Show biz. There’s a whole industry based on chance encounters and capitalizing on chances to show your talents, it’s called show business. This environment is an untapped wealth of stories about pain, romance, triumph, and music that is explored for the first time in Damien Chazelle’s groundbreaking new film “La La Land.” The film follows a couple of young people dreaming of a career as an actress and a jazz musician. The pair, played by actual real life famous entertainers (how fun!), struggles to get noticed for their unparalleled talent. However, through love and support for each other, they’re able to persevere and find their own successes in the star-making world of Hollywood. Who doesn’t appreciate this kind of story? The answer is absolutely no one. This movie is universally acclaimed, proven by winning the most Golden Globes in history and receiving the most Oscar nominations in history.
Historical context. Sometimes a film can capture the zeitgeist perfectly and serve as a window into the time period at which it was released. As “La La Land” is enshrined at this years Oscars as the greatest film in history, it is comforting to know that it will represent the last moment before a great shift in this country. That shift, is the introduction of self driving cars. This movie, more than anything, embodies all of the issues that current society has with cars. They’re always getting stuck in traffic. If you are an actor or musician, you can’t practice your craft while driving. If you go to a party, you have to walk forever to get to where you parked. If you go to pick someone up, you can’t leave your car to go to the door so you must honk obnoxiously. What makes the film even greater is the casting. They chose the most well known driving actor of our time, Ryan Gosling (the Driver in the movie “Drive”). Gosling shows a cool, sexy ownership and control over his car that only he can. This movie will go down in history similar to how “Top Gun” remembers a time before drones when it was the epitome of cool to be a fighter pilot like the maverick, Tom Cruise.
Music. Everyone loves music. Music has the power to communicate deep themes and move an audience subconsciously to experience all forms of emotion. “La La Land” unfortunately failed to speak to today’s audiences through its many musical numbers. Perhaps to a viewer from the 1940’s, this movie would be jazzy, beautiful, exciting, powerful, and sentimental, but today’s audiences respond to new types of music. For a good comparison, take the most popular musical right now, “Hamilton.” Listen to the soundtrack, you’ll hear rap, hip hop, and R&B styles, styles that are completely absent from the “La La Land” soundtrack. Or think about all of the genres of music that have come since classical and jazz. We have rock, alternative, funk, electronic, beyoncé, and disco, but guess what “La La Land” went with? (none of them!). Seriously who cares about Jazz nowadays? We have better music to listen to, like John Legend or something.
Everyone has their own opinion on “La La Land,” but mine is that it was an extremely enjoyable film with catchy music, interesting cinematography, and a fresh look. I give it zero popped corns.