There was something about “Old Hollywood” that was wonderfully inspirational.
Film stars back then were true stars. They were part of the studio system that made them stars. They seemed to have good breeding and manners.
They weren’t blue bloods and most of them didn’t come from old money. They came from working class, American families. They had dreams. They wanted to “be somebody.” And so, why not be a star?
This is so fundamentally and almost uniquely American. The belief that you can come from “nowhere” today and be a “star” tomorrow still strongly echoes in the American psyche. Television shows like “The Voice,” “American Idol,” and “America’s Got Talent” easily attest to that.
However, these days, we’ve carried it way too far. Today, there are too many people who believe that in order to be relevant or whole they must be on television or they must be “a star.” It’s really sad. That road is fraught with peril and pitfalls.
But I digress.
“La La Land” is a throwback to old Hollywood musicals. You know, those big, Busby Berkeley type films where the characters break into song and dance every ten minutes or so. There’s always a production number right around the corner or in the next scene. Fred and Ginger.
While La La Land isn’t as intricate as Berkeley, it does borrow some of his tricks and cliches. Director Damien Chazelle was clearly influenced by old Hollywood films at some point in his life. And fortunately for him and La La Land, it has paid off quite well.
La La Land is a delightful film about dreams. It’s about the importance of dreaming and fantasizing about your life as you’d like it to be. In this case, it centers on characters beautifully played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
Their characters want to be happy and meaningful. They live in Los Angeles and they’re both reaching for relevance in their respective venues. Throw in a little romance, some song and dance, some Technicolor with a pinch of nostalgia and jazz … and you’ve got the film pegged.
As a nation – and world - we totally need this film right now. We’re in a dark period. Things feel bleak.
We need to be reminded that life doesn’t always have to be about strife and struggle and conflict, although the characters in this film clearly deal with these issues.
La La Land reminds us that a life lived without pursuing your dream isn’t much of a life at all. It also teaches us that perhaps the greatest love of all is the selflessness that allows us to give flight to someone else’s dream. If you truly love someone, you’ll release them so they can become who they’re meant to be.
Yes, I’ve already said too much.
La La Land is a must-see film for creative types who are prone to apathy, depression or indecision. Do yourself a favor and go see it. It reminds us that success is not the destination. It's part of the journey.
I promise you … after seeing this film, you’ll leave the movie theater ready to take flight and become one with the stars.
After all, you ARE a star.