Review – La La Land (2016)

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la-la-land-5831aea494153And the Oscar for best picture goes to…La La Land! Oh, sorry guys. Go back to your seats, you lost. It really went to Moonlight. I consider that to be the lowest blow in cinema history, right in front of everyone, but the guys responsible for La La Land were so professional about it. I don’t know if I’d be able to really pull off the same. That’s pretty rough. So many people were anticipating La La Land to win it all, and it nearly happened. So here’s the question – did it really deserve that number one spot? It’s hard to say since I haven’t seen Moonlight, but I have watched the first five minutes or so and was bored enough to do something else instead. What I can talk about is La La Land. So, let’s get started.

So, La La Land centers on the lives of two very inspiring people. One man wants to be a famous jazz pianist, while one woman inspires to be a famous actress. Being around each other, they are able to keep each other on track with their goals and to not sink into depression, thinking a dream is something you have to learn to wake up from.

There was really one main thing I was looking for while watching – and that was if it deserves a place in the best pictures category. Taking a quick glance at my reviewed films in 2016, this takes its place in my top three. Above it are Doctor Strange and Rogue One. Those two were movies I had already wanted to see from the get-go, but La La Land was something I wasn’t sure about, but it hit hard in a few core categories.

First of all, it feels classic. From the very beginning, its entire reason for existing is to feel classic. The intro had a classic logo, the music and the dancing gave you nostalgia vibes from things like Singing in the Rain, but you already knew that. What I wanted to know was…how was the music? How were the songs? I am a pretty big fan of certain musicals and not so much of others. Well, the music was okay. A couple of songs in there were fantastic, but I’m not sure if I care for the rest. Regardless, the music and especially the dancing/montages/visuals accompanying the music feels good all over and feels like an instant classic, which really helps the film.

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PEOPLE SCORE (8/10)
Acting – 2|Characters – 1|Casting – 2|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2

Nitty gritty time. Here’s the main thing to understand while watching this film. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have worked so well together in so many other movies, that you can pretty much predict their chemistry is going to be great. You know they are great together, and if you don’t know how well they can act, then watch them in other projects…They are great actors. The only thing that this film lacks with is the characters and their importance. Those faults are because of the same problem – focus. The film focuses on the two leads and no one else. Everyone else is literally useless and forgettable, and don’t actually add to the plot. The only ones memorable and the only ones that add to the plot are the two leads, that’s it.

WRITING SCORE (9/10)
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2

The writing was really good, but that’s to be expected for a film gunning for best picture. I consider the dialogue a part of the message the music is spreading, which is pretty strong. It’s a very simple story that never gets over-convoluted or confusing, the story is about a couple of dreamers and what it really takes to keep dreaming in this day and age. I don’t really consider it all that original because it does take inspiration from the oldie musical films, but some of it is. Also, it’s interesting, obviously.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (10/10)
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2

If there’s something the best picture candidates are wanting most of all – it’s winning this category, and La La Land definitely won this category. It’s a visually impressive film, the direction of the story was really good, not just for storytelling, but also for a few one-shots that the film has. For films like this, you also need some really good editing that stands out, and for a few dance sequences, there is very well done editing done, but especially for the ending. It was as-advertised, and the music was really good and memorable…so…perfect.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (7/10)
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 1|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 0

Next up, we talk about the narrative arc. The introduction basically introduced us to the main characters and everything, the inciting incident is when the two meet. Now, the obstacles are there, but they are slightly weak. It’s somewhat about romantic problems and somewhat staying true to your dreams, but it’s really not super noticeable there. The climax was good, but it mostly just ends right there, so there is no falling action.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (8/10)
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impusle/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 2

How entertaining is it, though? It’s pretty entertaining, which best picture nominees aren’t always, so that’s good. I consider this a pretty rewatchable, fun film. I would be interested in buying it, but only if it’s on sale. I wouldn’t mind talking to someone about it, but not to the degree that it drives me crazy if I can’t, and of course it sucks the audience in. Definitely.

SPECIALTY CATEGORIES (50/50)
Classic – 10|Best Picture – 10|Music – 10|Romance – 10|Halfway Decent – 10

Finally, the specialty categories are written before seeing the film. What would you expect from this film? How classic it feels – very classic, if it fits as a best picture nominee, definitely; if the music was very good or memorable – it was indeed; if the romance was any good – which it was, and if it was even halfway decent, which again…it is. As far as the specialty categories go, it got a perfect score.

RATING – 92/100

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