Flash Movie Review: La La Land

GREAT results can happen when one’s dream remains in a somewhat fluid state, like a soap bubble that grows with the input of more air. A young person grew up with the dream of living in the country, where her art studio would inhabit the abandoned barn on her property. Her skills as an artist were refined over the years to the point she was able to earn a living selling her works. From each sale she took a portion of the profit and squirreled it away to eventually become the down payment for her dream. But something happened when she fell in love with a man who had his own dreams. Ever since he was a young boy he wanted to live in a high rise apartment building that had a doorman. All of his schooling was laid out towards making his dream come true; he finally had his dream job that took him to all parts of the world. The only thing left was to save up and find that special apartment that would be his home base, a secure beacon high above the city.   DREAMS have always been a part of my internal motivations. The story I wrote to start out this review is similar to something I experienced when I met someone who had their own dreams. Trust me it was not the easiest thing to do, to let someone else’s dream form a bond with my own; however, once I realized our dreams could blend together without losing our goals it got easier. A relationship is partially a negotiation, a compromise; the key is paring down to the important aspects of one’s dreams then finding a way where they can remain intact within the new dream being formed between two people. Let the couple in this musical movie show you.   SPARKS formed right from the start when aspiring actress Mia and jazz musician Sebastian, played by Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, The Help) and Ryan Gosling (The Big Short, The Place Beyond the Pines), first met. Each came into the relationship with a dream; the question was how to achieve it. This comedic drama started out with a bang by having a big, opening musical number. If you are not a fan of musicals and their history there is a good chance this film will not have a strong impact on you. I knew Ryan had a musical background but did not know Emma could sing; both of them had a wonderful chemistry together. With J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, The Closer-TV) as Bill and musical artist John Legend (Soul Men) as Keith for part of the cast, the story was partially an homage to those old fashioned musicals from the 1930s and 40s. The dance numbers were fun but I found the music only okay, nothing very memorable. The allure of this film I believe is due to its novelty; there hasn’t been a good film in this genre recently. I will tell you I enjoyed this movie, especially the story line; however, I was a bit confused to the point I felt I must have missed something, wondering if I needed to see the movie again. Maybe from the unavoidable buzz I was hearing I dreamt this was going to be one of my 4 star movies.


3 stars  




About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 21, 2016, in Dramedy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I’ve been wanting to watch this movie ever since I first heard about it. Your review just makes me wish I had made the decision already. Will watch it for sure now.

  2. I was hoping you had gone to see this today. I also went and I’m inclined to agree with you. I was very impressed with their musical talent and the chemistry between them was magnificent. I, however was unaware of Ryan’s musical background but genuinely impressed. The music as you said, was just so so. It started to bog down a little when they parted company and I too, became confused, probably at the same point as you did. There wasn’t a great deal of dialogue, but it went by quickly.

    I was surprised that the audience was not just elderly people. We actually had several young people who had not grown up watching this genre coming to see it and… for the 12:30pm showing, the theater was quite full. I guess, we aren’t the only ones who welcomed something new.

  3. As a fan of that era of cinema and of “song and dance” movies, this has been one I’ve been looking forward to seeing – though it will be a while before I can do so.

  4. I’m a fan of musical. Not just the classics from the 1940s and 1950s, but also of later films like “My Fair Lady,” “Grease,” “Chicago,” “Moulin Rouge,” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (I even enjoyed “Burlesque”). I should also include stop-motion films like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride,” as well as animated films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Anastasia.” It seems that “La La Land” is on a par with “Nine,” which mostly disappointed me due to its so-so musical numbers. Good acting (and, where appropriate, dancing), expert direction, dazzling (or at least well imagined) sets, and a compelling story are all necessary ingredients in a solid musical, but it all falls apart if the music is not memorable. I can tell you that I was humming the tunes—every single tune (even “Class,” not used in the film, but included in the DVD’s special features, and “I Move On” from the closing credits)—from “Chicago” for years afterward. The same goes for “Grease” (catchy!) and “Anastasia” (melodious and charming!). And who can forget “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” from “My Fair Lady”—perhaps my favorite musical of all time! These songs—and others—are permanently etched in my brain. At the other end of the spectrum are songs that go in one ear and out the other, or at least are soon forgotten, I can’t remember a single tune from “Nine.”

    • You are absolutely right and I love your choice of musical movies. Have you seen the live action version of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson from Harry Potter films? I cannot wait. Thank you for the comments, I appreciate it.

  5. Enjoyed reading all your reviews, thank you. I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2017.

  6. I think you are very right to say that the attraction of this film is its novelty. That’s a kind of a film that gets immediately noticed and recognised, especially by the Academy. I mean, silent “Artist” won an Oscar in 2012, and it really was very different from all the other films in the category.

  7. LOL! The reason I went out on a date with my 2nd husband (& my chlldren’s father) was a dream, Otherwise, it was never going to happen. I had 10 years with him before he passed away.

    Yes, dreams can come true.

  8. I’m just back from seeing this movie and I loved it. I’m a fan of old fashioned musicals so it appealed on that level, of course, but mostly I loved the performances of Stone and Gosling. The story was quite slight for a movie generating so much Oscar buzz but I liked the simple theme of authenticity / artistic integrity. On that basis, I didn’t mind that the stars’ voices were OK but not great. That seemed to support the theme of being authentic. I thought the direction was immaculate too and the movie is surely a strong contender for direction in awards season.

  9. Thank you to visit my website. I confess to you that I don’t have much knowledge about movies. I’m an amateur viewer. Certainly I watch a lot of movies but my preference is to immerse in reading books. It is in this place where I feel most comfortable. Anyway, I read your review of the movie “La La Land” and it seemed to me to be quite honest and very well written. This, by itself, arouses the curiosity to watch it. Congrats for your job!! And finally, I’m sorry about my English mistakes, I haven’t fluency in your language, especially in writing. I was curious about your visit. Do you speak Portuguese?

    • Hi it is a pleasure to meet you. I am also a book lover like you; but I prefer reading the books after the movies. If you see this one, I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the movie.

      BTW your English is fine, no need to apologize. Lastly, my niece speaks a bit and works with people who speak Portuguese, so what I could not figure out with a translator, my niece helped.

      Keep up the good work on your site and a happy new year,

  10. It was an enjoyable movie. I wouldn’t say amazingly fantastic but cute. I actually liked that their vocal performance was average. It certainly wasn’t bad, but if it had been amazing, then it would have taken away from the story they were telling – in my opinion.
    The music grew on me too..

    • Thank you for telling me your thoughts on the film. I still am perplexed how the majority of people carry on about this film; it is certainly good but not great like Hidden Figures.

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