhile.

I spent the last 2 films doing what everyone else has been doing the last 10 pages of this thread and trying to convince myself they were still the same good PTA films if you squinted and just believed hard enough because I wasn't ready to admit they weren't.

Phantom Thread was pretty as hell wtf was everything else? White people who have never had any hard times in their lives just getting bored and making some up. Compare their issues to REAL issues like having your mental health melted by a war then having to navigate getting indoctrinated into a cult, or being a shit for brains horny as hell high school kid  and getting paid to fuck beautiful women and do drugs until you're a junkie, but with shit for brains.

When you think you're the guy to adapt Pynchon into a film and charge full-speed ahead without stopping once to ask yourself what the fuck you got yourself into, you've gone off the self-importance deep end and there's no coming back. Sydney and Boogie Nights are two of the funniest movies I've ever seen and they barely tried and still have me laughing out loud at parts. Inherent Vice thinks its hilarious and it's just not. At least when you have to compare it to what came before it, which is inevitable.

TWBB and The Master are way better than what he had done and was a normal logical progression you make when you transition from your rebel days and start a family but where everyone else stops and gets comfortable he kept going and drove into the ocean in his minivan. He's got enough kids for a half-court basketball game in the backseat sitting on laps and sharing seatbelts.

His self-awareness gauge at this point is way past empty. The needle  is loose spinning around constantly. And look it's on fire now.

Licorice Pizza obviously wasn't gonna be an American masterpiece all-timer like TWBB  or The Master but it never had to be. I would have taken anything that came close to something like in PDL when Barry's getting asked if he destroyed the bathroom and denying it then gets asked why his hands bleeding and he says cause he cut it -- "on what?" "my knife"

Of course it never happened. Licorice Pizza was the first movie of his I immediately hated. I barely noticed the "problematic" things. I didn't see an older woman taking advantage of an underage boy like some sort of Incel mens rights goblin would focus in on. The kid was a certified creep with way too much irrational self-confidence and preyed on a girl who had a rare and never seen form of autism. It was gross. That type of guy will strangle a woman to death at some point in his life. In an alternate universe you could switch the characters of ginger waterbed night stalker and Eddie Adams and Boogie Nights maybe gets the half star it's missing to become a masterpiece and Licorice Pizza is a breathtaking coming of age film and has us handing it our hearts.

The critical acclaim is nothing more than from reputation and at this point is basically an enabler and partly to blame for PTA's self-awareness dumpster fire.

Look, I'm just an over-opinionated internet film bro talking shit. I don't have answers. I'm not saying he should have a solo drug binge weekend in a seedy hotel  every couple years....

I stan and shield Yorgos Lanthimos now. Nothing full-time or anything. Just twitter spats and letterboxd profile bombing at anything resembling criticism once in awhile. Mostly for fun and just to keep social and not forget how to interact with humans. My prime and career best years were way back in 1999-2002 between Magnolia and PDL. GLORY DAYS.



Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on May 02, 2022, 11:02:40 PM
Quote from: Stefen on May 02, 2022, 10:18:26 PMHe's got enough kids for a half-court basketball game in the backseat sitting on laps and sharing seatbelts.


 :lol:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on May 03, 2022, 12:59:37 AM
Quote from: Stefen on May 02, 2022, 10:18:26 PMThe kid was a certified creep with way too much irrational self-confidence and preyed on a girl who had a rare and never seen form of autism. It was gross. That type of guy will strangle a woman to death at some point in his life.

Unironically a compelling argument...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on May 03, 2022, 04:13:20 AM
I'm surprised  it's taken this long for someone to start talking bollocks again. :yabbse-grin:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on May 03, 2022, 05:46:43 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on May 03, 2022, 12:59:37 AM
Quote from: Stefen on May 02, 2022, 10:18:26 PMThe kid was a certified creep with way too much irrational self-confidence and preyed on a girl who had a rare and never seen form of autism. It was gross. That type of guy will strangle a woman to death at some point in his life.

Unironically a compelling argument...

That's right. The scene where Gary wants to grope Alana is depicted as a sweet moment of longing, then as a moral victory. It's terribly uncomfortable on many levels. The artificiality of the moment (how he puts them in this bed) and what it shows us can't be redeemed by pretty 35mm dust. If he had read his script after finishing the first draft instead of shooting Haim music videos around LA, maybe he would have realized that this is the moment where Gary makes a sexual move, and what happens next is what's interesting. But he would have needed to rewrite the last half of the movie.   

If PTA hadn't lost it, if he had intended to dig the inherent creepiness of Gary, dealing with both his marketing skills and treatment of women as tools for his sexual relief*, if he hadn't been charmed by himself as a version of Gary, it could have been a more interesting movie. But he decided that the Creeps are the Other Guys! Bad Guys, Sweet Guy, Lost Girl. I rejoice in the fact that he can't make a movie as dumb as this one for a while.

*For a movie about a horny guy, it is terrified of sexuality. It avoids actual sex. PTA even said that the real Gary was glad that it was the PG 13 version of his life story; well, why aren't you writing about what was actually happening for that kid in that world at that age? Once again: if you want to make home videos, just use an iPhone and don't show it to the world.

Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on May 03, 2022, 06:42:04 AM
I honestly think that Licorice Pizza has done more to expose the parlous state of media literacy than any movie I can remember in recent memory.

Yorgos Lanthimos? I seem to remember a somewhat interesting if overly mannered filmmaker of that name around 11-12 years ago. Wonder what happened to him...
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on May 03, 2022, 11:36:22 AM
Quote from: Drenk on May 03, 2022, 05:46:43 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman on May 03, 2022, 12:59:37 AM
Quote from: Stefen on May 02, 2022, 10:18:26 PMThe kid was a certified creep with way too much irrational self-confidence and preyed on a girl who had a rare and never seen form of autism. It was gross. That type of guy will strangle a woman to death at some point in his life.

Unironically a compelling argument...

That's right. The scene where Gary wants to grope Alana is depicted as a sweet moment of longing, then as a moral victory. It's terribly uncomfortable on many levels. The artificiality of the moment (how he puts them in this bed) and what it shows us can't be redeemed by pretty 35mm dust. If he had read his script after finishing the first draft instead of shooting Haim music videos around LA, maybe he would have realized that this is the moment where Gary makes a sexual move, and what happens next is what's interesting. But he would have needed to rewrite the last half of the movie.   

If PTA hadn't lost it, if he had intended to dig the inherent creepiness of Gary, dealing with both his marketing skills and treatment of women as tools for his sexual relief*, if he hadn't been charmed by himself as a version of Gary, it could have been a more interesting movie. But he decided that the Creeps are the Other Guys! Bad Guys, Sweet Guy, Lost Girl. I rejoice in the fact that he can't make a movie as dumb as this one for a while.

*For a movie about a horny guy, it is terrified of sexuality. It avoids actual sex. PTA even said that the real Gary was glad that it was the PG 13 version of his life story; well, why aren't you writing about what was actually happening for that kid in that world at that age? Once again: if you want to make home videos, just use an iPhone and don't show it to the world.

So youre just annoyed because you would have written it differently is that what youre saying. how does that made the film bad?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on May 03, 2022, 01:18:09 PM
This thread truly continues to deliver. Drenk's 5869202020th dunk on the film, PaulElroy's 5993020303th defense of it, and now Yorgos Lanthimos stanning. Love it
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: kingfan011 on May 03, 2022, 02:50:24 PM
Yorgos Lanthimos the director mentioned the movie?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on May 03, 2022, 03:02:51 PM
People just will not stop talking about The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The world has got Sacred Deer fever!
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on May 03, 2022, 05:33:44 PM
Quote from: kingfan011 on May 03, 2022, 02:50:24 PMYorgos Lanthimos the director mentioned the movie?

No. Stefen's post mentionz that Yorgos iz dopeness, that's all.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: eward on May 03, 2022, 06:12:51 PM
Not really a fan of Lobster or Deer, but Dog is my Favourite :D
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on May 09, 2022, 12:17:29 PM
Thought this should be here for our archives.  The parallels are fascinating.

The Secrets Ed Koch Carried (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/07/nyregion/ed-koch-gay-secrets.html)
To many New Yorkers, he was their brash and blustery mayor. But friends are now describing the private strain endured by a public man laboring to conceal his sexual orientation.

May 7, 2022
Edward I. Koch looked like the busiest septuagenarian in New York.

Glad-handing well-wishers at his favorite restaurants, gesticulating through television interviews long after his three terms as mayor, Mr. Koch could seem as though he was scrambling to fill every hour with bustle. He dragged friends to the movies, pursuing a side career in film criticism. He urged new acquaintances to call him "judge," a joking reference to his time presiding over "The People's Court."

But as his 70s ticked by, Mr. Koch described to a few friends a feeling he could not shake: a deep loneliness. He wanted to meet someone, he said. Did they know anyone who might be "partner material?" Someone "a little younger than me?" Someone to make up for lost time?

"I want a boyfriend," he said to one friend, Charles Kaiser.

It was an aching admission, shared with only a few, from a politician whose brash ubiquity and relentless New York evangelism helped define the modern mayoralty, even as he strained to conceal an essential fact of his biography: Mr. Koch was gay.

