By Ceara Kelly, Staff Writer
No film was more deserving of the 2017 Oscar for Movie of the Year than the real winner, La La Land – a truly perfect film. Sure, Moonlight won in the end, but does anyone talk about that movie anymore? No. They talk about the movie that was robbed, saying great things like “I can’t believe a movie about a white guy saving jazz got so big,” and they’re right! That’s what makes Damien Chazelle so talented. Most writers would take the obvious route of having a black person save jazz for frivolous reasons that include “Jazz was born from black culture,” which makes sense, I guess. But has a movie ever had the only speaking black character be John Legend and then have him actively kill jazz in the eyes of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)? Pure originality!
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There is no other movie like La La Land. Well, except of course all of the old Hollywood musical classics that it ripped off. But how else was the film supposed to gain the praise of the Academy other than by acting like nothing was wrong with its monopolistic past? There’s a line or two that pokes fun at the silly things Hollywood produces, but its main message still rings clear: either give up on your dreams or change as a person, leaving behind those you love to achieve them. Inspiring! As an aspiring screenwriter, I can’t wait to be just like Mia (Emma Stone) and lose contact with my family and have no idea what happens to them. Fame comes first, after all. With it, you can do things like get millions of dollars to produce a movie in Paris with absolutely no plot, cast, script or genre and launch someone like Mia’s career.
What makes the characters growing apart through their successes even better is that they’re both the least talented people in the movie. It’s so wonderfully accurate to reality. They’re just everyday people played by two of the biggest names in Hollywood. Yeah, Emma Stone is a really great actress, and yes, Ryan Gosling learned to play the piano for the movie, but it is a musical, and neither one of them can dance, let alone carry a tune. The opening number, “Another Day in the Sun”, was far and away the best, and everyone in it was so great. I’m so glad those cast members never came back and that we got to hear Ryan Gosling’s flat, mumbled version of “City of Stars” instead.
Enough about the actors, though. Damien Chazelle is the real genius behind this modern-day classic. He both wrote and directed this vertigo-inducing film. Everyone knows the best way to distract from the flawed timeline at the end of the movie is to cram so much camera movement into it that the audience is too dizzy by the end to notice. So many people say the colors are their favorite part of the movie. However, I think that the true groundbreaking choice is to let audiences know early on that their heads will spin the whole time by the film having the best mannequin challenge ever in “Someone In the Crowd”. I’d like to see someone else manage to make a crowd full of still people in the audience feel as if they just got off of a roller coaster and need to vomit into a garbage can.
Any time I need encouragement, La La Land is there for me. It reminds me that no matter how untalented I am, so long as I’m pretty or tell Hollywood that it’s worth giving up my life for, I will be just as successful as Chazelle and his characters. Who knows, maybe the most memorable part of my movies will be their embarrassing Oscar losses too.