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 opinion– if 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.
(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.
Okay, 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)
Now 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!”
Maybe 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.
Because 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:
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!