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La La Land: Here's To The Fools Who Dream

cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm RegentChantry of NightmaresRegistered User regular
edited December 2016 in Debate and/or Discourse
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Release Dates:
Dec 16 Limited (North America)
Dec 25 Wide (North America)

Trailers






Cast
Ryan Gosling
Emma Stone
John Legend
J.K. Simmons

Written & Directed By
Damien Chazelle

Music By
Justin Hurwitz


Despite seeming wildly different from Whiplash,
I feel it has a lot in common in terms of an underlying theme...

Still a gorgeous film, well worth experiencing, especially if you love musicals.

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Well, good morning. Welcome to the new scenario. What should we do today?
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Hahnsoo1honovere

Posts

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Is this thread spoiler-ful or spoiler-free? Just curious. That should probably be in the title, since the whole question of "Will they make it?" is part of the tension of the movie going into the ending.

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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Chantry of NightmaresRegistered User regular
    I'd say tag spoilers, since it's not in wide release yet.

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    Well, good morning. Welcome to the new scenario. What should we do today?
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    Cross-posting from the movies thread:

    La La Land is a modern homage (couched in a Bohemian love story) to the old Hollywood Movie Musicals, evoking images of Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds, and Bing Crosby. It is infused with spectacular dance numbers and catchy songs. While I felt like the singable songs in the movie were a bit sparse (aside from a tour-de-force whirlwind intro of "Another Day In the Sun" followed by "Someone in the Crowd"), the songs that they did have were instant classics. "The Audition" is probably going to become the new "This is the Moment"-or-"Send In the Clowns"-type audition song for years to come, and I can't stop singing it.

    The thing that this movie really nails is the chemistry between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. When they banter, it feels smooth and natural. When they fight, it feels like a realistic fight. The affection feels genuine, and they seem to coax the best parts of each other.

    What really blew me away about this movie, though, was the ending. I'll put the reasons why in the spoilers, but suffice to say, it was one of the best endings that I've seen.

    The movie often crosses the line between fantasy and reality, in a manner similar to "Across the Universe" (They literally do the slow-motion singing-and-walking scene, but at an LA party instead of a football field). Musicals often do this, because obviously, no one is following you with an orchestra, and you aren't bursting into song at random dramatic moments(unless you are me, of course), but this movie leans in heavily to that aesthetic, effortlessly moving back and forth. All of this is done meaningfully and deliberately to thematically set up the aforementioned ending, which I didn't entirely appreciate while watching the film until I saw the end.

    If you love musicals, love stories, or the old Hollywood movie musicals, then you'll love this film.

    SPOILER commentary:
    So, when people talk about the Pixar movie "Up", they almost always talk about that montage sequence in the beginning. It is one of the most gut-wrenching parts of any film, animated or otherwise, and it informs and enriches all of the scenes that come afterwards. In short, you can't imagine the movie "Up" without it.

    The ending to "La La Land" is similar to the opening montage in "Up", except done in reverse. Whereas in "Up", it felt like a gut-punch because montage occurred at the very beginning of the film, the montage in "La La Land" isn't as emotionally jarring because it occurs at the end. But in both cases, everything about each respective film informs and enriches the montage and vice versa.

    The montage at the ending takes place during an epilogue, 5 years after the events of the main part of the film. Up until the montage, "La La Land" could have been a love story without fantastic elements or musical numbers with song and dance. But with the ending, you see the reason why the movie had to be a musical and had to have fantasy elements. It plays into the notion that in all relationships, we have a fantasy perfect version that we aspire to in our heads, but in the end, we have to come back to reality.

    And the reality isn't necessarily terrible, either! In the movie, both characters achieve their dreams in a big way. You can't help but to think what might have been (and, indeed, a montage may be one of the best metaphors for that specific regret), and there is a bittersweet smile that is shared between them in a crowded room. It was a real "We'll always have Paris" Casablanca moment (which is name-dropped directly in the film), and like Casablanca, the ending is one of those rare ones that elevates the film to the point where you can't imagine this movie without it.

    They wish for what could have been, but in the end, they have nearly everything they ever wanted. Just not together. And life goes on and all that. They'll always have Paris/La La Land.

    That smile they share together at the very end was a sort of Thank You, a thank you for making romance a part of my life. They are saying "I needed that" because artists crave that sort of connection.

    Two random notes:
    There is a meme called "Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal". You'll see a LOT of these kind of moments throughout the film, if you are aware of this meme.



    I can't completely recall, but I think that the main characters never explicitly say "I love you" until near the very end, and even then, it is couched as "I will always love you". I thought that was nice.

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    I really liked Emma Stone's costumes throughout the film. Lots of bright primary colors that are bold monochromatic statements. Again, it's an homage to the old Hollywood Musicals, but it also made her stand out in every scene.

    I also enjoyed the constant theme of "old versus new", which I suppose in unavoidable in a modern film that plays with nostalgia to the bygone era of Hollywood. But the whole discussion about traditional jazz dying away, the history behind the studio lot where Emma Stone works as a barista, even the differences between Sebastian's and Mia's cars, all seem to play off this theme.

