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Bothner: ‘La La Land’ left me wanting more

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Yes, the cinematography was gorgeous, the score was beautiful, and the direction was great. But I have so many bones to pick with ‘La La Land.’

The Sunflower’s Nick Beach reviewed the movie, and I’m writing to provide more clarity. Despite all the positives this movie brings, I thought it left a lot to be desired.

I didn’t care about the characters at all. I honestly don’t know how two really great actors like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone could make me care so little about their characters. Or how the man that wrote the incredible film ‘Whiplash’ could write such boring characters. Even halfway through the movie, I was just so done with these two that I was rooting for them to break up and get this over with and for the rest of the movie to just be John Legend singing and dancing.

I am also very tired of the trend in musical movies of casting huge Hollywood actors that do not have the pipes or dance moves to blow me away in the singing and dancing areas that are required of musicals. Yes, Gosling and Stone are great actors, but I know that there are some killer triple threats out there just waiting for their chance, but get passed up for huge names that do not have the skills to carry a musical.

I also wanted so much more music out of this musical; I know this is a lot to ask out of a musical. Even the opening number, which sounded very promising before I saw this movie, was very lackluster. The performances were great, but what was going on with the sound mixing? You could barely hear the voices, how is this even possible in a huge blockbuster movie? So many people must have edited it, how did no one catch it? It just didn’t have that big opening number feeling that I crave from musicals. Really, none of the music did, except for John Legend’s big number, and even during that incredible number where Legend is killing it the film was making fun of it.

The film also seemed to rely far too heavily on Los Angeles stereotypes for cheap laughs. I get it, LA is hot during the winter, some people don’t eat gluten there and there is a lot of traffic, but I need more than these old clichés for an interesting movie about Hollywood?

I just hope that the Academy recognizes the truly great performances in the other amazing films that were made this year, like ‘Moonlight’ and my favorite film of this last year ‘Hidden over this lackluster film about two boring and kind of pretentious characters. And please give Lin-Manuel Miranda his EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) for ‘Moana’ because I can’t stop listening to “How Far I’ll Go” and the rest of the ‘Moana’ soundtrack and he deserves it so much.

This film is still worth a watch; despite its flaws it’s still a pretty movie and is interesting enough to warrant a watch. But maybe watch the rest of the best picture Oscar nominees before you give this one a try. The rest of them are far more interesting and will actually make you think and feel, like any good movie should.

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