Licorice Pizza (2021)

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Licorice Pizza (2021). Licorice Pizza: Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. With Will Angarola, Griff Giacchino, James Kelley, Cooper Hoffman. The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.

“My initial impressions, aside from making a lot of hooting and hollering notices and bowing in a Wayne and Garth type of u0026quot;weu0026#39;re all not worthyu0026quot; stance at a portrait of PT Anderson, who returns here to the Los Angeles of the 1970s again for a third time with a coming of age story about Alana (Haim) and Gary (Hoffman) and their misadventures and awkward but total connection to each other as friends and more, is that sometimes a film just needs to give me good characters, and this does this and then some.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBy this I mean we have people, Alana and Gary in this case, who are immediately deeply felt and lived-in as these young people (though the age range makes that idea of u0026#39;youngu0026#39; into its own self-conscious and for Alana even neurotic beast), and the connection that grows between them as friends is that there is sentiment expressed (oh God oh goodness that scene with the two of them on the water-bed as he motions closer to her but then stops as u0026quot;Let me Roll Itu0026quot; is more emotionally charged than any scene Iu0026#39;ve seen this year – and thereu0026#39;s strong competition) without it being sentimental.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is hard to do, but what helps is we are u0026quot;hanging outu0026quot; with these people but theyu0026#39;re wants and desires are being figured out barely as they go along and the world around them is so rich and textured sometimes all they can do is run to keep up with things. Theyu0026#39;re simply… compelling, fully heartfelt people, but PTA isnu0026#39;t shy about showing their foibles. And around them are more u0026quot;nameu0026quot; actors like Penn and Cooper and to a lesser extent Safdie and Waits who make immediate and strong impressions and yet also are people you get right away.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhich brings me to another impression…. this is maybe Anderson processing in his way things in the world over the past few years re: #metoo? Of course one can say u0026quot;but hey the 1970s, you know,u0026quot; but nearly every man who Alana meets – who may be more of the protagonist than Gary, I donu0026#39;t know, itu0026#39;s close maybe co-protagonists – is either a leering/lecherous creep or full of their own anxieties and issues. Iu0026#39;ve seen one or two things on social media criticizing Anderson about this possible/kinda sorta romance between this teen boy and 25 year old Alana (if she is that or rounding up), but I wonder if theyu0026#39;re seeing the same film I did because the film is really more about not even the romance side of it (though romance is laced throughout this) as it is that feeling when youu0026#39;re a teen and youu0026#39;re doing as much as you can to be an adult, but when you become an adult there is that temptation or even desire, usually if around the right group, to want to be young again. If you got to make it in the world, maybe itu0026#39;s better to do it with someone who isnu0026#39;t a (bleep) as a character describes men near the end.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs for the title? I think thatu0026#39;s Alana and Gary: they donu0026#39;t go together, and yet they totally do. I loved this film and I look forward to seeing it a couple more times and diving in deeper on this. If by chance youu0026#39;re near a major city playing this before Christmas, run – or steer your Empty-tank vehicle – to the theater to get absorbed in it all. And did I mention itu0026#39;s PTAu0026#39;s funniest since Boogie Nights?”

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