Every morning for the past couple of weeks, I’ve woken up and asked myself the same question: “Is today going to be the day I finally get to watch the Licorice Pizza trailer?” And I guess it’s really true what they say, that good things come to people who wait. Because, folks, it’s finally here, after playing exclusively at limited theaters such as Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly in Los Angeles. And it’s bringing with it all of the Paul Thomas Anderson glory that Paul Thomas Anderson has to offer.
Previously named Soggy Bottom, Licorice Pizza is Anderson’s ninth feature film, and comes off the heels of six-time Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread (2017). But if you’re expecting another film about a haughty dressmaker in London in the 1950s, you might be disappointed. The new film marks Anderson’s return to his beloved San Fernando Valley, the setting of Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). The first trailer, set to David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”, depicts the trials and tribulations of a high school student, played by Cooper Hoffman (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son), attempting to pave his way as an actor in the 1970s. He gets involved with a young woman played by Alana Haim, the guitarist for sister-band Haim, with whom Anderson has made many a California-based music video.
Also in the ensemble cast is Bradley Cooper as the real-life film producer Jon Peters, Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly, Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Skyler Gisondo, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Destry Allyn Spielberg, Joseph Cross and Nate Mann. Though the trailer doesn’t reveal terribly much (and Anderson is such a complex director, anyway, that how can you expect to gain much of anything from a two-minute clip?), it does give us some idea of what to expect from our viewing experience. It looks like Anderson will be tapping into his musical sensibilities, which only makes sense given his lengthy repertoire of collaborations with musicians, with music videos for Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Joanna Newsom, Thom Yorke and others under his belt.
In addition, the luscious images are positively soaked in nostalgia, and the delightfully awkward interactions suggest that this is going to be a character study filled to the brim with teen angst. This is gonna be a good one.
Check out the trailer below:
Licorice Pizza hits theaters on November 26, 2021.