Blah Blah Land

la la land

Well hello! Are you all sitting comfortably, because I’m gonna let you all in on a couple of secrets: 1) I may be a bookaholic, but I also love movies and 2) I like ranting and raving about things (it’s the reason I started this blog in the first place). So today I’m massively breaking with tradition to review a movie. And not just any movie: La La Land– a movie about movies, a movie slated to be this generation’s homage to Hollywood, a movie supposed to be so good it was bound to sweep the Oscars (teehee), a movie about following your dreams, a movie about L-O-V-E… annnd that’s probably enough bigging it up. Cos I’m gonna be brutally honest: I did not like this movie. At all. Not even a smidgen.

Yes, yes, I know- this opinion is so unpopular it’s likely to get me crucified. But just bear in mind before you go angrily banging “AHHH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!” in the comment section- this is my opinionif you like the movie, I’m glad you got more out of it than I did, but you might want to look away now cos this movie made me want to go all Alan Rickman in Robin Hood and GOUGE MY EYES OUT WITH A SPOON.

with a spoon.png

(okay- he technically said “cut your heart out with a spoon”- but I imagine both experiences would be immensely uncomfortable)

So I will admit that after seeing the trailer for this movie, I was excited. I mean, I love love love the Hollywood classics and this felt like we would finally be getting something upbeat and cheerful for a change instead of the intermittent *explosion* meets *dystopia* meets *superheroes* that 99% of Hollywood’s movies seem to consist of nowadays (and before someone gets their knickers in the twist, I do like some of these movies, just not all the time).

ALAS- five minutes in and I was having two thoughts: 1) Is this trying to give me an epileptic fit? And 2) Is this going to get better? Oh please let this get better!!

But nope- that’s not what was going to happen. TWO VERY LONG HOURS LATER and, still not having had the promised seizure from all the flashing lights (thankfully) I was really struggling to find any positives- my thought process was something like this…

I guess dancing on cars is different… Oh no wait I’ve seen Grease…

Okay what about those camera angles right?! They’re weirdly artistic… Yeah, if you like things to be shown in a way that distract from the actual “story”.

Ermmmm…. Okay forget it, the story sucked, the characters were awful and the writing was rubbish. Happy now?!!

Back to that opening then- my brain went from “am I seriously watching a traffic jam?” to “oh man, bring back the traffic jam, anything but this boring, boring exposition”. Strangely though, for all that padding at the start, I didn’t actually learn anything. You see, I don’t consider myself a totally unobservant film watcher, however, I will freely admit that by the end of this I didn’t even know the character’s names because I DIDN’T CARE.

emma stone.gifOkay, so first there was Emma Stone’s “character”. I’ll admit to flailing around for most of the movie thinking she was *supposed* to be a terrible actress… whoops. But to be fair to me, they had so many scenes spliced together of her being accidentally bad and supposedly good that I honestly couldn’t tell what I was meant to think and just went with “oh this is funny, she wants to be an actress but she’s not great haha… waiiiit a second- why’s she getting jobs if she’s supposed to be bad?!” And this is an actress that I normally like as well. Add that together with the fact I strenuously objected to the idea that literally anyone can write themselves a play– there was no way I was gonna find that remotely believable. (Sorry but writing’s a little trickier than just “let’s just give this a go for a hot minute”… I just… gah)

ryan gosling faceNow for a character assassination- *ahem*- I mean character evaluation of Ryan Gosling’s role. Let’s be honest here: his character is simultaneously an arsehole and up his own arse (quite a feat I know, almost impressive). The main problem with this was I couldn’t FOR THE LIFE OF ME understand why *any* woman would be interested in him. Not least, because he too sucked at what he was supposed to be good at. I mean really sucked. Like WHY COULDN’T THEY HIRE A PROPER JAZZ PIANIST kind of sucked (seriously- I don’t get that – aren’t there a gazillion out of work actors in Hollywood who can play piano properly?!)

