Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza

most of the filmmakers i really love are impressive to me because they either make me think “god i could never do that” or “god i hope i could do that” and even though his films rarely seem complicated or artfully obtuse, PTA has always fallen in the former camp. i read a piece once where he said he doesn’t write to a predetermined ending, he just writes characters and writes what they’d do until an ending emerges (paraphrased for laziness) and i think this is why it’s so impressive to me; for some that’s a very natural and obvious way to write, but it’s never been the kind of stories i’ve wanted to tell. when PTA does it, he finds a conclusion that feels real and earned and “right,” but it often comes with a ”lesson” that feels antithetical to everything you’d wanna believe. but it still works. and every first time i watch a movie of his i come away having genuinely felt like i’ve changed, like I’ve seen a new angle on something i thought i knew. it fucking rocks. he’s not obsessed with being didactic, he’s obsessed with being messy until he finds a weird truth.

i think LICORICE PIZZA is a romance about the messiness of young love and how much of it is rooted in wanting to find someone who makes you feel mature. how special it is to find someone who takes you seriously and listens to you, who forgets that you’re a child when the world insists on reminding you. the other side of the coin to PHANTOM THREAD, a romance about needing to be needed. there’s so much tension in this movie that it really caught me off guard, until i remembered that’s not really what PTA traffics in, and a moment of tension might be resolved without stakes being raised or something grim happening to the characters. i can’t wait to watch this again with that peace of mind because fuck, it really is a lovely movie! i love love love the way PTA uses light with film, overexposing the bright light of day through every window and doorway, like heaven is always a few steps away. cooper hoffman is terrific here, but i think alana haim is really fucking fantastic. if i’m not mistaken there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from john c. reilly that made me laugh in it's near uselessness. i don’t know how i came away with this thought given how he’s used here, but this movie convinced me that bradley cooper is our last remaining movie star and he’s getting that oscar next year.

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