He denied as much for decades — to reporters, campaign operatives and his staff — swatting away longstanding rumors with a choice profanity or a cheeky aside, even if these did little to convince some New Yorkers. Through his death, in 2013, his deflections endured.

Now, with gay rights re-emerging as a national political tinderbox, The New York Times has assembled a portrait of the life Mr. Koch lived, the secrets he carried and the city he helped shape as he carried them. While both friends and antagonists over the years have referenced his sexuality in stray remarks and published commentaries, this account draws on more than a dozen interviews with people who knew Mr. Koch and are in several cases speaking extensively on the record for the first time — filling out a chapter that they say belongs, at last, to the sweep of history.

It is a story that might otherwise fade, with many of Mr. Koch's contemporaries now in the twilight of their lives.

The people who described Mr. Koch's trials as a closeted gay man span the last 40 years of his life, covering disparate social circles and political allegiances. Most are gay men themselves, in whom Mr. Koch placed his trust while keeping some others closest to him in the dark. They include associates who had kept his confidence since the 1970s and late-in-life intimates whom he asked for dating help, a friend who assisted in furtive setups for Mr. Koch when he was mayor and a fleeting romantic companion from well after his time in office.

The story of Mr. Koch that emerges from those interviews is one defined by early political calculation, the exhaustion of perpetual camouflage and, eventually, flashes of regret about all he had missed out on. And it is a reminder that not so long ago in a bastion of liberalism, which has since seen openly gay people serve in Congress and lead the City Council, homophobia was a force potent enough to keep an ambitious man from leaving the closet.

Even members of his family never knew, Mr. Koch told gay friends through the years, and close aides knew not to press. "Ed Koch compartmentalized his life," said Diane Coffey, his longtime chief of staff, adding that the two had never discussed his sexuality.

Yet as much as he hoped to silo his private identity, his efforts to obscure it helped set in motion much of the last half-century of New York politics. Mr. Koch coyly positioned himself as a sought-after heterosexual bachelor in his 1977 mayoral victory, defeating Mario Cuomo and redirecting a Cuomo family dynasty to Albany. He struggled to manage the AIDS crisis — which some administration officials initially deemed a "gay issue" from which he should remain distant — in ways that cannot be disentangled from his closeted status.

That he seemed to share so much of himself with his constituents — blustering, badgering, letting few thoughts escape his consciousness unsaid — only magnified the tensions around what he did not reveal, an unyielding conflict that could lead to unsettling moments.

During a particularly stressful time in his third term, aides remembered, Mr. Koch stunned senior staff members assembled in his City Hall office one day with a sudden declaration: "I am not a homosexual."

His team was unnerved. No one in the room had asked about this subject. "You can see how much pain he's in," his first deputy mayor, Stanley Brezenoff, told another aide once the mayor was out of earshot.

For the gay friends in whom Mr. Koch confided, during and after his time in office, completing this record of his life is something of a collective unburdening. Some had nudged Mr. Koch for years to come out, suggesting he might be happier for it, that the city might be better for it. Their failure disheartens them to this day.

For the loyal lieutenants who protected Mr. Koch and feel compelled to protect him still, the topic remains uncomfortable. To them, some facts will always be best left unconfirmed.

"He was our father," George Arzt, his longtime spokesman, said. "You don't ask a father those questions."

Romance, whispers and an election
In the politically energized Greenwich Village of the early 1970s, Mr. Koch had established himself as a reform-minded Democrat, a Bronx-born son of Polish-Jewish immigrants and self-styled enemy of the party machine.

An Army veteran and lawyer before reaching Congress in 1969, Mr. Koch pushed progressive social policies that befit his job representing one of New York's bluest enclaves. But his liberal leanings had their limits.

In 1973, David Rothenberg, an activist and friend of Mr. Koch's who would later run for local office himself, came out of the closet in a television interview. Many who knew Mr. Rothenberg applauded him. Then he bumped into the congressman on the street. "Why did you do that?" Mr. Koch asked.

"I thought it was curious," Mr. Rothenberg said recently. "I think he was asking: Was I hurt by that? Were my fortunes hurt?"

The question of whether Mr. Koch would ever come out was not a question at all to his friends in the Village. His highest ambition was politics, and, as a general rule then, successful politicians were not openly gay. He had come of age amid the "lavender scare," the homophobic midcentury purge that had driven thousands of gay people from government service.

But the life of a congressman in the 1970s — shuttling between Washington and New York with minimal media scrutiny — allowed Mr. Koch to cordon off parts of his identity. During this time, he was involved in a sustained romantic relationship with Richard W. Nathan, a high-achieving, Harvard-educated health care consultant, according to on-record interviews with six people who knew about the pair. These include Mr. Rothenberg and Arthur Schwartz, the boyfriend of a senior Koch aide at the time, as well as four people whom Mr. Nathan told about the relationship: Leonard Bloom, a former city health official who befriended both men; Frederick Hertz, a close friend of Mr. Nathan's; Dr. Lawrence Mass, a co-founder of Gay Men's Health Crisis; and Noemi Masliah, a relative of Mr. Nathan's. (Mr. Nathan died in 1996.)

Mr. Koch, though early in his political ascent, was by then around 50; Mr. Nathan was in his 30s. There was something thrilling, Mr. Nathan said privately then, about being courted by a powerful man. At a moment's notice, he could get a call that the congressman was catching a flight from Washington in time to make a dinner date.

Mr. Rothenberg first learned the two were involved after attending a potluck dinner at Mr. Koch's apartment around 1976, one of a series of get-togethers the congressman hosted for supporters when he began plotting his mayoral run. Mr. Nathan and Mr. Rothenberg were the last guests there, helping to clean dishes, when Mr. Koch pointedly asked Mr. Nathan to stay behind for a while.

"Like I was chopped liver," Mr. Rothenberg joked recently.

When Mr. Rothenberg got Mr. Nathan alone a short while later, he made sure he had understood the scene correctly. "Richard looked at me, and he said, 'Well, I'm seeing him,'" Mr. Rothenberg remembered.

For Mr. Koch, the relative freedom of semi-anonymity did not last. Hoping to energize his long-shot dream of becoming mayor, he persuaded the city's most sought-after campaign operative, David Garth, to steer his 1977 race for City Hall.

Mr. Garth, renowned for elevating political underdogs, believed that Mr. Koch could win, but he had his concerns: He needed to be assured that rumors about the bachelor congressman's being gay were not true. Mr. Koch told him they were not.

Unsatisfied with Mr. Koch's word, Mr. Garth personally investigated several leads about purported dalliances, though he turned up nothing. One day, the combustible Mr. Garth stormed into a campaign office to confront Ethan Geto, a Koch friend whom he knew to be an openly gay political fixture. They made their way to the basement.

"Is he a fag?" Mr. Garth demanded, veins flaring, according to Mr. Geto. "If that sonofabitch lied to me and he's a fag, I would never have taken him on."

Mr. Geto feigned ignorance. "He says he's not gay," he told Mr. Garth, "I take his word." ("Of course I knew," Mr. Geto said in a recent interview. "I had known for many years.")

At the least, Mr. Garth recognized that his candidate had a perception problem. And Mr. Koch's most glamorous surrogate — Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America — was called upon to solve it.

The candidate and the beauty queen became strategically inseparable, their pinkies entwined at public events, inviting welcome-if-misguided tabloid speculation about an imminent engagement. Mr. Koch himself called her his "first lady" and hinted at how lovely it might be to get married at Gracie Mansion. (Ms. Myerson and Mr. Garth both died in 2014.)

Still, the whispers continued. Adversaries deployed the "Greenwich Village bachelor" label, less as a euphemism than a slur. Signs appeared in Queens, the home borough of Mr. Koch's opponent, Mario Cuomo, urging New Yorkers to "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo." Mr. Cuomo denied responsibility.

With his lead in the polls appearing tenuous days before the vote, Mr. Koch was unequivocal in his media appearances. "I don't happen to be homosexual," he told WNEW, after a day of dismissing questions about whether Ms. Myerson's outsize presence was intended to dispel rumors about him. "But if I were, I would hope that I wouldn't be ashamed of it. God makes you whatever you are."

Among some gay allies, the response stung. Misdirection was one thing; this felt almost taunting. "The most hypocritical cover-up," Mr. Geto said.

As the election drew closer, Mr. Koch also seemed determined to distance himself from Mr. Nathan, expressing wariness when Mr. Nathan was discussed for a top health care post in the future administration. "I can't do that," Mr. Koch said, according to Mr. Schwartz, who hosted Sunday brunches for the team.

On Nov. 8, 1977, Mr. Koch held on to win the election. Shortly afterward, Mr. Nathan told friends, associates of the new mayor unsubtly urged him to find work outside New York. At a party after the inauguration — where Mr. Koch arrived with Ms. Myerson, according to Mr. Rothenberg — Mr. Nathan sounded resigned to his fate.

He would start a new life in California. He would not stick around only to be blackballed in his own city.

"The gauntlet has been drawn for me," Mr. Nathan told Mr. Rothenberg.

And with that, the only long-term relationship anyone in Mr. Koch's orbit could remember was over.

A new tenant at Gracie Mansion
So much about being mayor — the purpose, the pageantry, the built-in audience — was everything Ed Koch could have wanted.

