When “La La Land” first hit theaters in late 2016, I raved about it, rated it a 9.5 out of 10, and named it the Best Movie Of The Year.
A few months later, when “Moonlight” won the Oscar for Best Picture (after the wrong-envelope disaster), I wrote:
Imagine that, five years from now, you’re flicking around the cable channels and come across one of those movies. Which one are you more likely to stop on and watch for awhile, if not to the end? I don’t think it’ll be “Moonlight.” Its morose story and tepid pacing will not hold up through repeat viewings.
“La La Land,” on the other hand, is the kind of movie I’d stick around for — after already seeing it twice in a theater. It’s a movie parents will share with their (older) children. It’s a movie that made me go back and watch “Easy A,” which I’d never seen, and marvel at how talented Emma Stone already was seven years ago.
It’s only been three and a half years, but I noticed “La La Land” was on HBO the other night, so I watched it again. And loved it again.
Everything in the movie still sparkles, from the opening dance sequence on a freeway ramp (which I recently named one of the Ten Best Movie Dances Ever) to Emma Stone’s audition scenes to her chemistry with Ryan Gosling to the score by Justin Hurwitz and songs by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek.
What puzzles me is why there hasn’t been a stage adaptation yet. Broadway is enamored of taking hit movies and retrofitting them as big, splashy musicals. Well, here’s one that already comes with terrific tunes, flashy dance numbers, and an entirely believable romance.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed the movie, has had discussions with a creative team and some Broadway producers about doing exactly what I’ve suggested. But I haven’t heard any buzz about it.
Whenever Broadway reopens, it is going to need readily-accessible shows that will bring audiences back to theaters. “La La Land” would seem to be a perfect candidate.
Until then, while you’re looking for visual content to consume, I suggest giving the movie another watch — or discovering its greatness for the first time.