La La Land: Old-School Movie Magic

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La La Land (2016)

My Rating: Three and a half stars

Age Suggestion: 14+

The Movie

Two proper L.A. dreamers, a suavely charming soft-spoken jazz pianist and a brilliant vivacious playwright, while waiting for their big break, attempt to reconcile aspirations and relationship in a magical old-school romance. (from IMDB)

Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Rated PG-13

My Thoughts

This movie, while not flawless, was sweet and entertaining and right up my alley. The plot, though simple, is a time-honored story of artists seeking to “make it” in the big bad world of performing, and succeeds at bringing a kind of old-Hollywood glam into the modern world. I wasn’t always sold on the more out-there musical sequences (it works in Singin’ in the Rain, but you can only ask a modern audience to take suspension of disbelief so far), but somehow they still pulled off an updated but thoroughly classic musical movie.

I have to say, I’m not a fan of Ryan Gosling’s singing voice. I think he did great in the role overall, but his voice wasn’t good enough to really carry an entire musical. I didn’t really like Emma Stone’s, either, until she sang “Fools Who Dream”. Then it seemed like she just came out of her shell completely and I couldn’t have asked for a better singer. If only she could have sung like that the whole time…

(the one time I didn’t mind their voices was when they were singing “City of Stars” together in their apartment. It’s realistic that a couple just hanging out and singing together aren’t necessarily going to sound Broadway-ready, and it actually made the scene sweeter.)

But the music overall is great! The songs are well-written and beautiful and I love the instrumental soundtrack.

My one big problem with the movie is somewhat of a spoiler. So if you haven’t seen it and you don’t want me to spoil the end, skip past this next part.

SPOILERS BEGIN

Here’s what I hate:

Two people fall in love. For various reasons they have to part ways. Years later, one or both of them is married. The girl’s husband is played up as kind of a fool, or at best just mediocre. Then the lovers run into each other again. They can never be together now, but it’s obvious that they still care about each other. The girl doesn’t seem to really care about her husband at all.

Regardless of how good a book or movie is, if it has this plotline in it, I don’t like it. Because if you marry someone it hopefully means you love them enough to forget about other people you may have loved in the past. Plus, whether you love your husband or not, it’s just not okay for you to fantasize about a previous lover once you’re married. And why do they always have to make the husband seem so mediocre next to the other guy? It’s possible that she married another really great guy!

Ahem. Rant over. I loved the rest of the movie, I just really don’t appreciate that it ended this way.

SPOILERS END

 

*Content Warnings*

Like I said above, this movie is pretty clean as far as romance goes. The two main characters do end up living together outside of marriage, but what we see never goes beyond kissing.

The biggest reason I recommend this for ages 14 and up is because there is quite a bit of language, mostly mild, but with a few very bad words. So it really depends what you’re comfortable with, personally. I don’t mind a little bit of language, as long as it’s not constant, but if you’re really bothered by it you might not want to watch this movie.

 

Quibbles aside, I really did enjoy this movie. It’s rare to have such a clean, old-fashioned romance movie these days, and so I would definitely recommend it if you like romance but can’t conscientiously watch a lot of today’s rom-coms and chick flicks. It isn’t really a comedy, but it made me laugh out loud several times, while still having serious and beautiful moments as well. And for someone who loves musicals, it was just the perfect, sweet movie for a comfy summer night.

What do you think? Have you seen La La Land? If so, did you like it? If not, will you watch it now? Tell me in the comments! 

love, grace

Read more:

TV Review: Sherlock (2010-)

Top 7 Movies for Snow Days

Book and Movie of the Year 2016

Podcast Review: Age of Minority

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My Rating: Five Stars

Age Suggestion: 12+

Website: ageofminority.com

This is the podcast started by Jaquelle Crowe, the editor-in-chief of The Rebelution, and her dad. I started listening to it basically as soon as it came out, and it is by far my favorite podcast that I listen to. It makes me laugh, makes me think, and makes the drive to dance class (same route, there and back, four times a week…) much more interesting!

About the Podcast

The website describes it this way:

The Age of Minority Podcast is a podcast for young people about the gospel. Jaquelle and Sean talk about all things related to being a young person who is interested in having the gospel transform his or her life.

Basically, it’s a podcast where a girl and her dad sit down and talk together about a wide range of topics that all relate to Christian teens. There’s plenty of fun involved too (conversations about food, anyone…?).

A few prior episodes to give you an idea of the content: church, TV/movies, the Trinity, evangelism, reading, and the Sabbath.

My Thoughts

This podcast is the best.

Everyone should listen to it.

Can I be done now?

All jokes aside, this truly is my favorite podcast. Jaquelle and Sean talk about so many important topics and have tons of good things to say; each one is practical, inspirational, and truly helpful.

There’s plenty of fun, random conversation and joking, but it never overtakes the real message of each podcast. There is always helpful, substantial content, coming from two people who really love the Lord and live for Him and want to help others do the same. I find the two of them so inspiring and always come away encouraged.

And the fun, random stuff is what makes the podcast so special! The joking interaction between the two of them makes them relatable and proves that Christians don’t have to be solemn and sour-faced to talk about serious things. I often laugh out loud while driving down the street and I’m sure I look like an idiot to anyone who happens to be looking my direction. But I don’t care.

This podcast should be a part of every single Christian teen’s life. You can listen to it while you do chores, or work out, or drive…basically you have no excuse not to. I think you will find it entertaining and encouraging.

love, grace

Have you listened to Age of Minority? If so, do you like it? If not, will you start listening to it? Let me know in the comments!

Read more:

My Goodreads review of Jaquelle’s new bookThis Changes Everything