Two things first:
- That title isn’t fair but thoughts on why some people of my parents’ generation aren’t particularly in love with LA LA LAND doesn’t roll off the tongue.
- This post is filled with LA LA LAND spoilers.
Last week and I had a debate with my mom about whether LA LA LAND had a sad or happy ending. She said sad. I said happy. Then we did a few rounds on why there aren’t happy endings in Hollywood anymore (I pointed to Finding Dory and Moana and immediately regretted that decision). A few minutes later we landed on the fact that LA LA LAND is definitely no Singin’ In The Rain, lamented the loss of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher and moved on.
A few days later my mom’s good friend (female, Mom’s age) said, “Explain all the hype around LA LA LAND because I don’t get it.” Her partner (male, same age) agreed. He thought it was nice looking but he didn’t get it. Love story felt thin. Whole point seemed meh.
After that I noticed a few Facebook posts from friends and family in their same bracket and decided it must be a thing. But why?
One thing first:
I liked-a-lot but didn’t love LA LA LAND myself. It wasn’t Singin’ In The Rain, no, but it was a modern musical which I can’t remember having in that form (dance numbers, original songs) since Moulin Rogue. I think Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are charming, talented and overall great. I enjoyed the music and I really enjoyed the ending. To me it was very romantic. The love they shared at the time when they met pushed Mia (Emma) and Sebastian (Ryan) to achieve their greatest dreams. If they’d stayed together – as we saw in the final dream sequence – someone would have lost something that they wanted more than they wanted to be together. You can take that as you can’t have it all, and that’s fair; you can’t. I take it as, if you really love someone you let them be who they want and need to be. I believe Mia and Seb were ultimately happier people having loved and lost each other than they would have been if they’d stayed together.
Is that take why some old (ish) people don’t like LA LA LAND? Do they know more than me? Do they know that – gulp – I’m wrong. The dream dies and it’s the love you want?
Or maybe it’s this:
I am literally living 90% of the life of Emma Stone in that movie. Just change actress to writer, add three dress sizes and Ryan swap for R (but I keep the guy because it’s different for reasons that are for another post). It makes sense that I enjoy and understand this movie. It is for me.
But I call BS on that argument (I just made) because my favorite movie of the year, so far, is Moonlight. That’s about a black boy/teen/man struggling with his gay identity as he overcomes obstacles of poverty and drug abuse in 1980s Miami. The only thing further from my life than that movie is the one where Robert Redford spends 2.5 hours alone on a boat. Though I’m also a straight white person who has been on a boat so Moonlight still wins.
So we’re back at some people of my parents generation (note: not my Dad who loved the movie – another clue? He’s from Minnesota. Something there?) did not enjoy LA LA LAND because they didn’t. They don’t have much more to say. They don’t care to say much more. And – oh, hhmm, interesting – they don’t really care what I think.
Kids. I may have cracked it.
Maybe it’s not that some old people don’t like LA LA LAND. Maybe lots of people don’t like LA LA LAND but inside my bubble the only people willing to admit it without extreme over explanation are my parents’ generation. I did see some post from friends that went Meh on LA LA. Other than that it’s been glowing reviews or detailed arguments. Kinda’ like the one I made a few paragraphs ago. We Boomer kids do have a knack for over justifying every decision we make. It’s a good way to never be 100% wrong or 100% right.
Would I have made my why I liked LA LA LAND argument if I was 60?
Maybe, no. Maybe I would have said, “LA LA LAND was fine. Singin’ In The Rain was better,” and moved on to far more important things – like Meryl Streeps’ speech at the Golden Globes last night. According to a quick scan of my text messages, e-mails and Facebook feeds this AM sane people of every generation understood that.
Here it is, again, with a photo of that lovely, bedazzled dress.
I loved it. I thought it was perfect. And that’s all I care to say about that.
’til tomorrow, maybe.