Movie: La La Land
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Remember all those great musicals from the 1950s when Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds danced in the rain, and Fred Astaire danced on ceilings? Those movies are gone forever. Or are they?
Cut to modern day Los Angeles, where hundreds of automobiles have ground to a halt on the expressway. People are scrunched up in their vehicles, frustrated and hot under the collar. Then shazam! One young woman gets out of her car and begins to sing and dance, and soon everyone has exited their vehicles to join in a spontaneous celebration of a joyful day, just like they were in a big Broadway musical. It’s wonderful, it’s marvelous!
Then we meet Mia (Emma Stone), an actress wanna-be (like half of LA). She is marking time in a pastry shop to earn a few bucks, then frantically scurries off to cattle call auditions, waiting for her big shot at stardom. Walking the same streets is Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). He’s not an actor, he’s a musician. A jazz man to be exact. He’s paying his dues as well, playing for peanuts in a piano bar, and dreaming of saving enough money to open his own jazz club.
Naturally when the planets align, Mia and Sebastian are bound to meet, and when they do sparks erupt. But will they live happily ever after with a big Hollywood ending?
Movie fans want to know – is this retro type musical worth their time to go to the movie theater? The answer is a resounding yes! The story is good, the acting better, but the major enticement has to be the musical numbers. To be brutally honest, Stone and Gosling are pretty average vocalists, and neither have the athletic dancing ability of a Gene Kelly, or the elegant grace of Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. Having said that, the musical dance numbers have some magic in them that will make you glad you came to the movie, especially the number at the Griffith Observatory. Trust me, Oscar nominations will be all over this film.
Sebastian – “I had a very serious plan for my future. I got shanghaied.”
Sebastian to Mia – “I remember you. I was a little curt the other night. All right, I was an asshole! I can admit that.”
Mia to Sebastian – “I should probably tell you something right now. I hate jazz.”
Sebastian – “Jazz was born in a flophouse in new Orleans. It’s conflict, it’s enterprise, it’s new every night. It’s exciting!”
Mia reading in an audition – “We can do it two ways. Either follow my rules…” “THANK YOU!” (Director)
Mia – “It matters that if you give up your dream, the music you like playing.” Sebastian – “Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I’m one of the sad people that always wanted to do it, but it’s a pipe dream.”
Mia’s Apartment – Love those old movie posters on the wall: The Killers (with Burt Lancaster), The Black Cat, and The Dove. Best of all is the wall size photo of legendary beauty Ingrid Bergman.