Friday, January 20, 2017

It feels really nostalgic to me.

I recently got a new laptop. It's not as sexy as my old one, can't do nearly as much, but it's reliable and does the few things I ask it to do very well.

The old one? Man, we had some good times. It was my first laptop, and I went all in when I purchased it. Not only did it house most of my professional documents, but thousands and thousands of pictures and songs that essentially defined me as a person. Hell, this website you're reading was born on that old rig.

But things eventually went south. The battery couldn't hold a charge anymore, programs would crash at the worst possible times, and unwanted malware coursed through the entire system. Eventually, I lost everything.

But before that final boot, there used to be a desperate move I would always exploit. One trick to prolong our time together?

I could find a restore point.

Unfortunately life doesn't work that way, and we can't go back to the exact moment when everything was going smoothly. We have to grind to the bitter end, left only to imagine what could have been.

La La Land isn't about a computer in the least, but it captures the infinite possibilities and hopeless optimism of life and love with machine-like precision. Residing on the outskirts of an intoxicating world of fame and fortune, hope and reality, Damien Chazelle's award-winning film is a dream about dreaming. But while I tend to forget most of my dreams in the morning, La La Land will likely stay with me forever. Especially in those quiet moments of my day where I find myself compelled to whistle. Wait, what?

Set in that magical time of all our lives where anything is possible, La La Land tells the interconnected story of twenty-somethings Mia and Sebastian. Mia (a flawless Emma Stone) has moved to L.A. to become an actress, fulfilling something akin to her destiny. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling, charming the audience into the fetal position) has a different dream, putting everything he has into his one true love, jazz. Initially, they are not a match made in heaven, and it's only when the stars align do these two finally take a chance on one another.

Beyond being the perfect metaphor for just about every aspect of growing up, beyond being simultaneously old-school and like nothing I've ever seen, Hell, even discounting the incredible performances and sizzling soundtrack (and impossibly rad dance numbers) I loved La La Land because it presented the world as such an incredible place to live in. But not even in a bullshit, rom-com sort of way, either.

You almost get used to this level of excellence...
See, despite chasing dreams that most would consider glamorous (and perhaps unreasonable), Mia and Sebastian could be any of us. But instead of being cool, or ironic, perfect or whatever, they instead go all in on happy. They live in a world where they are each other's most ardent advocates, and a world that more or less only consists of them (ah, remember that?). But even better, even more romantic, they live in a world where the skies are blue, the air is warm, and you can literally dance across the stars as you fall in love.

After the Globes, my wife and went to La La Land more or less demanding excellence and we both left with an experience that far exceeded our expectations. I quite honestly can't shake the good vibes of the film (it's been a week), nor do I want to. I can be a real joyless prick at times, and the more I think about Sebastian, the more I realize I'm doing it all wrong. Like, everything. Good thing I've already found my Mia.... Now if only I could open that jazz club.

Speaking of things that will never happen, let us waltz through the sky with the Yays and Boos. I wish I could tell you that they have two left feet, but frankly, that would be an improvement.

We should all look up more.

