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Saturday, December 31, 2016

La La Land

LA LA LAND (2016)

written & directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling

ENJOYMENT: **** (out of 4)

Musicals are cheesy. They're for adults. Adults are boring. Therefore, musicals are boring. If you're anything like me, this may have been the view you held as a child about a film where the cast gets out of their cars to sing and dance on a busy Hollywood freeway in the middle of rush hour. But now as an adult, I must say that I like this movie a hell of a lot. And I'm not the only one. In fact, La La Land is the best reviewed major-release movie so far this year as determined by all audience members on IMDB and has a 9.0/10 average among >10,000 reviewers under 29 years old. This may be because La La Land is the first original musical of the 21st century and was made by a member of our generation (31 year-old writer-director Damien Chazelle, creator of Whiplash). In this world, a woman's dreams are just as important as a man's, and both partners support each other's aspirations as much as their own – for better or worse. 

La La Land is about a young aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone), who works as a barista in a movie studio cafe and auditions for many roles, but is stuck. After a disappointing night out, Mia stumbles into a dingy Hollywood restaurant where she hears the heartfelt jazz pianist, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). This starts a love story that depicts the life of many aspiring artists in Hollywood – a life of auditions, rejections, unfulfilling jobs, old movie theaters, Griffith Park, traffic and grungy restaurants. Both Mia and Sebastian want success in their own careers and support the hell out of each other, but their individual paths may end up at odds with each other's. What unfolds is one of the most engulfing films of the year, full of amazing music (jazz!), colors and beautiful faces. In the end, La La Land is the first movie I've seen in 2016 that I'm excited to see for a second (and third) time. 

Oscar predictions
  • Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Song ("City of Stars")
  • Wins: Best Picture (similar chances as Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight), Best Director (maybe), Best Original Score, Best Song

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