He moved from his $475 rent-controlled apartment in the Village to Gracie Mansion, where he held court daily with interesting people who laughed at his jokes.

"One person asked him who the 'first lady' really was," Rozanne Gold, his live-in chef, wrote in a June 1978 diary entry, recounting the overheard groaners of a typical Gracie Mansion gathering. "He replied, 'I rotate them all the time.'"

Yet for all its commotion and a revolving cast of visitors, life in the mansion could be isolating.

Often enough, it was staff, from City Hall or the residence, who kept the mayor company, listening to Linda Ronstadt records and watching him skirt another star-crossed diet plan with meringue cookies and chocolate mousse.

"There were weekends where the two of us would just sort of be ambling around the mansion," Ms. Gold said.

When companionship seemed to elude the mayor, friends tried delivering some directly, if discreetly. Herb Rickman, a top aide who served as the official liaison to the city's gay community, arranged for occasional double dates at his own Park Avenue apartment, according to Mr. Schwartz, a former food editor for The New York Daily News who was Mr. Rickman's boyfriend at the time. (Mr. Rickman died in 2013.)

With his police detail waiting downstairs, Mr. Koch would join the pair and "whomever it was that we were fixing him up with," Mr. Schwartz recounted. Then he and Mr. Rickman would leave to spend the night at Mr. Schwartz's apartment so Mr. Koch and the other man could be alone.

The setups did not appear to amount to much, Mr. Schwartz said. Nor did the couple's attempt to introduce him to a banker friend whom they considered a possible match. "Too boring," the famously self-regarding mayor ruled after meeting the man, who in a recent interview did not recall being terribly taken with Mr. Koch, either.

More publicly, the mayor wrestled with gay rights as a cautious ally. He seemed at once determined to demonstrate allegiance to gay New Yorkers where he felt he could — in certain conditions, on certain issues — and sensitive to the political risk involved in doing so.

Mr. Koch signed a landmark executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, appointed gay bureaucrats and judges and became the first mayor to march in the city's Pride parade.

"It is not easy to stand up on that issue when you are single and male in New York City," Mr. Koch said many years later. "I did it anyway."

In smaller settings, the mayor would sometimes share disarming fragments of himself with gay friends, even some journalists he trusted.

David W. Dunlap, a former New York Times reporter who chronicled gay life in the city, remembered a 1985 lunch during which the mayor seemed emotionally consumed by a documentary he had just seen about Harvey Milk, the trailblazing gay officeholder in San Francisco.

Mr. Koch was especially moved, he told Mr. Dunlap, by the images of Mr. Milk's friends revisiting his assassination. Mr. Dunlap left the encounter wondering if Mr. Koch had been trying to tell him something about himself. "What he saw in Milk was perhaps, albeit a tragic figure, a fulfilled one," Mr. Dunlap said in an interview.

In other moments, Mr. Koch was more direct.

Mr. Kaiser, another former reporter and the friend whom Mr. Koch would later ask to help find him a partner, said the mayor came out to him at a private dinner around the same time. He described the scene in a 2019 edition of "The Gay Metropolis," his history of gay life in America.

Mr. Koch opened the meal with a question: "Do your parents know that you're gay?"

They do, Mr. Kaiser replied.

"Too late for me," the mayor said.

An unsparing crisis, and a fear of exposure
Those close to Mr. Koch had long described him as a master partitioner. But as his time in office wore on, amid overlapping crises of politics and public health, his finely crafted dividers began to crumble.

Gay men were dying by the hundreds, then the thousands. The disease was menacing every corner of the city, ravaging Mr. Koch's own neighborhood. And New York's broadly popular mayor, who won a third term in 1985 by more than 60 points, seemed unwilling to spend political capital on the issue.

Despite the increasingly urgent situation, some city officials were blunt with activists: Voters already had their suspicions about Mr. Koch. He had to proceed carefully before throwing himself into a "gay issue," as some advisers saw it.

"Come on, you get it," Mr. Rickman, the senior aide, told Mr. Bloom, according to Mr. Bloom, a former city health official and onetime friend of Mr. Koch's who had joined the board of Gay Men's Health Crisis. "This is a difficult issue, given the rumors."

If Mr. Koch had for a time sought a fragile balance between advancing gay rights in targeted ways and maintaining some distance from the community, the AIDS emergency was simply too vast, too merciless in its march, to accommodate triangulation.

It is impossible to know just how Mr. Koch's personal identity might have colored the city's approach to the disease. The administration did start a division of AIDS services and eventually facilitated a needle exchange pilot program. But years into the crisis, private citizens were still scrambling to fill a vacuum of services for the sick, from bedside care to medical information to meal delivery.

The City Hall point person on AIDS in the mid-1980s, Victor Botnick, was a young political loyalist who had begun as a teenage volunteer on Mr. Koch's congressional campaign. Activists found him oblivious and unhelpful. "We can't get out front on this," Mr. Botnick would say, according to Mr. Bloom, nodding at perceptions of Mr. Koch's sexuality. (Mr. Botnick, 32 at the time, resigned from the administration in 1986 after allegations of excessive city-funded travel and an admission that he had lied about graduating from college. He died in 2002.)

The city's first comprehensive AIDS plan was not issued until 1988. Pleas for increased funding and the full use of the executive bully pulpit often went unheeded, a reticence that advocates found especially maddening. If New Yorkers had learned anything about Mr. Koch by then — through a fiscal recovery, a transit strike, a Broadway musical adapted from his memoir — it was his capacity to drive attention to the causes dearest to him.

"In a city at the epicenter of this disease, one would expect regular statements from you," Richard Dunne, the executive director of Gay Men's Health Crisis, wrote in a July 1987 letter to Mr. Koch. "Indeed, one would expect AIDS to be on your agenda every day. Yet in your most recent State of the City address, AIDS wasn't even mentioned."

By the end of that year, city deaths among people with AIDS approached 10,000.

While Mr. Koch long chafed at the consensus that cities like San Francisco managed the disease more effectively, those who spoke to him about AIDS at the time could come away unpersuaded that he grasped its horrors.

Even people like Mr. Bloom, once a regular dinner mate, struggled to get on his calendar for a meeting about AIDS. When he finally did, Mr. Koch was visibly uncomfortable.

"Ed was looking at the ceiling, he was looking at the floor," Mr. Bloom said, recounting a mid-1980s session with the mayor, senior city officials and Mr. Dunne, his colleague at Gay Men's Health Crisis. "When the meeting was over, Richard and I said to each other, 'It's like he wasn't even paying attention.'"

As his third term teetered, the mayor began betraying the psychic strain of the job as never before, particularly when he worried his privacy might be punctured. It did not help that several Chekhovian guns seemed to fire in succession: Ms. Myerson, the would-be "first lady" whom he had given an administration post, became enmeshed in a bribery scandal that reinforced escalating concerns about corruption in his government. Mr. Nathan, who would seethe for years from California, had mentioned his past relationship with Mr. Koch to Larry Kramer, the playwright and activist who fiercely criticized the city's AIDS response. Mr. Kramer was by then actively working to out the mayor, telling reporters about his conversation with Mr. Nathan and urging them to write about it.

City Hall kept tabs on efforts to chase the story, with Mr. Koch plainly fearful about what might be exposed. In August 1987, before a scheduled appearance at a forum on AIDS, the mayor couldn't sleep. His nerves confused his staff.

"I couldn't understand why Koch was so upset," Mr. Arzt, his press secretary, remembered. "He was scared that Larry Kramer would be in the audience and yell something out. I said, 'So what?'"

The forum was uneventful. Mr. Kramer was not even there. But the toll on the mayor was real. Walking out afterward, Mr. Koch complained of a headache. He stepped into his car with Mr. Arzt. "My speech is slurred," Mr. Koch said suddenly. "I think I'm having a stroke."

He was correct.

Mr. Arzt draws a straight line between Mr. Koch's pre-forum anxiety and the stroke, which sidelined him for only about a week. Mr. Koch later speculated, more generally, that a fourth term would have killed him.

In his final, futile re-election campaign in 1989, Mr. Koch unfurled a denial about his sexual orientation that went beyond his stock deflections. "It happens that I'm heterosexual," he said in a radio interview that March.

Two weeks later, an estimated 3,000 AIDS activists descended on City Hall, some with signs mocking the mayor's pronouncement. "And I'm Cary Grant," one read, beside a headline declaring Mr. Koch straight. A new chant was born, too, wafting over Lower Manhattan as hundreds of protesters faced arrest:

"AIDS care's ineffectual. Thanks to Koch, the heterosexual."

New friends and painful memories
Like many politicians, Mr. Koch looked like a younger man after leaving office — his face less creased; his shoulders looser; his burdens lifted, to a point.

He tended to a resilient public persona as a television pundit and author, throwing himself back into city life as a private citizen and neatly sorting his circles of friends: He lunched with former political hands, gossiping about the news of the day over steak or Peking duck. And he entertained at dinner parties with an assemblage of younger gay friends, quizzing them on their relationships and occasionally telling them they could do better.

"With other gay people, he seemed completely comfortable as a gay man," Mr. Kaiser said. "He went to every gay movie, so the chauffeur had to know."

