Vic's Flick Picks
La La Land
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this unusual idea of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in an “old-fashioned” musical. My low expectations were met.
This old-fashioned story (not usually boring, but a little bit this time) is boy meets girl as they try to make their fortune and fame in Hollywood.
Seb (Ryan Gosling) is a classic jazz pianist who is rather irritating with his naïve and stubborn love of “pure” jazz. His dream is to own a club dedicated to the continuation of that purity.
Mia (Emma Stone) is a bright-eyed girl from Boulder City, Colorado pursuing her dream of acting.
The movie looks fabulous. Gosling has that charming goofball smile and Stone is drop-dead gorgeous in every scene. Every. Single. Scene.
Sadly, the emotion behind the words they speak and songs they sing is flat and lifeless. The key to a great musical is that no matter how ridiculous it is that these characters are breaking into song…you feel the joy, happiness or heartbreak they are singing about. That does not happen in La La Land.
When I think on my favorite musicals… Grease, Cabaret, Rocky Horror Picture Show, West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers…. I smile even though they do not always have a happy ending. When I think on La La Land…no smiles. Just sadness at the waste of the extreme talent of both Gosling and Stone.
Only two boxes out of five for La La Land. The love story was tired and well-worn with nothing new to make it interesting. The acting talents of the cast are spectacular, but can’t save the tedium that takes over by the end of the film.
The theater was full at the Sunday show I attended. As the end credits rolled the ladies next to me spoke of how they didn’t like that it didn’t have a happy ending. While that was the least of the film’s problems, I disagree. The dreams of both Seb and Mia came true, so that is a happy ending, right?
I am a little stumped at all the hype La La Land has received from award shows and critics. Perhaps they have never experienced a real musical. I recommend Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. (I’m smiling again.)
La La Land is rated PG-13 for some language, but nothing too offensive for youngsters brave enough to sit through the movie.
J.K. Simmons has a small role in La La Land which jumped off the screen at me. He knows how to command a scene. He also had a small role in this not-so-great 2016 thriller starring Ben Affleck.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Diego Luna – what a great choice for Rogue One! He has always been a favorite in my house… Y Tu Mamá También is rather obvious, so is Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights𠉭id you know he appeared in this rather boring 2003 western featuring Kevin Costner? Open Range.