Chicken, Beer, Jazz: A LaLaLand Review
First things first, let me be transparent:
- I saw this movie for free and I wouldn't have watched it any other way.
- I hate watched this movie.
- My review consists of my live real-time reactions transcribed into bullet points.
* Ryan Gosling has a cassette tape player in his car ... that he's using.
* Actors can't get acting roles. Boohoo, bihs.
* Emma Stone, "It's gonna be a bunch of social climbers." Are actors not social climbers? The job is only relevant because it's socially admirable and actors only get roles if they're popular amongst studios or audiences. That doesn't make it a bad thing, but let's face facts.
* Gag: 3 hwhite girls and an asian one who got the least screen time (because 3 white women's voices aren't enough) line dance poorly in the middle of what is probably the valley ... not even technically LA city proper.
* Where are her 3 roommates? No phone? What year is this? No friends? Oh wait, it's a plot hole set-up to introduce us to the authentic import with the cassette tape, Ryan Gosling.
* Did Ryan Gosling's character just come incorrect at Samba in LA?! In the name of jazz?! Without also acknowledging the musical relationship between latin music and jazz? Why not say it was replaced by a gourmet muffin shop? That's much more realistic in this town, fyi.
* Breaking News: a disgruntled ambiguously hwhite/white man is upset because jazz no longer has a respected place in mainstream culture but never breaks into song about how his fellow hwhite/white men contributed to the corporatization of music in general and the marginalization of black artists as principle. Also apparently knows no black people who are authentic. HA.
* No. YOU BE TRIPPING, Damien.
* Emma Stone looks surprisingly appealing in deep and bright yellow. It's fair to say that whoever did the cinematography did their job better than everybody else in this movie.
* Mediocre hwhite/white characters show up at lavish, pretentious and terrible parties only people who move to LA (and LA based high schoolers with fakes) go to and imagine will be anything different.
* Oh my gawd. A tinder date in musical dance form. If you wanna have hate sex, by all means have it. But do I have to watch a 7 minute poorly sung montage about it?
* "That's LA. They worship everything and value nothing," says Ryan Gosling's character whose name I still don't remember. Oh really? OH REALLY, IMPORTS ANONYMOUS?!!! Is that what we do. His character literally has no friends to speak of. How would he even know?
* Two hwhite/white people discuss the relevance, theory and history of jazz while black ACTUAL jazz players and influencers perform in the background and say nothing. Because people of color are only here to entertain you. "Still."
* Does this acting come across as effortless? Am I the only person who feels that I'm watching two people going about acting? Even the chemistry is labored. And not because these actors don't have chemistry. They were fine is Crazy.Stupid.Love.
* Bet that Emma Stone watched Bryce Dallas Howard in that episode of Black Mirror with the social ratings that then become your credit score. (Sidebar: It's called Nosedive).
* If ANYONE were to stand in front of the communal movie screen in LA proper outside of an emergency they would be yelled at ON SITE. Even Scary Movie got that right.
* In what world is this Griffith Observatory wordless dance montage even necessary? (Those actual professional dancers at the end were good tho).
* Oh! Another wordless musical montage that's supposed to provide affection-building for these thinly written characters.
* John Legend in a mustard turtleneck with oddly placed brown patches. How could this not be a set up?
* Does this fool Damien even LISTEN to jazz?
* So far the casting in this movie 75% lies upon you liking the actors. The other 25% it relies on is the fact that they're generally good at acting. It relies exactly 0% on developing character or background.
* John Legend, did you take this role because you knew this movie would be even more tragic if a black person didn't have a speaking part? Or was it a piano appreciation thing?
* WHERE IS EMMA STONE'S MONEY COMING FROM?! (She's paying rent, gas, a car note AND for a 1-wom show on a barista budget ...) Privilege, privilege, privilege! (Jan Brady voice).
* In all honesty Emma Stone's character would probably totally be into John Legend's allegedly pretentious music. But apparently Ryan done educated her now!
* Labored couple conversations. Not necessarily unrealistic tho.
* Now Emma Stone's character is a jazz critic.
* This chicken conversation is baaaaad. And not in a "The Break-Up" kind of way. This I could have lived with in song.
* From Tinder date to Tinder relationship. Either way, awful 90% of the time. And yes it's Tinder, because there's NO WAY Emma Stone's character did not have a phone, a friend or a means to call Lyft or Uber (this was filmed prior to Uber revolution so chill) and walked around a freeway overpass at night, down Hollywood Blvd in a dress to run into dude by happenstance.
* It's true, I still don't know the character's names.
* It's "not home" anymore, Emma's character?! Ah shucks. Try acting in your home then. Not even sarcastic. It must be possible to act not inside LA. If not, makes it possible. Dream big somewhere else. We're all Hollywood or whatever.
* IS EMMA'S PATRONUS ACTUALLY COMPLAINING ABOUT GETTING AN AUDITION?!!! We're officially at Peak.Hwhite.Beezy. I cannot, Chazelle! I CANNOT.
* And she scores a dream first film! After her 1ST AND ONLY viewing of her 1-wom show. And OH. MY. GOD. she's singing about her aunt who we've never heard of in Paris.
* The truth is that this film has already been done and with better singing/acting/dancing talent. It's called FAME.
* I think Ryan Gosling squints an inordinate amount of times in movies he thinks are lemons.
* Jazz, this hwhite/white man's plot device to prop up this half-baked ass story. And what is his reward for this mediocrity of sound and story? A tie for the most nominations in awards history. LOL.
* THIS BEEZY HAS A BABY. IT'S BEEN 5 YEARS AND THIS BIH IS LIKE 32 MAAAAAAAX. A. BABY. Because naturally when you've had everything else you've ever wanted. Baby.
* This film is nostalgic about ... itself.
* More pointless wordless musical montages.
* That moment when you consider if Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were on the newest season of Dancing With the Stars. We already know what Simon Cowell would say to them.
* There's more chemistry in this one scene where they're no longer together than there's been this ENTIRE film.
Verdict: this movie might be about LaLaLand, but let's be clear; that ain't LA proper.