March 9, 2018

La La Land

The other day I was thinking about just how much I miss writing in this blog. It has been a long time since I written consistently. I go back and forth on whether it is a worthwhile use of my time. I doubt anybody reads what I write… so what is the point. The Internet isn’t lacking for media criticism, so I don’t know that there is demand for anything I have to say. Either way, here we are. I am writing.

Even though it has been over a year since La La Land was relevant, I finally got around to watching it. I remember how much praise was heaped on this movie last Oscar season. I went in cautiously. I had recently seen The Greatest Showman, and I was kind of in the mood for another fun musical. I also loved Whiplash, the last film by the same director Damien Chazelle.

La La Land at the same time had too little music and too much music. If you are going to make a musical… let there be music. If not… don’t have any. I liked the beginning, but then was very frustrated by the lack of music for much of the second act. The music they did have was without largely without lyrics, which I also found frustrating.

The middle of the film dragged on way too long. It lost all momentum that it had built. I found myself getting bored and wondering what all the fuss was about.

The ending saved the movie for me. The sequence when Sebastian played the piano and he imagined an alternate history was so good. That “short film” sequence was worth the watch of the film all by itself.

There was a little confusion about what I was supposed to take away from the film. I read some reviews and considered some of the other takes on the movie. I was amazed by how many people talked about the central relationship and how much chemistry they had. I couldn’t disagree more. For me, there wasn’t much of a relationship there. Much of their time “together” was spent apart. They were two people that found each other a the right time, and were able to push one another to achieving their ultimate dreams in life. I did not feel sad that they didn’t end up together. In Seb’s fantasy at the end he seemed to have gotten the girl, but I don’t think he had his own jazz club. When he gives her the smile he is telling us the trade-off was totally worth it for him.

La La Land was a pretty good movie. I doubt I will ever watch it all the way through again. I could easily skip the middle half of the film and not lose much. The music is okay, but there isn’t enough of it.

I did find myself thinking about the film for a couple days after watching it, which is usually the sign of something good. I liked it more the further I got away from it. Still, I can’t say I enjoyed it, and I don’t share in much of the praise that I have seen from other reviews.

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