Release Date: August 31st, 2016 (Venice Film Festival)
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Music by: Justin Hurwitz
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
Summit Entertainment, Black Label Media, Imposter Pictures, Gilbert Films, Marc Platt Productions, 128 Minutes
Everyone and their mom loves this film. Especially their mom. To be blunt, I thought it was shit. Not just shit, actually. I thought it was the sort of self-obsessed showbiz nostalgia masturbatory flick that the industry insiders and all the committees who vote on awards will go nuts for.
But to be honest, I hate musicals. So while I may have some bias there, I really tried to give this a shot. I mean, I’m usually pretty happy with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and I’m not so closed minded that I haven’t discovered musicals that are actually worth a damn.
La La Land is beyond dull. The characters are minimalist caricatures of cookie cutter lovers in a showbiz movie. There isn’t enough meat on the bones to really sink your teeth into. I didn’t care about these characters at all and frankly, they were both kind of self-absorbed and unlikable. Also, half of their problems could have been resolved easily if they owned cell phones. I mean, who the hell communicates or doesn’t communicate like its the 1930s. Actually, they own cell phones but they are just conveniently used to propel their showbiz careers and to not communicate with one another.
Apart from the dullness of the characters, the story is also pretty bland. Showbiz girl likes showbiz guy, careers take off, shit falls apart. But I guess this is all people want from these sorts of movies. But jokes on you, no happy ending! I guess that is what makes La La Land a shocking and surprising risk taking masterpiece within the genre.
The dialogue is also bad. For a good example of how poorly this movie is written, just go to the scene where Ryan Gosling attempts to explain jazz to Emma Stone.
There is some good though. I enjoyed the cinematography, as far as the use of colors and lighting. Some of the musical numbers looked good in a visual sense.
The songs weren’t great or memorable though. Emma Stone has a passable voice but it isn’t anything exceptional. Ryan Gosling is a bit better but he doesn’t get the spotlight in the same way that Stone does.
It is strange to me that this movie is winning all the big awards. But it really shouldn’t be so surprising. I mean, critics and Hollywood big wigs love these showbiz pictures. They’re like a two hour advertisement about how cool and great they are. And if you don’t like it or don’t get it, well that’s just because you’re not in the industry.
Therefore, I can only assume that La La Land is going to dominate at the Academy Awards. These awards shows are nothing but bullshit industry politics, a lavish display of self-importance and insider circle jerks. La La Land is the perfect golden goose to circle jerk around.