Mr. Koch grew close to Maer Roshan, an editor at the gay weekly NYQ and later New York magazine, who became a regular platonic movie date and social wingman.

They met Paris Hilton at Indochine. They ate lox and crackers at Mr. Koch's apartment. They absorbed art-house cinema and attracted stares when the content was explicit, as with a French film about the sexual awakening of a gay teen that Mr. Roshan likened to soft-core pornography.

"He's like 10 feet tall, and everyone knows who he is, and it was a very select audience for this particular movie," Mr. Roshan said with a laugh. "You can feel everyone's eyes on your back."

Still, old sources of angst occasionally encroached on Mr. Koch's post-mayoral life. He shared an apartment building with Mr. Kramer, who mumbled to his dog about "the man who killed all of daddy's friends" when they passed in the lobby. (Mr. Kramer died in 2020.)

With some distance, onetime allies also felt compelled to share distressing memories they had carried around. Mr. Geto, who had protected Mr. Koch in 1977 by lying to Mr. Garth, his campaign guru, finally decided to tell the former mayor about it over dinner.

"He looked very rattled and shaken," Mr. Geto said, adding that Mr. Koch did not exactly thank him. "He said something along the lines of, 'You handled it right.'"

Mr. Koch experienced another jolt after phoning Mr. Bloom in the mid-1990s. A mutual friend had died of AIDS, and Mr. Koch called to offer condolences.

"Do you know who else died of AIDS a few weeks ago?" Mr. Bloom asked Mr. Koch.

"Who?"

"Dick Nathan."

Mr. Koch said nothing. Then he ended the call.

'Everyone, straight or gay, needs a partner'
In his final years, Mr. Koch could seem like the first and the last of a kind.

He had become a pioneering New York character on his own terms, the mayor whose civic cheerleading and abundant ego still paced the political class. He also belonged to perhaps the last generation in the city for which being openly gay felt politically prohibitive.

Mr. Koch's gay friends hoped he might burnish one legacy by transcending the other — and maybe even show the city itself how much it had changed.

Mr. Roshan suggested to him that coming out could be a "capstone" to his standing as a titan of contemporary New York. Mr. Geto wondered in an interview for "Koch," a 2012 documentary, how "incredibly invaluable" it might have been if a popular figure like Mr. Koch had been out years earlier.

Mr. Kaiser impressed upon him, more pragmatically, that his chances at a proper relationship would multiply if he finally took the step.

Mr. Koch did try to date a little, asking friends like Mr. Kaiser and Mr. Geto to introduce him to someone, and sometimes found short-term romance — cooking for one companion at his apartment, the man recalled recently in an interview, before a courtly invitation to bed. But there was no second date. Nothing seemed to stick for long.

Mr. Roshan offered some high-visibility help, devising a personal ad as part of a 1999 New York magazine "Singles" issue in which Mr. Koch agreed to appear. The proposed script read, "GWM" — a shorthand for "gay white male" — "interested in politics, seeks same for love and friendship," according to Mr. Roshan.

Mr. Koch balked, Mr. Roshan said, citing "family that didn't know," and drawing up revisions that hedged his sexuality. "Have belatedly concluded that everyone, straight or gay, needs a partner in life," the final version read.

In an interview, Mr. Koch's younger sister, Pat Koch Thaler, said that while the two did not discuss his sexuality, the family would have been supportive no matter what he told them. "He didn't ask me about whether I was gay or straight or bi, and I never asked him what he was, either," Ms. Thaler, 90, said, adding, "It wouldn't have mattered one way or the other."

Friends suspected that Mr. Koch's reluctance, even long after being openly gay would have posed a political issue, owed largely to his grudges and his pride: He did not want to give activists like Mr. Kramer the satisfaction of seeing him come out, after they had tried so hard to see him outed. (Shortly before his death, Mr. Koch could still simmer at old foes, once defending the imprisonment of members of the dissident Russian band Pussy Riot by comparing their actions to those of ACT UP, the organization that Mr. Kramer helped found.)

Publicly, Mr. Koch often said his silence served a higher principle, setting a precedent that might protect other politicians against those inclined to "torture everybody running for office."

Privately, pressed by those close to him about his hesitation to come out, Mr. Koch would simply repeat, "I don't want to."

"That's as far as that conversation ever got," Mr. Kaiser said.

As his health faltered in his final years, Mr. Koch made clear he was lonely, suggesting that finding a partner was the only pursuit of his life that he counted as a failure. Old age was probably not so bad, he said sometimes, "as long as you have someone."

Mr. Koch still showed up at lunches with friends from his City Hall days as long as he could, well into his 80s. He also began preparing for his death, choosing a burial plot near a subway station so he would be easy to visit.

By the end, he seemed to recognize that there would be no partner visiting him there. He had made his choices — rational and noble ones, he might have persuaded himself — to live all his other dreams in the city he loved. And he could convince himself, on the right day, that the city loved him back.

For his 86th birthday, then-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hosted Mr. Koch and his old friends and staffers at Gracie Mansion and announced a decision that some local gay activists are still working to reverse: the renaming of the Queensboro Bridge in Mr. Koch's honor.

A beaming Mr. Koch was nearly overcome. He toasted the city as it is seen from the Queensboro in "The Great Gatsby," with its "wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world."

He raised his left hand toward his heart, pointing at himself, watching the people watch him. He smiled again.

"Isn't that wonderful?" Mr. Koch said. "And that's my bridge."
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on May 10, 2022, 11:31:05 AM
Camera tests from LP blu ray

(https://64.media.tumblr.com/cefc48838284e76291a0ebec94fec7ae/3e0f37190eb36408-f6/s1280x1920/cc0b21827e9aa7b2c20f894ad78d87449775ea67.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/25c7a50c6eb2792cd0e4bc299e896d0b/3e0f37190eb36408-c2/s1280x1920/2a4ee246dc1fdcefbd16d8ec0fcf4922cd5302e5.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/0f53f3652e35774d4192f14e3379cc2c/3e0f37190eb36408-b7/s1280x1920/da603f6a721f35eaee08c9471f63837b69ae03f7.jpg)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: max from fearless on May 10, 2022, 11:48:52 AM
Some making of stills from the 10min video...should've been longer tbh. Watching PTA shoot the movie and test shots on his phone/video camera during scouts etc, with his 1st AD, production designer, some of the cast and his family is great and would've loved more of that... 

(https://64.media.tumblr.com/3d88be4b3c589b29e409c81f19d6939a/2403706aca8d50cf-20/s1280x1920/5048a9b1d56b7978046a5b18af2237b60fe803c9.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/7391695003f4f922ef04051fd17cbe39/2403706aca8d50cf-7d/s1280x1920/509c4541fd3fb79d01798cafecede099613eafab.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/c9b6cced0fa04a5cb7fef9b34c028d5c/2403706aca8d50cf-db/s1280x1920/e51152221129c330f0f8aedb54f00779c546b329.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/ab0c127e4f83131650e9f3e0b4a9765f/2403706aca8d50cf-19/s1280x1920/592dbf5803e4a074f093ac265fae5daf9c9e4422.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/0caac7a75e9280ef1fac7ede25fa73db/2403706aca8d50cf-54/s1280x1920/8449956896825ada85c5810ab572627865ab1ced.jpg)
(https://64.media.tumblr.com/dc2f66d4ccfccd5b5157586d411d74e6/2403706aca8d50cf-23/s1280x1920/e6688ca56e63aa97c81a89f7726bc80ef15f74c3.jpg)
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on May 10, 2022, 02:17:37 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1A8SG2EV4U
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on May 10, 2022, 06:43:50 PM
Not gonna lie--goosebumps and eyes welling with nostalgic tears.   :bravo:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on May 14, 2022, 09:24:20 AM

While I love seeing these--and hope one day we get to see all of them--I'm glad this sequence was cut.  Ooof.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on May 14, 2022, 09:51:45 AM
Quote from: wilberfan on May 14, 2022, 09:24:20 AM

While I love seeing these--and hope one day we get to see all of them--I'm glad this sequence was cut.  Ooof.

I think the scene is good it just would have undercut the phone scene if it was in the film too.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Yes on May 14, 2022, 10:12:57 PM
That's fun but clearly not intended to be an actual sequence in the movie.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: RudyBlatnoyd on June 13, 2022, 10:23:17 AM
Now that LP is on blu-ray in the UK, I've finally seen it for a 2nd time. It holds up. In some ways, PTA's most literary film to date; it has the feel of a collection of 3-4 connected short stories, where character and narrative are treated very obliquely.

Not surprised a lot of people hated it; it is resolutely and defiantly a niche interest movie for a niche audience. On second viewing, I was laughing to myself imagining some normie Oscar bait-watcher taking in the weird sequence transitioning abruptly from the teen fair to the police station, or the scene where Sean Penn is reciting war movie dialogue to Alana, and growing ever more stony-faced and impatient.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on July 07, 2022, 12:41:29 AM
https://twitter.com/licoricepizza/status/1467901660215324673

As it exists in the film, it's a more comedic cut. But I would have like this long tracking shot in the movie, the tension, a some-beats-before-the-beat moment.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: WorldForgot on August 16, 2022, 10:00:59 AM
https://www.instagram.com/p/ChRcp5PMvzz/?hl=en

Quote10 Lightings Setups from Licorice Pizza!

