starring Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits
written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
starring Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace
written by Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman
directed by Jason Reitman
by Walter Chaw In Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, John Michael Higgins plays real-life restaurateur Jerry Frick, proprietor of "The Mikado." Frick is married to a severe and disapproving Japanese woman (Yumi Mizui) who apparently doesn't speak any English, although she seems to understand it fluently. She certainly understands her husband, who doesn't speak Japanese but does speak English, when he's speaking it to her, in a cartoonish Asian accent. This is perhaps a commentary on how backwards everyone was in 1973, but Licorice Pizza is not otherwise a satire, so what the fuck is going on here? Is PTA reserving the barbed edge of his keen sociological blade exclusively to excavate anti-Asian depictions in film and nowhere else? Based on Hong Chau's brief but memorable turn in Inherent Vice as a tough hooker (oops) who tries to warn the idiot hero of danger, there's reason to hope. Yet if Frick is meant to be a satire of how white men are racist towards Asians in general and Asian women in particular... How? Just by the fact of him? In his second scene, he shows up with a different wife (Megumi Anjo), explaining how his first wife has left him and this is the new Mrs. Frick. The joke is either that Frick is a fetishist, or that all Asians look alike.