LICORICE PIZZA – Rated R – 2h 13m

This Review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

Director/Writer:  Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars:  Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bennie Safdie and Bradley Cooper

For those of us who grew up in the 70’s & 80’s– this film is going to knock your socks off, as we venture to California’s San Fernando Valley, circa 1973, while high school youngster and actor Gary (Cooper Hoffman) is trying to convince school photographer Alana (Alana Haim), that he is the big man about town, and then some… 

Taken in by Gary’s school boy charms, Alana and Gary become fast friends, as they soon whisk off to together to take in one of Gary’s latest acting endeavors, as Alana gets bit by the acting bug too.

Becoming anxious by the way his acting career is apparently going nowhere, Gary decides to impress Alana with his other, numerous get rich quick schemes, as him ambitions also reveal that he is quite a smooth salesman, way beyond his young years too…

When Alana is taken in by Director Jack Holden (Sean Penn) with the promise of her own acting career, Gary finds himself becoming quite the knight in shining armor, trying to save her from this very creepy old schmoozer…

As and these two young lovers struggle through the angst of family issues, money issues, and whether or not they are truly meant to be together, it seems that the not even the crazy hippy in the hills, that’s in love with Barbra Streisand, can keep them from finding their destiny, and from keeping them from being together…

I give LICORICE PIZZA 5/5:  This quirky, hilarious, and total “Walk down memory lane” film for me, is one of the BEST FILMS to hit the Screen this year!  Have you ever seen a film that is totally nostalgic from your childhood? Well for me, LICORICE PIZZA is exactly that, and so much more!    And the wonderful way that Director & Writer Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, Phantom Thread) brings this film to life, having only been born in the early 70’s himself, seems even more incredible to behold.  It’s actually amazing how spot on the whole film is, down to seeing a dress I wore “back in the day” ending up on screen, especially since over the year’s so many films that try to venture to days gone by, feel so forced and uninviting.  This film gives you such an enjoyable movie experience while viewing, that it’s as if you can venture into the lives of these two youngsters, and even with you in tow, none of you will miss a beat! LICORICE PIZZA is so heart-warming and melancholy as you follow these two youngsters into first love, that it will literally touch your heart, as you cheer Gary on, to somehow, someway, find a way to get “his girl”.  And as wonderful as all the nostalgia is, I was also enamored by the exceptional performances throughout this film too.  Cooper Hoffman and Lana Haim, both give exceptional performances, so much so that I feel they will both be showing up on the screen again very soon.  The cameo performance by Sean Penn was fabulous too, as he plays the creeper Director with his eyes set on getting Alana into bed!  But the most fabulous performance throughout this film for me, was the cameo by Mr. Baby Blue eyes himself, Bradley Cooper, as his small, but pivotal part in this awesome film, was so fabulous, that I felt it was an even better performance for him, than his leading man performance on screen earlier this month in Nightmare Alley.  Hitting theaters hear locally on Christmas Day, take my word for it, if you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s like I, you are going to want to catch LICORICE PIZZA, on the biggest screen you can find!  

5/5

LICORICE PIZZA is now showing starting Christmas Day at two of my favorite theaters in St. Louis – The Chase Park Plaza Cinema and the Hi-Pointe Theatre too!

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