Hi I’m a joyless McKilljoy who thought that La La Land was just ok.
I should probably preface it by saying that I’m not the biggest lover of musicals, an odd Chicago or Grease aside, and the old-school musicals in particular leave me cold, so a modern-day homage to the musicals of the 40s and 50s was never going to be an automatic sell for me. But I can still appreciate those older movies’ earnest, unabashed romanticism and I can hum an odd tune or two from many of them, whereas I found the music in La La Land instantly forgettable save for the low-key main theme with its simple but catchy piano riff. Also, while Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both gorgeous and have a genuinely great chemistry, as singers they don’t rise above adequate. It’s a bit ironic that my favourite musical moment of the film happens when Gosling’s character is performing with his sellout pop-jazz band and the movie hands the microphone to John Legend, who can well and truly sing.
Bleak and gritty drama set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, featuring an outstanding breakout performance by the pre-Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence that actually deserved to win an Oscar (don’t get me wrong, she was good in Silver Linings Playbook, but I always thought that her win that year was about Hollywood crowning its new big bright star more than anything else).
A love letter to the ordinary life and its smallest details, and creativity for its own sake, Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is a gentle, meditative gem. It takes skill to make a film without a real plot, drama or conflict following a week in the life of a bus driver-slash-basement poet from New Jersey feel so engrossing.