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If you’ve been spellbound by Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, here’s a list of 10 books, movies and albums to help you keep those 1973 San Fernando feels going long after you’ve left the cinema.
With Martin Sheen’s badboy Kit like a young James Dean and Sissy Spacek’s passive, unknowable Holly like something from a Hopper painting, Terrence Malick’s tragic but dispassionate masterpiece is a feast of intense sunsets and doomed love.
Harold & Maude (1971)
Licorice Pizza’s romantic age-gap is nothing compared to that in this dark, quirky 1971 comedy about death-obsessed 20-something Harold (Bud Cort) and 79-year-old concentration camp survivor Maude (Ruth Gordon). Could be charming, could be creepy – somehow both.
American Graffiti (1973)
Where Licorice Pizza is set in the nostalgic haze of 1973, George Lucas was, at that time, casting his gaze back to the 1960s. Like a grown-up Happy Days without the canned laughter (but still with Ron ‘Ritchie Cunningham’ Howard), American Graffiti was a slice-of-life movie that didn’t shy away from grit.
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers (1973)
The debate about which film version is better – the Jamie-Lee Curtis/Lindsay Lohan body-swap of 2003, or the original Jodie Foster/Barbara Harris romp from 1976 – can rage on forever (though it’s the latter). Avoid the drama by reading the book, contemporary with Licorice Pizza’s setting, about teen life in the LA suburbs.
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1973)
Hardly a prolific writer, Ira Levin was, nonetheless, a hitmaker. He followed Rosemary’s Baby, the novel about an aspirational young New Yorker who’s inseminated by Satan himself, with this tale of a seemingly perfect 1970s suburban utopia and its very dark underbelly. Both became hit movies.
‘The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle’ by Bruce Springsteen (1973)
Springsteen’s beloved Asbury Park, New Jersey is on the opposite coast to the San Fernando Valley, but the vision of Americana conjured here, particularly on the bittersweet ‘4th July, Asbury Park (Sandy)’, is from the same spiritual soil as Licorice Pizza.
‘Court & Spark’ by Joni Mitchell (1973)
Canadian Mitchell made Los Angeles her home in the 1960s, and became emblematic of the hippy scene in Laurel Canyon. Her 1973 album ‘Court & Spark’ built on the success of the preceding ‘Blue’, which had the ubiquity of an Adele album, with another career-best collection of songs.
Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
This forgotten 1988 musical comedy movie, based on a song by bubblegum pop humourist Julie Brown, stars Geena Davis as a hair stylist who befriends three aliens, among them Jeff Goldblum and Jim Carrey, and helps them blend into life in San Fernando. A valley girl classic.
Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
If you want more gorgeous footage of the 1970s San Fernando Valley and also like orangutans, you’re in luck. This unusual buddy movie, in which Clint Eastwood’s bare-knuckle boxing trucker Philo Beddoe goes on the lam with an ape named Clyde, has both.
‘Fleetwood Mac’ by Fleetwood Mac (1975)
The influence of turbulent UK-US rock legends Fleetwood Mac on Licorice Pizza star Alana Haim’s band, Haim, is frequently noted by the sisters themselves. This album, with the likes of Rhiannon on it, speaks to the sun-kissed, freewheeling feeling evoked by Paul Thomas Anderson in Licorice Pizza.