comedy, drama, musical

La La Land

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La La Land, 2016

Call it Damien Chazelle’s ode to yellow, the overrated record-breaking Golden Globe winning film, or that musical with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. All are accurate descriptions of La La Land, Chazelle’s supposedly impossible project that’s charming the awards circuit. It’s simple to summarize – Mia (Stone) is a wannabe actor, while Sebastian (Gosling) dreams of opening a club and preserving “pure jazz.” But can they have each other and their careers?! You decide if you want to sit more than two hours to find out.

What was most troubling about Land is its marketing as a modern day musical and yet, it has four songs. Four. And three of the four are sung by barely-there vocals. The fourth, what feels like the finale, is belted by Stone, which made me more mad at the previously mediocre vocal performances. It doesn’t help that the the songs hardly push the film along, as a true musical’s would. Perhaps if I had shown up and expected a typical film this random, breathy singing would have been charming but because of the bombardments of ads it was simply disappointing.

On top of that, these characters are tough to root for. We know nothing about Mia other than she’s a barista who was inspired by the classics… like Casablanca. So, so far she’s any barista in America. Meanwhile, Sebastian is a white jazz pianist serving as a savior to jazz. At least he sounds intelligent speaking about his passion, sourcing and collecting from the greats. Beyond the planetarium scene and the very, very end, watching these two fall in love was painful. Was it worth Gosling’s GG acceptance speech though? Maybe. Just maybe.

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awards show

2016 Golden Globe Awards

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Watching the Golden Globes is like walking into a party far too late and the friend you were supposed to meet there has bailed and half of the people at the party are speaking pure gibberish. It’s chaotic and full of winks and nods, and in this absurdity Ricky Gervais shines. Beyond Gervais’ hosting, the theme of the night seemed to be “I really didn’t think I would win,” as many winners proclaimed, and for some I nodded along. Scattered thoughts below. 48 more days till the Oscars folks.

The Presenters: Immediately we have a long, 21 Jump Street reunion with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as the bear from The Revenant because why not? I like to imagine JLo and The Rock planned ahead to wear jewel tones. America Ferrera and Eva Longoria had the greatest (and refreshingly entertaining) pre-award presenting banter. I would’ve loved the In Memoriam performance Andy Samberg pitched, and I’m confused why Kate Hudson was wearing a choker in 2016. Please, do not let chokers resurface.

The Awards: Kate Winslet, why are you surprised? Quentin Tarantino accepting Enni Morricone’s award for Best Score makes me want Tarantino to host any award show ever. Jon Hamm winning (again!) for Mad Men only made me sad because it reminded me there’ll never be any more nominations for Mad Men. Mad Men Mad Men Mad Men. Anomalisa didn’t win? But Sylvester Stallone winning for Best Supporting Actor, receiving a standing ovation, and saying “I wanna thank Rocky Balboa, the greatest friend I ever had” was goose-bump inducing. In other wonderful quotes, a Marilyn-styled Lady Gaga won and instantly said, “I feel like Cher in that John Patrick Shanley movie… Moonstruck” and I thought my heart was going to burst. Moonstruck can never die. Let The Martian win its awards while its considered a comedy, amirite? Leo pronounces “adaptation” strangely, but he won! He really won!

Cecil B. DeMille Award: As if Denzel Washington winning this isn’t exciting enough, there was a mini Philadelphia moment when Tom Hanks introduced it. Cue fabulous career reel. In a Hollywood film class I took in the UK, we spent weeks on Denzel. They adore him. I can only imagine how stoked they were watching those few minutes. His speech…? Focus on that reel again.

Etc: Theo Kingma, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, looks like Gru. Queen Latifah saying, “Whaaat?” in response to Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer being themselves was all of us, as was Alan Cumming’s look of gleeful horror as Gervais and Mel Gibson interacted. Watching the preview of Trainwreck made me realize of anyone in that movie, Lebron should’ve gotten a nod. Are there PVC pipes on the stage? A commercial break began with Jane Fonda rubbing Terrence Howard’s head, so if that’s not tabloid fodder I’m not sure what it. I perfected a Moscow Mule, finally.

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awards show

2015 Golden Globe Awards

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The Golden Globes, for me, is the rehearsal dinner to the wedding that is The Academy Awards, and yet, I prepped with red wine and red velvet cupcakes as I watched the Red Carpet. It matters, but it’s sloppier, shorter, and, lest we forget, it includes television. I haven’t seen all the nominees, so I won’t be writing about those that should or shouldn’t have won; rather, let’s break down everything else.

The Fashion: Kerry Washington looked fabulous, as did Adrien Brody. Lupita Nyong’o might’ve been my favorite, though, and her glasses, which I didn’t know she wore, made it even better. Shout out to Wes Anderson’s perfectly crooked bow tie and Prince’s cane/microphone. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez presented (was it a promotion of The Boy Next Door?) in a dress that made my chest hurt, and I was thrilled when co-presenter Jeremy Renner referenced that she “got the globes.” Someone had to say it. Best in Worst Show goes to Jane Fonda, in a red bit that seemed to be held together with Saran Wrap and red barrettes.

The Tone: This year felt different. There were exciting wins, and we could debate whether or not it should be exciting that there were awards earned by Transparent, Jane the Virgin, The Normal Heart, and more, but it is important to remember that it’s 2015, and the ground is still breaking for countless people and their stories. While I was thrilled with some nominations, and some wins, many actions and words reminded me, and I’m sure countless viewers, that things are far from fine. I would love to play this show to a new generation years from now, remove the date, and ask them when this show premiered. The cracks regarding North Korea and comments about Ferguson, George Clooney’s “Je Suis Charlie” button proudly worn on his jacket as he accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Amy Adam’s referencing the “loud voice” of women, and Maggie Gyllenhaal praising the “roles for actual women in film and television”… I felt backwards watching it. Thirty-five minutes in, HFPA’s President Theo Kingma vouched for freedom of speech “from North Korea to Paris” and evoked a standing ovation. It makes awards shows and red velvet cupcakes seem so silly, and reminds me there’s a lot of good still needing to be done.

The Quotes:

“It took me three hours today to prepare for my role as human woman.” -Tina Fey

“You can say anything in the world and get in trouble. I know this as a fact.” -Billy Bob Thornton, before he quickly exited with his award.

“Two things I said I wasn’t gonna do– cry and air-quotes.” -Michael Keaton

The Rest: I found Tina and Amy (the hosts) dresses clashing, and Ricky Gervais’ jokes funnier. I was shocked to learn Nurse Jackie is still going. There was a commercial for Crispy M&Ms so you better believe I’ll be running to the store tomorrow looking for that lime green package. We all do want to be a “FOG” (Friend of George [Clooney]). Oprah Winfrey was shown so many times you’d think this program was shown on OWN, not NBC. Best Motion Picture Winner, Boyhood, will be in Redbox soon, but I’m holding tight for Tyler Perry’s Girl, I Thought You Were Gone— Tina and Amy really got my hopes up. 

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