Monday, December 12, 2022

Movie Monday: Licorice Pizza

Last weekend, with many of the shows we watch on cable on hiatus until the new year, we decided to watch a movie. We chose Licorice Pizza, a 2021 movie that was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. It got a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it was on my (very long!) list of movies I've been wanting to watch. We enjoyed this coming-of-age film set in the 1970's.

Gary, played by Cooper Hoffman (son of the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman), is a precocious fifteen-year-old in L.A. who's been working as an actor since he was a young child. One day at school, he spots a young woman he's never seen before. Alana, played by Alana Haim, is twenty-five and working for the photographer at school that day, but bold Gary asks her out. She eventually agrees to meet him for dinner (he's very persuasive) but emphasizes that it's just as friends. Despite their age differences, Gary is the one who is confident and knows exactly what he wants from life (plus he makes a lot more money than she does), which is appealing to Alana since she isn't sure what she wants to do, except that she does not want to work for a school photographer. Gary brings Alana into his world. It's clear he's in love with her, but they are just friends, though there is definitely some tension. They have many adventures together and apart, they talk and have fun and sometimes argue, and the two of them spend a lot of time together, often with Gary's friends, and get into all kinds of trouble. Gary starts a couple of businesses and helps Alana see the potential in her own life, though she eventually finds her own passion.

All of these exploits are set against the backdrop of 1973 L.A. And it's a whole lot of fun to accompany Gary and Alana on their explorations! The fashions, the colors, the cars, the current events, and the settings are all vibrant and entertaining. Accompanying all of that is a great 70's soundtrack. Though Gary and Alana are definitely the center of attention here (and both are excellent in their roles), the movie is filled with big-name cameos, including Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and Bradley Cooper. And did I mention it's funny? This movie has a great sense of humor. My husband described this movie as quirky (which is not always a compliment from him), and it is definitely a little weird. But I thoroughly enjoyed this nostalgic, enjoyable trip back in time that often left a smile on my face. It's not deep, but it's a whole lot of fun!

Licorice Pizza is currently available free on Amazon Prime and Paramount+, plus available for a fee on many other services.

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