‘Licorice Pizza’: Local Boy Makes Good
Paul Thomas Anderson’s critically acclaimed Licorice Pizza is his response to Quentin Tarantino’s similarly nostalgic Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. As you may recall, I was a huge homer for Tarantino’s 2019 movie set in the Hollywood Hills and the adjoining suburban San Fernando Valley in 1969 because I was 11 then and thus appreciate Tarantino’s glamorized tour of old restaurants and drive-in movie theaters that I went to with my parents.
For sentimental reasons, I should be an even bigger fan of Anderson’s Licorice Pizza (named after a defunct Southern California record and video chain) because it’s about a 15-year-old Sherman Oaks boy in 1973, when I was a 15-year-old at school in Sherman Oaks. The movie even begins at Grant High School, the public school I would have attended if I’d not gone to a Catholic school.
Both Tarantino and Anderson grew up hanging around early SoCal video stores, QT in the South Bay, the seven-years-younger PTA in the North Hollywood region of the southeastern San Fernando Valley. (Just in case you have a hard time keeping straight the three directors named Anderson: Texan Wes Anderson makes whimsical confections like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Englishman Paul W.S. Anderson created the Resident Evil series.)
The Valley back then offered many opportunities for go-getters, w
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