La La Land

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This movie won six (count them, six) Oscars and was nominated for eight more. (And, for a few seconds, it won Best Picture.) Don't get greedy, La La Land!

I watched with Mrs. Salad and Pun Daughter, and they were both less than impressed. And here I thought it was a chick flick! Mrs. Salad doesn't like any ending (spoiler alert coming…) that is less than unambiguously happy. And Pun Daughter couldn't see what all the hype was about. ("It's not as good as Hidden Figures.") For the record, I liked it fine, but I was in a forgiving mood.

First, as you are possibly aware, it's kind of a musical, with periodic breaks for singing, dancing, and general fantasy. But (unlike most musicals) it's very self-aware about that. Underneath that, it's the story of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and fundamentalist jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). They both have their career dreams. After "meeting cute" (he honks at her on a crowded LA freeway, she flips him half a peace sign), they gradually fall in love. And this love turns out to complicate their dreams. What will give way?

The acting is impeccable, the musical numbers are creative, And it's the second movie in a row we watched with J. K. Simmons. How could I not give it at least four stars?