I’m gonna get canceled for this
Release date: December 9, 2016
Director: Damien Chazelle
Who should watch this movie: People who hate musicals
When should you watch this movie: When your partner won’t shut up about the obscure electronic music they listen to
The sell: After seeing Whiplash, we knew that Damien Chazelle doesn’t really know much about music (which feels so mean to say since the guy literally tried and failed to make it as a drummer). But La La Land is further proof of this. I think it was an original and exciting idea to make a musical about struggling artists in LA, but if you’re going to make a musical, you have to commit. In a musical, songs/musical numbers are meant to work with the story and communicate something that simple dialogue cannot. Musical themes, choruses, songs, reprisals, all work together to tell a story fueled by the emotional power of music. But that doesn’t happen in La La Land . In fact, I think it would have been a better movie without the songs. Furthermore, the casting of La La Land was a miss. It seems horribly ironic for a movie about struggling artists in hyper-competitive Hollywood to have cast two of the most iconic movie stars of the time. FURTHERMORE Emma and Ryan don’t bring anything special to these roles. With the one exception of Emma’s solo audition scene, their onscreen presence falls flat. Maybe it’s because they’re not very good at singing and dancing*? Maybe it would have made more sense to cast people with musical backgrounds? Idk just spitballing here. The best part of La La Land comes at the very end with an American In Paris-esque hyper stylistic dance sequence, which is absolutely gorgeous and well executed. But it’s a bummer that it only lasts about 1-2 minutes.
*Yes, I know Ryan Gosling used to be in a dance troupe growing up, but 1) that’s a very different kind of dancing and 2) it clearly didn’t help him here