Holy hell, people. In case you couldn’t tell, I want to talk quickly about these two movies. There will be spoilers. I’m typing that before I write the rest of the article, so there may not actually be spoilers, but I’m gonna cover myself.
Anyway, let’s hit these in the order that I saw them, cause I’m the one writing this thing and this is not a democracy, dammit.
La La Land
I went out and bought the sheet music to this movie, for piano, immediately after seeing it. Couldn’t help it. My piano is so out of tune that it sounds like I’m stabbing a parrot with a kazoo every time I play a note, but I wanted to give these songs a whirl. Yes, I’ll get it tuned eventually. That’s not the point.
These songs are great! They’re alternately entertaining, heartfelt, overly dramatic, and full of the kind of random piano swerves that make for fun playing. Also, as a writer, the whole ‘Audition’ song was basically one long ensemble for me. Here’s to the fools who dream! That’s right!
Also, the Epilogue sequence was great. Every movie should have a seven or eight minute alternate ending that said hey, we know you probably didn’t like how the movie turned out, so here’s what you really wanted in super-fast, stylized form. Yes. That is what I wanted. That is what Nicole wanted. It was wonderful. And then it smashed you back into reality.
Almost everyone that saw the film that I know badly wanted that ending changed. They couldn’t reconcile with the idea that Sebastian and Mia aren’t some perfect fairy tale couple. From a realism standpoint, the film’s outcome was probably a lot more likely. You’re probably going to lose people as you pursue your dreams, and you’ll probably find new ones that you hold onto. Life’s a bunch of changes. So on and so forth. But, dang, that could’ve been a cleaner transition.
We’re asked to assume that for five years, after Mia embarks on her amazing journey courtesy of Sebastian not being an asshole for once they never talk to each other again? In this age of constant communication, Facebook friends and whatnot, Mia never once saw Sebastian post “Hey fellow Jazz enthusiasts, come see my new joint Sebs!”? That never happened? I’m callin’ B.S. on that.
But then again, here I am writing about the movie on a blog that heretofore has been about writing stuff. So who really wins?
My guess is La La Land.
This movie is on the opposite side of sad from La La Land. It’s still sad, it’s just a different type of sad. Kinda like how dijon mustard is still mustard, but hits you in a different way. Logan doesn’t rely on your hopes and dreams, your empathetic placement of yourself in the character’s shoes to get the thrill, no, it basically says “Holy crap please let these people stop suffering wow I did not take enough meds for this”. And then when you think it might finally let you go without completely decimating what little hope remains in your soul, it takes rips that away too. With an X and a quote from a decades-old western.
The only reason any of that works, though, is because you finally get to see what happens when you take the superhero out of, well, the superhero. Logan’s stars definitely have abilities, and there’s some short bits of comic book action (lots of violence, but most of it wouldn’t be out of line for an R-rated action flick), but the movie works hard to keep you grounded in the characters. They are not the other. They are you and your dad and your grandpa taking a last road trip and you know, deep down, that this is probably the last time you’ll get to hear the two of them talking in the car together and you just want to keep that moment going for as long as you possibly can. Only, it ends. It has to. Logan ends perfectly.
I think both of these movies are worth seeing. They are like peanut butter and chili sauce. Completely incompatible with each other, but delicious in their own ways. Just, you know, be prepared to spend time after each one commiserating with your fellow distraught friends on your social media platform of choice. It’s ok. We’ll make it through this together.
Also, One Shot is up for pre-order. Comes out next week. Cool.