I had high expectations for La La Land. I listen to a movie podcast called Collider and I worship every word they say, except for when I don’t want to believe it, I’m looking at you Suicide Squad, and that new Fantastic 4, why did they have to be right about you? They said La La Land was fantastic, and then it won like 10 million Golden Globes, and was nominated for 20 million Oscars and 50 million other awards on other award shows no one cares about. All those people couldn’t be wrong, right? I was at the point where I was thinking Ryan Gosling must jump out of the screen at each theater and give all the ladies a kiss on the cheek, a coupon for a foot rub by him, and a signed blank check for the amount of their choosing.

I had to see it. I needed to be involved in the hype. It’s one of my many flaws.

There’s an issue I have with Oscar nominated movies, though. They’re always quiet, they’re always slow, and they always involve a lot of thought. I have to be in the right mindset. I watched Spotlight and The Big Short from the comfort of my own home on Netflix a year after they came out. They blew my mind. But I could never have handled them in a theater.

The thing is, no one can sit still for an entire movie anymore. Even in the shorter 1.5 hour movies everyone is getting up to pee, to get a popcorn refill, to find their 80 year old grandma who got lost on her way to the theater and didn’t show up until halfway through. I can handle that during the action movies, because in the middle of Transformers 10: Michael Bay is Still Blowing Shit Up For No Reason At All, I could care less about the kids playing tag up and down the aisle and the girls two rows down and to the left Snapchatting for three straight hours, but during a quiet movie, I’m hearing it ALL. Did someone just enter the theater? Yes, to the right, they’re just standing there, why are they just standing there? Oh great, now they’re turning on their phone flash light, wait what did the pretty actor on screen just say? Movie ruined, day destroyed, money wasted. This is why I avoid Oscar nominated films in movie theaters. Except the Disney ones, I’m there on opening day with my Mickey ears on singing all the songs I memorized before the movie was even released, weeping like a damsel when anything remotely sad happens.

I was determined to focus on La La Land though. I was going to see it, I was going to love it, and I was going to ignore everything else going on in the theater. This was a musical dammit, it was going to be the best movie I’ve ever seen. Like High School Musical, but classy and without adults pretending to be high schoolers.

The only place in Ithaca that plays low budget films is the theater in The Commons, Cinemapolis. The theater was small, like the Court Street Theater down the street from my parent’s house, where we used was to go see movies for $2.00. Except that theater had a stage and we could sit in the front row and not strain our necks to see the screen. Cinemapolis was not like that, the back row is the best place to sit for a good view.

About 2 minutes into the movie, when I was really getting into the first song and dance number, there was a girl a couple rows in front of us who pulled out her phone and started texting. She texted the whole damn time. Yes, she had her screen dimmed, BUT I COULD STILL SEE YOU BOO BOO. Well, after that it was all over. I’d be watching the movie and then out of the corner of my eye I’d see her little fingers tapping away and I was no longer singing and dancing with Emma and Ryan. A.D.D. for the win.

The movie was pretty good though. It did not meet all the hype, but now I can say I saw an Oscar movie before the Oscars were on, that wasn’t in the Best Animated Film category or Best Makeup, that’s right, I’m looking at you again Suicide Squad, you Oscar nominated film you.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think Ryan Gosling was that great of a singer. If I’m being more honest, I like my Ryan in Reynolds form, wearing a Deadpool costume and making inappropriate jokes and breaking that 4th wall. The Notebook was never my favorite Nicholas Sparks book, so that movie didn’t do much for me. I do, however, love a good Ryan Gosling meme. Keep up the good work on those, kids.

I LOVE Emma Stone, so even though she is not a strong singer, I loved how goofy she was in the beginning. She is much better at humor than Gosling is. Can I also say that Easy A is right up there with Mean Girls for me? A CLASSIC.

I think what also threw me off was, I understand the movie was supposed to be like one of the musicals from the 40’s, and the music got me there, but I was then pulled out of it when something modern happened, like a woman at the coffee shop asks if a pastry is gluten free? Or someone starts texting on their cell phone in the movie. There’s nothing I hate more than texting in movies. I understand its part of our culture, but I have to sit and watch people texting all the time in real life, why do I have to pay to sit in a theater and eat popcorn to watch someone text on a huge screen? I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if it was actually set in the 1940s. The music and the time period would have fit then and I wouldn’t have felt so all over the place.

The soundtrack got me though. I downloaded it as soon as I got home, and I’ve been humming City of Stars ever since. So in the end, they (you know, THEY, the movie people) win. I’m a sucker for musicals. Did I mention I love High School Musical? That counts as a legit musical. Remember, there’s no judging here, Mr. McJudgerson.

Regardless of what I think though, La La Land is everywhere and everyone is talking about it, and I would recommend seeing it to form your own opinion. I wasn’t thrilled and I wasn’t disgusted. I was just content.

Hey, you never know, if you pick a good theater, maybe Ryan Gosling will step out of the screen and give you that foot rub I was talking about earlier. Or turn into Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. What? Not possible? Keep on dreaming those dreams ladies.


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