Newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s most downright enjoyable movie yet.
‘Something / Anything ‘is the 1972 album by singer / songwriter Todd Rundgren, whose name appears on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza. An advertisement for the recording emanates from a car stereo as teen actor and entrepreneur Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) collapses into a pit of despondency upon seeing the girl of his dreams, Alana Kane (Alana Haim), hanging out at the burger stand with another guy.
Much in the vein of ‘The White Album’ by The Beatles, ‘Something / Anything’ is a stellar mishmash of tones and styles, and an example of an artist who is so deeply rooted and consumed by the world of music. writing pop songs it seems like proof that he could do anything. It’s effortless genius. And it’s, in its structure, a torrent of brilliant but scattered ideas, but in the end those ideas somehow merge into something complete and beautiful.
The same could be said of Licorice Pizza, in which Anderson exercises complete mastery over his medium, but in an almost acrobatic and agile manner. He exudes confidence in a way that is never flashy or grandiose – something he may have done in earlier films such as There Will Be Blood and The Master, where the sheer strength of the shoot makes you fall for it. on the temple (in a good way).
As with “Something / Anything,” Licorice Pizza plays out like a stacked double LP, with the first half offering woozy summer jams – with some 60-second punk blasts thrown in to boost the pulse – while the second is a plus. conceptual, tripartite affair as our heroes approach more and more not adulthood, but the desire for responsibility and immersion in society, that is to say work, money, marriage.
“Licorice Pizza is, at its core, a love story about two people who never seem to be in love at the same time.”
Everyone will have their own favorite cuts. And yes, there’s arguably a dud or two there, too – an idea that may have been baked out of the oven before it was fully baked. Yet it functions as a singular edifice, a radiant snow globe capturing a moment of whimsical youthful bliss and the story of two people whose lives intersect in increasingly eccentric and profound ways.
Licorice Pizza is, at its core, a love story between two people who never seem to love each other at the same time. This vanity is a masterstroke, as it provides a catalyst for conflict and comedy until it is charmingly cast. Gary is 15 and queues for his portrait in high school, trying to flatten his greasy parting. Alana says she’s 25, but her actual age is never confirmed – considering how she interacts with her family and her excess of free time, it seems more likely that she’s at the end of his teenage years.
In her mirror girl position for the Tiny Toes Photographic Company, she meets cute Gary, and from the first moment he joins her with the strength of an excited steam train. Yet despite his young years, he’s a gentleman and behaves like one: pull out dinner invitations, veiled marriage proposals, and painfully witty lines. They are greeted by Alana with abject horror that is crossed by a hint of intrigue and many categorical swear words.
She repeatedly compares this strawberry blonde swagger to Robert Goulet, Dean Martin, Don Rickles, Einstein, and David Cassidy, which from a script standpoint sums it up pretty well. Gary, on the other hand, identifies himself without irony as “a showman”, “a man of song and dance”. This is his “vocation”.
From there, the film traces their platonic interactions comfortably through various get-rich-quick schemes, an oil embargo, dangerous contact with Hollywood’s B-List, an altercation with the cops, a much more frightening confrontation with film producer Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper, the Chef’s Kiss), drinks, dinners, agent powwows and the biggest pinball lounge the world has ever seen.
Gary’s irrepressible moxia tends to be what pushes individual episodes forward, but a touching aspect of the film taken as a whole is the subtle way the two protagonists rub off and inspire each other. True to life, many of the things that are happening here are forgotten or dismissed as our attention directs us to the unknown paths of life. Yet the experiences form lessons that live inside, perhaps in a way that Anderson doesn’t feel the need to reveal, but that provides the film with its rich emotional arc.
The other thing worth mentioning is that Licorice Pizza is playing (and maybe beating) Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood at its own game in its romantic, all-round portrayal of mid-century Los Angeles. Returning to Boogie Nights and Inherent Vice, this is Anderson’s most satisfying and enveloping world-building piece to date. Yet unlike Tarantino, Anderson does not manipulate the landscape to reflect his own tastes and desires. There is no sense of preciousness here.
The two filmmakers position themselves somewhat as historians of visual culture, but the difference is that Anderson is more enamored with objectivity and the possibility of discovery. As such, her film provides a more naturally immersive backdrop against which this joyful romance plays out. And like Tarantino, Anderson uses his privilege to manipulate historical facts to better serve history. He just doesn’t make a big deal out of it – for him all cinema is an inherent fantasy.
Licorice pizza is a slow release product, something that invades you, makes its way into your consciousness. It’s silky cinematic perfection, enhanced by a hand full of remarkably charismatic stars supporting tricks from Sean Penn, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, and movie thief Harriet Sansom Harris as Gary’s enigmatically intense agent.
Its bald-faced simplicity is such that many PTA fans (this writer included) might watch the film believing it to be a tough experiment that rejects generic conventions and boundaries at every turn. And maybe it’s stealthily? But, like canon films such as American Graffiti by George Lucas, Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater, and Fast Times by Amy Heckerling at Ridgemont High, it can also be taken and enjoyed at face value – like a super dash. having fun and waving your arms. through the rich spectacle of life.
Reference of the Article-post – lwlies