Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson cemented himself as a Hollywood superstar with 1997’s Boogie Nights, a story of fame and youth colliding in the world of adult film. Almost a quarter of a century later, Anderson is returning to tell another tale of teen angst in the 1970s through his latest film Licorice Pizza. The movie stars Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim, along with an all-star cast. It looks like Paul Thomas Anderson is going to deliver a tear jerker, thanks this bittersweet, yet really humorous, looking trailer.
After running the first trailer for Licorice Pizza, exclusively on 35mm at arthouse cinemas like the New Beverly Theater, the first look at this hotly anticipated project has finally hit the internet. The nucleus of the story is the romance between Gary (Cooper Hoffman) and Alana, two crazy kids in 1973’s San Fernando Valley, falling in and out of love. Comedic misadventure, high emotion, and a lesson on how to pronounce “Barbara Streisand” all ensue, flashing Paul Thomas Anderson’s passion for breaking the audience's heart, while also dropping quotable gags. Oh, and when we said "all-star cast," that was an understatement.
Formerly known throughout the internet by the title Soggy Bottom, this film is yet another example of the sort of impressive ensemble that Anderson has been known to pull together. Most notably we see Uncut Gems co-director Benny Safdie and Sean Penn pop up as some heavy hitters in the San Fernando scene. Plus there’s appearances from Maya Rudolph and Tom Waits that also pepper Licorice Pizza with even more impressive talent. Though if there’s one scene stealer among the group, it has to be Bradley Cooper, the man who’s giving Cooper Hoffman’s Gary the important elocution lesson pertaining to his music star girlfriend.
It’s Cooper and Safdie’s roles in particular that paint a certain texture to what Licorice Pizza is trying to do. Much like Kenneth Branagh has shown us with the trailer for his semi-autobiographical film Belfast, Paul Thomas Anderson looks to be telling a tale of nostalgic coming-of-age. Mixing real figures like film producer Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper) and San Fernando politician Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie) with our fictional protagonists, Licorice Pizza is also a love letter to that era that helped make Anderson famous.
Then again, you probably could have gleaned that from the confirmed title of Licorice Pizza. Not only a slang term for vinyl records, it was also the name of a famous chain of record stores in California. And nothing puts a button on that point quite like setting your trailer to David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” which beautifully permeates the short reel of teenage confusion and romance we’ve now just seen.
Now MGM can breathe a sigh of relief, as Licorice Pizza is finally known to themselves, and the public at large. If you’re ready to take this tale for a spin, it looks like you can anticipate dropping that needle starting on November 26th. Though if there’s any sort of change up in release date status, or if you want to look for some other sounds more your speed, the 2021 release schedule will be able to assist you in that crucial matter.
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