Words by Jamie Carson and James Bird
It’s the movie that everyone won’t shut up about, which automatically makes you want to hate it. Can a film full of singing and dancing with no nudity or violence in 2017 REALLY be that good?
Once you get past the first overly gleeful half hour of La La Land and the real-life problems start to arise, you slowly begin to understand that although the Oscar-buzzed flick lays its foundations on song and dance, it’s really much bigger. From teaching you how to deal with the pain of nostalgia, to teaching you how to dress really bloody well, this is a film beaming with advice for the modern man that’s not just how to tap dance.
So get over your fragile masculinity and go watch a musical. Because this movie will make you a better man.
Ryan Gosling’s impeccable style
Thought brogues went on the indie landfill pile along with Razorlight and the Pigeon Detectives? Wrong, they’re back. But instead of wearing them with ripped skinny jeans and a Topman t-shirt they should be worn in monochrome with mix ‘n’ match retro tailoring. So throw out all your drop crotch joggers and Nike Air Max, because your local charity shop/grandad’s wardrobe is full of unknown treasures just waiting to be discovered and then immediately Febreezed.
It doesn't make you want to smoke every couple of minutes
In the super cool world of art and entertainment, smoking is seen as a super cool thing to do. All the coolest, most nihilistic characters smoke, and in turn that makes you want to smoke - because hey, who doesn't want to be a little bit like Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing or Jamie Foxx in Django?
There isn't any smoking at all in La La Land, it’s a very clean sort of land, and those nasty little nicotine twinges that twist painful holes in your polluted synapses can be forgotten about whilst you watch the objectively handsome Ryan Gosling play the piano nicely.
It’ll teach you how to be properly romantic
There’s a scene in a cinema when they go watch a screening of Rebel Without a Cause where Sebastian holds Mia’s hand for the first time, and it’s probably one of the most romantically electrifying scenes of all time.
That’s it. Hand holding. Not one ounce of saliva was swapped. Not one nude was sent. Not one sext was sexted. Fellas, this is how you date. No ‘Netflix and chill’, just clammy palms.
And why can’t we dance properly anymore? When did we start grinding against each other, turning ourselves into chafed, frustrated messes? Bring back ballrooms. Fuck Tiger Tiger.
Nostalgia doesn’t have to be painful
You can’t always get everything you want, and that’s OK. In a harrowing scene towards the end where Ryan loses himself in his signature song, thinking about an alternative reality that could’ve been if he’d only done things differently.
But what started as a pretty heart-breaking moment ends in a friendly smile, showing that you can still be happy without filling every empty hole in your life. Not everything has to be put through an Instagram filter and hashtagged into a fairytale.
For a movie where the cast burst into song at inappropriate moments on top of cars in downtown LA rush hour, it’s probably one of the realest rom-coms you’ll ever see.
It’ll give you your fancy dress outfit for your next party
In one scene early on, we see Gosling’s Seb take on another humiliating paycheck job at a shitty Los Angeles pool party in a band performing Eighties covers. Everyone knows that feeling, the one where you’re working on the tills at a supermarket and your crush comes in, or sweeping up some smashed glass at the restaurant you’re working 75 hours a week in when then that girl you met in Peckham last week walks in with her mates.
Seb plays the Keytar and Mia walks to the front to request a song – I Ran by the demonically-haired scouse New Wave band A Flock of Seagulls. The band have to play it, and Gosling’s performance as an embarrassed boy in front of a girl he’s realising he quite likes is endearing and relatable. Sometimes you just gotta style it out.
His outfit – open red suit with red Keytar and red Keytar strap – is sensational. So are the glasses that finishes off the look. A gloriously sunny ensemble for those early summer fancy dress parties where you want to look weird, fun and knowledgeable.
Even if you’re broke and can’t pay your bills rn, everything might just be alright.
Sebastian goes back to his scruffy apartment to find his sister there who he has a pop at for putting her feet on a stool which he took from the street after a jazz club closed down. He’s clearly following his dream of being a jazz musician to the detriment of his finances – there’s loads of unpaid bills and it’s a bit of a mess. But, that’s ok! Really, it’s ok!
If you can suspend your disbelief for long enough, and forget about the wilting waxy males ruining our society right now, La La Land will remind you that following your artistry and being poor and sad for a little bit is definitely alright. Go home, chuck that gas bill in the bin and write that sitcom you’ve been talking to EVERYONE about at 4am in the morning for years.
Sebastian asks his sister "Why do you say 'romantic' like it's a dirty word?" and Sebastian is right. The romance of keeping the dream alive is savored in this film, and your drought-inflicted tear ducts will thank you for it afterwards.