Licorice Pizza - SPOILERS!

Started by wilberfan, November 05, 2021, 08:30:50 PM

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HACKANUT

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.




wilberfan

"When something doesn't resonate, it quickly becomes a tedious endurance test."

jzakko

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?

HACKANUT

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.

wilberfan

Benny Safdie Talks With Joel Wachs, Whom He Plays In Licorice Pizza, About Life in the Closet in '70s LA

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.
"When something doesn't resonate, it quickly becomes a tedious endurance test."

jviness02

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.

Yes

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.

jzakko

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?

WorldForgot

You're right. It's a very soggy bottom. I read it the way you did, but maybe he only sweats out the back.

HACKANUT

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

jviness02

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.

HACKANUT

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.

pynchonikon

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.

Drenk

Ascension.

Pringle

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