Movie: La La Land (2016) #Oscars

My Take:

  • Solid movie, great music, ending sucked.
  • The taking flight while dancing scene was a little bizarre.
  • My final thought after 10 hours of movies: Could they not at least have ONE happy ending?

I did enjoy this movie.  I loved the “old” feel to it.  I loved the music.  Then I was floored by an ending (once again).  Such beautiful people singing and dancing.  It was a throwback to the good old days of cinemascope. Love that aspect.  I hover between a C+ and B- on this one.  Oh yeah, did I mention John Legend??


Additional info about the movie:

Synopsis: Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Damien Chazelle, La La Land tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts.  Set in a modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.


Clips for the movie:



It received a Rotten Tomatoes review of  93% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 84% liking it.  Average rating was 4.2/5 and the number of user ratings was 54,493.

Additional Reviews By:

It had an estimated budget of $30M with a run-time of 128 minutes.

Additional IMDB Trivia:

  • According to composer Justin Hurwitz, all the piano performance featured in the film was first recorded by pianist Randy Kerber during pre-production.  Ryan Gosling then spent two hours a day, six days a week in piano lessons learning the music by heart. By the time filming had begun, Gosling was able to play all the piano sequences seen in the film without the use of a hand double or CGI.  
  • Emma Watson turned down the lead female role because of scheduling conflicts with Beauty and the Beast.
  • Sebastian’s tip about amplifying a car fob’s range by holding it under your chin does work, but is not expected to cause cancer. Most fobs use a frequency that resonates well with water, and the human brain is mostly water.
  • John Legend, , singer and pianist, had to learn how to play the guitar for his role.  
  • The film’s score was recorded in the same studio where Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and many other MGM musicals were scored.  
  • The express lane freeway ramp used for the opening number, Another Day Of Sun, is the same stretch of freeway as used for the iconic “bus jump” sequence from Speed (1994), where a 50-foot section of the ramp was digitally removed using CGI to create the gap the bus must jump over.  
  • The film was shot in eight weeks over the course of Summer 2015.  
  • Sebastian never introduces himself to Mia and she never calls him by his name.  
  • The opening number was filmed at an extremely hot temperature of 109 degrees F (43 degrees C) in two days. Each performer had two spare sets of costumes, stored in the cars, which they changed between takes. To maximize the filming time, the choreographer, Mandy Moore, started the rehearsals in May 2015 at the parking lot behind the production office. The sequence was mapped with miniature model cars and post it notes. During filming, to avoid being accidentally filmed on the overhead camera, Moore was hidden beneath a car so that she could bark instructions to the dancers.  
  • JK Simmons plays a similarly abusive character in this and Chazelle’s previous film, Whiplash. In the earlier film his character is a jazz obsessive, in this, a jazz hater.
  • When Mia gives Sebastian a tour of the Warner Brothers back lot, she shows him a window that was used in Casablanca (1942). Much later, near the end of the movie, when Mia and her husband go into Sebastian’s club and he is stunned to see them, it is a clear homage to the famous scene in Casablanca (1942) when Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid go to Rick’s Café Americain and Bogey is stunned to see Bergman.  


And, because I believe Emma is the best Lip Sync’er of all time, here is a video of her doing just that:




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