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HomeEntertainmentOne Indelible Scene: When a Woman Takes the Wheel in ‘Licorice Pizza’

One Indelible Scene: When a Woman Takes the Wheel in ‘Licorice Pizza’


Alana and Greg take Jon to a close-by gasoline station, the place the sounds of the tune “Indian Reservation” fill the air. That might clarify why Jon, nonetheless overrated, yells out “Chumash territory!” as he makes for a pump, tossing the gasoline can at a startled buyer. (I believe that Anderson can be having enjoyable: Peters is an element Cherokee.) Back within the truck, Gary tells Alana to go: “Reverse, reverse, reverse.” Freed of their bizarre interloper, they chuckle and smile, and drive again to Jon’s ready Ferrari. They cease, Gary will get out and proceeds to vandalize the automotive, smashing its home windows. Anderson makes use of close-ups strategically, so it’s instructive when he deploys them, which he does right here, pushing in on Gary’s smiling face till it fills the body.

Like so a lot of Gary’s triumphs, this one is short-lived. The truck shudders and dies, and Alana, wanting on the gauge, realizes they’re out of gasoline. One of the story’s backdrop particulars is the 1973 oil disaster, which proves disastrous for Gary and Alana’s enterprise. Water beds are manufactured from petroleum-based vinyl; extra urgently, they should transfer merch. That evening, additionally they want to maneuver. And so, after ordering Gary to get out and push, Alana — initially in reverse, like a trucker Ginger Rogers — steers this behemoth into the ultimate motion, brilliantly coasting it down a sequence of inky, curvy, at occasions steeply graded streets. It’s superb.

Sometimes, the journey actually is the vacation spot, whether or not the characters are rushing or crashing. In the “Fast and Furious” sequence, driving is an existential fact: “Life’s simple,” one in every of its poets says in “Tokyo Drift.” “You make choices and you don’t look back.” You simply go, which Alana grasps as she sits behind the wheel. She must make decisions. She and Gary are stranded that evening. But they’re caught in different methods, too, and their troubles that night learn like a metaphor for his or her relationship. Jon’s flirtation along with her is a reminder, together with to Gary, that different males discover her fascinating; her dealing with of the truck reveals simply what she will do.

Until the truck sequence, Alana by no means is sensible as a personality even at her most successful. She’s an grownup in a teen film, and her solely actual romantic prospect is a child who’s supremely and legally unsuitable. Yet she retains hanging out with Gary, drifting and idling. Together, they rack up lots of miles — Alana enters the movie in mid-stride — and one of many essential visible motifs in “Licorice Pizza” is of them working: alone, facet by facet or towards one another. Yet the place are they going? Now, although, as she steers the coasting truck into the Los Angeles evening, taking one terrifying flip after one other, her face targeted and arms positive, Alana provides you a solution. She is strictly the place she must be, in command and in management, with a suitably awed Gary at her facet. And she’s taking him, you and this movie straight to the end.

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