I haven’t been less interested in a movie from its trailer than I was for La La Land.
Comedian Joe Mande (of Parks and Rec) captured this well in this tweet:
It basically looked like a movie about nothing other than Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling twirling around and doing nothing. Then it started getting some real buzz. My dad told me that I specifically would love it. And it totally swept the Golden Globes.
I finally saw it the night before the Oscars, just cuz I had to know what the heck was up before gearing up for La La Land vs. Moonlight 2017.
Here is what I thought of the movie:
-If I had to describe it in essence, I would say it was like if you crossed Across the Universe with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It explored relationships, love, hope and regret in a creative, unusual way. There was definitely a subtle parallel drawn between jazz (compromise, improvisation and timing), and the relationship at hand. That said, this was all couched in a fairly corny and not-well-performed musical environment. If it had been Moulin Rouge mixed with Eternal Sunshine, it would have really killed 14-year-old me and I might have loved it.
-The music was worse than I expected. Neither Emma Stone nor Ryan Gosling can sing. I wish they had cast talent that could sing over big-names like these. I don’t particularly care for either of them, although Emma Stone really gave it a fair shot. Overall, the singing in La La Land makes the singing in Nashville look triumphant. (And the Nashville director didn’t make Connie Britton prove she could sing before casting her, citing that “all girls can sing.”)
-Parts of the movie were downright dumb. For example, the song that Mia and her roommates sing before going to a party is really depressing. It’s all about hoping someone in the crowd finally notices you. It definitely seemed written by a man who doesn’t understand firsthand how distinctly frustrating that expectation can feel for women. Also, Mia’s audition where she tells a story about her aunt and then breaks into song was not my favorite. The story was about her aunt jumping in a river, cuz … ? I kept trying to figure out what the story she was telling was and then just concluded, it’s about how dreaming is important … ?
-The romance was more real, charming and gritty than I expected it to be. Ryan Gosling played a love interest who was indeed a bit of an asshole. Not that that’s a stretch for him, but I expected a cornier romance than we saw here.
-Overall, I felt the movie was more about Sebastian acting as a catalyst for Mia than vice-versa. Was he her manic pixie dream man? Either way, kind of a refreshing reversal.
-John Legend provided the main sense of diversity in the movie, which is already a movie about white people saving jazz, as Jimmy Kimmel pointed out. I was surprised to see that he played an antagonist, luring Sebastian away from his dream. What? Also, his music was the only music in the movie I liked.
-Emma Stone’s eyebrows have gotten very distracting. I feel like this is worth pointing out.
Ok, those were my opinions about La La Land. It’s both bad and good at the same time. Overall, it was totally designed from the ground up to game the best picture category. Neil pointed out that the music even sounded like Oscar orchestra pit music, and at the end it says, “Made in Hollywood, USA.” Because of that, what happened to it was kind of hilarious. I’m excited to see how this movie ages.