La La Land: Here’s to the Dreamers

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Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Me: “Let’s do movie! And Starbucks”

Mary Kate: “Sounds good! What movie?”

Me: “Let’s see La La Land! Ryan Gosling is in it!”

Mary Kate: “Yes!”

Ryan Gosling: those two words are all it takes to get any girl to see a movie. I didn’t do any research on the movie; I saw an ad on Facebook with his name and knew it was a go. Sure, Emma Stone was in it, but I was there for THE Ryan Gosling. I mean come on, who hasn’t seen The Notebook? Yea, Rachel McAdams was great blah blah, but it was Gosling who carried the movie, am I right? So, La La Land was going to be great for the sole reason that the actor whose “Hey Girl…Good Luck with Finals. I believe in you” meme carried me to a decent GPA, was in it. However, sometimes my wallet speaks to me more than good looks.

My minimal college budget does not leave room for me to waste on crappy movies where I spend a solid twenty bucks on concessions alone. I would at least have to check the IMDb ranking because I am obviously a serious film geek. I honestly downloaded the app because when someone can’t remember that one actor’s name from that one movie, I will be the first one to name him or her. La La Land had an 8.9. “Hmm Good Will Hunting only got an 8.3, so it must be amazing.” Every movie in my eyes must be compared to Good Will Hunting, I mean it was a scriptwriting masterpiece. This ranking caused me to be exactly $23.25 short in my checking account (thank you Regal Cinema 18 Concessions Booth, you will truly carry me to bankruptcy).

The introduction of the movie started out with a flash mob break out into song. Mary Kate and I giggled, “Shit, what did we get ourselves into?” I remembered my friend Jess mentioning something about how it was a musical, but all I could think about is Ryan fricking Gosling. Nevertheless, we stuck it out, and thank God we did because this movie changed the game.

To give a brief synopsis, Stone plays, an aspiring actress, Mia, who can’t seem to land a single role while struggling jazz pianist, Sebastian is played by Gosling. The story is set in Los Angeles, the so-called “City of Dreams.” Yet, these two young people find it hard to achieve what they want in life as reality kicks in. Gosling hopes of one day owning his own jazz club where he can play the music that means something to him, but instead he’s stuck playing Christmas classics in a restaurant, “I Ran” in an ’80s tribute band at weddings, and a pop rock version of jazz in a popular band that beats down the traditional music people fell in love with. Meanwhile, Mia is stuck working on the Warner Bros. lot not as a successful actress as she hopes, but rather as a barista. These two meet on multiple occasions, but only begin to share interest in each other when they share their dreams. Therefore, when they finally begin to date each other, there is this hidden premise that no matter how much they love each other, their dreams will always come first. Mia helps Sebastian stay focused on his dreams, and Sebastian does the same.

The concluding scene of the movie features two scenarios, the real and the imaginary. The movie flashes forward five years ahead, after Mia and Sebastian have broken up. In one scenario, Mia has become a world-renowned actress with a husband and child and one night accidently stumbles into a jazz club while out with her husband, and the club turns out to be her ex-lover Sebastian’s. She begins to cry as he sings their song, “City of Stars,” one line being, “Is this the start of something wonderful or one more dream that I cannot make true?” In the second scenario, Mia is successful and married to Sebastian with child, but when they accidently stumble into that jazz club, Gosling is not playing on the piano.

Seven Golden Globe nominations, including “Best Picture” all because Mia and Sebastian didn’t end up together. Why? It was “…a dream they couldn’t make true.” For if they stayed together, someone would have had to give up their dream, and the reason Mia cries is because she knew it would have been Sebastian because he loved her too much to give up his own. According to Rolling Stone, this is “The Movie of the year!” and with good reason.

We as viewers constantly want to be pleased with a class happy ending, where the guy and the girl fall for each other and end up “happily ever after.” We want to escape reality, not watch it on the big screen. Yet, La La Land brings the audience reality, and as much as they will want to be angry and dissatisfied with the ending, they will come to terms with it because it’s not phony.

Most of the distinguished and beloved films such as, Gone with the Wind, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Silver Linings Playbook, The Notebook, and my personal favorite, Good Will Hunting feature the guy landing the girl of his dreams. However, La La Land gives us something we haven’t seen since Casablanca, a reality check. Life isn’t about happy endings, and you can’t always get what you want.

“La La Land” is another nickname for the city of Los Angeles; it’s a dream world full of happiness and idealism. However, sometimes dreams end up being just the opposite. I believe La La Land is important to see because it will teach you an important lesson about how your dreams will cause you to sacrifice the things that mean the most to you.

 

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