Cinematographers - Michael Bauman ⚡@luxlighting and Paul Thomas Anderson

Camera Operator - Colin Anderson

Chief Lighting Technician - Justin Dickson
Best Boy Electric - Tommy Dangcil
Best Boy Grip - Scott Carden

Key Rigging Grip - Joe Chouchanian

Chief Rigging Technicians - Robert DeChellis, Dana Arnold ⚡@whybother04
Best Boy Rigging Electrics - Jeff Cole ⚡@jcoles_life , William Maria

Lighting Console Programmer - Brian Fisher
Arc Light Technician - Joel Potter

Lighting Technicians - Michael Tolochko, Thomas McCarty, Devin Hayes, Michael Lyon

Additional Lighting Technicians - Eddie A. Reid ⚡@eddiereidfilms , Mike Gerzevitz, James Ellis and Greg Patterson ⚡@greg.patterson.900

Rigging Technicians - Marshall Cooper, George T. Weisfuss IV

Fixtures Foreman - Daniel Torres
Fixtures Technicians - Michael A. Lowrance, Zak Dunn
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on August 21, 2022, 07:10:21 PM
The "PTA Squat".  Used for two of my favorite Golden Hour establishing shots in LP.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on August 21, 2022, 09:34:25 PM
Maybe someone can confirm:  My understanding is that the crowd in the lower-left are each of the department heads.  Standard procedure in a setting like this on most film sets?
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on August 25, 2022, 02:23:32 PM
'Licorice Pizza' Pulls a Magic Eyes Trick on Entitled Idiots (https://www.popmatters.com/licorice-pizza-paul-thomas-anderson-2)

Licorice Pizza is a gaudy parade of rich white privileged shits of the type Paul Thomas Anderson tends to focus on. They're his people.

When I saw the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski (1996) in a theatre, and when I'd finished laughing, it struck me as a film that's constructed around the thesis that American political polarities have stagnated since Vietnam and are doomed to express themselves fruitlessly in new ill-fitting iterations like the First Gulf War. In addition to this theme, The Big Lebowski constructs its narrative to convey an idea so rare in American films that we virtually never see it expressed.

That message: Violence doesn't solve problems but creates new ones. In cinema and politics, this is so anathema to US mythology that viewers couldn't recognize the idea. Many found The Big Lebowski strange and lopsided, full of irrelevant digressions. They had trouble "getting it".

I feel a similarly strange recognition of Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, which I've just watched on DVD. Licorice Pizza is constructed as a series of anecdotes to demonstrate a message virtually never seen in US films: that rich white privilege is poisonous and inherent in the film's social landscape. This message runs so counter to what we expect of Hollywood cinema that it must be hard to recognize, especially in a film that it's easier trying to peg with those handy marketing labels as "fun", "nostalgic" or "romantic comedy".

Licorice Pizza is inspired by actor/producer/entrepreneur Gary Goetzman, who filled the ear of Paul Thomas Anderson with rich material about growing up in privileged 1970s California. Most characters are based on real people known to Goetzman (renamed Gary Valentine in the film). The film often uses their real names: restaurateur Jerry Frick, producer Jon Peters, politician Joel Wachs. Disguised flimsily in pseudonyms are characters based on Lucille Ball (because rich narcissistic, entitled assholes may be female) and William Holden.

Anderson is aware of the seductive allure of great music and exhilarating camera moves, so he strews every scene with anti-nostalgic landmines like Mad Men to warn us: Don't get too comfortable. Every sequence is marked by the tension between this seduction (by America, by masculinity, by movies, by pop culture) and the continual douse with cold water. Such is the story's defining structure and its emotional drive.

Licorice Pizza's opening scene introduces our main characters, Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffmann), in sweepingly elaborate tracking shots in which the immature high school male comes on like a confident squirt to the stagnated and floundering female in her 20s. The sequence is scored with the magnificent voice of Nina Simone as the last dreamy shot is timed to end perfectly with the song's end.

Except as we're thinking, "what a great shot," it ends with rude punctuation: a proprietorial slap on Alana's rear by her photographer boss. This jarring moment finishes the "romantic" and "nostalgic" scene on an unexpected sour note. How does Alana react? With outrage like one of today's properly enlightened heroines? She doesn't respond at all. Her inaction indicates that it has happened before and takes it with the territory of her life, a part of the job. This is Licorice Pizza's first rude wake-up: Don't be lulled by this time, place, and people. This isn't the seductive good time it looks.

Gary does biz with Jerry Frick, a white entrepreneur of Japanese restaurants who says, "We're Japanese." We receive a sense of his appropriating Japanese culture and stereotypical schtick or kitsch to make money. It's also a paradigm of the postwar conqueror/patronage dynamic as entrepreneurs began spreading their versions of Asian culture to white Americans. Such is the American way, and we're so used to it that we may fail to think about it.

The man's two Japanese (mail-order?) wives are bothered by his behavior, which he fancies funny and clever, and other troubling matters. The first wife complains about his restaurant ads emphasizing "doll-like waitresses" instead of the food. We may intuit that she dumps him and he replaces her promptly with a doppelganger. (Apparently, this happened with the real-life Frick, both Japanese wives divorced him.) Nobody else in the room utters a peep because they're all making money off him. That's exactly how and why such entitled jerks continued on their merry way in that time and place. As with the other scenes, the fact that this guy's presented as a comic idiot doesn't make him less annoying.

I find it revealing that some viewers singled out this example as unacceptable and offensive while missing all the other cartoonishly entitled white, rich idiots who structure the entire plot. Do they take for granted all that other stuff is bad behavior, or don't they notice? Or did it just not bother them? The man's behavior isn't only racist but profoundly sexist, although fewer people charged to the ramparts over that. (Hmm.) My cynical inner pratt wants to say, "Thanks for declaring your offense at something meant to offend you. You must be a sensitive person if only you gave credit to the movie for your reaction instead of blaming the messenger."

My preening irony aside, I'm sympathetic to the protesters' POV because everyone's been rigorously trained by Hollywood to understand a "movie" as something constructed by committee to patronize 13-year-olds. Every permissible emotional response must be carefully cued and underlined, the better to validate complacency and ensure the slow kids in the back are getting it: "Yes, this is what you're supposed to think, you clever ticket buyer." Above all, any bumps or jarring notes to the good time must be rigorously weeded to encourage the smooth digestion of popcorn. The "entertainment" industry grooms us to take mere movies much less seriously as statements of how we live.

Critics complain about this now and then to make themselves sound smarter than the average bear. Then comes one of the rare people who make films assuming that their audience is as smart as themselves, even without flattering us, and that viewers can be trusted to rise to the film's level by paying attention and figuring out why disturbing elements are there. Then comes the test.

Those complaining folks are right: that's racist and sexist behavior they're seeing. They pegged it. With unconscious irony, those who seek to have their emotions validated have indicated that they'd prefer a film that "whitewashed" the era's dynamics (rich white guys are the princes they think they are!) or presented them dishonestly (as with an on-screen cue of modern criticism), or avoided them because such a false image would avoid hurt feelings. Well, we get the films we deserve, and there's a whole commercial juggernaut turning out those validations for your entertainment dollar and the desire to play in China.

For the record, I don't assume there's a monolithic "Asian" response to Licorice Pizza. I'm interested in the responses in Japan or among Nisei women of that generation, and I found English-language Google unequipped to help me with that. I looked in vain for interviews with actors Yumi Mizui and Megumi Anjo on how they perceive their scenes and what Anderson discussed with them. Did they think the scenes went too far or not far enough? What do they think of calls to boycott awards for their work?

Anderson's mother-in-law is a famous Japanese singer. I'm curious to hear her perspective on Licorice Pizza instead of other people's perspectives on her. Had she written those scenes, might they have been less vicious or more? Maybe he should have asked her to do it.

Here's an idea for a social experiment: Show these scenes to a test audience and explain them as clips from the latest Chloe Zhao film. Ask the viewers if the scenes go too far in depicting patronizing white guys in the 1970s. How many would say, "Right on, sister!" or encourage it to go farther? What we see is based on our knowledge, baggage, interpretations, and projections. I'm no less guilty.

My googling revealed threads where self-identified Asians express all kinds of opinions about Licorice Pizza, enough to erase any monolithic impression. Still, I'm struck that many of these people aren't Japanese, and I observe delicately that a multiplicity of Asian nationalities speaking on behalf of "Asians" implies an interchangeability that echoes the restaurateur's changing of wives, and surely that's not desirable. Each opinion must be understood to reflect that individual's experience, perceptions, and responses, all of which exist.

To name a prominent example among critics, Justin Chang's review in the Los Angeles Times, "Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Licorice Pizza' is a valentine to the Valley. And Alana Haim" (15 November 2021) off-handedly dismisses the "strenuous nonsense" of the Japanese scenes while he otherwise raves about it as one of the year's best. He doesn't see Licorice Pizza as a strongly negative depiction of its context, although he certainly doesn't see it as a whitewash. I might be the only person who sees it as a consistently negative critique beneath the needle-drops, and that's why I'm documenting my reaction. As we say, your mileage may vary.

