TikTokers are accusing ‘Licorice Pizza’ of pedophilia. Huh?

Marlow: We have now broken down Adam McKay’s Starry Netflix satire Don’t look up (alternative title: America Is Royally F * cked), we can move on to a “controversy” that has somehow captured the imagination of free TikTok/Twitter: Licorice pizza. The latest film from filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, of There will be bloodshed and Boogie night popular, is a big new story set in ’70s Los Angeles — Valley to be exact.

Kevin: It’s neither here nor there, but honestly it’s the best title of our time.

Marlow: Named after a chain of real-life record stores in Southern California. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, a frequent collaborator of the PTA) is a 15-year-old child actor heavily affected by puberty, judged by his pimples, height, and huge bust, but that doesn’t stop him. tarnished his confidence.

Kevin: I wasn’t kidding when I said it, after the credits ended, I turned to my friend and said, “Representing acne.” It’s great to see normal/bad skin on screen!

Marlow: Especially in the Maskne Era. One day, he runs into Alana Kane (Alana Haim, of the band Haim, in a new debut) who is a photographer’s assistant and ten years older than him. It marks the beginning of a beautiful and thrilling friendship as they navigate an odd cast of Hollywood characters, including producer/Barbara Streisand lover Jon Peters (the hilarious Bradley Cooper), action hero Jack Holden (Sean Penn, plays a character based on William Holden), and more. It was voted Best Film by the National Board of Review and has received near-global critical acclaim. However, in recent days, leftists clutching pearls on TikTok and Twitter have emerged after the film, with some even going as far as accuse it of “pedophilia.” Make it all make sense, Kfal!

Kevin: Making sense of a TikTok controversy? You have come to exactly the wrong place.

Marlow: Listen, I don’t blame you. I wish I wasn’t aware of this!

Kevin: The setting here, as you mentioned, is both a coming-of-age story and a melodrama. Alana 25 years old. Gary is 15 years old. People are treating that tumultuous relationship as predatory and abusive, especially when we are seen as root viewers for them and welcome their relationship. There’s a lot of criticism thrown at the film: that the trailers and marketing are meant to obscure the age difference, that the pedophilia is used for fun, that if the sexes are reversed, they I would flag the movie as problematic or that the grooming is forgivable since it’s a popular (Anderson) movie at the helm, thus making it interesting. So now we are in a situation where we have to make a decision whether those criticisms are valid and the movie should be called out, or is this just another case of the media. reactionary, exaggerated society captures a news cycle.

Marlow: And it’s definitely the latter, in my opinion. Today, audiences often make the mistake of allowing their personal politics to color their feelings about a movie or TV show — to the point that if a particular movie or series isn’t a direct continue with their current stance, they see it as a moral failure of some sort. But movies are a mirror to society and should therefore provide an opportunity to get messy, as life itself is. very messy, assuming the picture doesn’t move into mining territory, this Licorice pizza no. of course.

Kevin: The only thing it exploits is my love of Bradley Cooper, who looks like an absolute snack in his hippie outfit in this movie.

Marlow: He’s *too good* at playing crazy guys. Sign me up for a Jon Peters spin-off. When you watch Licorice pizza, you are the source for Gary and Alana to succeed in their various business endeavors, be it an underwater venture or a video game of marbles, and wish they were still friends, but you never now consider it a sexual relationship, grooming or hunting. Gary definitely has a bit of a crush, but teenage boys do any attractive women in their orbits who give them the time of day; Alana, meanwhile, never viewed Gary as a sex object. It’s all about friendship. I’m really curious if some of these people are just dumb conspirators about some “Pizzagate” crap and came to see the movie because they read the synopsis and it had “pizza” in the title. title (“Pizzagate” is extremely popular on TikTok and these are stupid times after all.)

Kevin: If only it were as easy as writing down the whole Pizzagate conspiracy nonsense. Those who are criticizing the film seem to have their minds right and their arguments are, as bullet points, very convincing. If you watch the film with a mindset and understand that this age difference is gross and abusive, it’s alarming and disturbing. You are wondering what the intention is. Is it seducing such a relationship? Is it normalizing it? But when you do that, you’re reducing the movie to just one thing, and that’s what I don’t think it really has.

Marlow: I couldn’t agree more.

Kevin: I don’t feel the movie is about Alana and Gary’s relationship as much as it is about how each other’s presence in their lives helps them understand who they are now and how they will develop in the future. future. I think that’s why all these criticisms confuse me, because they make the assumption that Alana is after Gary and that love or sex is the ultimate goal in the stories. their tell. I’ve never felt it, but if you look at it through the lens of this backlash, it can be hard to focus on anything else.


Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman in Licorice pizza

United Artists / MGM

Marlow: Well, it’s about how they’ve helped each other grow as a person, which is the exact opposite of what an exploitative relationship is. It’s worth noting that the two have a brief kiss in the latter part of the film, but at that point Gary is not only about 17 years old, as the movie takes place over the course of many years, but it’s not sexually charged at all. . .

Kevin: “Not at all sexually charged” is how I would describe my last dates.

Marlow: Ha! Like Paul Thomas Anderson himself told New York Times on the age gap, “No boundaries are crossed, and nothing but the right intentions. It would surprise me if there was some sort of joke about it, because there isn’t much of that. That’s not the story we made, in any way. There isn’t a single provocative bone in the body of this movie. “The sad thing is that the PTA has forgotten that it’s 2021 and some corners of the Internet have a tendency to lose their marbles about anything and everything that might come into conflict with them. As you said, Intention is important here, and at no point do you feel like Gary and Alana’s relationship is building towards romance in any way; on the contrary, the film implies that the two dreamers are eternal dreamers. will soon be separated from each other.

Kevin: I guess I’m just happy about that, and even though it’s very self-conscious that we now have a two-line trailer about it on this site, the movie seems to have overcome this outrage. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year. Watching it in a crowded movie theater where everyone giggled and clapped at every joke and set-up (truck scene!) To me as a movie buff. Alana Haim is so brilliant, making the fact that this is her first lead role seems wild. A lot of film reactions these days seem to be living in ill-conceived controversies, exploding even the tiniest of criticisms into potential backlash. It’s tiring. Sometimes I just wish that we could let good movies be just as good.

Marlow: Amen. TikTokers are accusing ‘Licorice Pizza’ of pedophilia. Huh?


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