To be honest, this was one of the most jarring parts of the film. Because I really shouldn’t have to suspend my disbelief that he was half decent at his job. I mean he was quite literally thumping on the keys and singing out of tune. As for the rest of the music in this… well considering this was supposed to be a musical I was *bitterly* disappointed– they had just one motif that they overplayed again and again and again until I just wanted to scream “enough already!” I mean, I’m no expert but I could tell this was all wrong. BTW watching this with a musician was hilarious though. She incidentally pointed out that a proper pianist can do a more complex chromatic scale in a second (not that you should be putting that into a performance anyway) and that she could also tell by the speed of his playing that he was working from memory instead of improvising (thereby missing the point of  jazz)- all credit to the monkey baby for this snippet.

On top of all that the leads had ZERO chemistry and watching them talk was about as interesting as eavesdropping on two randomers dating. So, no, I wasn’t even remotely sold on this script. I swear if I had to hear them say one more pretentious thing about jazz, I might have wanted to jam my fingers in my ears and go “lalalala!

mufasa cliffMaybe that was why it was called La La Land… Oh who am I kidding- I know why they called it that- and that was just another reason that made me want to take a Mufusa style running jump off a cliff. Cos obviously this movie was practically designed as a way for Hollywood to pat itself on the back and say “oh aren’t we just smashing?” (not with movies like this you aren’t). Of course they tried to pay homage to a gazillion different films in here that it became less a homage and more a shoddy rip off– cos don’t think I didn’t notice the nods to Casablanca, Singing In the Rain and even Funny Face (among others). Unfortunately in trying to mimic so many of those great flicks, they forgot to make a halfway decent film in its own right.

singing in the rainBecause man, what the frick was up with that plot?! I felt like the whole narrative was totally pointless and the message was something along the lines of: don’t compromise your dreams for love. And that ending was pretty much here’s what this would have looked like if it wasn’t a terrible movie. Which you can watch while considering the fact that this essentially amounts to Emma Stone’s character imagining her life if she hadn’t had a baby- how charming. It’s not exactly heart-warming romance material.

I can’t pretend like I get why they marketed the hell out of this (as in took out all of the hellish bits for the trailer and somehow made it look good). All I can say is that I hope to all that is holy and unholy in this world that Moonlight was better– but I can’t say I have much faith in Hollywood for even nominating this circle jerk junk. This movie’s making me play that oh-so-healthy pingpong game in my head of am I deluded or is the world just more bananas than me? Either way, all I can give this is a measly banana peel:

form50030

I guess the sensible thing to do now would be to turn to you lovely people and ask: what did you think of La La Land? Did you like it? According to rotten tomatoes about 92% of your answers will be yes- so I guess now’s your chance to let me have it!

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101 thoughts on “Blah Blah Land

  1. readinginthewings says:

    It killed me that I didn’t like this movie either. I have a bunch of friends in it, which makes me feel worse too, but I was so underwhelmed. I was expecting a real, old school, movie musical, and that is not what we got. The autotune also killed me. I was sitting over here in NYC like…. I know a million actors here who could actually sing and act the shit out of those roles. I would have rather seen unknowns who could actually DO IT, than stars that had to fake. I did think most of the acting scenes were well acted, but I was so disappointed with the musical numbers. And I hated the ending. The idea of this movie was great, but overall I was very underwhelmed, and a little sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yes- it really disappointed me too- cos I had such high hopes. And that’s a real shame. That’s what I was hoping for too- and it didn’t deliver. I agree about the autotune. And yes- I should probably clarify that I think both of the lead actors are great in general, but Gosling was a total miscast for a jazz musician and for me the direction and writing was too sloppy for Emma Stone’s character (not that she was bad, but what they were trying to portray was unclear) And the musical scenes were way too much of a letdown. I agree it was a good idea, just very underwhelming :/ Thanks for your input!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bookstooge says:

    All Hail the Monkey Baby!

    As for this movie. It’s called a musical, so I automatically dismissed it. It had that Gosling fellow. So I auto-dismissed it. Emma Stone is some blonde starlet who I have never heard of [I don’t watch many movies and the ones I do tend to be SFF or action/macho flicks], so auto-dismiss.

