Why Does Everybody Hate La La Land?

Around this time last year, I wrote a post entitled "Why Does Everyone Hate Frozen?" where I discussed how my overall opinion of the film evolved over time and provided a commentary on why people hate things because of their popularity. Now it appears that ANOTHER critically acclaimed, award-winning musical is receiving an enormous backlash. That movie, as you might have guessed, is La La Land. While I consider Frozen an amazing movie that I love dearly, I can definitely see someone not liking it. It has its flaws and it has its issues. On the other hand, I feel that you have got to be an enormous cynic in order to outright HATE La La Land. I've noticed people on this website call the movie terrible and one of the most overrated films ever made. And whenever I try to ask people why they hate it so passionately, people either give me a long list of their complaints or just immaturely say "Because it's an awful movie" or "Because it sucks." This post is attempting to do two things. To discuss why people have come to hate this film so much and to defend this movie as a whole. And awaaaaaaay we go.

I'll say this first. Musicals are by no means my favorite movie genre. I'm much more interested in comedy-dramas, crime thrillers, or adventure films. But I believe that any movie can be great regardless of what genre it is and who its intended audience is. If a kid's movie is good, then it should be good for everyone, young and old. If a horror movie is well-done, then it should strike a chord with any general audience member, not just horror fans. In terms of genres of film, musicals are one of the most divisive. There are people who love to get into the music and atmosphere and there are people who label them as cheesy schlock. And in the past few decades, live-action movie musicals have been dying out. There was once a time in the 40s, 50s, and 60s when musicals were on the top of the world. Films like Singin' in the Rain, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story were both critically lauded and made a killing at the box office. However, as time went on they began to fade in terms of their popularity. Audiences had moved on to something new and had enough of singing in movies. Outside of Disney animated movies, not many successful big-budget musicals were being produced. In the 2000s, the only majorly successful live-action musicals were Chicago, Moulin Rogue!, and Sweeney Todd. And even then, those movies still received a mix reception from audience members. It wasn't until La La Land hit theatres in 2016 when a musical came out that both critics AND audiences adored as well as made a ton of money at the box office. The movie was adored so much by film critics that it received a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations. That, combined with the loads of popularity, and the fact that musicals are naturally a "love it or hate it" film genre as a whole, can largely explain why this film has been pounced on by a legion of detractors.

And now for my opinion on La La Land. I absolutely LOVE this movie. Damien Chazelle, in my opinion, flat our nailed it. This has got to be one of the best directed movies that I ever seen. The size and scope of this movie is something to behold and Chazelle paints Los Angeles like it's something out of a fairy tale. The musical numbers are all so great. They all have very nice melodies and great lyrics that help create the film's tone, delve deeper into the characters, and even foreshadow future events. It's obvious that this movie was going for the style and atmosphere of classic Hollywood musicals of the past, and it's able to recapture that feeling while adding a modern spin on it as well. The acting in this movie is fantastic, and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling truly earned their Oscar nominations. I really like Mia and Sebastian individually as people. They've fallen on hard times and neither of them have been able to reach a large amount of success in their lives, but they're persistent and never wish to give up on their dreams and passion. Mia had wanted to be an actress ever since she was a little girl and Seb wishes to breathe new life into a genre of music that the general public has ignored for decades. You can even find similarities between his wish to revive the public's interest in jazz and Chazelle's wish to revive the public's interest in movie musicals.

As much as I like both Mia and Sebastian individually as characters, I love them even more as a couple. It's obvious that these two characters truly love each other and Stone and Gosling's chemistry leaps off the screen. Many musical movies of the past had an issue of treating the main romance too much like a perfect fairy tale where there are no issues at all. In La La Land, however, the two of them are in two wildly different professions that have their own unique challenges. Mia is a young actress in a world where there are hundreds of other people who are just like her who have the same objective as she does. Sebastian is a musician in a world where the public doesn't care about the music he plays. The two are in a major rough patch in each of their lives, but find solace in each other's company. They see a reflection of themselves in the other. The film establishes very quickly that the odds of relationship such as this working out are not in their favor. Seb is stuck in a never-ending job where he has to play a watered down version of the music he loves. Mia has attempted and failed to get a major role in a production for SIX YEARS. When her big break finally comes, the two need to make an extremely difficult decision: achieving their dreams or staying together. In the end, (SPOILER) they end up following and achieving their dreams in one of my favorite movie endings in history. Mia eventually becomes a famous movie star, marries, and has a daughter with another man. Sebastian opens one of the most popular clubs in all of LA and even takes Mia's suggestion and named it "Seb's". The two accidentally see each other while Mia is with her husband and they envision what could have been had they stayed together. A wonderful montage shows them happily getting married, having children together, and living in absolute bliss. All of this happens as Sebastian plays the song he played while they first met. As Mia leaves with her husband, she glances back at Sebastian and the two share a smile that says a thousand words. Even if they can't be together, they'll always love each other and appreciate the other for helping them achieve their dreams. It's a bittersweet ending that, like the endings to Toy Story 3, Up, and Forrest Gump, conjured up a feeling of both extreme happiness and extreme sadness within me. What makes this movie so great, in my opinion, is that it feels like a story that has existed for years. Despite the film only coming out last year, the story of Mia and Sebastian feels like a tale that has been around forever, almost like a Shakespearean tragedy. To me, this film works on almost every level and I love it dearly. And from someone who is not that into musicals or romances, that's saying a HELL of a lot.

