In Dreams — La La Land Review


Rating: 5 out of 5.

About 10 minutes into La La Land, I started to worry. 

Despite a charming opening scene filled with singing and dancing Los Angeles commuters stuck in traffic, I was still waiting for it to become my favorite movie of last year. After winning a ton of Golden Globes, it’s being touted as a frontrunner to win more than just an armful of Academy Awards, and critics — and all my friends — love it.

A few scenes in, I was starting to feel like I was going to be disappointed — that the hype was just too much. Or maybe it’s the whole musical thing — it’s no secret I’m not the biggest fan of the genre. 

And then, Ryan Gosling’s Sebastian came home to find his sister had snuck into his apartment. They discussed, they argued — he’s a jazz musician who hasn’t settled into his new home, and he’s got a pile of unpaid bills. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he’s obsessed. He hasn’t gotten over being screwed by a former partner who took their jazz bar and turned it into a samba and tapas restaurant. 

Samba and tapas. 

I was longer just watching La La Land — Sebastian was a mirror or an alternate dimension of myself. 

Not that I’ve ever wanted to own a jazz bar, per se, but I have dreams. Had dreams. Dreams that seemed pure and selfless but were essentially a bit selfish as well.

I want to create real music for people who need to hear it.


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Danger When Mixed — Silver Linings Playbook


Much can be said for a real connection, the chemistry between two costars that creates a sort of synergy so powerful, it reaches out from the screen.

In romantic movies, it’s a requirement, and the bigger the better. Without that back and forth or cohesion — that spark between the male and female leads — rom-coms fail to launch and get stuck on the runaway spinning their tires in awkward fashion.

So what can be said for costars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence playing broken and dysfunctional characters so tragic, human, and most importantly, real? When they share the screen, they complement each other so well that when their characters are separated, there’s a void, a negative space filled with longing and loneliness.

To call Silver Linings Playbook a comedy feels a bit like misdirection — it’s actually a movie with characters and situations so real, humor comes naturally. And where there are humans and laughter, there is tragedy, failure, heartbreak, and the sorting out of the mess that we call relationships.

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