La La Land (a 2 hour cheesy torture). Dir. Damien Chazelle
I love Cinema & Art. I don’t usually write negative reviews, because I like to spend my time and my words on the movies that I love and not on the movies that I hated. But since this movie is stealing all the awards so far, and some people are calling that dull & cheesy film “a masterpiece” I felt forced to write something about it. This is my Blog’s first critical review.
When a movie is bad and nobody seems to care, I never bother writing anything about it. But when bad movies and mediocre actors get all the attention and cast a shadow on really good movies and really talented actors, it makes me really angry.
La La Land is a movie made from plastic. It is full of cliches and it has a fake aroma of nostalgia. The beginning of the film (with that deodorant commercial tone) doesn’t have neither weight nor meaning. The director only wants to tell us here, in case we don’t notice afterwards, that this movie is a musical. Good for him, because who could have guessed that with all the bad singing and the bad dancing!
The love story is completely predictable and fake for the first hour or so, with terrible dialog and a lack of any real emotion, until the first fight (which is one of the very few situations that feels real in the movie).
Somebody has said that this is a super-white film about 2 “baby-dreamers”, and I completely agree. Where is the Art? Where is the real struggle? Is it so terrible not to succeed in a theatre play? There are today millions of people dying from hunger, wars, violence, and incurable diseases, and to sink because a play didn’t turn out how you expected or you cannot be the jazz pianist number one is really childish.
Good things about the film: the cinematography and the flashbacks are very good. The end is the best. That turn is actually original but does not make any sense any way. Let’s not forget that the girl and the boy are where they are because she was depressed about her career failure. As simple as that. So, the twist does not actually make any sense. The jazz is good too (I mean, the REAL jazz musicians). And Ryan Gosling (who is OK in the film but not amazing) is actually playing the piano, which, in a Hollywood movie is already a lot. Apart from that, the film is a 2 hour cheesy torture.
Annoying things: the worst is, in my opinion, Emma Stone. I never understood her “talent”. She is just a “pretty” face with a skinny (anorexic?) body who seems to think she is too good to prepare for her roles. Her singing in the film is awful and her dancing is not good enough. Let’s remember that in Irrational Man (I love Woody Allen!) she didn’t even bother taking a piano lesson for her role as a “pianist”. Her hairdo is very fake (she always seems to have just come out from the hairdresser) and I never understood why she cannot appear in even one frame without make up. How this mediocre actress won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in stead of the amazing Meryl Streep or the amazing Annette Bening shows how Hollywood is losing it. And the fact that she won the SAG Award (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role) in stead of Meryl Streep or Natalie Portman shows how this movie has blinded Hollywood. The most hilarious thing would be that she wins the Oscar (and, sadly, she probably will), being in the same category as Ruth Negga (who made an stunning performance in Loving), Meryl Streep (always amazing and always great), Natalie Portman, and Isabelle Huppert (one of the best European actresses today). But, hey, if Sandra Bullock got and Oscar in 2010, Stone could definitely get one too!
Gosling can play the piano but he definitely cannot sing: his voice does not have any power and it sounds like olive oil. His dancing is, as his partner’s, mediocre. How come he ended wining the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in stead of Hugh Grant (who gave his best performance ever in Florence Foster Jenkins) is a real mystery. Luckily, and for the sake of Art, he didn’t get the SAG Award (who went to the amazing Denzel).
The cliches of La La Land are endless: girl meets boy and at first they hate each other but after they like each other. The detail with the famous actress who enters in the Cafe is also so predictable (and how rude -not cool- it is to refuse an invitation). There are lots of holes in the movie. Boy and girl keep bumping into each other in a city as huge as LA, and many more, but I am not going to tell them because I don’t want to reveal the “plot” of the movie.
14 Oscar nominations? Give me a break! As somebody said, it’s the endless story about Hollywood in love with itself. Pity, I will definitely not watch the Oscars this year. There were lots of really great movies this year and they did not get 14 Oscar nominations: Collateral Beauty, Loving, Hidden Figures, Lion, Moonlight, Elle, Florence Foster Jenkins, Smrt u Sarajevu, Fences… In my opinion, La La Land should have got 1 Oscar nomination only (cinematography, Linus Sandgren).
The whole movie, even if it features some great black jazz musicians, has a whitish taste that is unbearable. I don’t care AT ALL if the actors are white, black, yellow, orange or green. But this cheesy movie with 2 black actors definitely wouldn’t have got 14 Oscars nominations. Why? Because from the 6,000 and something Academy members, 73% are men, 27% women; 89% are white, and only 11% are people of color (and it’s not even clear which group the Latinos belong to). The world is, sadly, still very racist. That’s why many people are calling this film White White Land for a reason. The age average of the Academy members is 60 years old: that can explain the love for this mediocre musical (I would not call it a musical, because in the musicals the actors actually know both to sing and to dance).
The fact that this film is stealing all the awards and probably will also steal many Oscars shows the decadency of cinema today in the States. Either that or people are really bored and need an empty and cheesy love story to be entertained. I love many Hollywood movies, but I think that Hollywood should learn from the reality that European cinema knows to depict, away from cliches and empty love stories, away from pretty actors with fake hairdos and plastic bodies. If La La Land has achieved something it is that: a new line of decadence, cliches, and cheesiness in American cinema.
Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, February 7, 2017