“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” from a Teenager’s Perspective, the Backstory of “Licorice Pizza”

Movie World

The list of nominees for the 94th Academy Awards has been released. Independent film star Paul Thomas Anderson achieved another success. His new film “Licorice Pizza” won three nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

The film opened in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York in November last year, setting a record for the highest average box office of a single-screened film since the epidemic.

“Licorice Pizza” scored 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which has also made fans around the world look forward to it.

How can a retro sugar water film that looks ordinary, how to break through in the awards season? Come see it today.

In front of the stage

In 1973, Alana and Gary first met on the high school campus. She is 25 years old and is an employee in charge of filming student yearbooks. He is 15 years old, a high school student who is studying.

At first sight, Gary approached Alana skillfully and asked her to have dinner, but Alana refused because of her age, but couldn’t help but go to the appointment.

During the chat, Gary told the other party that he was a child star. He said he believed that Alana also had the ability to be a star.

Such hopeful words caused ripples in the heart of Alana, who was uneasy about the status quo.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

Soon, Gary had the opportunity to perform on stage in New York. Alana accompanied her as a guardian, but in the process, she and her peers quickly fell in love with each other, leaving Gary alone.

However, the new boyfriend parted ways with Alana’s family for the first time.

After Alana’s relationship failed, she decided to join Gary’s entrepreneurial team and sell water beds with him. She also got a chance to audition for a movie through Gary.

Of course, they still haven’t communicated, only undercurrents are surging. Gary is annoyed that Alana agrees to go topless in the movie, but refuses to show it to himself.

Alana wears a bikini to sell a waterbed while Gary flirts with a female classmate her age. The two began to contradict each other.

Since then, the oil crisis broke out, and the waterbed business could no longer be done.

Alana is also tired of Gary’s naivety and naivety. She is determined to join the local councillor’s campaign team. During the work, the handsome councilor makes Alana’s heart beat again.

Gary opened his own pinball shop after overheard that the pachinko machines would be legal again…

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

Whether this 10-year-old sibling relationship will be successful or not, it seems that at the end of the film, we can’t confirm.

The two are like marbles running passionately in a machine, constantly moving away from each other and getting closer. More often, they each receive the baptism of collision and growth in their own tracks.

There are not too many ups and downs in the plot, and it is even scattered and trivial. It only tells a simple story of two young people looking for the future direction in confusion and exploring their true hearts in the trial. It seems to be no different from ordinary romance films.

The reason why the film is loved by audiences is that, in essence, it is closer to a picture of the last century, a retro-style painting of the United States in the 1970s.

Behind the scenes

The title of the film is “Licorice Pizza”, but there is no food related to the title. Just because Licorice Pizza is American slang, it is the name for vinyl records.

At the same time, it is also the name of a famous chain of record stores in Southern California that existed in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Of course, the record store also doesn’t appear in the movie. The title “Licorice Pizza” is simply because it reminds Anderson, who was born in California’s San Fernando Valley, “as a child”.

That’s right, this film is telling the audience from the title of the film that the next content to watch will be a “childhood past” from the perspective of the director’s private memories.

How private is it?

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

The male and female lead actors in this film are all newcomers who have never appeared on the big screen.

The heroine is played by Alana, who is actually one of the members of the band Haim Girl, and the other two of the band are her sisters.

They, also from the San Fernando Valley, have been close friends with Anderson over the years, and Anderson has filmed music videos for their songs.

The character of the same name in the film is tailor-made for Alana by the director. Alana’s sister in the film is also played by her own sister.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

And Cooper Hoffman, who plays the male protagonist Gary, belongs to the “children’s father’s business”.

His father, Philipp Hofmann, used to be Anderson’s royal man, and participated in four Anderson-directed films including “What a fucking night” and “Magnolia”.

Anderson insisted on choosing this Amateur boy as the protagonist of his new film. It is hard to say that it was not out of affection for an old friend.

With casting purely out of personal preference, there is also the style of the era in memory.

Real buildings such as the Cock Bar and the Palatine Concert Hall have had a profound impact on people’s lives due to the fuel crisis. Influenced by the concept of sexual liberation, girls who do not wear underwear, fearless age and courage to start a business…

Anderson condenses all his memories of the 1970s into “Licorice Pizza”, and uses images to lead himself and the audience to relive the good old days.

Many of the supporting roles appearing in the film also give a sense of indistinguishability between reality and reality.

