The baffling title obviously intrigued me, but the trailer for the film looked appealing, and I had a feeling it would some attention during Awards Season, so I went to see it, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master). Basically, set in San Francisco in 1973, fifteen-year-old high school Gary Valentine (introducing Golden Globe nominated Cooper Hoffman, son of Philip Seymour Hoffman) meets twenty-five-year-old Alana Kane (introducing Alana Haim, vocalist and musician of pop rock band Haim), a photographer's assistant, during picture day. He strikes up a conversation, she rebuffs his advances but agrees to go to dinner and they begin a friendship. Gary is a former child actor and attends auditions, Alana becomes his chaperone, when his mother cannot take him, to perform in New York in a variety show with Lucy Doolittle (Christine Ebersole). On the plane journey home, Alana meets one of Gary's co-stars, Lance (Vacation's Skyler Gisondo). They begin dating, making Gary very jealous, but the couple break up following an awkward dinner with Alana's family. Gary starts a business selling waterbeds with Alana as his employee and assistant. While selling beds at an expo, Gary is arrested, falsely suspected of murder, but is soon cleared and released. Alana decides she wants to give acting a try, Gary's agent gets her an audition for a film starring Jack Holden (Sean Penn). Following the audition, Holden takes Alana to a restaurant, where Gary and his friends, are dining along with film director Rex Blau (Tom Waits). Blau convinces avid motorcycle enthusiast Holden to recreate a stunt, to jump over a fiery ramp, on a local golf course. An inebriated Holden brings Alana along, but she topples off the bike; Holden performs the stunt, a crowd gathers around to praise him while Gary runs to Alana to make sure that she is unhurt. Film producer Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper) is the latest buyer of a waterbed and is particularly rude during the delivery process for Gary, Alana, and Gary's friends. A gas crisis begins to sweep the country and an irritated Peters leaves to see a film, but not before threatening to murder Gary and his brother if anything happens to his house. After setting up the bed, Gary deliberately floods the house before leaving with Alana. An agitated Peters is coming up the drive as they are leaving, his car has run out of gas. They drive him to a gas station, where he threatens a customer with a gun to get ahead and fill his can. Alana and Gary leave him behind, and Gary stops to attack Peters' car, but they soon run out of gas themselves. The only option is for Alan to manoeuvre the truck backwards down a hill to reach a gas station. The waterbed loses business because of the gas crisis and eventually collapses. Alana meets politician Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie) who is running for office and begins to work on his mayoral campaign. Gary briefly joins her but overhears that pinball machines has been legalised in California (it was banned beginning in the 1940s) and decides to open an arcade. In an argument, Alana implies that Gary is immature, and he retaliates by calling her old. While Gary prepares to open his arcade, Alana is invited for drinks with Wachs at a restaurant. She learns that Wachs is gay after he introduces to his partner, Matthew (Joseph Cross). He asks her to take Matthew home pretending he is her boyfriend, to help conceal his homosexuality. Matthew's feelings are hurt by this, Alana apologises to him, she takes him home and they share some words of kindness to each other. Meanwhile, Gary is feeling the pressure of running his new business, with elements of gambling and uncontrollable customers involved, and he walks out. While Alana is heading to his arcade to see him, Gary has walked out to find her at Wachs' office. They reunite and head for the arcade, where they kiss and run out into the night. Alana tells Gary she loves him. Also starring Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Momma Anita, John Michael Higgins as Jerry Frick, Harriet Sansom Harris as Mary Grady, Ryan Heffington as Steve, Nate Mann as Brian, George DiCaprio (Leonardo's father) as Mr. Jack, Ray Chase as B. Mitchel Reed, Emma Dumont as Brenda, Maya Rudolph as Gale, John C. Reilly as Fred Gwynne (The Munsters), Este Haim as Este, Danielle Haim as Danielle, Sasha Spielberg (daughter of Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw) as Tiny Toes Girl, and Ray Nicholson (Jack's son) as Ray. The strange title is named after a former chain of record shops in southern California, based on vinyl records, "licorice" (spelled liquorice in UK) because they are black, and "pizza" because they are circular. Anyway, newcomers Haim and Hoffman do well in the leading parts and have chemistry together, and there is welcome support from Penn as a boozy movie star and Cooper as a film producer with a short fuse. The story felt to me like something and nothing, I can see what people say about the initial start of the love story being stalker-like, I can also see what they mean about it dipping a bit in the middle and then picking up towards the end. But the 1970s period detail, costume design, locations, use of colour and soundtrack (including "Peace Frog" by The Doors and "Life on Mars" by David Bowie) was well done, it might not be for everyone, but I found it an interesting enough drama. It was nominated the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, and Best Screenplay for Paul Thomas Anderson. Worth watching!