  • My goodness. We're just getting comfortable and they drop the highway scene on us? Starting small, huh?
  • Sebastian is lame in the coolest possible way. Exhibit A: the cassette deck.
  • If I was a girl, and all of a sudden everyone started signing and dancing, I'm calling the curtains right now, okay? I mean, how else am I supposed to look like I'm wearing a fancy dress?
  • Faces! Everywhere! Yes!
  • What if I said Miles Davis pissed on it? Oh, sis. You rascal.
  • Uh, J.K. Simmons being picky about how and what music is played? That sounds good. I'll have that.
  • Gosling, momentarily channeling his character from The Nice Guys [review], There's a nice way to say that Karen.
  • So, uh, that's really Gosling on the piano, right?
  • No, Jamal. You be tripping.
  • Man, that 80's synth band was f--king awesome. Sebastian (uh, and everyone) pretty much always had the best clothes ever, but this number out by the pool? Fantastic. Even if he was too young to fully appreciate the awesomeness of that era.
  • Speaking of the 1980s, I think La La Land could give all of them a run for their money for most people diving into a pool. Now, nobody did a triple-lindy, but still.
  • Mike Langino, Quinnipiac University. 1999. Ol' Mike showed me how to boost the range of my keyless entry by beaming the signal through my eyes. I hadn't really that until them. Likely, because my brain doesn't work, what with all the cancer teeming through it.
  • My favorite scene in the entire movie? The pier scene. The music. The sky. The fact that he dances with that older black lady (and the way her husband handles it). All of it adds up to something just north of perfection.
  • The shot of the jazz music coming out of the speaker next to the EXIT sign made my life complete.
  • If you ever find Emma Stone looking at you while she's dancing, perhaps coaxing you onto the dance floor, check your pulse. The bad news? You might be dead. But the good news? You made it to heaven. Congrats.
  • Mia's face at Sebastian's big concert? Yeah, that's what dreams are made of.
  • That damn photo shoot. I'm still laughing at that scene. But I'm trying not too. Maybe I should bite my lip?
  • The horn. I'm sorry. The hornnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Loved that so much.
  • I so wanted this movie to have a happy ending. I was desperate for it, honestly. And I think I got it. Maybe.
  • And finally, everything else. No shit. I feel like Harrison Ford in The Force Awakens. The good things you've heard about this movie? Crazy thing is... it's true. The singing. The dancing... All of it... It's all true.
There is nothing to Boo here. 
  • So, that band was in the back of the box truck the whole time? Poor bastards.
  • Now, as a public school teacher, I know all about being ignored when I'm giving it all I've got, but even I wanted to look away during some of Mia's auditions. Brutal.
  • Writer Guy. What the f--k, dude?
  • What about Kenny G?
  • Yay! A callback! Oh, it's over? Okay.
  • The first time Greg shows up, I almost threw my water bottle at the screen. Who the f--k is this guy?
  • Project Mayhem totally blows their first kiss. C'mon, guys. First Jared Leto's face, and now this. 
  • *whispers* John Legend was kind of distracting...(should I apologize for this?)
  • Awwww...a surprise dinner. This should be sooooo sweet. Turns out, I can't enjoy a meal when I've put a gun in my mouth.
  • You know that feeling when you put your heart and soul into something and like only six people show up? Yeah, Me too.
  • I used to like Tom Everett Scott. Not anymore. 
  • And finally, we are all entitled to our opinions. And I really respect yours. I do. But how the Hell do people hate this movie? Do you also hate flowers? And puppies? And joy? Goodness. If you can't get behind something like this...I don't know even know what to say...
Equating a relationship to a laptop is probably (/certainly) a stupid analogy, but if you've seen this film, you might get what I'm going for. You know what, f--k it, I'm going to stand by it. In fact, I'm going to elaborate a bit, just to make sure you get it. Well, I would.

Except my battery is dying. 



  1. I feel like I've joined some sort of club now that I've finally seen La La Land. I'd been hyping it up for so long I was ready to be disappointed, but god damn it got me in that very first scene! That car horn was honestly my favourite part! God I wish I could dance...

    1. Welcome to the club! I felt like I had to rush out to see it before the hype consumed me, and I was not let down in the least. In fact, like you said, the very first scene basically guaranteed that this was going to be a good time.

      The horn! F--king perfect!

      Me too on the dance thing. I'm settling for poorly singing along to the soundtrack. Though my whistling game is pretty f--king solid, I must admit.

  2. 100% agree on equating La La Land to a lap top, I'm in love with mine. I'd be lost with out it, and I'm probably going to have to replace it soon. That makes me sad.

    I'm glad you loved this movie. I wish I could have Emma Stone's wardrobe.

    1. I was kicking around a few different (poorly chosen) analogies, but settled on the laptop. There were one or two moments in La La Land (like in real life) where I wished they could go back and undo what happened (that dinner being the main one, and her play...dammit).

      I'll pitch in to help you get Stone's if you can help me acquire Gosling's. Good God, I'd even settle for his synth-band outfit. So rad.

  3. Totally agree on everything!! This movie was just joyful to watch, and bittersweet in all the right moments. I can't wait to watch it again, but seeing it in theaters will always be the best. It's just so vivid and colorful.

    1. Yes! I agree with everything you say, Jess. It was perfectly bittersweet for me, as even though it didn't end the way I wanted too (but at least I didn't have to imagine it on my own, you know?), I still left the theater so happy.

      Ah, the colors...if only the real world could be like that (uh, I don't think I've seen the sun in a week)

  4. Damn I feel so alone. The relentless optimism had me walking out 15 minutes into the thing. Could not fucking stand it. Looked great, brilliantly choreographed, great acting from what I saw.

    But I just can't watch a fucking movie where the actors just launch into a massive dance for no apparent reason. I can't even handle those little songs from old Simpsons episodes!! I only went to see this cause I loved Whiplash. I should have known better.

    1. Hahaha....ah, man...don't sweat it. I work in a middle school so I'm overly attracted to optimism. If ever catch wind of some true positivity? It almost kills me. Watching these two young people get being nice? Possibly my favorite thing ever.

      I loved Whiplash, too. And I'm cool with people singing and dancing and shit because, in a way, I guess that's how it feels when you meet that person, you know? Just an exaggerated way of showing it.

      Dude...we're just on opposite ends of the spectrum on this one.

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