La La Land

So there was no way I was missing La La Land.

For one thing, there’s this woman I know who is beautiful; she also introduced me to Vibrato Grill and Jazz and Mexican scrambles at Yahaira’s…and she runs the Santa Monica steps maybe 20-30 times per visit…and…she actually took her kids to see La La Land at least five times at latest count.

And then there’s the director, Damien Chazelle. The dude’s barely 30-years old and last year he directed my fave film of 2016, Whiplash. I saw Whiplash, maybe five times on the big screen and a few more since via On Demand. I loved the music and the story. And just so you know, if you didn’t like Whiplash, you are officially dead to me.

I tried seeing La La Land several times before finally paying a visit to the Laemmle with a spinning friend who’s spent years in The Business. We had a difficult time matching schedules and even wound up seeing Rogue One together as a last minute replacement (thankfully, after a couple of Anchor Steams.) And the only way I survived Star Wars, Part Infinity, was by pretending the slow guys in the big white suits getting shot up on the screen were actually Trump voters from Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

When we left the Laemmle I was a little surprised by my entertainment biz friend; she thought La La Land was okay. There were basically six movie formulas; La La Land followed one of ‘em. I actually called the movie a masterpiece right out loud. As we walked out of the theater, I felt kinda like a dork.

And then, as if the upcoming inauguration wasn’t depressing enough, one of my fave Facebook friends shared “One hour into La La Land, with five of my besties, in New York, and we hate it.!!! Don’t get it. We are angry. #no chemistry/siblings kissing/ bad remake” and “Hated it, hated it, hated it…” And that’s why I love being a dentist living in Pasadena

My Facebook buddy is an actress; she could have been Mia. She would have been great.

But watching the film, an obvious homage to a musical genre of the past, I couldn’t help myself. I was drawn into the visual wonder, the imagination, the humor, and the performances. And…what the hell, even J.K. Simmons was back from Whiplash, firing another musician on the spot just like old times.

Risking becoming a dork to the nth power; my mom woulda loved this film.

And I can understand how, for those in the business, the arbitrary path to success in it could inevitably generate some serious cynicism. But for me, the fantasy of the film happening in my hometown was just the timely escape I needed.

La La Land, whose bitter sweet parting view was that of time relentlessly passing by, actually touched my heart. Even though, after almost 20-years of being an Ahmanson subscriber, I cancelled my primo orchestra seats several years ago because there were way too many musicals.

I love Los Angeles and Griffith Park and seeing the Rialto and “Suicide” Bridge up there on the big screen too. And I think Gene, Donald, and Debbie would have forgiven a few dance steps and musical notes for an imaginative, respectful, and beloved Los Angeles 65th “Singin’” birthday card.