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La La Land

La La Land ticketstubAs the credits started rolling, the elderly woman on my left (there was another on my right) turned to me and asked if I enjoyed the movie. She said, at her age, it's really wonderful to see a good old-fashioned musical. Now, I don't really have any experience with old movies, including musicals, but if I had, this is what they would be. A young woman goes to Hollywood to live her dream of being an actress meets a young man in Hollywood to (attempt to) open a jazz club. Classic. There are some very slight pokes at the movie industry and what it's like to live in LA (50% of those gags come in the form of titles on the screen that announce "Winter," "Spring," etc, when, of course, all the seasons in LA look the same), but this is no LA Story. We start of with a few fun song and dance numbers, and then a long lull in the middle till we get a few less happy songs toward the end. Not to say this movie doesn't have a happy ending, it's just not THE happy ending, and I think that's swell. I get the idea of doing an old-timey romantic comedy musical and La La Land works really well, I'm just sad to say that isn't the sort of musical that really excites me.

The characters are fun and feel mostly real, but still kind of like slightly cartooney versions of romantic leads because being in a movie where people randomly engage in song-and-dance is a bit cartooney. I did like the message at the core, about following your dreams and not letting that voice in your head that's always telling you you aren't good enough to drive you away from what you've always wanted. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling can sing and had wonderful chemistry with each other. My personal issue with the movie is probably the persistence of jazz music, which I simply have no tolerance for, but that really shouldn't detract from the really excellent movie-making on display.

4/5