We’re all aware of the phrase TLDNR (Too Long, Did Not Read) for posts on the Internet. This is a segment called TLDNW (Too Long, Did Not Watch). It’s for people that just don’t have time to go to the movies. Now, I work pretty hard every year to see the entire list of films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. You probably won’t get to all of them, because I assume you have a social life. Luckily for you, it is my goal in the following weeks to post reviews of the 2017 Oscar-nominated best pictures so that you can be caught up before the big night.
However, I know even reading a whole review is time-consuming and not for everyone. Many people just look at the star rating and don’t bother with the rest of the review. Even now you’re probably bored of this introduction.
So I’ll make it short and sweet. For every movie I review, I’ll include three sections: 1) A 1-word review, because frankly most people are lazy. 2) A 20-word review so you have things to say about the film when your friends ask if you saw it. 3) An in-depth 500-word review.
TLDNW: 1 Word
TLDNW: 20 Words
Earnest. Sentimental. White. Bright. Emma Stone as alive and vibrant as she’s ever been. AND SHE’S ALWAYS BEEN VIBRANT.
TLDNW: 500 Words
Four out of Four Stars
Hey. Shut the fuck up and listen. Do you not like fun? Is that it? Do you have some compulsion to hate things that other people like? Is that it? Do you just love to hate what people love? HUH?! IS IT COOL TO BE AWFUL?! Why do you hate this movie? Guess what idiot, you can like Moonlight and La La Land and no one will call you a racist or say you have a bad taste in movies. This is why I don’t like comparing movies on a ordinal scale – it deters from the idea that film can be equal in different ways. Moonlight is a gol-dang masterpiece and SO IS La La Land. You’re ALLOWED to like both of them. Do you think you’re COOL because you hate love and beauty? YOU AIN’T.
So just shut up about it already.
Yes, I admit that the film is pretty lacking in diversity of any kind and that a white guy trying to save jazz does not sound great as a sound bite – but I don’t care because this film was a passion project and it came to fruition in such a beautiful way.
So we cut to Damien Chazelle, the director of masterpiece and academy award winning film Whiplash. Whiplash was a relatively cheap film to make and proved that Chazelle knew how to direct. This film gave Chazelle the backing he needed to make a project he’s been working on for years and years. This is his baby. He is a lover of old cinema, and a director with heart and vision – something severe. ly lacking in Hollywood today – and made his dream come true.
So imagine being Damien Chazelle. Imagine working on a project for years and years and writing and directing and casting this piece you’ve been working on forever. Imagine hiring your college roommate to write the music and then having it PAY OFF. Imagine.
Okay, let’s talk about the movie. In a world filled with shitty remakes and reboots and film studios grabbing for money pandering to “sentimentality” or “nostalgia” La La Land succeeds. I’m talking Ghostbusters, Jurassic World, Trolls, Rogue One, Force Awakens, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, and any other awful blockbuster franchise that is so prevalent today. Not to say these movies aren’t FUN or ENTERTAINING, but they are JUST movies.
La La Land is not JUST a movie. It, unlike many musicals from the 30’s and 40’s (from which the film draws much of its inspiration), roots itself into reality. If you saw the clip of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) having dinner and placed it into a full drama you would believe it was a drama. The film does such a good job of pivoting from reality to fantasy – which I think is where the film succeeds. No one can say that Emma Stone was a bad ACTRESS in the film. Some argue she’s not a great singer (to which I say – listen to The Fools Who Dream a couple times and then a couple times more) but no one can argue that she absolutely crushes as an actor.
On top of the acting the film is a technical marvel. The editing is so perfect. The editors had to deal with giant musical numbers on freeways and tiny scenes set at an apartment piano. The challenge of making both scenes seem believable in this world is incredible. AND THE MUSIC. Writing a deeply realistic song set into the real world of the film and also a huge piano piece for dancing through the sky. It is perfect.
Others have criticizing for just copying old movies. To those people may I direct your attention to the tone-deaf and overly showy film Allied which copies the same formula (half of it takes place in Casablanca for f’s sake) and falls absolutely flat.
Anyway, all I’m saying is that we need to not see this film as whitewashing the Oscars (Moonlight was nominated for 8 Oscars) but as an artist’s vision. His vision was realized fully and perfectly.
Also, if you want to challenge me at the Oscar’s tonight just sign into the website with your Facebook! http://challenge.oscar.com/