01 Jun Digital HD Review – La La Land
“When the infamous Oscars flub occurred, I must admit I felt a strange sense of satisfaction that had nothing to do with La La Land (not at liberty to discuss)… Now after seeing the film, I’ll just say I’m glad that it didn’t happen to Arrival.”
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Produced by Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Gary Gilbert
Written by Damien Chazelle
Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
So I just finished watching La La Land after putting it off for months and months. All the La La lovin’ and La La hatin’ going on… thought it best to give it a wide berth until the lame-steria had died down.
So I did, and what can I say? Should have just watched it whenever I felt like it. Or never. (I kid, I’m far too curious a person to ever regret seeing a film. Not one of those “I want my $17 and 98 mins back!!!” types). As the credits rolled, I turned to my movie buddy and asked, “Am I dead inside? I think I might be dead inside…” They shrugged and said “Dunno…”, departed the conversation and went back to reading Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (or it might have been Clash of Clans… I forget). Hmmm…. I really did give myself over to this film completely, and in return I got nothing but this feeling of emptiness. What is this lack of feeling? I kind of felt like I’d been Punk’d (or whatever the newer version of that is. Screamo’d?). I’d sat and watched this film that on the surface is unadulterated Hollywood “magic”, and in many ways, isn’t a bad film. In other ways, the ones that matter at least to me, it commits the kinds of movie misdemeanours that make me squirm in my seat and slap my knee and whatnot (non-verbal indignation. I try not to talk during movies).
When the infamous Oscars flub occurred, I must admit I felt a strange sense of satisfaction that had nothing to do with La La Land (not at liberty to discuss). Now after seeing the film, I’ll just say I’m glad that it didn’t happen to Arrival.
This is my first review for this blog in MANY years, so I wanted it to be one that I could go all crazy on… Come down with a hot case of celluloid fever while I’m stuck in bed with an actual fever (slowly on the mend. La La Land didn’t help). Alas, I felt literally no emotional or philosophical connection with this film. Just a “huh”. And then nothing…ness. Ness never feels nothing!! I am a sucker for great musicals, I am a sucker for great romances…aren’t I….?
What shocked me the most is how this film almost had me convinced that I all of a sudden hated musicals. As soon as Gosling started sliding his feet across the floor, I all of a sudden felt my body shimmy uncontrollably, and then an almighty “eeyyyyeeeeeeeewwww!” left my body. It felt like an allergic reaction. Like I was being electrocuted by confusion and disgust simultaneously. What is going on?
To test if I all of a sudden had lost the capacity to enjoy musicals, I rewatched a few classics (Singing in the Rain, West Side Story, Cabaret, A Star is Born… a turbo-charged gay night in….).
All still had me tapping my feet, singin’ occasionally, a little misty….it appeared my ability to appreciate the musical genre remains intact. I mean…. how can you not have space in your heart for this kind of magic???
‘I wanted to believe and I tried my damnedest to believe in the rainbow that I tried to
get over and I couldn’t. SO WHAT!’ – Judy Garland
Ploise. When defendin’ the endin’ (as he’s inevitably been compelled to do), Chazelle has alluded in interviews that there is something so strong emotionally between these two characters, that the two ‘scenarios’ presented can co-exist, even only ‘in dreams’ (sorry to bring you into this Roy…. David…). Fine. I’m glad there was a meaningful connection going on somewhere in this film. Would have been nice to see it at some point.
Maybe I’ve became too jaded about the themes and the thangs driving the narrative – love, success, creative fulfillment…who cares, we’re all going to die….I’m a goner and likely sooner than you… I’m up to 10 cigs a week now….what has happened to me? I got older. And wiser since my last post. All the shit these two care about in La La Land gets less important as you get older. This is a young person’s film. I’m too old for it. I’m too old for a ‘lovely’ musical about love. With dancing in it. Damn you, Chazelle! Whiplash was damn near sensational but this was too big of a leap. Kevin Smith jumped from Clerks to Mallrats, and there were a bunch of shitty to decent, modestly-sized films he had to do before he realised, “I was f*&%ed as soon as Mallrats came out” and now he doesn’t care anymore. Maybe he turns it all around with Yoga Hosers. (Haven’t seen it yet).
I feel I’ve made my feelings on this film abundantly clear, so I’ll let MiMi and Sebby close this one out…
And there’s not a spark in sight
What a waste of a lovely night…
And maybe this appeals
To someone not in heels
Or to any girl who feels
There’s some chance for romance
But, I’m frankly feeling nothing
Is that so?
Or it could be less than nothing
Good to know
So you agree?
[Sebastian and Mia:]
What a waste of a lovely night
* After stumbling across the greatest movie database in existence a few years ago (namely the Internet Movie Cars Database or IMCDb), it has long been one of my favourite places on digital earth. It is within this tremendous resource I found that the Gremlin has long been a firm favourite of the starry-eyed go-getter featuring in:
7 Things to Do Before I’m 30 (2008 TV Movie)
10 Items or Less (2006)
Raise Your Voice (2004) – Yes! It’s the car Hillary Duff receives as a grad present so she can set off for L.A and chase down her dreams of being a superstar!!! It’s a really nice yellow one too…..
Freaks & Geeks (1999) – it’s the car Kim Kelly (Busy Phillips) inherited from her free-spirited aunt. She physically assaults people if they try to take it away from her. It’s her one and only sense of freedom and independence yadayada.
I challenge you to go there and not waste at LEAST an hour clicking and muttering “oh yeah….that car is in everything”.
** Guess who’s slated to drag Bradley Cooper and his two left feet all over the soundstage in the latest A Star is Born reboot?
I have a confession to make – when I wrote this review, I was in a verrrrry agitated mood. And given as I wrote me cute ‘lil dot points while I watched the film, I was probably in a ‘shirty’ state when I saw the film. Translation? My mind perhaps was open, but my heart was most likely closed. So….I will at some point REWATCH this film and let you know if a positive mindset changes my mind on this film. I will already make one minor concession – since consulting the auto-oracle (the ICMDb), I’ve learned Mia’s Prius is a 2005 model, which could be potentially more affordable than I’d assumed. The issues with her vehicle looking like a bland pile of dog excrement and a blatant product ‘integration’ still stand. In the meantime, if you want to see a visually stunning film about LA livin’ – may I suggest Less Than Zero, or even The Neon Demon? (Neon‘s not everyone’s cuppa, but it DEFINITELY holds your attention).