LICORICE PIZZA – Review by T. J. Callahan

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Licorice Pizza, like all Paul Thomas Anderson films, is an acquired taste, but this film happens to be one of his easiest to digest. Set in 1973, this engagingly quirky coming of age dramedy is Dazed and Confused in Hollywood. The story revolves around one teenage TV and commercials actor named Gary Valentine as he navigates his home and school life, career and burgeoning love life during Fast Times in the San Fernando Valley. Based on stories of real life events that were told to Anderson, Licorice Pizza stars Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his first acting role. Despite his reluctance to take the part, young Hoffman is engaging and likable as a teenager who asks an older woman out on a date and, much to his surprise, she says yes. Alana Haim, one third of the rock band, Haim, is his plays that older women, who becomes his love interest. And, Haim is the film’s breakout star. The superb 70’s soundtrack and several stellar cameos from Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn and Tom Waits, plus Leonardo DiCaprio as Gary’s dad and Sasha Spielberg (the daughter of Steven) make Licorice Pizza a satisfying slice of summer fun for warming distraction from this year’s winter chill. And, just so you know, there’s actually no licorice or pizza on the menu, but there are plenty of coming of age capers to spice things up. In theaters now.

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.