Waiting on a 4-hour car repair, husband Mike and I shuttled to see La La Land. From the opening traffic jam (reminiscent of Two Weeks Notice) drivers burst from their cars into song and dance. The film immediately had my attention. What? A real musical starring Emma Stone as Mia and Ryan Gosling as Sebastian made me lean back, take a deep breath and know that I was on a virtual romantic romp.
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) showed that he has more guts than a Christmas turkey this time directing an original musical with Gosling singing and dancing! Mike couldn’t get past it and I loved it. Thanks to catching a Kevin McCarthy TV review of the film I knew that Gosling also did his own piano scenes. Yup, that’s his voice, his legs and those are his hands on the keys.
The romance between Mia and Sebastian was believable. Tenacity becomes a virtue that begs support from a mom, friend, or most of all, a sweetheart. They understood their passions and the risks that call for courage. I felt the spark and the tension between them as they sang and danced their way through setbacks and mistakes.
I can’t wait to see La La Land again. Chazelle deserves an award for engaging audiences everywhere to an estranged genre. I anticipate the Academy will reward this film accordingly.
George Clooney is director, writer, and actor.
With two weeks of political conventions ahead of us, favorite political films come to mind.
All The King’s Men
Among the best are Spencer Tracy in State of the Union and Broderick Crawford in AllThe King’s Men as two good men who abandon integrity as they make their way. What is it that happens to good men who sell their souls to win an election?
In IDES OF MARCH (2011), directed, written and starring George Clooney as Governor Morris, is seeking the Democratic Party’s endorsement. His Junior Campaign Manager (Ryan Gosling) views his candidate as kind of a white knight only to discover his weaknesses. The film takes the viewer through a political campaign of a candidate whose principles are tarnished by his infidelity. Morris’s actions cause him to rearrange his campaign staff through a deal.
Phenomenal casting makes IDES deliver even for those who disdain politics. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Morris’s Senior Campaign Manager and Ryan Gosling as Junior
Campaign Manager were so dedicated and devoted to their candidate, they made me believe each had actually worked campaigns. (I’ve served on a good number of them.)
Ides of March – Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) meets with rival campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) © 2011 Ides Film Holdings
Paul Giamatti as the opponent’s Campaign Manager was so superbly performed I suggest today’s contenders to call on him for advice. Clooney’s role and his directing left me begging for more from him.
IDES OF MARCH may be just the film for you as we follow the conventions.