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    honovereKristmas Kthulhu
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Awize! Awize fwom your gwave!

    So, this article showed up on Vox (Spoilers abound):
    http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/1/5/14153546/emma-stone-la-la-land-best-actress

    It is a different perspective on "La La Land" (which I loved and apparently, the author loved as well). I don't necessarily agree with some of the core premises of the article, but it was interesting to read. (I also agree with some parts of the article, too! Don't get me wrong.)
    I think labeling Sebastian's journey of selling out and being, frankly, a jerk "jazz bro" as being the more complicated story (and therefore, better writing) is conflating writing quality with specific character traits. "Oh man, we get to see all of his favorite artists, plunking out riffs at a piano while listening to vinyl". This is the stereotypical "jazz bro" archetype, and it did not seem like much complex character development to me. I think this may be a difference in my bubble of influences, which are dominated by music performers and not screen actors, but I found Mia's struggles at her screen auditions to be far more fascinating. It falls back onto the old adage of "Don't tell me, SHOW me!" The scene with Mia and the coffee stain on her shirt, walking down the hallway with nearly-identical clones all auditioning for the same part spoke volumes more than the rattled exposition of Sebastian saying "Jazz is this, and this, and this, AND IT'S DYING ON THE VINE!" (This is me rolling my eyes)

    To be fair, Mia's exposition moment is similarly maudlin! They walk, impossibly, through a studio lot chatting, and she explains why she does what she does. Neither one of these scenes show me the character, they just tell me in so many words. Yeah, the scene with Sebastian's sister humanizes him (we never see her again!), but so does the scene with Mia and her roommates or her parents.

    Again, I recognize that it may be a difference of perspective. I have been around more talented musicians, but few talented TV/Screen actors. So it may be easier for me to see that "jazz bro" archetype as a cliche, rather than the aspiring young actress archetype (which I'm struggling to conjure in a recent movie... as in, a movie with prominent smartphones). The jazz parts seemed more like a quote from one of my favorite TV shows where a character says to the anthropology geek "OK, this is the part where you start talking really really fast." Cut to footage of aging African-American musicians to hammer the point.

    Mia strikes out of her comfort zone. She had settled for failing audition after audition, working as a barista, attached to a rich and successful boyfriend. Her disillusionment with her life is immediately apparent in the scene where she leaves the bathroom at the rousing party, and everything is in slow motion. But she drops the boyfriend to take a chance on Sebastian (okay, he's Ryan Gosling and the lead, we get it!). Instead of going for big audition parts, she tries to write a personal one-woman show. It can be argued that this is part of her orbit around Sebastian's character, but Sebastian does very little to actually spur these choices (and, in fact, ends up actually downplaying them).

    In love stories, I like to think of the two leads as planetary bodies that swing by each other in space and manage to catch each other in their respective gravity. They swing in orbit around each other in a celestial dance, much like the sweeping waltzes during this movie's dream sequences . When Sebastian pulls away from Mia (surprise, surprise, the poor bohemian musician sells out), she doesn't get pulled along with him. She pulls away to chart her own course. And even when he course-corrects to try to swing in time with her, it is clear that it is too late.

    Sebastian's "shining" solo moment is when his eyes are glazed over, playing a keyboard with one hand, a background musician in a performance that he does not love. Mia's solo shining moment is one of the most powerful scenes in the film.

    And did Mia leave anything behind on Sebastian's life? I think it's pretty clear, as a bright neon sign literally glowing in his club.

    I'm very open to the idea, however, that any quibbles that I might have had with the writing of Mia was masked by Emma Stone's outstanding performance. She knocked this one out of the park. Ryan Gosling mostly did his usual "I'm not going to eat cereal" expressions.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Nurse, Veteran, Army Mom, Ficus, Space Dad, Survivor Contestant God Bless This Mess Registered User regular
    I just saw this. It was really really fantastic.

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  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Chantry of NightmaresRegistered User regular
    Just swept the Golden Globes. 7/7.

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    Well, good morning. Welcome to the new scenario. What should we do today?
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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    cj iwakura wrote: »
    Just swept the Golden Globes. 7/7.

    It's worth noting, the record for most Golden globes won by a single film was six

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  • y2jake215y2jake215 certified Flat Birther theorist the Last Good Boy onlineRegistered User regular
    LA sure does love movies about LA

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    maybe i'm streaming terrible dj right now if i am its here
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  • honoverehonovere Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    In the lead up to this I read somewhere that the movie had a white guy explain Jazz to a black guy for 5 minutes or somethin like that. Either i missed that or
    that description was a huge mis-characterisation of the scene where Gosling first goes to the studio to get the Job with the band and gets all annoyed that they don't play his kind of Jazz and then gets a talkin to about how maybe his pretty conservative view of Jazz might not be the final word on that topic.

    edit: He does quite a bit of mansplaining Jazz, but I don't think that is portrayed as a very positive trait of his. Though that might just be my personal reading of those scene and can certainly read differently.

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