I grew up on Musicals… My babysitters were Jean Hagen (BEST EVER), Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews et al. And I can basically recite every single Musical in our VHS collection. You might find this weird given my cynical, sardonic, and crusty exterior. I live to surprise… ****Jazz Hands****
So last night I thought I would distract myself from a crap ass day with “La La Land”. Cos I was promised a Hollywood Musical. And Musicals cure all…
1. Visually very lovely. Honestly. It looks really fucking lovely and they did a good job. A visual riot as it were. While we’re discussing visuals yes Ryan Gosling does look lovely in a suit too.
2. While I was watching I couldn’t stop asking myself ‘Is this supposed to be a Musical?’ The jazz stuff was great but everything else just seemed to be a postmodern nightmare. Bricolage of the highest order. It was like two genres met… and then had a fucking fight. Rom com rom com rom com… musical musicial musical… rom com, rom com… Bam! Another song… dance… rom com… Fucking weird by any measure.
3. I’m used to getting goosebumps when people sing in musicals… there were literally no goosebumps to be had. I got goosebumps when Ewan McGreggor burst into song… I mean come on?! There was an awful lot of “talk singing” which is not the same thing as singing. And If you talk sing you better blow your tap shoes apart to make up for the deficit. I felt cheated when I woke up and I wasn’t singing tunes from the movie or imagining snogging the face off the lead actor. No competition… Gene Kelly you’re still my number one Jazz Handy Tap Dancing God.
4. I was saddened by the dancing. Look no one will ever live up to Gene Kelly… and certainly NEVER live up to Donald O’Connor… but these okes weren’t even in the little nippers category. I mean come on… Come the fuck on. COME ON GUYS I’M HERE FOR A MUSICAL! “GOTTA DANCE! GOTTA DANCE! GOTTA… … DANCE!”
5. Some lovely witty bits of dialogue ruined by some totally-obvious- clunky-treat-the-audience-like-morons bits.
6. Absolutely NO other characters aside from old Ryan and Emma… Just them at the centre of their own self-indulgent romp. Imagine Singin’ in The Rain without Jean and Donald? It would have sucked… EXACTLY.
7. Which brings me to the 2 main characters. Disclaimer… I love Ryan… he gave me Blue Valentine, Drive… he’s not just a beautiful face and a set of abs. But I won’t forgive him for this. Ugh… what a snooze fest. That Emma wanting to be an actress but wanting it all on a silver platter… and then wanting Ryan to live his dream but giving up on hers cos it gets too hard. Jeeez it’s just so Millennial… Grow a pair of balls… You didn’t see Gene, Audrey, Julie, Judy or even Dick with his crap accent going all snowflake? No they got shit done. Respect.
8. I liked the 80s cover band bit a lot and found that amusing… if I owned the dvd it’s probably the only bit I’d watch again.
9. Also thank God for the ending… which is, I believe, the only bit about the movie that most people didn’t like. LOLs. I love being so damn contrary.
10. But mostly the bit that really disturbed me is that Musicals are supposed to immerse you in their world, to get you to suspend disbelief, to take pleasure in the incongruous and crazy illogical need to burst into song, hang from lamp posts, use the occasional jazz hand and just go fucking bossies like you just don’t care… The whole time I was watching I just couldn’t suspend disbelief. It was like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were playing the role of two Hollywood actors trying to make it big in the world of Musicals. And fucking failing like bosses.
I’m off to Watch Singin’ In The Rain… and I plan to sing along… LOUDLY