The Case for ‘La La Land’

By February 3, 2017President's Blog

I write this latest film blog not as the owner and President of said company’s website the blog appears on but as a film buff. First and foremost this is what I am.

So I write this more as a matter of love than I do for any other reason. And I love LA LA LAND. A lot. It’s the picture to beat for the top prize at the Oscar show and tell come end of this month. If it doesn’t win they’ll call it a snub. I’ll just put it into the same category as “The Wizard of Oz”, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the many others that went home empty handed on Academy Award night.

I know that LA LA LAND has it’s detractors. Those that complain that  it is not really a musical because it only has five songs. They also bemoan the fact that both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are not Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And oh Lord of Lords, they cannot sing! Mother of mercy is this the end of musicals!!!!!

Well to the folks out there that fell out of bed on the wrong side or got caught in bad traffic on the way to the theatre or just plain don’t get it I can only say politely as I can…You Are Wrong!

And here’s why….. It IS a musical. It opens with a song and dance number that rivals anything like it on screen in a long long time and then proceeds to tell a love story that uses a musical backdrop as a character all its own. The songs are not forgettable and “City of Stars” along with the Emma Stone standout “The Fools Who Dream” won’t ever leave your mind. These are songs that help move the story along and not just appear over the end credits. Can they sing? Not really. So what. The songs are sung with such emotion and heart and soul that the fact they don’t have the vocal chops of Sinatra or Streisand really does not matter. Don’t get me wrong. The voices of both leads are not bad. They work. It works. They are actors who are singing. Good enough for me. The same can be said about the dancing. Anyone expecting Fred or Gene or Ginger or Eleanor shouldn’t have paid the price of a ticket to begin with. They just don’t exist anymore. But director Damien Chazelle does something that harkens back to when real musicals and not music videos ruled the screen. There was a golden rule that both Astaire and Kelly adhered to. When they so eloquently danced on screen the camera stood back and filmed their entire bodies. Ultra quick edits and close ups that last a millisecond did not exist nor did the fast moving tram shots that make the dancers look like they are moving faster than they are. Remember “Chicago”?. Remember the headache?  Now you know why. Can you remember one dance number from that film? Thought so.In real musicals you actually see the movement and the dancer in full. LALA LAND does this. And does it with grace and something that most films only dream of having. Style!

I hope it cleans up on Oscar night! I’ll be watching. How about you?