Licorice Pizza
LicoricePizzaPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Thomas Anderson
Written byPaul Thomas Anderson
Produced by
  • Sara Murphy
  • Adam Somner
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring
Cinematography
  • Michael Bauman
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
Edited byAndy Jurgensen
Music byJonny Greenwood
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • November 26, 2021 (2021-11-26) (United States)
Running time
133 minutes[2]
Countries
  • United States
  • Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$40 million[3]
Box office$11 million[4][5]

Licorice Pizza is a 2021 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who also serves as one of the film's producers and cinematographers. The film stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, and Benny Safdie.

Licorice Pizza was released in the United States in select theaters on November 26, 2021, and was widely released on December 25, 2021.[6] The film received acclaim from critics and received three awards from the National Board of Review, including Best Film. It was also named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute and received four nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, along with eight nominations at the 27th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture.

Plot

In the San Fernando Valley in 1973, 15-year-old Gary Valentine prepares for his high school picture day. He notices 25-year-old Alana Kane, a photographer's assistant, and strikes up conversation with her. She rebuffs his advances, but ultimately later meets with him for dinner and the two begin a friendship. Gary attends auditions and appears in a variety show with Lucy Doolittle, and when Gary's mother Anita reveals that she'll be in Las Vegas when she was supposed to take him to New York, Alana chaperones him instead. On the plane to New York, Alana meets Lance, one of Gary's co-stars in a Doolittle film, and the two begin dating, but they break up after an awkward dinner with Alana's family.

Gary starts a waterbed company with Alana as an employee and assistant. While selling beds at an expo, he is arrested on suspicion of murder but is soon released. When Alana decides she wants to try her hand at acting, Gary introduces her to his agent, who gets her an audition for a film starring Jack Holden and directed by Sam Harpoon. After her audition, Alana accompanies Holden to a local restaurant, which Gary and his friends, as well as film director Rex Blau, are also patronizing. Blau convinces Holden, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, to recreate a stunt on a local golf course involving a jump over a fiery ramp. An inebriated Holden brings Alana along but she topples off the bike in the process, and Gary runs to her to make sure that she is unhurt while Holden performs the stunt and subsequently wrecks the motorcycle, though he is unharmed.

Gary, Alana, and Gary's friends deliver a waterbed to Jon Peters' house as a gas crisis begins to sweep the country. An irritated Peters leaves to go see a film, but not before threatening to murder Gary's family, specifically his brother, if the group ruins his house. After setting up the bed, an upset Gary floods the house before leaving with Alana. They are later waved down by an agitated Peters, whose car had run out of gas. They drive him to a gas station but upon arrival, he threatens a customer. Alana and Gary leave him behind, with the latter stopping to attack Peters' car, but they soon run out of gas as well. Alana successfully maneuvers the truck backwards down a hill until Gary and his friends are able to fill the tanks. However, the waterbed business ultimately fails as a result of the gas crisis.

Alana begins to work on the Joel Wachs mayoral campaign. Gary briefly joins her, but after overhearing that pinball has been legalized, he decides to open an arcade. The two cut ties after an argument during which Alana implies that Gary is immature and he calls her old in retaliation. As Gary prepares for the opening of his arcade, Alana is invited for drinks with Wachs that night. She arrives at the restaurant and learns Wachs is gay after being introduced to his partner, Matthew. He asks her to take Matthew home as a beard, despite Matthew's visibly hurt feelings. Afterwards, Alana apologizes to Matthew and the two share kind words with each other after she takes him home. Alana later goes to Gary's arcade to see him, but finds him gone, as he had left to find her at Wachs' office. Eventually, the two reunite and head for the arcade, where the two share a kiss and run out of the arcade into the night, at which point Alana tells Gary she loves him.

Cast

Haim's sisters Danielle and Este, father Moti, and mother Donna also appear as Alana Kane's family.[10] The children of Anderson and Rudolph also appear.[11]

Production

Development

Around 2001, Anderson was walking by a middle school in Los Angeles on picture day. He observed one of the students nagging the female photographer and had an idea of the student having an adult relationship with the photographer. The screenplay of Licorice Pizza evolved from this experience and additional stories told to Anderson by his friend Gary Goetzman, who was a child actor who had starred in the film Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and eventually started a waterbed company and pinball arcade. Goetzman at one time delivered a waterbed to Jon Peters's home.[12][13] Anderson considered Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Graffiti as major influences in the making of Licorice Pizza.[7]

Anderson received permission from Jon Peters to develop a character based on him, on the sole condition that Peters's favorite pick-up line is used. Anderson went on to create a "monster version" of Peters based on 1970s Hollywood producers who had "a reputation for a lot of bravado and aggro energy".[7]

The working title of the film was reported in November 2020 as Soggy Bottom.[14] In September 2021, the film was officially titled Licorice Pizza,[15] named after a former chain of record shops in southern California.[16] Anderson explained, "If there's two words that make me kind of have a Pavlovian response and memory of being a child and running around, it's 'licorice' and 'pizza' [...] It instantly takes me back to that time." He added that the words "seemed like a catch-all for the feeling of the film [...] that go well together and maybe capture a mood."[7][13]

