Friday Film Review--"Licorice Pizza"
"Licorice Pizza" is a new romantic comedy - written, directed, and
produced by Paul Thomas Anderson - that serves up a slice of life in
L.A.'s San Fernando Valley in the 1970s.
Opening with a scene at a high school, a smug 15-year-old, Gary
Valentine, becomes enamored with Alana Kane, a 25-year-old
photographer's assistant working the school's picture day.
Gary, played by Cooper Hoffman, son of late actor Philip Seymour
Hoffman, is an aging but overly confident child actor who's convinced
he's just met his future wife.
Alana is played by singer Alana Haim, making her big-screen debut.
Fittingly, Haim is a real-life San Fernando Valley native and a member
of the SoCal rock trio Haim with her sisters, who also appear in the
film along with her parents playing her on-screen
Gary's character was modeled after Hollywood producer Gary Goetzman, a
close friend of Anderson's, whose colorful stories from his days as a
child actor and a waterbed salesman are weaved throughout the film.
Gary and Alana's implausible and awkward love story is at the film's
center. Their ten-year age difference is uncomfortable, but their
relationship remains platonic throughout the movie as they both pursue
their parallel - and often wild - adventures throughout
the San Fernando Valley.
An eclectic cast of characters is woven throughout the film, including a
brief appearance by Sean Penn playing movie star Jack Holden (based on
the actor William Holden), who runs into his rowdy director buddy Rex
Blau (played by musician Tom Waits) at a Hollywood
hangout, that ends up in an impromptu nighttime motorcycle jumping
stunt on a nearby golf course.
But one of the most memorable performances in the film is Bradley Cooper
as Jon Peters, a former hairdresser and longtime boyfriend of Barbra
Streisand, who Gary and Alana encounter during a waterbed installation
gone wrong, which is a true story according
Rated R for drug use, sexual material, and language, "Licorice Pizza" runs
a long 2 hours and 13 minutes and only plays in theaters.
Supported by a great soundtrack and cast, "Licorice Pizza" is a film worth
watching for those who grew up in the Seventies and fans of Hollywood