La La Lame

Let us just get this out of the way: I'm old-fashioned AF when it comes to certain things. I stubbornly refuse to associate with the Millennials (or Generation Y) and I am so far removed from this latest group of kids, Generation Z, that I might as well be from Mars in their eyes. But they are foreign to me as well. I will never understand the plethora of teens and young adults who somehow make a living (or at least spend all of their time) online as bloggers, YouTubers or, my personal favorite, as "internet personalities." Then there are the people with no discernible talent at all who somehow make a shit pot of money just because they themselves are a brand. The Kardashians, the Trumps, the wait, what's their name again? Oh right, I don't care. Because they are nothing to me. When did we get so lazy? So sloppy? So mediocre? When did people not take the time to proof what drivel they post online? When did our vocabularies deteriorate? When did people stop reading books and online scamming Facebook posts? When did the 15 minutes of fame literally turn into about 5 seconds?*

I know many will not agree with me, and that is fine, but I must argue that La La Land is a good example of what is wrong with the world today. It is simultaneously a tribute to and a self-aggrandizement of Hollywood. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, who are just so darn cute, are not professional singers or dancers, and certainly did not train enough to make a decent pass of it. With all the buzz around the movie and all the Oscars it won, I feel like the AMPAS was patting them on the head for their efforts, but did Emma Stone or the composer Justin Hurwitz deserve Oscars? I would say no. First off, in the last few years, dramas almost exclusively win best picture, so if Warren Beatty had been right and La La Land won, not only would Hollywood be upholding its own superiority and, I would argue, falsely placing La La Land within the Hollywood musical tradition of the 1920s-1950s (give or take), but it would have deflected making an important political statement at this crucial time in American history. Moonlight was the first film with an all black cast and an LGBT to win the Oscar for best picture. Clearly this was the better pick for so many reasons (and it simply was the better film). And before people say I'm a jerk or not giving the La La Land crew any credit for their work, let me explain why I'm writing this. While I enjoyed the film objectively, it just left me cold on so many levels, mainly with the singing and the dancing. It was an entertaining story, Ryan and Emma were cute, but it was nothing like the ultimate and epic musical from the 1950s. You know the one I'm talking about. Oh wait. You don't? Then let me tell you about it...

The original film poster
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's 1952 musical, Singin' in the Rain, is to this day considered one of the best pictures to ever come out of Hollywood. And why you might ask? Because so much work went into the film. So much. It is a masterpiece of choreography, musical composition, cinematography, acting, set design and screenwriting. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, may they all rest in peace, danced and sang up a storm (get it? Singing in the rain...storm?). However, the three main actors did not particularly like each other. Gene Kelly was such a notorious tyrant and taskmaster on set that he had a voice double for Debbie Reynolds when she couldn't cut it - it was Betty Noyes who filled in - and he had his co-stars frightened and upset by his incessant push for perfection.

And the best part of all? Debbie Reynolds wasn't even a dancer (see the film below). Gene Kelly trained her so hard that you would have no idea she wasn't just as skilled as he or O'Connor. That is dedication. That is hard work. That is love for your craft. That makes history. That is why we need to embrace things in life with our whole ass - because what good is a half ass? And that is why La La Land is La La Lame.

Still from Gene Kelly's iconic song and dance number

(If the video will not play, do a YouTube search for "Good Morning" from Singin' in the Rain)

For more information about Singin' in the Rain, click here:

*Note: I know my audience largely consists of my friends and family and that they are intelligent, worldly people, so please know this is largely a Schultzian rant at society and not at my readers! I thank you, as always, for taking the time to read my blog and supporting me in something I enjoy. So please, do not in any way feel offended. Or if you are offended, let me know! Or if you disagree. Or if you love it. Any feedback is good feedback. I love to hear what my readers think. 

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