Casting

Anderson wrote the screenplay with Alana Haim in mind and offered her the lead role in summer 2019.[17] He has a close connection to her band Haim, having directed several of their music videos, and is a close friend of the Haim family.[18] Haim's sisters Este and Danielle and parents Mordechai and Donna were also cast to play the roles of her family.[19] Cooper Hoffman, the son of Philip Seymour Hoffman, was cast late in the process after Anderson found the auditioning young actors too "precocious" and "trained" to match the naturalistic style of Haim's acting.[18] Licorice Pizza marks the feature film debut of both Haim and Hoffman.[19][20] Described as a "family-and-friends project" by the Los Angeles Times, the film also features Anderson's longtime partner Maya Rudolph, their four children, and many of their neighborhood friends in various roles.[13]

Filming

Principal photography began in Encino, California in August 2020.[21] In November 2020, it was reported that principal photography had wrapped and post-production had begun.[22] A Tudor manor previously owned by actor Lyle Waggoner was used for scenes at Jon Peters's house.[23] Tail o' the Cock, a famed local restaurant that was demolished in 1987, was recreated for the film at the Van Nuys Golf Course.[13][24] Haim spent a week learning to drive trucks, and performed her own stunt in which she backed a truck down a long hill.[17]

Anderson and Michael Bauman (sharing a director of photography credit) shot Licorice Pizza on 35 mm film, using older lenses in order to create the film's 1970s texture.[25]

Music

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood composed the film's score cues. The first trailer for the film, which was released online on September 27, 2021, was set to David Bowie's "Life on Mars?".[26]

The official soundtrack will be released by Republic Records. Included are some of the songs featured in the film, as well as one of the original tracks composed by Greenwood.[27]

Licorice Pizza Soundtrack
No.TitleWriter(s)Artist(s)Length
1."July Tree"Irma Jurist, Eve MerriamNina Simone2:44
2."Stumblin' In"Mike Chapman, Nicky ChinnChris Norman & Suzi Quatro3:58
3."Sometimes I'm Happy"Vincent Youmans, Irving CaesarJohnny Guarnieri4:05
4."Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"Harold Arlen, Johnny MercerBing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters featuring Vic Schoen & his orchestra2:42
5."Blue Sands"Buddy ColletteChico Hamilton Quintet featuring Buddy Collette6:36
6."But You're Mine"Sonny BonoSonny & Cher3:04
7."My Ding-a-Ling live at The Fillmore (1967)"Dave BartholomewChuck Berry featuring Steve Miller Band4:38
8."Peace Frog"Robby Krieger, Jim MorrisonThe Doors2:52
9."Let Me Roll It"Paul McCartney, Linda McCartneyPaul McCartney and Wings4:51
10."Life On Mars?"David BowieDavid Bowie3:52
11."Slip Away"William Armstrong, Marcus Daniel, Wilbur TerrellClarence Carter2:34
12."Diamond Girl"Jim Seals, Dash CroftsSeals and Crofts4:13
13."Greensleeves" Mason Williams2:45
14."Barabajagal"DonovanDonovan with The Jeff Beck Group, Lesley Duncan, Suzi Quatro and Madeline Bell3:20
15."Softly Whispering I Love You"Roger Greenaway, Roger CookThe Congregation3:02
16."Licorice Pizza"Jonny GreenwoodJonny Greenwood3:07
17."If You Could Read My Mind"Gordon LightfootGordon Lightfoot3:51
18."Walk Away"Joe WalshJames Gang3:35
19."Lisa, Listen To Me"David Clayton-Thomas, Dick HalliganBlood, Sweat & Tears2:58
20."Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day"Taj MahalTaj Mahal4:14
Total length:1:04:01

Release

On December 18, 2019, Focus Features came on to produce and distribute the film.[28] On July 17, 2020, it was reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired distribution rights to the film from Focus, and that MGM would set a new start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[29]

The film was released in select theaters in the United States on November 26, 2021, and was followed by a nationwide release on December 25, 2021.[6][30]

Reception

Box office

As of January 12, 2022, Licorice Pizza has grossed $8.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $2.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $11 million.[4][5]

Licorice Pizza opened in four theaters on November 26, 2021, including the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles. It made $142,000 on its first day, $105,000 on its second, and $89,000 on its third for a $335,000 opening weekend and an average of $83,800 per screen. Audiences were reported to be 72% between the ages of 18 and 34, 66% male, and 70% Caucasian, 19% Latino and Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 3% Black. Close to 70% of all moviegoers were also college graduates.[31][32] In its fifth weekend, the film expanded its release to 786 theaters and entered the box office top ten for the first time with $1.9 million, finishing eighth. During the weekend, 66% of audience members were between the ages of 18 and 34.[33][34] The film earned $1.3 million in its sixth weekend, finishing eighth,[35] and $981,886 in its seventh, placing ninth.[36]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of 249 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Licorice Pizza finds Paul Thomas Anderson shifting into a surprisingly comfortable gear – and getting potentially star-making performances out of his fresh-faced leads."[37] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 90 out of 100 based on 55 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[38] Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film an 87% positive score, with 73% saying they would definitely recommend it.[39]

