Top 25 of 2016: 5) La La Land

LA LA LAND REVIEWED

“La La Land” is one of the most beautiful films of the year. Much like “Kill Bill”, I spent my first viewing making a mental checklist of the numerous film references throughout the film. The second viewing, I took in the music and was floored by the rather masterful score. The third viewing, I started noticing how many people were starting to hop on the La La Land backlash. Finally, my last viewing allowed me to reconcile a lot. Most Americans hate musicals, but they love spectacle.

That is pretty confusing, but it makes sense if you take a moment. Whether it’s popcorn cinema, Michael Bay explosions or the latest Star Wars product launch…people like things bigger. The Golden Age of Musicals to the present day have succeeded when slamming audiences in the eyeballs. It’s just that some viewers aren’t going to be wowed by spectacle, when people keep bringing into song. Musicals would be universally loved, if it wasn’t for the fact that musical appreciation is so varied.

If you can’t dig the songs, then you start seeing the problems. If Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling playing in the stars isn’t your kind of spectacle, then you’re going to be wondering why you’re watching in “Rogue One”. But, this is one of the best made films of the year that speaks to the sub-sect of people that just get it. For film fans, loving musicals comes with age. Everyone has one or two favorites from a young age, but it takes time to get the underlying point of the musical.

It’s fantasy lighted coated in realism, but aspiring to be something better than the imagined. Between “Whiplash” and this film, I’m becoming completely enthralled by Damien Chazelle’s ability to get it. Finding a director that gets film grammar is a rarity in the modern era. We’re all lucky to have this in theaters.

FILM STATS

  • 2 hrs and 8 mins
  • PG-13
  • Lionsgate

RELEASE DATE: 12/25/16

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