What I'm going to do now is take the criticism that people have given this movie on this website and spin it towards its favor.

"Mia's an annoying brat and Sebastian's a huge jerk."

Because working diligently to succeed at something for six years, being supportive of your partner, and worrying if he made the wrong decision is being an annoying brat. I thought that was called being sympathetic and caring last time I checked. In Sebastian's case, if you were treated like garbage in every job you ever had on top of the public not respecting you and not caring less about the type of music you create, odds are you'd be pretty snippy as well.

"The music in the beginning of the movie is all happy and cheesy but it changes to be all serious in the second half."

Yeah. That's kind of the point. When the movie fades to black in the middle, it's supposed to signify how a traditional Hollywood romantic musical would've ended its story. When it continues, the difficulties of dating someone and being in the entertainment industry at the same time are displayed and discussed. The music goes from being happy and upbeat in the beginning to more somber and melancholy in the second half, matching the mood of the film as a whole. It's called contrast.

"A talent scout CONVENIENTLY shows up and Mia's show but NO ONE WAS THERE!"

Uh, yeah there was. If you paid attention, you would have noticed that there was around a dozen people at Mia's one-woman play. There's even a scene where she overhears a couple people talking about how her show sucked. How could that scene exist if "no one was at her play"?

"The talent scout invited Mia to audition even though they DON'T EVEN HAVE A STORY! They even want her to come up with a story for them!"

No. That's not what happened at all. In Hollywood, some movies are made based on the actors they get for the part. In many movies and plays in the past, the story and individual character can largely be impacted by the actor they cast. If you were to cast Leo DiCaprio in a movie, the character would probably be completely different if you were to cast Adam Sandler in the same role. The producers were simply asking her to tell a story in order to get a feel of her personality and how she could impact her character. Countless amounts of films in the past were revised based on an actor or actress being cast in a certain role. As an example, many altercations were made to Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox replaced Eric Stoltz as Marty. The producers simply wanted to get an actress with a great story that reveals what type of person they are and how she could impact her character.

"The ending is too sad."

Of course it's sad. That's just life. We always joke about how Hollywood couples never seem to last. There's a pretty big reason why that is. People need to sacrifice a lot in order to make it big in the entertainment industry. Romances are definitely amongst the things that are sacrificed. A story similar to Mia and Sebastian's happens all the time in Hollywood. In order to make it big, tons of actors or musicians probably needed to end relationships with people they love and truly care about. That's what I appreciate so much about La La Land's ending. It's a realistic approach to a Hollywood love story. It's obvious that Mia and Sebastian loved each other and probably always will. In order for each of them to be successful, they were basically forced to go their separate ways and chase their dreams without one another. I know that this film's ending can be upsetting, but it's a brutally realistic way stories like this conclude. I love moments in movies that are both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. The ending of La La Land is a prime example of this. Overall, this film couldn't have ended any better.

I should know by now that any film that gets any amount of popularity will be met with backlash. But it just surprises me that a film of THIS quality is being met with so much hate. And so much hate is coming from random reasons, lack of knowledge, and even factually wrong claims. To me at least, this film is a masterpiece. It's not only one of the greatest musicals I've ever seen, but it's one of the greatest love stories I've seen as well. If you outright hate La La Land, then fine. Good for you. Maybe you saw a completely different movie than I did. I don't know. But to me at least, the 2016 version directed by Damien Chazelle and staring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and John Legend is one of the best movies to come out during this decade. But that's just me.


I just get impatient and the writing got under my skin oh, I hated it - visitor

Nice post. I haven't seen La La Land myself, but to see all this blind hatred is honestly unnerving to me. Maybe even pure bandwagon, to say the least. I know not everyone is a fan of musicals and romance, but I can see that there is a lot of merit put into this movie with its production values and actor performances. I can't really judge with a true opinion, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't end up on the spectrum of people who outright hate it with a passion. That said, I like that you make posts like these expressing your thoughts on why people keep hating on a certain piece of media and why you yourself personally like it while both going into detail about it and being mindful of the opposite spectrum's opinions. It's truly good work, I tell you. Keep it up, my man. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Watch it, judge for yourself! - Phillip873

Wow, great post, I honestly loved this movie personally, I actually just reviewed it for three reasons. 1. I saw enormous controversy over this movie, and I wanted to give my two cents. 2. This post also kind of inspired me to make it, to know I wasn't the only one who didn't hate it here. 3. I just felt the movie was worth talking about! - Phillip873

Well I find it funny that you are a hardcore fan of musical and love this movie. And you say that it's the *best* one which is your point of view and I respect it.
But if you are a real fan of old musicals then you did notice that almost all the dancing was copy/paste from older musicals. And don't give me the excuse of *well it's a tribute* please.
And for the most important part the singing... why didn't they take real singers/dancers to play Mia and seb because I can tell you the movie would have been much more interesting.
For the music well except 1 or 2 songs all the other weren't that good specially for the jazz ones and it's a shame since whiplash was amazing on this point.
And finaly the protagonists, or should I say the protagonist because Mia seemed to be here only for seb, her arc didn't have that little something to make it really interesting.
This is why I totally disagree for the *best musical* part, and I gave you here some reasons why people like me who like old musicals didn't like la la land.
(Plagia,average singing, average dancing, lack of huge dancing/singing scene except for the opening...etc) - Centaure

La La Land is a phenomenal movie - iliekpiez