    Overall, this movie was an auto-dismiss for me and your review has simply convinced me that yes, I was correct in ignoring this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CJRthebrit says:

    I haven’t seen this. I must admit it didn’t interest me and my mum (who loves everything and everyone!) said it was a pile of pants….not saying I wont ever watch it though! Loved your review, was snickering all the way through it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bruceonthefringe says:

    COULD. NOT. AGREE. WITH. YOU. MORE!!!
    This is so NOT a classic Hollywood musical, had the makers of this ever seen any? Methinks not. It’s more like an extended Benetton advert! I too like Emma Stone, so in her case I’ll blame the director and writer for shoddy work. And yeah, that total lack of chemistry, yikes, or was some of it crap direction trying to be stylish and arty? It reminded me of Avatar and how folk raved about it, disliked that too, looked fancy but really so derivative. No fence-sitters around here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      YES!!!! That’s exactly what I thought- when they started having montages reminiscent of Singing in the Rain and Funny Face, my thoughts weren’t “how lovely” they were “how dare you!” It was just an affront to the Hollywood greats! I think it had to do with the direction, cos one of the reasons I was excited for this movie was the chemistry they’ve had in other movies. Yeah I gotta be honest I didn’t like Avatar either (I’m starting to see a trend here 😉 ) Thank you!!

      Like

  5. Marie says:

    It’s actually SO good to hear you rant about this movie ahah. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t really say if I will feel like you or, on the contrary, if I will love it, but…I’m actually really glad to see you weren’t head over heels with it all. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this movie just LOVED IT SO MUCH, which made my expectations incredibly high. You really helped here, ahah 🙂 Thank you for sharing this – it was great reading this movie review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. anatomyofabookthief says:

    I think one of the biggest problems this film had was that it was hyped up so much. When I went to see it I hadn’t seen anything about it (I hadn’t even seen a trailer) and I really enjoyed it because I didn’t really have any expectations. But, when my sister went to see it a few weeks later, the hype had grown so she had really high expectations and was let down! I’ll be sure to show her this review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe that’s fair- I do think hype ruins a lot of things- I wish I hadn’t seen the trailer, cos it was very misleading. To be honest though, I also wish I hadn’t seen the film though 😉 I hope she likes it and we can commiserate together lol 😉 Thank you for your comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. TwinBookmarks says:

    Oh my gosh!! I (Shanya) watched this on the plane – as I was already skeptical about it anyways! The plot for me felt all over the place – from Emma Stone trying to act to Emma Stone trying to write! LIKE WHAT IS GOING ON!! DO YOU WANT YOUR ACT? SING? WRITE?

    AND RYAN freaking GOSLING – you sir are a complete JERK!…not the actors the CHARACTERS…so basically his acting??
    I get this is a musical (I do enjoy few musicals…perhaps not an expert in liking them…but yeah you get me…maybe😅😅) – BUT ALL YOU TALK ABOUT IS JAZZ!! LIKE THAT’S ALRIGHT…BUT WHAT ELSE? Like you could perhaps even add what your favourite colour/food/ARTIST/food/book/etc…litterally if someone told me to describe his character (yes I too forgot his and Emma’s name) it would be JAZZ AND FOR HER UM EVERYTHING ARTISTIC?? 😅😅😅

    GREAT POST!! 👍👍👍😉😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh yes I totally agree with you!!! The plot was super confusing and all over the place- and I don’t know why they had to keep adding things to her skillset. Like why did she have to write a play, star in it, sing and direct it… at that point I thought she was supposed to be acting like a bad actress so was confused she didn’t write the play for her friends- that would have made more sense to me.

      hahahahaha yes!! I agree so much- Gosling’s character was *horrible*

      hehehehehe you’re so right!!! Omg I didn’t see anything else to their characters either- they didn’t seem to exist outside of their work so I couldn’t relate to them at all!!

      Thank you so much!!! 😀 So glad you liked it!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • TwinBookmarks says:

        Totally makes sense to write the play for her friends/someone else! The movie consisted of mainly them 2 characters (still don’t know their names lol 😂😂)!

        I felt like they forced the 2 characters together – I mean she liked jazz way too quickly for me and then she also didn’t like it as he was away etc…WHERE IS THE CHEMISTRY??

        Lol looks like I’m ranting now 😅

        You’re welcome! Can’t wait to read more of your reviews!! Good or bad!!😉😉❤👌

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek says:

    Damn it! It’s a film that I haven’t seen!😢

    Sigh, that means I can’t take offence to your hatred for it as I loved it nor can I rip it to pieces with you.

