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The Dose: ‘La La Land’ is a must-see even if you hate musicals

The Dose: ‘La La Land’ is a must-see even if you hate musicals

The Dose: ‘La La Land’ is a must-see even if you hate musicals
January 17
16:28 2017

Nathan Williams | Contributing Writer

“La La Land” is easily one of the most critically lauded films in the past decade. Awards are raining down on it so much that the cast and crew may have to build an ark to stay afloat. It has entered the hearts and minds of film lovers and casual viewers alike everywhere in a shockingly expeditious fashion.

But does it live up to the hype? Undoubtedly, yes. Yes it does.

Let me say first that I am no fan of musicals, whether they’re on stage or on film. Frankly, I’d rather be waterboarded by Pennywise the Clown in Freddy Krueger’s boiler room than subject myself to “Moulin Rouge,” “Newsies” or other films of that sort ever again.

But every once in a while, there comes a film that transcends this genre, which is rich with films that are, more often than not, akin to crimes against humanity as opposed to actual movies. “La La Land” is such a film. I could spend this entire review talking about what a technical marvel it is, but at the end of the day, we don’t go to the movies to fawn over cinematography and editing. We go to enjoy ourselves, and this movie is entertaining and delightful through and through.

The movie follows two struggling artists in Los Angeles, a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone), as they fall in love and support one another in their attempts to achieve their respective dreams. Yet, as always, there’s trouble in paradise and it comes down to a point where they must choose their dreams or their relationship.

The straightforward story could easily fall into banality, but it never does, and it tells its love story in the freshest way.

Director Damien Chazelle, two years after making his other masterpiece “Whiplash,” pays homage to the Golden Age of movie musicals, when legends like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were churning out hits with precision and ruled the box office as a result.

In turn, “La La Land” is complete with tap dances, vibrant numbers, classic-style jazz and even the CinemaScope logo that introduced films from 1953 to 1967.  It perfectly captures the feel of Old Hollywood that you find in flicks like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Band Wagon,” while managing to transport that mold into the 21st century.

Furthermore, the chemistry between Gosling and Stone is overwhelmingly wonderful, and they each turn in performances that are just as good as any in their filmography, if not better. Their dance sequences rival those of classic musicals, and their duets are equally fantastic. Chazelle’s film is everything you want in a musical and more.

Please go watch “La La Land” in theaters. Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, it’s truly meant to be experienced on the big screen and it’s worth far more than the price of admission.

Featured Image: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Summit Entertainment’s “La La Land.” | Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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