Licorice Pizza (2021)
One of the last couple of films I wanted to see before announcing my Top Ten of 2021, which I expect will be arriving on this very page in about a week.
I really got American Graffiti vibes from this early on. Perhaps it was the glaring shirts, teen testosterone and unforgiveable haircuts on display. A couple of decades late, of course, and this feeling dissipated quite quickly as the story of Alana and Gary really got underway, with her chaperoning him as he flew to a job.
Alana Haim will no doubt have most actresses nervously shuffling uncomfortably in their seats, given this is Haim's first real acting job, and she does it so well, encompassing her namesake so completely, you would either have to assume this is just her in reality and it was a wonderful coincidence, or that she is, most likely, proving many people wrong that you need years of acting chops to earn respect for your work.
She glides through this like she's been doing it her whole life. A fact Anderson will not have missed. He is just as good as he's always been, bringing this generation to life yet again, with characters fully rounded, full of exuberance and enthusiasm for the period they are living in. I was helplessly expecting Heather Graham to roller skate through a scene on more than one occasion.
Slices of authentic and personal historical significance is what we are treated to here and Anderson remains a masterful example of delivering that to us, with a gloriously curated score, even if it is sometimes personal, directly or indirectly.
Highly recommended and littered with nominations for awards season for good reason. We are in safe hands with Anderson, something we knew before we started.