I admit I haven't methodically canvased every review, but I sense that the film's admirers don't see it as an overall negative worldview or at most as flavored with negativity. In contrast, I see a critique from beginning to end, a film where Anderson continually pops the bubble. I don't know how "consciously" or "instinctively" he constructed this, perhaps one more than the other, but I find a consistent pattern, and I assume I'm meant to find it.

Although I think most complaints about the two Japanese scenes are unsophisticated, I understand that some people may find my view unsophisticated: that if the point of your scene is "this guy's a racist, sexist jerk", you should show him as a racist, sexist jerk.I see how Licorice Pizza could easily have dispensed with the Japanese scenes, as so many people wish, and it wouldn't be worse. I also see how the scenes fit the film's parade of how entitled rich white jerks treat women, children, and minorities. Anderson methodically checks every box of rich white jerkhood: arrogance and ego, racism and sexism, hypocrisy and dishonesty, abuse of power, and violence and danger. These elements are embedded in politics, economics, and personal relations. Why leave out racism? Why should that guy have escaped the general arraignment of entitled assholes, none of whom ever gets punished? No white saviors in these rooms.

I've now devoted half this article to these scenes, which occupy a few minutes of screen time, and that's good because these scenes reflect the entire film in miniature, as I'm now illustrating. To continue with what happens in Licorice Pizza, the "Lucy" scene presents the beloved star as an angry, foul-mouthed, self-absorbed female putz around children, using them as ornaments to herself and not caring what they or their parents hear.

This is where Alana meets a smoother, more handsome, more confident rival to Paul and brings him home to meet her folks. He washes out by announcing his atheism to this more orthodox Jewish family. Of course, there are Jewish atheists, but Alana's angry reaction interprets his atheism as a denial of being Jewish, a way to get around it instead of admitting who you are. ("We're Japanese," says the white jerk.) Keep that in mind, for it's crucial to the Licorice Pizza's climax.

Suddenly two outright fascist white cops grab Gary and terrorize him as they drag him off without reading his rights or explaining what's going on, nor do they later apologize or admit being wrong. It's a downright alarming glimpse of the police state in sunny California. Does anyone cry "police brutality" and call their lawyer? Heck no. They'd get the hell beat out of them. Gary is glad to run away and forget his fear and humiliation as though it never happened. He takes it. This is his country. He moves on to the next setpiece and forgets it, and apparently, most viewers do too.

Another real-life character, a talent agent named Mary Grady, advises Alana to agree to nudity and praises her Jewish nose, which is in demand right now. This was the era of Barbra Streisand, who made waves by refusing to have plastic surgery, and she will be name-dropped later.

At a reading for Clint Eastwood's 1973 film Breezy, the "William Holden" avatar comes on to Alana with transparent ooze, and she's flattered and dazzled – a famous star being nice to me! He sweeps her to a restaurant (Tail o' the Cock!), where things quickly go south as he and a buddy commandeer the room for a drunken display of macho bullshit that once again has repercussions on Alana's tail – thump! The whole restaurant becomes a cheering section at being allowed to spectate a famous actor make a fool of himself while she's forgotten as collateral damage. Again, not a peep. This is America. Women and Jews and Asians and gay men are there to decorate and service the real stars.

Streisand is mentioned in the Jon Peters scene ("Do you know who my girlfriend is?"), which can only be described as a psychotic display of entitled behavior and the one where Gary decides on childish "revenge" for a threat to his brother's life. Peters has a gay assistant who radiates the wish to be somewhere else, not unlike the Japanese wives. The whole sequence involves pumping various fluids, either oil or water, into other things, and I'll leave that to simmer. Peters looks like an Elvis impersonator, so we get multiple symbolic references.

This segment culminates in a metaphor: Alana's saddled with driving an out-of-control truck (symbol of masculinity) backward – shades of Ginger Rogers' famous remark that she had to dance as well as Fred Astaire only backward and in high heels. While the knocked-about boys celebrate this bitchen exploit, Alana nearly collapses as she sees them for what they are: irresponsible young idiots she's hanging out with for inexplicable reasons. An uneasy apprehension begins to emerge: No matter how old they are, they'll always be much more immature and idiotic than she is.

That's when Alana decides to become a serious grown-up. She signs up to help Joel Wachs, a real-life mayoral candidate of appropriate age – except that he wants to appropriate her as a "beard" for his closeted life, not unlike how the "Japanese" restaurateur appropriates his "doll" wives for that dash of authenticity, not unlike how that nose can help you right now for cosmetic authenticity if you'll also flash your boobs. Alana's hit between the eyes, or on the nose, with the revelation spelled out bluntly as a climactic epiphany in her conversation with Matthew (Joseph Cross), Joel's boyfriend:

Matthew: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

Alana: "I don't know."

Matthew: "Is he a shit?"

Alana: "Yes." You can see it clicking in her head.

Matthew: "They're all shits, aren't they?"

Now here's Licorice Pizza's "privileged" moment, its scene of richest connection between two humans. The message can't possibly be thrown in our faces more bluntly, just as each scene I describe throws it bluntly, and Alana has witnessed every single example. So why do so many people miss it? I think it's because people filter out what they can't process. Many noticed the Asian racism and yelped when they felt bit, while the rest of it passed by unexamined. Others didn't notice or process racism as a seriously intended element in Licorice Pizza.

This is a message that I fancy the vast majority of American filmgoers aren't ready to process – that those privileged rich boys (and girls) in charge, the stars who dominate our heavens and our politics and our businesses and oil embargoes and international fiascos and movies, are all shits, aren't they? Our Valentine hero is no exception. The dots are connected from one "digression" to the next. Licorice Pizza is a gaudy parade of rich white privileged shits of the type Anderson tends to focus on in all his films, and he displays them knowingly, from the inside. They're his people.

The application of this message seems to be: If you expect to break out of the cocoon or your 20s inertia and move forward, you'd better process that message. It's all around you, like those long gasoline lines you'd like to run past or skirt around, or those bits of casual racism that some viewers wish to skirt around as too disturbing (or the opposite response of ignoring as not important – equally unhelpful). Every scene has shown this message conclusively. Even characters who know better get seduced by money. Every single character pursues it. They become the allies of shits and indeed get paid to protect, coddle, or defend the shits.

Those viewers seduced by the songs and tracking shots and youthful ingratiating joie de vivre in Licorice Pizza may wish to resist this sour counter-message, but it keeps slapping you in the face and patting you on the butt. "Look, this is how America works." If it bothers you enough to spoil your fun, you might decide it's the film's problem and not yours, because how many films are designed to spoil the fun?

Licorice Pizza is about how Alana finally ingests and accepts this revelation: if all men are shits, maybe I can have an inappropriate boyfriend of my very own. She wants to go with the flow now, but I don't get a strong feeling that she's heading for future happiness. She's accepting the moment instead of resisting, like this will be another passage on her way to the maturity so lacking all around her, but now she'll have her bearings. And so much for romantic comedy.

I'm not surprised to see indications that many viewers missed this message because it doesn't fit the language known as "movie", certainly not a Hollywood movie, and definitely not a Hollywood movie by a member of the entitled tribe in question. Those things are supposed to affirm every bromide and validate every emotion as they entertain without offending or disturbing us. I don't find Licorice Pizza affirmative or soothing about youth, love, the American way, the Dream, or the melting pot, and I'm crediting the filmmaker with my reaction.

Many viewers want to read a standard romantic/nostalgic pattern and find Licorice Pizza, like The Big Lebowski, strange, digressive, oddly shaped, with uncomfortable pricks sticking out. Do you know that scene in United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006) where everyone's looking at the 9/11 attack, and nobody can correctly process what's in front of their eyes because it doesn't fit their paradigm? Even though the title conjures a sharp, sour taste, I think people can stare at Licorice Pizza and miss that it says the opposite of what most American films sell. Yet it's all right there, like the "magic eye" hidden image in an autostereogram. Just look until you see it.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on August 25, 2022, 02:46:39 PM
Wow, this is a very bad piece. No editor whatsoever looked at the first three paragraphs.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: DickHardwood2022 on September 11, 2022, 09:54:16 AM
guyswhen i was thinking about Linklaters Before trilogy the other day ( a trilogy i love) it got me thinking.
Before Sunrise was a great film and didnt need anymore story added but the sequels though not needed worked out great. So...

Even though i would prefer Paul to only make stand alone original films what would your guys reaction be like if he did something down the line with the Alana and Gary characters?

Of course we dont NEED more to the story but would you watch more with these characters. Just a thought im not saying it should happen but could be a fun conversation.