    It’s not a film that every interested me, not a fan of musicals and I just thought hell no, not for me.

    Fantastic rant though, the highest of fives for its awesomeness! 🤚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    Ooooh I have this to watch (but I always look at the title and think eh and pass on it)…. WHY DO I ALWAYS LOVE the reviews where you rip something to shreds? LOL! A banana peel this time! I think peanuts is better?!

    I want to do reviews where I really despise a book or movie but all the bloggers I read always say they are all about not finishing things they don’t like… Orangutan you seem to review more things you don’t like?! What is your secret? (Is there a secret involved?!) ❤ Great review, (if you didn't guess I LOVED it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehehehe thank you- I’m glad you like my rants 😉 hehehee that’s only if something’s nuts- this one sucked- it doesn’t deserve to be fed 😉

      hahahaha I don’t know- maybe it’s cos I finish things I hate so the feeling of *why am I doing this to myself* just mounts!! 😉 I need to get better at DNFing lol 😉 hehehe thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nel says:

    The banana peel though 😂
    Never had any interest in seeing this film and the only time I watched a clip related to it was the academy awards moonlight fail and I laughed my ass off then.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. daleydowning says:

    OH MY GOSH it was SOOO not just you!!! I couldn’t stand this at all!!! I actually started fast forwarding through the musical scenes, to see if something actually HAPPENED IN THE PLOT. When they got to the point of her getting her big break based on one night of a one-woman show (that we the audience DIDN’T EVEN GET TO SEE), I literally announced myself a non-fan of anything starring Emma Stone, and swore off trying musicals EVER, EVER again. It may be a tad unfair, but I honestly felt my passion for trying so many types of films dying right in that moment, because this one was so, so awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      AHH THANK YOU FOR THAT!!! I have been wondering if I’ve been going totally mad- especially since when I looked for reviews all I found was positive ones. And you’re so right *nothing* happens (at least nothing that happens). Yeah what the heck?! That also was completely unbelievable- how likely is it that someone writes their own play, stars in it and then the one person in the theatre happens to be someone that can give them a break? hehehehe I can understand why- although I do generally love musicals- if I’d only ever seen this one I’d have sworn off them too- it’s hands down the worst musical I’ve ever seen.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. FranL says:

    I just found it “blah”- that’s the perfect word. I didn’t really care about either of the characters so it ultimately made no difference to me if they were together or not, or if they were creatively successful. The songs were nice but that’s about it. They could have been good if they’d been delivered by actors who could sing them properly. Ditto with the dancing. When you’re referencing films starring Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, you need some dancing that’s a bit closer to par!

    But I saw La La Land after it had already been a hit. I saw it praised in reviews, winning awards, and a lot of my musical loving friends (even those with high standards) loved it. So maybe my expectations were a bit unrealistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah I totally, totally get that. I couldn’t relate to them either. Even with all the exposition, I found them unsympathetic and unrelatable. Yes- I definitely agree with you there. YES!!! So true!!

      Yeah me too- I do wonder that a bit- cos above all it was a massive letdown

      Like

  13. littlebookynook says:

    This is an AWESOME review!!! I haven’t watched La La Land yet. I love musicals so I had initially been excited about seeing it, however I have actually seen quite a few reviews similar to yours. It seems like it’s one of those films people either love or hate. I don’t know if I will ever watch this musical now…I might just stick to the ones I love (i.e. Rocky Horror Picture Show, Chicago etc.).

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you so much!! That’s surprising but also a relief to me, cos I struggled to find any criticism when I looked for it- I think I’ll have to look harder cos a few people have said that to me now 😉 Good call- those are awesome musicals!! (although any mention of Rocky Horror Show and I get the Timewarp in my head…. 😉 😂 )

      Like

  14. LizScanlon says:

    I wish you could witness what this movie review did to me!

