LA LA LAND, One of the Best Movies in Decade

Photo by Dale Robinette

I don’t usually do movie reviews but this movie LA LA LAND had all the ingredients that stir my emotions. I sure love musicals and a lot of my favorite musicals were in the 80s like Annie starring Aileen Quinn, Flashdance with Jennifer Beals, Fame with Irene Cara, Xanadu with Olivia Newton John and Gene Kelly, and Staying Alive with John Travolta. LA LA LAND is the first movie musical outside of these that will have a lasting effect on me. All these movies have something in common, “chasing one’s dreams.” I grew up in LA and so I really can relate to the places, the struggles to look for a job you really love, and just simply looking for success. LA LA LAND featured two main characters Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) who are drawn together with their desire to succeed in what they love to do. Mia an aspiring actress and Sebastian a dedicated jazz musician who are struggling to make ends meet in Los Angeles, a city that is known for struggling actors.

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in LA LA LAND

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in LA LA LAND

LA LA LAND was a movie that I can relate to and have my kids watch too. Now let’s go to what I was referring to as why do I relate to this movie. After graduating college from the Philippines I decided to come to America for greener pastures in 1992. Unfortunately, 1992 was the recession year and it was hard for me to find a job. I was living with my relatives in Whittier and struggled for a year looking for a job. I was about to give up and had depression but there’s this side of me telling me not to give up until I found a job and found friends for good. I applied to about a hundred companies and received 100 turn down letters. I collected ’em all and told myself I will receive an offer letter someday. After my first job, I had a second job that offered me a position to an important company in the 90s and it wasn’t just an offer letter but stock options, and a hip office. Since then my life turned around in a positive way.

Keith (John Legend, left) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling, right) in LA LA LAND

Keith (John Legend, left) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling, right) in LA LA LAND

Going back to LA LA LAND, the movie explores the excitement of our dreams, and the realities of relationships and personal endeavors. As you’re watching the movie , it makes you think, what you should choose, your dream or pursuing your life with the one you love. It is true opportunity knocks only once but not to be with your real love partner for the rest of your life, is it really worth it? The ending was stunning and I would say one of the best I’ve seen so far. As with everyday lives, you want to rewind your life and ask “What if….” In fact, I called the end of the story a genius. The type where you can indulge your fantasies. It lifts you emotionally. I would call it “movie magic”.

Director Damien Chazelle and Emma Stone on the set of LA LA LAND.

Director Damien Chazelle and Emma Stone on the set of LA LA LAND.

The soundtrack is uplifting. It gives an emotional impact of the story. Just listening to the beginning of the keys makes you already wonder about the next scene. I can’t say enough how much I love the movie, not to mention that it embodies everything I love in a story – music, fantasy, dancing and lyrics of the songs. It takes you to back to a golden era of musicals like Singing in the Rain. It reminds us of humanity.

It inspire and reminds us.. pursuing what you love to do and struggling towards your career is a normal thing.

On the set of LA LA LAND

On the set of LA LA LAND

 

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