Licorice Pizza


I like this movie. I don’t know why? I don’t care. I just enjoyed it. I enjoyed it like—well–I enjoyed it like licorice pizza. I suspect you have to be in the mood for it.

In this story 15 year-old grinning, fast-talking and precocious Garry Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) tries to get a date with  terminally bored cantankerous and nasty  25 year old Alana Kane who is disgusted with herself by the thought that a peon–who was only 15 years old would actually interest her. The lad persists and she finds herself sickeningly interested. That she is interested strikes her as showing how low she has sunk.

This is a conversation between Alana and her friend:

“Alana:         Do you think it’s weird that I hang out with Garry and his friends all the time?

Friend:        No.

Alana:         I think it’s weird.

Friend:        It is whatever you think it is.

Alana:         I think it’s weird  that I hang out all time with a boy and his 15-year old friends all the time.”


There are some brilliant short roles in the film. Sean Penn performs as a motor cycling Jack Holden who is persuaded to “fly” over a bonfire with his cycle. Bradley Cooper plays the part of Jon Peters, the psychotic husband of Barbara Streisand. A few other zany roles add sauce to the pizza. The relationship between Kane and Valentine is interesting and anything but smooth.


Alana sits in on a conversation between her boss, a municipal councilman up for re-election who is spotted by a spy having dinner with his boyfriend.  Even though he considers himself filled with integrity and has no time for relationships he doesn’t want people to think he had a date with this guy during the campaign so he calls up Alana and instructs her, even though she is is his integrity officer, to act as his friend’s beard so his secret won’t come out. Meanwhile, his friend is humiliated by the subterfuge.

Thinks only go better for Alana when she finally realizes there is no point in doing what others would want her to do. Why care about them? That’s not integrity. Do what you want to do and don’t worry about whether others think you are weird.

Yes you are weird. Revel in that. Make your pizza out of licorice. Red or black, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good.


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