For example, the proprietor who originally marketed waterbeds to Gary was played by Leonardo DiCaprio’s father, George DiCaprio, who actually sold waterbeds in his youth.

Jack Holden, an out-of-date male star whom Alana met during the audition, was based on the Oscar winner William Holden.

The scene of the actor performing a flying car in the parking lot and then crashing the car is also from Anderson’s childhood memory.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

Jon Peters, played by Bradley Cooper, is a well-known Hollywood producer (the 89 version of “Batman”).

Anderson showed him the script before the filming, and Peters didn’t think he would be irritable at a young and beautiful girl, but would only “find a way to get on her”, which is why Peters harassed Alana in the movie.

Among them, the deep-closet politicians also exist in reality, and officially came out of the closet when they ran for mayor in 1999.

Despite his many contributions to same-sex rights and same-sex legislation, he himself was unable to enjoy these rights in the 1970s, so he dared not reveal his homosexuality.

Even the male protagonist Gary’s experience as a child star, selling water beds, and opening a pinball shop is also based on the real life of Anderson’s friend and producer Gary Goldzman.

He mixed his own memories, the stories of the people around him, the real street scenes and characters of the times, and finally gave birth to such a retro and unique piece of Licorice Pizza.

So it’s understandable why American audiences love it so much. Because what they see in the film is not only love, but also their own youth.


Paul Thomas Anderson, a talented director known by fans as PTA, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the age of 26 for his self-written and directed film “What a fucking night”.

With an astonishingly grand vision, the film depicts a social panorama of how the American pornographic industry was booming and declining in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and how various characters struggled to survive and recognize themselves under the torrent of the times.

A fledgling director, with steady and sophisticated camera movement and scene scheduling, smooth editing and exquisite soundtrack, he has successfully mastered such subjects and brought a hearty movie viewing experience.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

Since then, PTA’s excellent works have appeared frequently. With “Punch-DrunkLove”, “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master”, he became the first director in film history to win the Grand Slam of the three major European international film festivals.

His subsequent “Inherent Vice” and “Phantom Thread” also earned him Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director respectively.

The skill in “Licorice Pizza” is still not inferior, with long shots with PTA’s personal style, framed composition and a lot of nostalgic soundtrack to enhance the atmosphere, it can easily pull people into the brisk and bright summer on the screen.

The way Gary and Alana run three times is even more memorable.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

The first run happened when Gary was mistakenly arrested by the police for suspecting a murderer, and Alana went to him worriedly, only to discover that it was a misunderstanding.

At this time, the love between the two is not only expressed by lines.

The second run, after Alana was dumped by the ex-star.

The old-fashioned star gallops forward on his motorcycle, chasing after his long-gone glory days. Gary ran wild on foot in the opposite direction, towards the girl he loved.

Under the parallel editing, you will feel in a trance that Gary is running at the same speed as the motorcycle, and Alana’s weight in his heart is also as important as success.

For the third run, they desperately searched for each other on the streets of the night.

The figure of the extremely fast forward overlapped with the past two times, and they rushed forward desperately until they really embraced. People who have love in their hearts will always run towards each other again and again.

The director’s skills have not declined, and another reason for disappointing fans is that the pattern remains the same. To put it simply, this movie is easy but also too casual, too “playing tickets”.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" from a Teenager's Perspective, the Backstory of "Licorice Pizza"

What is the true style of PTA?

The outline of social conditions in turbulent times, the exploration and satire of human nature, and the introspection and questioning of religious beliefs.

The man who once criticized the bloodthirsty and indifference of capital in “There Will Be Blood”, ridiculed the dark hypocrisy of human nature, and ridiculed the cruel life and the impermanence of fate in “Magnolia”, now only based on his memories, he made a sweet and sweet hometown. ‘s love letter.

The movie is still a good movie, but after watching it, it will only make people sigh, the director is happy if you are happy.

Of course, at a time when the whole world is still plagued by the epidemic and gunpowder smoke, being able to watch a relaxing and pleasant movie is a precious thing for many people.

Perhaps this is another value of the existence of “Licorice Pizza”.

As Anne Soukhanov, president of the National Review Society, said of it: “In these uncertain times of transition, there is no better film to infuse us with joy, hope and excitement than ‘Licorice Pizza’.”

Related Post: “Licorice Pizza”: Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film has an excellent reputation, and its Rotten Tomatoes are 100% fresh.

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