Attempting to Watch Movies 2017: #1 La La Land

I love going to the cinema. If I’m going to watch a film the best way for me to do so is in a very dark room where I can’t look at my phone, I have a tendency to drift when I watch films at home. Also I like big screens, I think everything is more engrossing when it’s huge and in front of you. You can’t get away from it, you feel like you’re part of it. Last year at the start of 2016 for a solid two months I went to the movies every week. It was glorious. This year I wanted to do that again, but make it through the whole year, but I’ve never been to the movies by myself and this is a little daunting for me. 2017 is the year where I try and just do things alone, this is going to start out small by a trip to the cinema once a week on the half price day.

To kick off my year of solo movies I went to see La La Land, but I went to see it with wonderful cousin Sarah Safdar. Let’s face it, not every film is going to be soloyolo. I’m okay with that. Let’s start by giving a shoutout to the AMC cinema in Lombard. That place is fantastic. It has huge comfy seats, little tables for you to put your crap on (or your food on if you order some grub) AND you can recline the seats. I’m talking full on feet up luxury. It was a glorious experience.

Mary Poppins was my favourite movie when I was growing up. My mother claims that I didn’t even start talking normally, I just started to sing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” one day and wouldn’t shut up. Musicals have this warm corner of my heart, no matter how cheesy they are but I haven’t seen one on the big screen lately that has made my heart want to sing. The trailer for La La Land was interesting. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a musical? Surely that’s a weird combination that won’t work. But Stone is charming and funny and I’ve always liked her onscreen chemistry with Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love was a brilliant film and I won’t listen to anyone who tells me otherwise). So I head into the film with high expectations.

The best thing about La La Land is it captures that retro musical feel but puts it in a modern setting. You feel all the warmth and cosiness from a classic 50’s/60’s musical but it doesn’t feel dated at all. This is to do with the very good use of painted backdrops, the brilliant costume design and the little homages to musicals of the past (that one dance silhouetted in the sky was totally Mary Poppins-esque). The story isn’t overly imaginative, but the timeline is split up, we go back and forth, we are taken on alternate journeys altogether at points which makes the conventional storyline seem fresh. The songs are well placed, and can be cheesy but that little theme that gets played over and over, linking the songs altogether, that’s something that I love.

I was right about Gosling and Stone though. Yes you can argue that their singing isn’t the best ever, but it was charming. Quirky, feel good projects are something Stone can pull off without much effort, she is so likeable on screen. She’s goofy, funny and has the best dresses. I covet that whole wardrobe so much right now. By the end of it all I wanted to go to a jazz club and dance whilst simultaneously fulfil my acting dream. By the end of it I felt inspired and creative – and I guess I came home and wrote this.

My family and I had differing issues over the ending. Some of my family deem it to be sad, but the acknowledgement between the two at the end after he plays their theme for the last time didn’t seem sad to me. Both characters had achieved their dreams, and yes their was sadness to their final meeting, but there was acceptance and a sense that they were both proud of each other. Intense love doesn’t necessarily mean you will be with that person all your life, sometimes it’s just to push you onto the next phase or to get you to meet your potential. It’s nice to see another side to a classic love story.

La La Land was better than I expected it to be, and well worth a $5 ticket on a Tuesday as a form of escape during the work week.

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