Also if he did do something years down the line how do you think the story could go.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Drenk on September 11, 2022, 10:10:21 AM
Well, he's never done a court drama before. Time to try.  :ponder:
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: polkablues on September 12, 2022, 12:14:42 PM
If Jonathan Demme could direct a women-in-prison movie, so could PTA.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: wilberfan on September 13, 2022, 10:26:55 PM
It seems rather late to be posting LICORICE PIZZA reviews, but I really like Cameron's video work, as well as his take on LP:

THE DIRECTORS SERIES: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON'S "LICORICE PIZZA" (2021) (https://directorsseries.net/2022/09/13/paul-thomas-andersons-licorice-pizza-2021/)

by Cameron Beyl
September 13, 2022

For a myriad number of reasons, nostalgia has come to play an increasingly large role in the ever-homogenizing landscape of American entertainment. The pleasures of nostalgia are apparent enough; they can be a comfort or distraction from an uncertain present, reminding audiences of simpler times or the glory days of their youth. For those disinclined towards change, nostalgia can be a way to navigate and/or conveniently ignore complicated sociopolitical movements. For filmed entertainment in particular, the deployment of nostalgia as a storytelling device can be for reasons as simple as avoiding the pitfalls of logical plotting when the mere presence of cell phones can resolve a potential conflict without any drama. From MAD MEN to STRANGER THINGS to THE MARVELOUS MISS MAISEL, nostalgia is everywhere.

The current crop of mainstream filmmakers have used this same force as a prism through which to depict their own backgrounds on film. Alfonso Cuaron would painstakingly recreate the Mexico City of the 1970s for his 2018 film, ROMA, while Quentin Tarantino would resurrect the technicolor glory of 1960's Los Angeles for ONCE UPON A TIME IN... HOLLYWOOD (2019). Even Steven Spielberg is getting in on the act, due to release a picture called THE FABELMANS in 2022 that purports to tell the story of his childhood growing up in Arizona in the post-war years. Director Paul Thomas Anderson has trafficked in this arena once before, with his 1997 film BOOGIE NIGHTS painting a sprawling portrait of his beloved San Fernando Valley as the 1970's gave way to the 80's. While the majority of his features to follow would also be period pieces, BOOGIE NIGHTS remains distinct for its wistful and romantic longing for a bygone era.

Anderson's ninth feature, released in 2021 and titled LICORICE PIZZA, returns to this well for an even heavier dose of nostalgia. While BOOGIE NIGHTS was rooted in a decidedly-adult perspective that he otherwise wouldn't have had as a young boy in the 70's — if it weren't for his father and friends' colorful stories, that is — LICORICE PIZZA is directly informed by the world as a teenage Anderson saw it. True to form, Anderson's unexpected storytelling defies convention at every turn, using his childhood as only a minor aspect of the overall story. Initially inspired by a fleeting episode that occurred two decades ago, wherein Anderson recounts walking by a Valley-area high school and witnessing a male student awkwardly attempting to hit on an older female photographer (1), LICORICE PIZZA actually models more of itself around the adolescence of one Gary Goetzman. Known today as a successful film producer and the co-founder of Tom Hanks' production company, Playtone, the teenage Goetzman was on the downslope of his career as a child actor and subsequently spreading his short attention span across quick-cash endeavors like waterbed companies and pinball arcades (2). The composite result of these various influences asserts itself as Anderson's most personal project yet, with Anderson obviously seeing several parallels between Goetzman and his own younger, ambitious & impossibly-precocious self. Far from content to simply revel in nostalgia's warm glow, however, Anderson uses LICORICE PIZZA to present a nuanced perspective on its universal appeal: that the supposedly-simpler times we tend to remember so fondly weren't so simple at all, possessing fundamental flaws made imperceptible by our youthful naïveté.

Anderson focuses this sprawling sentiment through the lens of first love and its formative nature, pulling inspiration from the aforementioned high school flirting episode and his own childhood crushes on older women, while also drawing from the influence of teen classics like FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and AMERICAN GRAFFITI (3). Filmed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic under the working title SOGGY BOTTOM (so named after the waterbed company run by the film's teenage protagonist), LICORICE PIZZA derives its sweet-and-savory moniker from a local chain of vinyl record stores that populated the Valley in the 1970's. Beyond its AM-radio soundtrack, however, the film has nothing to do with records or record shops; indeed, Anderson would reportedly choose the unusual title because of the "Pavlovian" effect it held over him, with the mere utterance of the phrase instantly transporting him back to the specific mood of his teenage years as he lived them (3)(4). Odd as the title may be, the ease with which it allows Anderson to slip back into time commands a similar effect on his audience, immersing us in this highly specific era while telling a timeless story.

Set in the quintessential Valley hamlet of Encino in the year 1973, LICORICE PIZZA details the lopsided (and legitimately-iffy) love story of a young man falling in love with an older woman. An age gap of ten years separates them, but the devil is in the details— the man is not so much a man at all; he's a fifteen year old boy, and the apple of his eye is well into her twenties. The subject of endless consternation and condemnation on Film Twitter, the relationship dynamic that results generally avoids its statutory implications to depict an increasingly-earnest kind of puppy love. Having worked with Alana Haim and her sisters on a series of music videos for their eponymous rock band, Anderson would craft the central character of the same name with her in mind (5). Risky as it might be to anchor a major motion picture around an untested, untrained talent with virtually zero acting experience, Anderson's choice pays off brilliantly. Alana delivers one of the most invigorating debuts in recent memory, incinerating the screen with a confrontational and fiery dynamic. Her endlessly watchable performance allows for plenty of conflicted nuance; she's entirely self-aware that her feelings aren't exactly appropriate, so she expends lots of energy trying to deny them and throwing up walls of defiance. Anderson pulls off this tricky balancing act by emphasizing her general aimlessness; a worker of odd jobs like the school photography gig that kicks off the story, Alana's lack of thought towards her future suggests that she's still very much a child herself... not yet ready to join the adult world and its attendant miseries.

Alana's co-star, Cooper Hoffman, proves equally as magnetic in his own film debut. The son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Cooper had already been a longtime family friend of Anderson's— a nephew, even. This adds an additional layer of poignancy to the whole enterprise; after the elder Hoffman's untimely passing in 2013, it's heartening to see his essence reappear in Anderson's work in the guise of his son. Though obviously not as refined a performer as his father, Cooper displays a natural talent as well as an ability to channel some of his dad's distinct physical mannerisms. Anderson's confidence in Cooper's capabilities stems not just from the formative collaborations he enjoyed with Phillip, but also from a surprising, little-known source: a series of home movies that the celebrated director has made throughout the years with Cooper and his own kids— an unbearably sweet recreational activity that nonetheless teases at a whole universe of Anderson films we'll never know about or see. Cooper's character in LICORICE PIZZA is Gary Valentine, a high school sophomore still carrying around a few pounds of baby fat. He's somehow oblivious to his inherent awkwardness, presenting himself as a confident (some might say conceited) child actor and serial entrepreneur hopping from one hare-brained business scheme to the next. He initially pursues Alana with the same erratic passion, instead finding a different sort of intimacy with her as a business partner when a romantic relationship initially proves unlikely. With the character of Gary, Anderson deliberately evokes that particular cultural phenomenon of teenage boys lusting after older women—- all to subvert our expectations about where this is all headed. In the end, it's not about lust at all, but rather the formative connections that first teach us to care about someone other than ourselves.

Though Anderson's primary interests lie in the crafting of this idiosyncratic, chronologically-lopsided romance, he nonetheless cultivates a supporting ensemble that recalls the sprawling universe of characters that define his early work. Running the gamut from Oscar-winning performers to complete unknowns and non-actors, LICORICE PIZZA's cast provides no shortage of colorful characters. Among the most recognizable faces are Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper, the former doing a fictional riff on William Holden as an old-school movie star and motorcycle daredevil with a bit of a predatory streak, while the latter reconfigures the real-life producer Jon Peters into an unhinged, chaotic force animated by a ferociously aggressive and uncontrollable libido. Renowned character crooner Tom Waits plays Rex Blau, a cantankerous, chain-smoking director influenced by Sam Peckinpah and John Huston. Benny Safdie, one half of the Safdie Brothers directing duo responsible for the A24 hits GOOD TIME and UNCUT GEMS, embodies the real life character of Joel Wachs, albeit recontextualized here as a closeted politician struggling with his relationship's incompatibility to his mayoral aspirations. He shares an unlikely connection with Alana; though they never acknowledge it directly, their bond is forged by the inner conflict they feel after indulging in romances that run counter to society's acceptance.

LICORICE PIZZA's unknown talents drive a great deal of its charm, positioning it as something of a family affair. For starters, Anderson casts Haim's real-life family to play the same roles to her character in the film. That means notable supporting turns for Alana's sisters and band mates Danielle and Este, who work together to create a stressful home dynamic for Alana that recalls the incessant, sometimes-affectionate snark dealt out by Barry Egan's seven sisters from PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. It also means notable appearances from real-life parents Modi and Donna Haim, the latter of whom was Anderson's one-time art teacher and, as one source would put it, the subject of a childhood crush that informs LICORICE PIZZA's story (1). Anderson's wife, Maya Rudolph, makes a brief appearance as an assistant at a casting office where Gary regularly auditions, while their own children pop up in a sequence set at the Tail O' The Cock restaurant— a long-gone Valley institution that was lovingly resurrected as a set for the film. Harriet Sansom Harris, who made so memorable an impression as a messy aging socialite in PHANTOM THREAD, turns another bit appearance into a delicious display of scene-chewing; here, she appears as a chain-smoking, small-time talent agent, embodying the Valley's particular brand of entertainment industry sleaze. Anderson includes yet even more extended family friends, like Steven Spielberg's daughter Sasha as Alana's photography colleague and Leonardo DiCaprio's real-life father as a grooved-out waterbed salesman. For viewers who've been following Anderson's work since the beginning, the fleeting, edge-of-the-frame appearance by John C. Reilly is a welcome surprise. A onetime frequent collaborator absent from Anderson's viewfinder since MAGNOLIA, Reilly's cameo as Herman Munster — complete in full Frankenstein drag — would be unrecognizable if not for his unique tenor. His presence lasts a mere handful of seconds... the length of time it takes Anderson's camera to glide a couple yards. And yet, Reilly's inclusion injects a dose of metatextual nostalgia for Anderson's early work, inducing a pleasurable response via the warmth of an old familiar face.

