La La Land review
A lot of major cities have a lot of hidden history. The majority of it can be found in books and the Internet, but there are some things right in front of you. Take a city like Los Angeles, that has plenty of history with Hollywood and the impact that it’s made on the film industry. Buy a map to the starts and you’ll probably be able to find the Chinese Theater, Paramount studios, and the Brown Derby hat. What a lot of those maps don’t show is that many elements from Hollywood’s heyday are still around like certain theaters, homes, and even murals. You just have to look for them.
Today’s film pays plenty of tributes. Old Hollywood is just a part of that. La La Land is like a wave of nostalgic feeling from a time where musicals were part of the movie going season; and I mean an original musical. When’s the last time that you remember a musical that was not based off of a Broadway play (not counting animated movies)? It’s been a while and to sell one in today’s time, it would have to offer something we’ve haven’t seen before. La La Land brings back the original musical.
Mia (played by Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress who works as a barista for an on studio coffee shop. The few auditions she’s given are either stopped after one line or interrupted by someone who clearly feels more important then her. At the same time, jazz musician Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling) is having problems with money and trying to get work that’ll allow him to play the improvisational music that he prefers. A gig at a restaurant only allows him to play Christmas music, but he tries his hand at a beautiful melody that doesn’t catch the eye of a lot of people. It does so of Mia who happened to discover it by chance.
The two are initially not introduced that evening, but they encounter reach other months later at a party. The two strike up a friendship which ranges from Sebastian taking her to a jazz bar to curve her interest in the genre to a screening of Rebel Without a Cause. This eventually blooms into a romance as the two move in together and continue to chase the Hollywood dreams of making a mark within the world of entertainment.
I’ll say right off the back that La La Land is one of the best, most entertaining movies of 2016. I expect this to be a major hit with everyone, even those that don’t typically watch musicals. This is a rare musical where I can recall all the songs being great. “City of Stars”, “Another Day of Sun” and “Start a Fire” are all candidates for the best song Oscar. Director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) clearly loves older music as jazz is given a bigger spotlight here then before. The tunes plays by Ryan Gosling and John Legend (who also plays a part in the story) are just delightful.
La La Land is also one of the best made movies of the year. It takes several cues from Martin Scorsese as many of the scenes, especially the musical sequences, are done with long takes. This made me realize just how too often modern-musicals rely on editing to make the shooting easier. La La Land shows the hard work the actors went through to make each step and tap flawless. When editing is present, it pays homage to movies of the 1950s. How does it do that? I really don’t want to give anything away.
I’ll give this five old Hollywood murals out of five. If 2016 has brought down your spirits, then La La Land will bring them back up. I highly recommend this to everyone! This is a fantastic work of art that justifies much of the hidden history and beauty our world holds to us. Dance your way to a screening of this and sing a long if you wish.