Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age film ‘Licorice Pizza’ centers around 15-year-old actor Gary Valentine, who falls in love with 25-year-old Alana Kane, a photographer’s assistant. Gary starts a waterbed company along with Alana as his assistant.
Starring Cooper Hoffman as Gary and Alana Haim as Alana, the comedy film progresses through the twists and turns that unfold in Gary and Alana’s extraordinary companionship. Impressed by the charm and appeal of the period film, we have compiled a list of films for our readers to watch upon enjoying the PTA-directorial. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Licorice Pizza’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Goodbye First Love (2011)
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve, ‘Goodbye First Love’ is a Franco-German film that revolves around the moving relationship of Camille and Sullivan. When Sullivan leaves for a 10-month trip to South America with his friends, the dynamics of their relationship change. The film progresses through the emotional struggles Camille confronts after Sullivan’s departure. Like ‘Licorice Pizza,’ ‘Goodbye First Love’ is an intense and affecting portrayal of “first love.” Gary and Camille face the new realms of emotions and challenges when their love for Alana and Sullivan get tested respectively.
6. Lady Bird (2017)
Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ is a quintessential coming-of-age film of our times. The film follows Christine MacPherson, who goes through an emotional journey, discovering her feelings and identity while constantly interacting with her mother and best friend. Like Gary in ‘Licorice Pizza,’ Christine comes across the nuances of adolescence and the shift to become emotionally independent. While ‘Licorice Pizza’ is set in San Fernando Valley, ‘Lady Bird’ is set in Sacramento, two iconic Californian cities. Paul Thomas Anderson and Greta Gerwig integrate the locality of their pivotal characters into their emotional journeys as well.
5. Boogie Nights (1997)
Paul Thomas Anderson’s obsession with San Fernando Valley and the entertainment industry of the past begins with ‘Boogie Nights.’ The film centers around Eddie Adams, a high-school dropout who becomes a famed pornographic star. Like ‘Licorice Pizza,’ ‘Boogie Nights’ is set in the 1970s, depicting another dimension of the Valley.
While the former opens a gateway to Hollywood, the latter opens a window to the backstage of the porn industry of the time. The confusions Gary and Eddie share while living in bewitching surroundings are identical. They both are trying to “grow up,” become independent, and take decisions that are beyond their maturity level.
4. Almost Famous (2000)
‘Licorice Pizza’ is a film that depicts the story of a 15-year-old who deals with celebrities and falls in love with an older girl. Well, Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’ does that too. The comedy film revolves around fifteen-year-old William Miller, who wants to write an article about a band named Stillwater. He also falls in love with Penny Lane as his writing attempt progresses. Apart from the unignorable similarity of the plots of the films, ‘Licorice Pizza’ and ‘Almost Famous’ feature several real-life characters. Both films offer us a charming love story without the boundaries of age.
3. Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)
‘Licorice Pizza’ is a nostalgic trip to the Hollywood of the 1970s. Several characters are based on famed Hollywood celebrities of the past, including William Holden, Mark Robson, Jon Peters, and many more. The incomparable Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood’ is a companion piece to ‘Licorice Pizza’ as far as Hollywood nostalgia is concerned. The film centers around Hollywood of the 1960s, following a fading actor named Rick Dalton. Like ‘Licorice Pizza,’ several Hollywood celebrities that range from Sharon Tate to Steve McQueen feature as characters in the film.
2. Harold and Maude (1971)
If you admire Gary and Alana’s romance irrespective of their age difference, Hal Ashby’s ‘Harold and Maude’ is a must-watch film for you. The romantic drama follows 19-year-old Harold Chasen, who falls in love with 79-year-old Dame Marjorie “Maude” Chardin. Irrespective of their age difference, Harold and Maude nurture an adorable relationship, which gets tested by several challenges on their way. Like Gary and Alana, Harold and Maude also try to fight the conventions of the society they are part of to be together.
1. American Graffiti (1973)
“Growing up in California” is arguably best shown in ‘American Graffiti.’ The unparalleled George Lucas film centers around a group of teenagers and the events that ensue throughout a single night. One of the best and most influential coming-of-age movies ever made, the film depicts the cultural nuances of the 1960s in great detail.
While ‘Licorice Pizza’ showcases “growing up” in the Valley, Lucas’ film does the same but is set in Modesto. If ‘Licorice Pizza’ can be seen as a nostalgic trip back to Hollywood of the 1970s, Lucas focuses on immersing the narrative on rock ‘n’ roll of the ‘60s. Still, both films make use of the framework of a coming-of-age narrative.
Read More: Is Licorice Pizza Based on a True Story?