    I am seriously laughing so hard!!! 😀 ahhh… thanks for that! I really needed it on this gloomy Monday! 😀 hahaha… and you know what’s worse? I feel like i want to watch this movie now while I have your review in my hand printed out on a perfect A4 just so I can have another one of those laughing sessions!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I am going to admit I saw a preview for this and automatically got the “hard pass” vibe. Now, reading your thoughts, I am very thankful haha. This does not sound like a fit for me in the slightest. And it sounds like a vertigo nightmare. I have to be very careful with flashing lights, odd angles, etc. Especially now that I am off of seizure meds. You may have just saved my life! 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yvo says:

    I’ll help you hold a shield against the rotten tomatoes! I had to laugh at your review… I’ve only ever seen the trailer and that was already too much for me haha. It definitely sounds like something that would make me throw things at the TV. xD Love that Rickman meme by the way! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    I actually see this movie as THAT rotten tomato movie that gets super high ratings but turns out to be utter trash. It’s the vibe I got from anyone who mentioned it. I actually haven’t met anyone who liked it or even saw it, myself included. During the Oscars, I was tired of hearing it get a bunch of nominations and wins left and right. I was quite glad Moonlight won, even if I hadn’t seen it back then. I did watch much, much later, when it came out on Netflix, and I can tell you that it was a much more powerful movie that thrives on silent sequences and by tackling a touchy subject with a unique cast. I’ll probably try La La Land some day just to be sure of how shit it actually is though hahahaha #masochist 😀 Loved your rant though!!! Keep em comin!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hahahaha I’m so glad I’m not alone in this and that’s the perfect way to describe it that way!! Yeah I don’t actually know *anyone* that thought it was better than “meh”. I was so confused when I came to write the review and couldn’t find critical reviews anywhere in the mainstream- thought I was going crazy! Hehe I think just from the trailer Moonlight looks like it has more tension and is just a better movie. hehehehehe been there- I read a *terrible* book once just cos my brother said it was the worst thing he’d ever written and his friend (who incidentally had DNF’d it) said it had “literary merit”- turns out my brother was right! 😂 hehe thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    Wow, what a review! I didn’t see this film because it didn’t look like the kind I’d enjoy (I usually dislike ‘starlet tries to make it big in Hollywood/on Broadway’ stories and sugary-sweet musicals… and I got both vibes from this one. Actually come to think of it, I seem to only be drawn to darker or humorous musicals, e.g. Chicago, The Producers, Les Miserables), and also because I heard some lacklustre reviews of it. So I am surprised to hear that 92% – I must have heard from the 8% that didn’t like it! 🙂 Anyway, after reading your review I am going to stay far far away from this film!! I am sure I would find the viewing experience equally painful.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    I did not hate it as much as you, but found it not worthy of all the hype. Self-reflexive derivative movies about Hollywood are primarily loved by Hollywood itself, and that’s where the awards come from.

    The leads were definitely mis-cast although I’ve found those actors pleasant enough in other roles. They should have been real musicians and dancers instead of people who had to be taught to sing, play and dance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehe fair enough!! Yes I agree!! That’s very true!!

      Yeah I definitely liked them in other roles, and have even seen them act well together before, so really just think it was that they were completely unsuited for the roles, like you.

      Like

      • Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

        Yes, too bad!

        Also I just wanted to note that though it goes by very fast, in the “dream sequence” at the end I think they did have a child — a different one, obviously, with a different babysitter in a different apartment that they were leaving before going out and getting stuck in traffic…so the dream wasn’t about being childless, for whatever that’s worth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          hehe yeah I got that- I just thought it was a bit gross considering the fact that she *had* a child and was thinking about said child not existing. It wouldn’t have mattered if she imagined another child or not- it was just a bit of a “yeesh” moment for me to be honest 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  20. Tim Vant - 3y3wonder says:

    I must disagree with you wholeheartedly. : “La La Land” is a good movie for the genre, however there are many haters of this genre. Your criticisms of this film are extremely negative, overly judgemental and particularly harsh given the caliber of these two very talented lead performers. I will follow your reviews only because your contrarian rant is mildly entertaining in and of itself. If one were to criticize this film, slam it because it is an obvious plug for the Los Angeles tourist industry or due to the fact that it doesn’t introduce new faces. Musical Theatre isn’t for everyone, so if the film makers needed a gimmick to get it made, who can blame them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Well you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m glad you got more out of this movie more than I did. I am actually a fan of musicals (as is clear from the references I made in this post and the fact I posted prior to this saying I love the genre) and did state that I liked the actors in general just thought they were miscast. Thanks though, glad you found this mildly entertaining 😉

      Like

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