Accolades

AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
Golden Globe AwardsJanuary 9, 2022Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyLicorice PizzaNominated[40]
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyCooper HoffmanNominated
Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or MusicalAlana HaimNominated
Best ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Critics' Choice AwardsMarch 13, 2022Best PictureLicorice PizzaPending[41]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best ActressAlana HaimPending
Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best Acting EnsembleThe Cast of Licorice PizzaPending
Best Young Actor/ActressCooper HoffmanPending
Best ComedyLicorice PizzaPending
Best EditingAndy JurgensenPending
Alliance of Women Film Journalists AwardsJanuary 2022Best FilmLicorice PizzaPending[42]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best Screenplay, OriginalPending
Best Woman's Breakthrough PerformanceAlana HaimPending
American Film Institute AwardsJanuary 7, 2022Top 10 Movies of the YearLicorice PizzaWon[43]
Boston Society of Film Critics AwardsDecember 12, 2021Best ActressAlana HaimWon[44]
Best EnsembleLicorice PizzaWon
Detroit Film Critics SocietyDecember 6, 2021Best ActressAlana HaimNominated[45]
Best Breakthrough PerformanceNominated
Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Hollywood Critics AssociationJanuary 8, 2021Best PictureLicorice PizzaPending[46]
National Board of ReviewDecember 3, 2021Best FilmLicorice PizzaWon[47]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonWon
Best Breakthrough PerformanceAlana Haim and Cooper HoffmanWon
New York Film Critics CircleDecember 3, 2021Best ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonWon[48]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association AwardsDecember 6, 2021Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonNominated[49]
New York Film Critics OnlineDecember 12, 2021Top 10 Films of 2021Licorice PizzaWon[50]
Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsDecember 15, 2021Best FilmLicorice PizzaNominated[51]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Best Original ScreenplayWon
Best ActressAlana HaimNominated
Most Promising PerformerWon
Best Supporting ActorBradley CooperNominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association AwardsDecember 18, 2021Best ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonRunner-up[52]
Best EditingAndy JurgensenRunner-up
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association AwardsDecember 19, 2021Best FilmLicorice PizzaWon[53]
Best Comedy FilmWon
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Best Original ScreenplayNominated
Best Supporting ActorBradley CooperNominated
Best EditingAndy JurgensenNominated
Best Scene"Truck driving in reverse"Won
Best EnsembleLicorice PizzaNominated
Best SoundtrackNominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics AssociationDecember 20, 2021Best PictureLicorice PizzaRunner-up[54]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonRunner-up
Best ScreenplayRunner-up
Florida Film Critics Circle AwardsDecember 22, 2021Best ActressAlana HaimWon[55]
Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonRunner-up
Breakout AwardCooper HoffmanWon
Best EnsembleLicorice PizzaNominated
Satellite AwardsMarch 18, 2022Best Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalPending[56]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best Original ScreenplayPending
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalAlana HaimPending
Best Film EditingAndy JurgensenPending
National Society of Film CriticsJanuary 8, 2022Best ActressAlana HaimRunner-up[57]
Best ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonRunner-up
San Diego Film Critics SocietyJanuary 10, 2021Best Breakthrough ArtistAlana HaimNominated[58]
Best Comedic PerformanceBradley CooperWon
San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics CircleJanuary 10, 2022Best PictureLicorice PizzaNominated[59]
Best Supporting ActorBradley CooperNominated
Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Best Film EditingAndy JurgensenNominated
Austin Film Critics AssociationJanuary 11, 2022Best FilmLicorize PizzaNominated[60]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Best ActressAlana HaimNominated
Best Supporting ActorBradley CooperNominated
Best Original ScreenplayPaul Thomas AndersonNominated
Best Film EditingAndy JurgensenNominated
Best EnsembleLicorice PizzaNominated
The Robert R. "Bobby" McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist AwardAlana HaimWon
Seattle Film Critics SocietyJanuary 17, 2022Best PictureLicorice PizzaPending[61]
Best Actress in a Leading RoleAlana HaimPending
Best Ensemble CastLicorice PizzaPending
Best Youth PerformanceCooper HoffmanPending
AACTA International AwardsJanuary 26, 2021Best FilmLicorice PizzaPending[62]
Best DirectionPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best ScreenplayPending
Best Supporting ActorBradley CooperPending
London Film Critics Circle AwardsFebruary 6, 2022Film of the YearLicorice PizzaPending[63]
Screenwriter of the YearPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Houston Film Critics Society AwardsFebruary 19, 2022Best PictureLicorice PizzaPending[64]
Best DirectorPaul Thomas AndersonPending
Best ScreenplayPending
Best ActressAlana HaimPending
Screen Actors Guild AwardsFebruary 27, 2022Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleBradley CooperPending[65]

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External links