5 Ways It’s The Best Paul Thomas Anderson Movie (And 5 Alternatives)

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Paul Thomas Anderson has been one of the world’s most revered filmmakers since boogie nights put it on the map in the late 90s. The director has since made acclaimed films like love stuffed with punch, there will be bloodand The masterand the evolution of his style can be traced from film to film.

RELATED: 10 Movies That Influenced Paul Thomas Anderson

Anderson’s last feature, Licorice Pizzawas recently released to its usual critical acclaim. Licorice Pizza may even have set a new benchmark for Anderson’s career, despite facing stiff competition from some of his earlier films.

2 Licorice pizza is the best

Looks like Anderson’s most personal film


All of Anderson’s films are deeply personal on some level, but Licorice Pizza feels uniquely personal – not just because it was inspired by people the director knows personally (and Alana Haim’s real-life sisters and parents appear as her character’s family); the film is an authentic snapshot of Anderson’s hometown and the times in which he grew up.

boogie nights is also set in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, but it focuses on the adult film industry. Licorice Pizza captures the era from the perspective of a naïve teenager.

Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are a perfect match


The key to a romantic movie is the chemistry between the main actors. Despite the fact that neither of them had ever acted before, Licorice PizzaThe lead duo of Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are perfectly matched. They give fantastic individual performances as Alana and Gary, but they’re especially vivid when the two characters appear on screen together.

In the roles of an overconfident, starry-eyed 15-year-old actor and a cynical twentysomething assistant photographer struggling to find his place in the world, Hoffman and Haim share a magical, indescribable energy that makes that the unconventional romantic dynamic works surprisingly well.

The loose structure of the story reflects the life


licorice pizza Poster_featured

Anderson Licorice Pizza the script has an episodic structure that moves from thumbnail to thumbnail. The story is guided by the relationship of the characters and the development of their emotions, not by a traditional three-act plot.

RELATED: 10 Coming Of Age Comedies Like Licorice Pizza

The loose feel of this episodic plot beautifully reflects the looseness of life. Instead of playing like a conventional movie, Licorice Pizza plays like a crystal memory.

The cast is full of supporting players stealing scenes


Licorice Pizza Trailer Bradley Cooper Header

Some of Anderson’s early works were ensemble pieces, so he is well versed in creating memorable minor characters. While Gary and Alana are anchoring Licorice Pizzathere are plenty of scene-stealing support players along the way.

Some characters played by A-list stars only appear in a few scenes but leave a lasting impression, like Bradley Cooper as Jon Peters and Sean Penn as the William Holden-inspired Jack Holden.

It has Anderson’s grooviest soundtrack


Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman as Gary and Alana lying together on a waterbed in Licorice Pizza

When it comes to the soundtrack of his movies, Anderson usually gives pop licenses for Scorsese-style needle-drop moments (as seen in boogie nights) or recruits Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood to compose an original score (as seen in there will be blood). Corn Licorice Pizza has both.

Anderson uses both iconic tracks from legends like David Bowie and Paul McCartney and undiscovered gems from lesser-known artists like Clarence Carter and Gordon Lightfoot. Additionally, Greenwood contributed a beautiful title track.

1 Alternatives

Hard Eight (1996)


Much like his contemporaries Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, Anderson’s first film remains one of his finest films. hard eight is the intimate portrait of a gamer whose plot takes wildly unexpected turns.

The film established Anderson’s working relationship with a few actors who would become regular collaborators, such as Philip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly.

Boogie Nights (1997)


Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg and Ricky Jay in Boogie Nights

Licorice Pizza is not Anderson’s first film set in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. The director’s 1997 hit, boogie nightstakes place in the same place and at the same time, but approaches it from a very different angle with a very different stylistic approach.

With the maniacal and fast style of Martin Scorsese Freedmen, boogie nights chronicles the lives of a few adult movie stars during the “golden age of porn.”

Love Stuffed with Punch (2002)


love stuffed with punch

After juggling a sprawling ensemble in the epic setting of MagnoliaAnderson reduced with his next film, love stuffed with puncha romantic comedy-drama starring Adam Sandler as an emotionally troubled novelty salesman and Emily Watson as the woman he falls in love with.

RELATED: How Punch-Drunk Love Reinvents Romantic Tropes (& Why It’s Still a Great Love Story)

This film introduced audiences to a whole new side of Sandler, proving that he could handle Oscar-caliber dramatic acting. It’s a subversive, unconventional love story that’s still as sweet and uplifting as the most cliched of romantic comedies.

There Will Be Blood (2007)


A cinematic portrait as sharp of the dark side of the American dream as The Godfather, there will be blood is a quintessential saga of greed and the corrupting power of money starring Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis as oil magnate Daniel Plainview.

Anderson uses black, slimy oil as a powerful visual symbol of Daniel’s soul corruption. As his wealth increases, his humanity fades.

The Master (2012)


Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

After receiving career-best reviews for there will be bloodAnderson followed up with the equally epic, equally powerful (and equally acclaimed) The mastera thinly veiled critique of the Church of Scientology.

The story is anchored by a twisted father-son dynamic: Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an aimless World War II veteran struggling to find his place in post-war society, while Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, a manipulative cult leader on the hunt for vulnerable people. people like Freddie to recruit as followers.

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