Late Sunday night I was sent an inferior quality screen-shot video of the the teaser for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza (UA Releasing, 11.26).
It was captured from a theatre seat at an Alamo theatre. The teaser has also been shown at London’s Prince Charles cinema, Quentin Tarantino’s New Bev and other film-buff-friendly houses. No time code but it runs around 120 seconds. Maybe a bit longer.
Why exactly would Bradley Cooper’s Jon Peters, dressed in white, smash some car windows with a golf club or bat, and then shout and celebrate this aggression? Guess I’ll find out.
The film has been described as a ‘70s San Fernando Valley thing, focusing on the TV industry with a partial focus on Peters and L.A. City Council member Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie), etc. Plus a smiling Sean Penn in a slick gray business suit. And it’s been noted that Cooper (son of Phillip Seymour) Hoffman and rock musician Alana Haim are a significant part of the mix.
The Licorice Pizza teaser announces, in fact, that the film is less about Peters or Wachs or Penn’s character, and more about an apparent love story between Hoffman and Haim. Initial attraction, flirtation, awkward sexual stuff, warmth, smiles.
My first reaction was “really?” I don’t know much about Hoffman, 18, or Haim, 29, and have never felt any kind of rapport with either of them.
It seems to me that if you’re a major-league director making a supposedly important film about a couple of love-struck kids (even though Haim is pushing 30), you can go with one unknown as long as you pair him/her with a skilled name-brand actor, but you can’t have two unknowns carrying the film because no one will care all that much. I mean, movies deal in familiar faces and personalities for a reason…right? (A David Bowie song helps to some extent.)
I might give a damn or even care a great deal about these two when I start watching the actual film, but my first honest reaction was “the movie rests on their shoulders?”
There’s a snippet between Hoffman’s character and and Cooper / Peters in which Peters mentions his “girlfriend” Barbra Streisand, followed by a back and forth about how to pronounce the second syllable of her last name. I always thought one pronounces it as “Streisund” — not “StreiSAND.”