It would appear that the “Crazy Years” predicted
by Robert A. Heinlein have arrived.
La La Land
by J. Neil Schulman
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I originally watched La La Land on a screener sent to me during awards season.
I just watched ten minutes in the middle on HBO, remembered what I hated about it, and turned it off.
The trolls of my movies refuse to admit that it's my movie's content that offends them and instead make relentless attacks on my movie's actors, crew, production values, and in particular the writer-director—me.
So let me do this the right way.
There is nothing wrong with the music in La La Land, often a musical.
Every element in the movie—taken by itself—is fully professional. Everyone above and below the line—cast and crew—delivered.
What I dislike is the movie's theme, which is anti-romantic and depressing.
I don't like the characters, who I find weak and unable to defend their highest values.
I don't like the dialogue which portrays the characters as trapped by conventionality and psychologically petty.
I see the choreography as professional in execution yet conceptually inferior to classics in the genre like almost any Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire movie—and inasmuch as La La Land had a budget of $30 million there's no excuse not to achieve classic standards.
The plot annoys me because it's a series of missed and betrayed opportunities for the characters and focuses on failures and defeats.
Like a play that I hated for the same reasons—Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class—we are shown characters who don't have a real chance for happiness.
It's a perfect metaphor for what's wrong with Hollywood—politically and culturally—and I suppose therefore, in one sense, I should consider La La Land to be a dystopia disguised as a musical and therefore brilliant.
But I am so disturbed by its content that I can't enjoy it and can't watch it more than once.
Now that's the honest way to say why you don't like a movie.
The World According to J. Neil Schulman:
J. Neil Schulman is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, radio
personality, filmmaker, composer, and actor. His dozen books include
the novels Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza,
both of which won the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus
Award for best libertarian novel, and the anthology Nasty, Brutish,
And Short Stories.
Read more about him.
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