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Comment Archives: stories: Cinema: Cinema Feature: Last 30 Days

Re: “Keeping It Reel

Oh, Bob. Regarding your review of "La La Land": Really? Original? I guess it's been some time since you've seen REAL classics that clearly inspired multiple facets of this film, like, say "An American in Paris," "Singin' in the Rain," "A Star is Born," the Astaire-Rogers oeuvre and lesser films like "Xanadu,"and "Fame." Emma Stone was very good, but Gosling nearly ruined the film with his saturnine presence; comparing him to Sinatra and Gene Kelly is just ludicrous. The film really needed the ebullience of a Gene Kelly or the dapper charm of a Fred Astaire to really make it fly. It also needed help in the writing department; the script elements certainly betray Chazelle's youth and lack of real-life experience. I lived in L.A. for more than two decades and I cannot recall another film that so heavily romanticizes the city and the lives of its characters. Most actors in L.A. never get (paid) work in films or TV, and the small percentage who do mostly get work in commercials and as (non-union) extras. Most would gladly eat out of dumpsters for months for the chance to get a SAG card. For Stone's character to apparently limit her auditions to film and TV work shows extreme naivete, at best.
The John Legend character's assertion that "Jazz is dying" is simply not true; jazz has enjoyed a small but healthy niche market since the decline of big bands in the '50s. Given that jazz clubs are few in L.A., and regularly feature established artists of the genre with a lot more experience than Gosling's character has, some of his character's actions and attitudes are largely preposterous. How can his character have any "depth," as you put it, since there's so little of his backstory revealed to the audience?
Walter Kirn wrote a recent piece in Harper's in which he concisely skewers nostalgia, a concept in which this film is drenched: "It [nostalgia] tells romantic lies. It breeds reactionary sentiments by glorifying and simplifying what was and devaluing what is."

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Starcommand on 01/10/2017 at 12:20 AM

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