La La Land – A Mobi-Film Review – 16th January 2017

Yet Another Hollywood Con-job!


It ain’t “West Side Story”, which is quite possibly the best musical ever made.

It also ain’t “Singing in the Rain”, which is arguably the best postwar musical made in the Hollywood tradition.

It also ain’t “Top Hat”, rated by many as the best Rogers/Astaire musical.

It also ain’t “Moulin Rouge”, which was a riot of great music, comedy, genuine drama, and emotion.

And it ain’t even “Les Misérables”, arguably the finest ever stage musical which was ruined on film by a non-professional singing cast who could barely sing in tune, (Anne Hathaway excepted).

As with other ‘duds’ that were adored by the professional critics and film insiders, such as “Birdman” and the recent “American Honey’, it seems to be yet another case of the “Kings new Clothes”. Nobody dares to criticize.

We are told by the experts that La La Land it is absolutely brilliant and when we go to see it we will swoon in the aisles, barely able to find the superlatives to describe how much we loved it.

Yet if you scroll down the IMDb user reviews of this smash hit musical, in among the glowing 10 out of ten-star reviews, you will find a fair sprinkling of one-star reviews. (Two full pages of them). Not five or six or seven stars … no, just 1-stars among the 10-stars.

It doesn’t make sense – why do all these people give it ten stars and others only one, with headlines such as “Painfully Bad Film Musical”, “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To”, and “So Disappointed!” “Been There, Seen That” and “Visceral hatred for a con job”

If you are wondering why is it that some people can love it and others hate it – go and read some of the one-star reviews. The reviewers are movie lovers, (like me), and many are movie-musical lovers, (like me), and they intelligently articulate with tremendous clarity why La La Land has been ridiculously over-hyped, and why the endless publicity has simply turned 99% of the movie-going public into one enormous flock of sheep.

So what’s wrong with it?

In a single word, it is INSIPID. (Insipid: lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate or challenge; dull, vapid, flat….)

The songs are insipid.

Even though I am partial to jazz – and some of the jazz sequences with John Legend do sparkle – in general, the music score is mundane to a fault and the tunes are instantly forgettable.

The singing is insipid.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling do their best, but they are NOT professional singers, and I suspect you could find better singers at any local amateur dramatic musical production. The movie directors of old were smart enough to understand that if their stars cannot sing, such as Natalie Wood in “West Side Story”, then dub in a decent singer. How many people ever realized that Natalie didn’t actually sing those wonderful songs?

The dancing by Stone and Gosling is insipid.

Again, they do their best but they are NOT professionals. In some sequences, you can almost sense the dance instructors off camera shouting out “Stop! one step left! one step back!” and so on. They are soo… wooden.

The ensemble dancers are pretty much OK, but to be honest, there are no really great, original dance sequences that astonish and astound you- nothing that even comes close to the kind of stuff we have seen in the movie musicals of the past. Frankly, I can see better dance sequences every week in “Strictly come Dancing” or “Dancing with the Stars” than I saw in La La Land.

The story is insipid.

It takes forever to get going and for the first half of the movie you have to pinch yourself to keep watching these insipid characters playing out their thoroughly unoriginal, utterly boring story. You really don’t care what happens to either of them.

The Story

Struggling actress meets struggling jazz pianist. Pianist makes good, actress dumps him because he opts for “wealth and fame” over his musical principles – whatever that may mean. The actress gives up, and goes home to mom; successful pianist comes to the rescue and persuades her to go to one last audition. Guess what? She makes it and becomes a star, and the two stars go their separate ways.

What an enthralling story, don’t you think? This review hardly qualifies as one of those containing spoilers, as the story is so insipid.

Okay, so is anything good?

Yes – the cinematography and editing are good, as you might expect of a movie with a budget exceeding 30 million dollars. They can afford to hire to very best technicians that money can buy – and they do.

But a good cameraman and a good editor, and a good costume designer and a good set designer, and so on, do not a good movie make. These wonderful technicians were already let down from the start by director Damien Chazelle, who wrote the insipid story and by Justin Hurwitz who penned the insipid music.

If you’ve got nothing better to do, and like me, you hate all the Hollywood franchise trash that fills our cinema screens these days, then you might do worse than spend a couple of hours snoozing through this piece of insipid, sleep-inducing rubbish.

But if you expect to be uplifted and leave with a fine tune ringing in your ears, then you’re in for a major disappointment.

Unless you’re one of the sheep… baa aaah...

One Mobi-Star out of five for La La Land


2 thoughts on “La La Land – A Mobi-Film Review – 16th January 2017”

  1. I found your review to be pretty biased unfortunately. In the previous film review regarding Captain Fantastic you write “Some reviewers love it and a few hate it, but the ‘love-its’ have it by a country mile”. I had to laugh when the exact same can be said for La La Land, yet you go on to pillory it as “insipid”?! Don’t the “love-its” for La La Land also have it by a country mile?

    I have not seen La La Land so can’t make a comment, however I felt that Captain Fantastic was pretty shitty – especially the ending – and I would not recommend anyone to spend money to see it if I was asked. I also realise that each person has their own tastes, so not everyone will like what I like, and if a friend asked my opinion I’d be happy to say that I didn’t like it but perhaps they might. I think you at this point in life would be wise to learn this too, and instead of declaring that something is bad, perhaps realise that not everyone has the same tastes as you. In fact, with your life experiences (which are definitely not mainstream) it is likely that most people indeed do not see through your glasses. Perhaps it would help with your stress and therefore health to finally realise this. Holding such strong feelings about a movie that will be out of the public eye in a few weeks can’t be good for you in the long term.


    1. With the greatest of respect, it seems that you are the one who is getting stressed – not me, presumably because you do not agree with my sincerely held opinions.

      A review is a review – it contains the unvarnished opinions of the writer – for good or bad. These are my views and nobody has to agree with them.

      To date, I have posted 84 film and TV reviews on IMDb, and if you browse through them you will find all shades of opinion from extreme praise, to middling, to scathing.

      That’s what movie reviewers do.

      Read all the one-star reviews on IMDb for La la land, there are pages of them, many of them much more critical than even I was. Why single me out and not them?

      The role of a reviewer, whether paid or unpaid is to provide an honest, unbiased personal opinion, and that is what I do.

      So you would have me moderate my opinions because according to you, my ‘”life experiences are not mainstream”.

      That’s a strange accusation to make against someone who was born and bred and educated in the UK, travelled the world for half his life, including North America, continental Europe, the Middle East and Asia and then spent 18 years of his mature years working at senior jobs in the heart of London where he also spent the first seven years of his working life.

      I am also very widely read – I have probably read more books than most of my peers and have been a keen movie buff since a child.

      So I do believe I have a few qualifications that entitle me to write with some authority on films – good and bad.

      Of course, you don’t have to agree with me… but I do question your assertion that I shouldn’t be publishing my well-considered but strongly held and views.

      Pray why is this not good for me in the long term? Is Hollywood going to come and get me?


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