Coming to Bluray and DVD from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the look at relationships and a changing world with LICORICE PIZZA.
Welcome to the San Fernando Valley in 1973! Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is a young man who has eyes for the lovely Alana Kane (Alana Haim). The problem is that Gary is fifteen and Alana is twenty but that doesn’t stop the young man from pursuing her. The cat and mouse leads to an unusual friendship. Alana is curious about Gary and the fact that he is an actor, especially when he takes her to New York to see him perform.
Alana also meets Lance (Skyler Gisondo) which puts his dander up when he sees him making eyes at Alana and also sees them together at the local burger joint. When Alana decides she wants to act, Gary takes her to see an agent and on her own meets star Jack Holden (Sean Penn). Gary knows there is going to be problems and keeps an eye on Alana.
In the meantime, Gary has started his own business with waterbeds and then a pinball arcade. Alan is a part of that helping with the office, deliveries and driving. But when she and Gary butt heads – Alana decides to branch out and volunteer with the local politician Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie). She sees the world changing with the oil crisis and wants to be a part of change.
Still working with what is left of the waterbeds, Alana and Gary come face to face with Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper) who scares the living daylights out of them with his antics. Once again Alana and Gary are at odds and both heading down a path of chaos but it is the only way they will know if they were ever meant to be together – age be damned!
Haim as Alana is a young woman who is trying to find her way in the world, especially with parents that are very aware their youngest daughter is a little different. She does not conform easily and is not about to let anyone tell her what to do or how to do it. I love the fact that this character calls it like she sees it but at the same time she is very naïve in many ways. Haim gives her everything and I should know having grown up in the 70’s.
Hoffman as Gary is very self-assured on the outside with the way he sees the acting world, with the help of his mother, and the ability to also make a dollar. He is welcome at the local hang out for actors and is known by name. Trying to bring Alana into his world works sometimes but those dang hormones get in the way, especially once he meets Alana. Trying to maintain a friendship has its twists and turns and Gary feels every one of them.
Other cast include Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Momma Anita, John Higgins as Jerry Frick, Christine Ebersole as Lucy Doolittle, Harriet Harris as Mary Grady, Ryan Heffington as Steve, Nate Mann as Brian, Joseph Cross as Mathew, Emma Dumont as Brenda, Ray Chase as B. Reed, George DiCaprio as Mr. Jack, Destry Spielberg as Frisbee, Isabel Kusman as Sue, Milo Herschlag as Greg, Emily Althaus as Kiki, Tim Conway Jr. as Vic, Maya Rudolph as Gale, Megumi Anjo as Kimiko, Yumi Mizui as Mioko, and Tom Waits as Rex Blau.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
Bonus Features Exclusive to Bluray and DVD include Camera Tests – Preproduction camera tests and unusual takes, The Handman Scene – A deleted scene from the film, Fat Bernie’s Commercial – An in-universe commercial for Fat Bernie’s as shot by Gary Valentine, Behind the Scenes – A glimpse behind the scenes of LICORICE PIZZA through a collection on-set photos and videos.
LICORICE PIZZA was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Original Screenplay. From BAFTA the film won Best Screenplay for Paul Thomas Anderson and nominated for Best Director, Best Leading Actress and Best Editing.
Having my formative years in the 70’s and 80’s, I recognized every little detail of this film including my first time on a waterbed (made me totally nauseous) and being in the gas line with my mother raging at the car ahead of us. The music was amazing (still is), the car were the best and the world was a crazy place.
It also evokes the feelings of first crushes, first loves and all the first that go along with being 15. Alana may be a little older but she is not finished with her teens either.
I absolutely loved the costuming because, really, who can forget the very large lapels on the polyester white John Travolta suits. The mini-skirts, the wide pant legs and the trouble that was, compared to the garbage today, was actually the definition of harmless fun. Rocket Roller Rink and the pier were my stomping grounds and that is not far from what the kids experienced in the valley.
What a nice ride down memory lane.
In the end – this is their story!