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La La Land: A Conversation/Preview

April 13, 2017


She’s Erin, a millennial by age, but with the soul of a millennial who thinks she’s Zooey Deschanel.

He’s Brian, a Gen-X’er who thinks anything made after 1998 is pure, hot garbage.

Let’s look at what at each of them say about La La Land in a very special Outdoor Movie Night Preview!


Brian – Hello, Erin. Let’s talk about La La Land. I’m sorry, I mean, let’s talk about La La Land: Brought to you by the makers of Fancy Cocktail Dresses and the All-New Toyota Prius.

Erin – Hello, Brian. I, along with most of the rest of the world, really liked La La Land, so I hope you’re not making fun of it.

B – No, of course not. The first big question is: What is this movie’s deal?

E - You know, the typical “musical romance” movie deal. Boy meets girl. Girl asks boy to perform “I Ran”. Boy leaves girl for jazz career ft. John Legend. Girl marries a dork. THE END!

B - Great synopsis. Where is the eyeroll emoticon? What I mean is, do you think this movie is as “great” or even as “very good” as all the hype? I mean, come on. FOURTEEN Academy Award nominations? ALL the Golden Globes??

E - I think this movie is “great” and “very good” and all the things that it has been called by “critics” - I think it deserves all 93 of its Rotten Tomatoes. I think that as a “millennial” or whatever you want to call my age group (I am a 22-year-old Latina), I hear the word “dream” in so many contexts. Something that I appreciate about La La Land is that although “dreams” may be the focus, it ends up being something that involves certain kinds of sacrifice, which is a word that isn’t spoken of often these days IMHO.

B - I wondered how many sentences there would be before you used the word “dreams.” You beat my guess of 2. Congrats!

I think you’re right about dreams and sacrifice in the movie. I also think it was an effective twist (if you want to call it that) on the standard dreams-come-true narrative. They mostly did come true, but not without difficulty, and ultimately not in the way they thought. And that’s why you get an ending that is more bittersweet than simply sad or happy.

E - I can’t say that I’m thrilled to be so predictable, but how could we discuss this film without discussing dreams? Of course, there are other aspects of La La Land that are unavoidable when it comes to the “magic” of the movie, such as its setting, which combines new-age, colorful Los Angeles with the nostalgic feel of “Old Hollywood”. Although Stone and Gosling may not be the most talented singers/dancers, what they lack is made up for in visuals of the Griffith Observatory at dusk, California’s rolling hills in the background of the usual traffic jam, etc.


B - Yes, “Hollywood”, old and current, is all over La La Land. I’m glad they kept showing the sights or else I would have thought they were in Branson, Missouri.

Speaking of the stars, what non-perverted-weirdo crime would Ryan Gosling have to commit for you to think less of him?

E - Probably something along the lines of animal cruelty and/or treason.

B - Follow up: Is this a rare instance of actor attractiveness overpowering actress attractiveness?
E - I guess it sort of depends on what kind of thing you’re into. It’s difficult to compare Gosling,
being known for his “10/10” looks and sultry smile, with Stone, who is probably more well-known for her charm, on a scale of attractiveness. For this film, though, it seems to even out.

E - Being a little bit “older” is there anything about the film that you would say feels frustrating to you?
B - Well, I normally don’t seek out musicals, so that was a barrier to overcome. (I am so brave.) I think it still ends up a tad too fairy tale-ish and self-congratulatory “Hollywood” for me even though there are plenty of obvious attempts to get away from that in the movie (e.g., RG’s line that “Hollywood worships everything and values nothing”). I would never describe my viewing experience as frustrating, but I think I would have preferred a movie within the movie about the jazz musicians that ended up playing at Seb’s. Which might just be Whiplash (same director, you know).

B - Since you loved this movie soooo much, what is/are your big takeaway/takeaways?

E - I’ll excuse the patronizing tone just this once. Besides the obvious dreams vs. sacrifice message, I took away a greater appreciation for the modern musical, especially in a cinematic form. If you can believe it, I’m not a huge musical gal myself, but this film could possibly enchant even the biggest “musical cynic”, such as yourself.

B - Yeah, ok, I was a bit enchanted.

E - So I’m not the predictable one after all!


Student Activities invites you to a real ground-rule-double of a Movie Night as we present La La Land on Saturday, April 22. The movie will be in the Dorm 28 fields starting approx. 10 PM.