Licorice Pizza: Not Sugar Free, but the Diabetes is worth it

Licorice Pizza won’t ever be my favorite PT Anderson movie, but it was dog gone enjoyable. Call me all American, since what I like about Licorice Pizza is exactly what I didn’t like about Belfast. In the end, L.P. consists of gorgeous moments strung delicately together, like shiny romantic white lights in a dark room. I guess it makes sense that I love LP for what Belfast was also NOT, a romance, and my kind of slow burn, non-chalant “I’m going to be at such and such restaurant, come if you want, I’ll be there” type of romance.
I loved how PT showed his characters’ dynamics with minimal dialogue, in fact we learn as much about Alana through the eyes of her family as we do from her actions. Ditto Cooper Hoffman’s character Gary, who we can tell is the man of the house with subtlety and yet un-apologetically matter of factly. This was the 70’s ‘man’, when kids could raise themselves pretty much, without much harm.
I had such mixed feelings about Cooper Hoffman going into this movie: I wanted to like him because I LOVED his Dad, but yet I feel icky if he’s been pressured by whoever to follow in these ginormous footsteps or God forbid, has an ego thinking he can ‘replace’ his father. Yet Cooper stands on his own as an actor and thankfully (for me) has his own unique look. In fact, really the only thing he has in common with his dad is his ‘soggy bottom’ body shape.
Alana Haim who I didn’t know from her musical career, was beautiful as the vulnerable toughie.
All of the minor characters maybe even the little names more than the bigs, save Cooper’s little brother who lacked charisma, were perfection: bigs first; Bradly Cooper, Sean Penn and Tom Waits, and as aforementioned, especially Harriet Sansom Harris who steals a scene with her antics as a casting director AND John Michael Higgins as the Japanese restaurant owner.
Last, why I loved LP is its focus on my longing for the intimacy of old school phones, the feel of them in my hand, the live wire ringing, the cords that gave us roots, the sounds of people’s voices that felt so much closer than lame ass 5G, even the feel of the rotary dial. Damn what I wouldn’t give to have those days and phones back again.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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