Whiplash.) No, I don't care that other people seem to like them. Actually, that's part of the problem. Chazelle's movies are like the Hershey's bars of chocolate: They're fine if that's all the chocolate you have access to but, once you've had good chocolate, you'll realize that Hershey's is kind of waxy and you won't want it again as anything other than a last resort.
Except I never want to see Whiplash again, even as a last resort.
Don't get me wrong, La La Land is a fun movie. Mostly. Fun in a cotton candy kind of way: It's all fluff and no substance. I like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling just fine, and they do a fine job, but they never really gel. The movies feels like you're watching two people acting as if they are acting they are in love and having a relationship, which adds to the cotton candy-ness of the whole experience. None of it feels real. The whole movies feels as if it's about to dissolve under scrutiny.
I think the thing that most bothers me about the movie is the "message." Sure, it's an actual message, but it's a message that's endemic to our culture of positivity and to Hollywood in particular, so
1. It hardly seems like making a movie about this message anymore is worthwhile (especially since neither of the main characters have to go through any actual hardship (at least not within the action of the movie)).
2. It's a false message.
Oh, the message?
If you just follow your dream, if you're true to it to the exclusion of all else, your dream will come true. Even if it means giving up the "love of your life."
Maybe it's just me, but I'm really sick of that message, because it's not a true message. The problem, though, is that if someone doesn't succeed at achieving their dream, people take the stance, "Well, you just didn't try hard enough. You must have let yourself be distracted by other things." It's like the whole positive attitude with cancer patients, breast cancer especially. There's this pervasive belief that if someone just stays positive that she will beat the cancer. If she dies? She wasn't positive enough. The tragedy? Studies are showing that people who rely on positivity have a lower survival rate. (You can see my review of Bright-sided for more on this. Then go read that book.)
So, yes, the hype this movie is receiving makes me a bit mad. Probably more than a bit. It's so undeserving, especially in relation to all of the other movies, right now. Look, it's not that I have anything against people following their dreams. I'm all for it. I encourage it. However, this idea that if you are just steadfast in following your dream then it will definitely come true is a lie. Many people, people who are doggedly determined in following their dream, never see those things come true, because that's not all that it's about. To lead people to believe that it is is not just wrong, it's cruel. It leads people to believe that, somehow, if their dream doesn't come true then the fault is somehow inside of them, that they did something wrong, when, actually, they may have done everything right.
On top of all of that is this idea that Sebastian is some kind of white savior for jazz. Only he really appreciates it's true form, and only he can save it from extinction. If he can only manage to get his jazz club open. You know, if you "build" it, they will come and all that... wait for it... jazz. I find the whole thing kind of insulting. I mean, not only does he appreciate it more, but he plays it better. So, you know, you have all of these great black musicians in the movie, jazz musicians, but it's the lone white guy who is going to save them.
Give me a fucking break.
So, yes, I don't think La La Land deserved any of the Golden Globes it won, but Chazelle, especially, didn't deserve the awards for screenplay and directing.