music friday: fillmore auditorium 9/1/67
revisiting pan's labyrinth (guillermo del toro, 2006)

la la land (damien chazelle, 2016)

La La Land is a lovely musical romance, with charismatic lead performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It looks great, the cinematography (by Linus Sandgren) is enjoyably inviting, and the blend of upbeat moments and downbeat situations is effective. It was nominated for 14 Oscars, winning 6, including Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography. (It rightfully lost Best Picture to Moonlight in a now-infamous foul-up at the Oscar ceremonies.) It is currently #270 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.

I didn't care for it.

First, it's a musical, and a day later, I can't recall a single song. (It won the Oscar for Best Score.)

Second, it's a musical. The last true musical film I loved was Cabaret in 1972. (Since then, I have loved a few concert films ... The Last Waltz, Stop Making Sense, Summer of Soul.) My favorite musicals are Fred and Ginger movies from the 1930s.

Basically, I was never going to like La La Land, and that has little to do with the film itself. So Your Mileage May Vary and all that.

The opening is a marvel of production excellence:


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