Since the beginning, Anderson has been a singular filmmaking voice, always directing from his own script. LICORICE PIZZA is no different, further consolidating the expression of his distinct worldview by serving as his own cinematographer. In a way, PHANTOM THREAD was the pilot program for this development— after a long and fruitful series of collaborations with cinematographer Robert Elswit, Anderson would effectively make the position redundant, collapsing the cameraman's responsibilities into his own. This isn't to suggest a cinematographer's contributions aren't vital; indeed, it's very much the opposite. Anderson gets away with it because he is a consummate filmmaker in every sense of the word, gifted with a superlative technical expertise that empowers his strengths as a storyteller. Even then, he has the sense to know what he doesn't know, pivoting towards a closer collaboration with his gaffer in a capacity tailored more towards his needs. In this context, Michael Bauman's credits as Anderson's "Chief Lighting Technician" and "Lighting Cameraman" as far back as THE MASTER become clearer. When it comes to PHANTOM THREAD's romantic and sophisticated elegance, Bauman's seasoned skillset is arguably just as responsible as his director's. It only makes sense, then, that this unique arrangement would result in Bauman sharing a full Director of Photography credit on LICORICE PIZZA... even if the pair only take the credit in the first place because of union regulations.

The resulting product is a work of sublime, sunsoaked beauty— and, given that no digital intermediate was ever created, a testament to the chaotic charms of old-fashioned photochemical color-timing. Returning to the 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio for the first time since THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Anderson and Bauman expose the 35mm film frame in the incandescent glow of SoCal's late afternoon sun. Ample lens flares punctuate a sophisticated color palette defined by bright primaries, rosy highlights, and bluish shadows. Befitting its shared setting and time period, LICORICE PIZZA's cinematography is a close cousin to BOOGIE NIGHTS— their many similarities nevertheless demonstrating how much Anderson's artistry has grown and matured in the intervening years. Both are marked by a restless, curious camera that constantly tracks around, ahead of, and after its subjects, as if animated by the twin spirits of Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese. LICORICE PIZZA even includes imagery of homegrown filmmaking within the context of its story, with a 16mm campaign ad for Joel Wachs drawing a clear parallel to the kitschy, lo-fi love letter that Amber Waves fashions for Dirk Diggler in BOOGIE NIGHTS. The usage of vintage lenses (6) cements our visual sense of period with soft lines and a gauzy, dreamlike bokeh.

Two key collaborators from Anderson's suite of music videos for Haim — production designer Florencia Martin and editor Andy Jurgensen — carry over into the same capacities here, with the latter crafting an edit that alternates between punchy quick cuts intended to mirror the upbeat, ceaseless energies of our young protagonist and an unhurried, languorous pace that lets us marinate in the fine details of the former's immersive period recreation. Regular composer Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame contributes a spare score that's reminiscent of Jon Brion's work from Anderson's early films, marked by a sweet and subdued theme that evokes the simplicity of adolescence in its arrangement of various string instruments. Like BOOGIE NIGHTS before it, the original score takes a backseat to a rambling musical landscape of needledrops from the period. David Bowie's "Life On Mars" serves as a kind of anthem, featured prominently in both the feature and accompanying promotional material to give Anderson's little love story the sweep of an epic, while The Doors' "Peace Frog" propels us through an ambitious montage that reflects the idea of the 1970's as a kind of transitory era between the psychedelic, immaterial values of the 60's and the coke-fueled commerce of the Reagan years. Indeed, LICORICE PIZZA digs even deeper into time for tracks that could be considered "oldies" even by 1973 standards, featuring an eclectic jukebox of recordings from Nina Simone, Chuck Berry and Big Crosby, among others. Like Quentin Tarantino would do in his own sun-kissed ode to a bygone LA, 2019's ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD, Anderson weaves his disparate music selections together using AM radio dispatches from the era, effectively crafting an invisible, omnipresent web of sound that ensnares millions of unwitting Angelenos into a shared cultural existence.

After PHANTOM THREAD's brief detour across the Atlantic, LICORICE PIZZA resumes Anderson's careerlong portrait of California in the twentieth century— an unspoken, but overarching narrative that ties together the otherwise-disparate storylines of his films. While his characters and plot lines don't intersect and cross-over like Tarantino's or Kevin Smith's, Anderson's works nevertheless interact with each other by suggesting a richer subtext. BOOGIE NIGHTS is obviously the closest kin to LICORICE PIZZA, the former's preoccupation with the sea change wrought on the porn industry by the rise of video finding an echo in the letter's structuring around less-earthshaking developments like the invention of the waterbed and the legalization of pinball. THERE WILL BE BLOOD's portrait of the oil industry's transformative effect on California's economic and cultural landscape reverberates through the decades, resulting in LICORICE PIZZA's apocalyptic depictions of the 70's oil crisis, complete with gas station lines stretching for blocks and providing the setup for a breathless setpiece that finds Alana threading a massive moving truck through a downhill slalom of canyon neighborhood streets.

Though Anderson goes to great lengths to resurrect long-gone restaurants and hangouts in exacting detail, his cinematic return to the Encino and Sherman Oaks areas that shaped him is not an exercise in mere nostalgia. His rose-tinted glasses don't occlude the sharpness of his vision; he's here with clear intent. LICORICE PIZZA is an opportunity for a world-renowned filmmaker to reconnect with the formative essence of his artistry, and to get back in touch with his inner child— immature and conceited though that child may be. The undercurrents of artful cynicism and self-delighted perversity that have come to define Anderson's voice serve to also mark the contours of Cooper's and Alana's relationship. Despite their difference in physical age, they're well matched in emotional maturity, and their connection is rooted in a fundamental, childlike innocence; though adults are very much present throughout, they are peripheral characters who are powerless to stop Cooper and his acne-ridden minions from running rampant and unsupervised through the Valley's endless grid of hot asphalt, seedy strip malls and single-story ranch homes. Even for Alana, technically an adult at 25, the intoxicating, exhilarating world of capital-A Adults is just beyond reach; she still lives in her childhood home with her parents and sisters, and her ambivalence about joining the workforce causes her to gravitate towards summer jobs meant for teenagers instead of a specialized career. If we couldn't pick it up from these context clues, we surely could from their erratic displays of stunted maturity: Alana won't allow herself to grow up, while Cooper is in quite the hurry to join adulthood. To borrow a saccharine sentiment from another story about a chronologically-imbalanced love story, they're "just the right age for meeting in the middle".

Cooper's attraction may very well be an Andersonian embodiment of the ultimate juvenile male fantasy: that of hooking up with an older woman as a misguided means of self-validation and confirmation of "manhood", while Alana's own (reluctant) interest isn't quite the predatory angle that critics make it out to be— she doesn't have any power to lord over him, and she doesn't necessarily want anything from him because she can barely admit she even wants him in the first place. This unstable chemistry makes LICORICE PIZZA's ending all the more discordant... at least, at first glance. After two hours of Alana hissing at Coopers' amorous overtures, Anderson closes on a note of earnest sweetness: she runs away into the night with him, hand in hand, breathlessly whispering the truth that she's worked this entire time to deny: "I love you, Gary". An admission that the sweetness of love can soften even the hardest of hearts, the expression of this sentiment is maybe the boldest move in a film comprised almost entirely of them— simultaneously reinforcing and blowing up everything that came before.

Though Anderson was no doubt braced for the lighting rod of criticism he'd endure over the inappropriate age gap at the center of its nostalgic romance, he very well may have been caught off guard by just how widely LICORICE PIZZA was embraced by industry colleagues and fervent fans who branded it as an instant Andersonian classic. Positive reviews poured in from across the spectrum of media outlets, buoyed by critics who appreciated his idiosyncratic mix of refined artistic sensibilities and sex-obsessed juvenality. Its theatrical run, timed for the holidays and maximum awards season attention, would culminate in a modest $33 million worldwide box office haul and three Oscar nominations for Anderson's writing & direction, as well as a Best Picture nod shared with his co-producer, Adam Somner. The lingering controversy over the problematic age gap — further complicated by the satirical (but easily misinterpreted) inclusion of a minor character who speaks to his series of Japanese wives in a blatantly-racist accent — may very well complicate its reputation among general audiences for years to come, but LICORICE PIZZA promises to age like an old, beloved record: full of analog warmth and crackling imperfection, the tactility of its grooves mapping the contours of a lustrous past suffused with blissful heartache.
Title: Re: Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!
Post by: Find Your Magali on September 25, 2022, 01:17:46 PM
I love to program a twinbill of 1975's Smile, followed by Licorice Pizza, and see what lightbulbs/connections go through people's heads.