‘La La Land’: Review

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La La Land works well enough because it operates within every preconceived notion and cliche of what you would be perceive this movie to be. It’s quirky, sends up Hollywood pictures of yesteryear and has a couple who meet then dislike each then like each other then date then have the best time of their lives then something UNEXPECTEDLY splits them apart then they become a “better” person from that relationship.

Now none of this is particularly bad per se, and La La Land has enough to distract from its formulaic misgivings, but still in doing so the film seems unoriginal in spite of what it’s trying to project on the screen. It so badly wants to rise from the ashes of all these old time Hollywood movies and become something different and masterful, but it’s still tied down by its trite machinations. I mean, sure, it’s not like the two main characters end up together happily ever after or anything like that, it’s not that formulaic, but it does the next best thing by having its cake and eating it too by saying, “Hey, we’re not gonna put them together, but see they’re better off for that and, awww, heck, fine, we’ll show you them together in some alternative world dream sequence.” Because the film is never content on straying TOO far from that happy Hollywood medium, less it get pulled out of its preordained rut. It’s a fine enough device, giving you the sad and happy by showing you both sides of how following your dreams or staying with a lover can work out either way and letting you choose what applies, but it still rings too cheap and easy.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both exceptional in there roles, although I’m quite less enamoured with Stone even when while I still see the good stuff she’s putting out there. The writing and performances do a pretty good job in letting these characters be fun and eccentric without it veering too far into camp and seeming like these are just movie characters spouting these writer-speak words that nobody in real-life would ever say. In other words this movie wasn’t written by Diablo Cody. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but thinking that Gosling and Stone’s characters suffer from Gilmore Girls syndrome, where it’s all fun and charming to see them crack wise at each other and make funny little quips and have all these cutesy sayings, but imagine actually running into these people in real life and you won’t be able to find a razor blade fast enough to get away from these unbearable people.

I enjoyed all the musical aspects, ie breaking into song, but I honestly couldn’t help but thinking that the film didn’t really need any of it and at the end of things it just became more gimmicky than anything. There’s not a single song that stands out (good or bad) and it’s not like the film is worse off for any of it, or that it provides a disruption, it just seems like the musical aspect was force-fed into this movie that didn’t really need that to operate at a high level.

Believe it or not after the first four paragraphs that I wrote, but I actually liked this film. While I hated that it had to rely on so many cliches to get where it was going, it operates so well inside these cliches that it puts itself head and shoulders above what most do with them. Damien Chazelle is a good director and writer who crafts this film on such a grandiose stage thanks to his assured eye and vision that it’s hard to believe it’s only his third film. Everyone behind and in front of the camera delivers this whole package with such passion that it’s hard not to be moved by its emotion and the final grace notes from each character. La La Land is a film that loves old Hollywood musicals a bit too much, it has its own heart, but it just can’t resist the bright lights.

The Culture Of ‘Gilmore Girls’

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I really don’t know why a 22 year old male like myself thought it would be a good reason to watch all 7 seasons and 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls, but here I am and I did just that. Now, of course just because the show is primarily about the relationship of a mother and a daughter and their adventures through various dudes and their bizarre relationships with an even bizarre town doesn’t mean it’s only applicable to those types of people.

When you think of Gilmore Girls you think of dialogue and then by extension character. Amy Sherman Palladino and co. did such an innate job at crafting words into these characters mouths that make them seem incredibly human and real, sure a little wacky at times and maybe a bit more pop culture references than one speaks every two sentences, but it created such an identity for these characters. Even ones that you’d only see every couple seasons and hardly in episodes at a time, you’d know what they were all about just by their stark lines, delivery and cadence when they were given something to say.

If there’s anything I can really cite as a drawback, something really born out of my doing, is that especially in the later seasons a lot of the episodes kind of molded together and became a slog when they’d hit the same beats of Rory boy trouble, Lorelai unsure of what dude she really wants, trouble with parents and such. It came to almost feeling like watching a reruns at times. Of course, I binge-watched the whole thing watching episode after episode and it wasn’t like there was an insanely complex and narrative driven story that kept me on the edge of my seat to see the next episode, so it’s possible it’s not the greatest to watch continuously when its formula is pretty basic and repetitive.