“La La Land” brings old Hollywood into the 21st century


Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment

La-La-Land tells the story of an aspiring musician and actress in a jazz-themed Hollywood.

William Krane, Graphic Design Editor

The early to mid-20th century is considered the prime of original musical movies in Hollywood. Bing Crosby and Judy Garland graced the big screen with their voices for years, but as the years went on, the movie scene shifted away from big musical numbers and dance breaks. “La La Land” was director Damien Chazelle’s project to bring the wonder of musicals back into the mainstream with a few modern twists to break the classic musical construct.

The movie opens with a high-energy musical number featuring the angry drivers of Los Angeles traffic coming together to sing and dance happily in the streets. While some see this number as seemingly unrehearsed and all over the place, it is more commonly seen as a realistic portrayal of everyday people coming together in the typical musical fashion to tell a story; real life isn’t rehearsed, but a collection of people with different talents and skills blending with others in what seems to be just “Another Day of Sun.”

Viewers then see Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a talented pianist trying to revive jazz at its roots, using his middle finger to flip off Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress from Nevada who is holding up traffic on her way to her side job as a barista. Mia and Sebastian continue to find each other throughout Los Angeles and their lives spiral into a torrent of success, failure, love, and passion in both personal relationships and their careers.

“La La Land” has something for everyone: Ryan Gosling’s underappreciated baritone voice and impressive piano playing combined with Emma Stone’s pure and beautiful voice drive the soundtrack of the movie forward, while their famed acting skills root the movie in a sense of reality. Chazelle’s use of standard musical practices while still keeping the story fresh satisfy those who love the musical classics and those looking for a fresh and exciting plot.

Los Angeles’ real-world feel combined with surreal feeling cinematography and the nostalgia of the musicals from the 1920s elevate “La La Land” above the typical historical or action movies crowding theaters. “La La Land” is sure to be the perfect movie for anyone looking for an interesting story, catchy tunes, and a beautiful looking film.