Friday, July 7, 2017

La, La, La, La, La.

Actually if you substitute some letters in the title, it would more accurately describe my opinion of the film (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah). I guess that gives it way that I did not care for this film, La La Land, whatsoever. I went in believing that it was going to be quite good, but as soon as the opening number started I began to dislike it and my dislike of the film only increased as it progressed. The story is actually quite boring and pretty standard for Hollywood; a young struggling actress is trying to make it in L.A. as well as a young struggling musician who loves jazz. I'm not certain why this film plot seems to familiar, but since it is used a lot I would be surprised if it didn't seem somewhat familiar. Emma Stone plays Mia, the struggling actress, and Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, the struggling musician. Basically they meet and begin to fall in love, and after they fall in love they continue to try and pursue their dreams. And that's about it. Oh, and there's music along the way, which I will get into later since being a musical the lyrics and music play a huge part in the film. Emma Stone is a very talented actress and her performance in this film as Mia was done very, very well, and thus she earned an Oscar for her hard work. Ryan Gosling likewise is very talented and his performance of Sebastian was good, but not entirely different from some other roles I've seen him in, but he was nominated at least for an Oscar. And that's about it, the entire film almost featured these two alone most of the time. John Legend had a very small role as a musical producer and band leader of sorts, but I didn't care for him at all. There isn't much one can really say about the supporting cast because they didn't do much but speak here and there and do singing and dancing in large numbers.
Damien Chazelle won the Oscar for Best Director (youngest ever apparently) and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay; he did a good job with the visual direction of the film, and how he directed Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, but that's about where the good things in the film disappear for me. Altogether the film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 6: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Production Design. Needless to say I heavily disagreed with the Academy this year on many things, and their showering this film accolades was one of them. The screenplay by Mr. Chazelle was okay, but honestly nothing overly groundbreaking, interesting or thought provoking; for example, consider the screenplay of Lincoln or The Help those two screenplays were truly award deserving, La La Land was not. Linus Sandgren won the Oscar for Cinematography, and I have to say that was the one excellent element of the film that really stood out to me; this film was beautifully filmed, and I remember thinking that as I watched the movie. David Wasco and his production design won an Oscar as well, and I have to say it was quite stunning and well done most of the time, if not entirely. Now, Justin Hurwitz composed the music and won an Oscar for it as was as the Oscar for Best Original Song. He's a fairly new film composer with Whiplash being the only major feature under his belt (the music from that film was also jazz). The music for this film was boring, and poorly composed; his inexperience radiated on every song and nearly every note. There wasn't any complexity to the music or depth; it was very simplistic in how it was arranged and composed. There were really no notable motifs (which is a must in great musicals) or even notable songs for that matter. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can act, but they cannot sing, and the dreadful songs were made even more dreadful by their vocal performances. I have nothing good to say about the music whatsoever; hands down it was bad, and this was a terrible musical. So there you have it, I did not like this film at all and I was actually bored essentially the entire time I was watching it. I wouldn't encourage anyone to watch it; trust me you aren't missing anything. Oh, let's not also forget that for a few moments La La Land won the Oscar for Best Picture before people realized their mistake that it was actually Moonlight. A nice humorous moment. So this film was a big disappointment, but I guess I'm not surprised; Hollywood does like making and awarding films about itself.

La La Land trailer

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling interview

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