Perfectly Imperfect LaLa Land and Why it Matters in the Land of Trump

Lala Land was not perfect. It was not a brilliant movie. I know this opinion is unpopular and it very well may win an Oscar next month but LaLa Land was not perfect. It was not my favorite movie of 2016.  I don’t understand the hype and while I am a fan of both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, I just don’t see what it is that is making people fall for this movie.

The secondary characters were severely underdeveloped. Who did Mia end up with? He wasn’t the guy at the beginning? What was wrong with the guy at the beginning?  What were the names of her roommates or the people in Sebastian’s band? The only two characters I really remember are Sebastian and Mia and I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to root for them.There were too many questions and the movie at times seemed painfully self-indulgent. The best and usually most loved movies and/or television shows about Hollywood are the ones where Hollywood makes fun of itself. The Comeback. Episodes. BoJack Horseman. Swimming with Sharks. It’s not serious. It’s insanity. It’s not a love letter. It’s Hollywood and aren’t we weird?

Lala Land was not that.

LaLa Land can be maddening and confusing. The dots are there but connecting them takes a lot of effort. Lala Land is not perfect, it’s not bad but it’s certainly not perfect.

But it’s the perfectly imperfect movie that we need right now.

This past weekend, Trump ordered a ban on Muslims. He ordered a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United  States for ninety days. He banned refugee admissions for one hundred and twenty days. Syrian refugees are banned for an indefinite period of time.  This led to a social media meltdown of epic proportions.

The country is in chaos. Facebook newsfeeds that were once taken over with pictures of cute animals and delicious food items are now filled with posts of fear, anger, and dread.  Some call it Trump’s Reign of Hate and others, well, the others call those people snowflakes or babies. There’s tension. Friendships have ended.  Vicious online attacks from strangers or from friends have become the norm.  There’s a longing for those days when your Facebook newsfeed was filled with videos of your friend’s kids being awesome or that time you scored on Pokemon Go.

It is this hate. This terror. This anger that makes Lala Land the perfectly imperfect movie. It’s the movie we need because it reminds of a time of innocence. That time before the country imploded. There are no politics in Lala Land. Just a lot of fantasy. I refer to Emma Stone’s Audition song, also called The Fools Who Dream and this verse:

Here’s to the ones who dream.

Foolish, as they may seem.

Here’s to the hearts that ache.

Here’s to the mess we make.

The messes and the “foolish” dreaming is what keeps us alive, keeps us going as the country around us seems engulfed in metaphorical flames. While protests happen, while phone calls are being made, while you get into another Facebook fight with someone whom you feel doesn’t get it. The art, the beauty of Hollywood, though self-indulgent at times, is what will get us through or will give us a break.

Movies offer a welcome escape. A chance to make you feel something else other than outrage. It’s a mess but a mess that will be cleaned up in a few short hours.

“A bit of madness is key to give us to color to see. Who knows where it will lead us? And that’s why they need us, So bring on the rebels. The ripples from pebbles. The painters, and poets, and plays. And here’s to the fools who dream.  Crazy, as they may seem.”–Emma Stone in Lala Land.

We need this. This kind of madness. We need the painters and the poets to give us a fantasy, an escape, a world of color and that’s why Lala Land might be the most perfectly imperfect movie for what is going on right now. What’s going on right now is madness. The world is watching as we are fighting, tweeting, protesting, Facebooking and here is a movie to let us know that the dreamers are still there and in spite fo the madness, it’s always okay to keep that dream going because we need it now more than ever.

So while LaLa Land is not at a loss when it comes to the negatives. Seriously, character development? Why do I like these people?

The message is more important now than ever.

The dreams. The madness. The vibrant colors of a fantasy.

We need to hold on to that now more than ever.

So here’s to the dreamers who dare to dream.

I hope they continue to be as magical as they seem.


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