La La Land (2016)
Dir. Damien Chazelle
PG13 / 2h 8m / Comedy, Drama, Musical
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Picture
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Director, Damien Chazelle
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Original Screenplay
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Cinematography
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Production Design
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Editing
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Song
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2016) – Best Score
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Performance by an Actor – Musical or Comedy, Ryan Gosling
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Performance by and Actress – Musical or Comedy, Emma Stone
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Director, Damien Chazelle
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Screenplay
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Original Song
Golden Globe Winner (2017) – Best Original Score
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Performance by an Actress, Emma Stone
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Achievement in Directing, Damien Chazelle
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Achievement in Cinematography
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Achievement for Original Score
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Achievement for Original Song
Academy Award Winner (2017) – Best Achievement in Production Design
People love what other people are passionate about.
Let’s rewind to fall 2016 – I’m in a theater and the teaser for La La Land rolls – my eyes widen – I pinch my husband and tell him I’ve got to see it. Fall passes. December passes. It’s January – it’s Golden Globes night. By this time La La Land gained much notoriety – it leaves that night breaking the record for most Globes. I haven’t seen it but I begin to understand that Hollywood is rewarding itself for a real successful film about itself – I rebel. It’s February – it’s Oscars night. I am on the futon with my husband and I am actively rooting against this horrible Hollywood circle jerk – it leaves with 6 Academy Awards and a major tease for best picture of the year – I was just satisfied that something else won.
Then came March. I watched Moonlight (2016). I hated it. I wrote a review just bitching about how horribly it was executed. I deleted it because I want to celebrate film here.
Then came April, and I actually watched La La Land.
And I don’t want to say I was horribly wrong – I still sat through two hours of a Hollywood hand job – but goddamnit, it was so enjoyable visually, musically and emotionally.
Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling) have their own little love story amidst trying to follow their dreams and make it in Hollywood.
I loved the cinematography and the use of color and the passing of time and personal growth portrayal. The colors were just phenomenal – bright and meaningful and hard to ignore. I love both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling – I loved hearing them sing together and dance together and fall in love. I’ve a soft spot inside me for well put together tap dancing and my heart SOARED in the A Lovely Night scene. I pretty much teared up at all of the incorporated dancing. I loved the costume design. I loved the early hollywood influences. I loved the emphaisis on keeping Jazz alive and how passionate Sebastian was about it. There’s so much about it that I loved.
But of course there’s some things that I… just didn’t understand or like. First of all – the opening scene drove me NUTS. Who are these people? Who edited this? I can hear everything they’re touching. The vocal mix was terrible. It’s literally the worst opening scene of anything I’ve ever seen. Also when Mia goes to the theater to meet Sebastian and just walks up in front of the screen – what the fuck is she doing. Why didn’t anyone ask her what she was doing? It didn’t make sense – she can’t see anything up there and she’s ruining everything for everyone else and it’s supposed to be dramatic but it was just really silly.
But lastly – I didn’t like the ending. Jordan was even vocal (and emotional!!) about it – and it really kind of offended me. I get it – real life isn’t like the movies. But the fucking finale? Okay so… (SPOILERS) Sebastian gets his Jazz Bar or whatever but he doesn’t get the girl – and while Mia is day dreaming about how differently the the last five years could have been – she still gets to be an actress? She gets her dream in both scenarios? Sebastian either gets his dream or his girl? What kind of message is that sending? I hate it.
But I didn’t hate these things enough to hate this film – I couldn’t even if I tried. And I’M SORRY.
The addition of La La Land to this blog lands it as the most decorated film I’ve written about. Surpassing both Avatar (2009) and Whiplash (2014) – another film by the very same director, Damien Chazelle. There must be something in his water y’all.
Well, all I can say to you Damien is keep churning them out.
And all I can say to you, The Academy, is do NOT fuck up again for the sake of press talk. We all know why you chose Moonlight (2016) and I hope to God that you’ll never make a decision like that again. Because you know what? After a long day, I don’t come home and think “Oh wow I’d love to sit down and watch Moonlight after a long and horrible day” or “I can’t wait to have kids and show them Moonlight and try to understand their take aways.” No. I come home from work and say “Wow, I would love to watch La La Land because today’s been bad and I want to enjoy something!!!” And also “Wow, I can’t wait to have specifically 2 and maybe 3 children and show them this film and watch them fall in love with it too!!!!”