The backlash surrounding La La Land


Ever since La La Land swept all seven of its nominations at the Golden Globes, and received 14 nominations at the Oscars, La La Land, like various movies before which have received a lot of love and attention and been loved by people and critics and has been perceived as magic; has been hit with what those movies had been hit with before. Tons and tons of heavily opinionated, biased and senseless backlash by people who nit-pick every aspect of it to prove it is not perfect.
I read eight-nine articles about why La La Land’s win at the Oscars will be a disaster for the Oscars; how La La Land shouldn’t win because its characters are narcissistic and sacrifice love for self-interest (This is an article by the Guardian. We’ll get to dissenting on it in the next paragraph); Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were only chosen to sell tickets; Mia and Seb’s break up was not clearly explained; HOW SEB BLASTED MUSIC INSTEAD OF RINGING THE DOOR BELL FOR MIA AND HOW IT WOULD HAVE DISTURBED THE NEIGHBOURS(Again the Guardian article. Is this your reason for why La La Land shouldn’t win the Oscars? Because the movie uses artistic freedom and doesn’t care about neighbours? Wow!); and how La La Land’s clean sweep at the Oscars meant the other movies didn’t get recognition. There were sensible articles here and there as to why La La Land was is not that good a movie. They were well articulated, not biased and I loved the aspects of La La Land they put in as to why they didn’t like it (such as this article by The Huffington Post-Let The ‘La La Land’ Backlash Begin).
I’ll start off with this particularly sorry excuse for an article by the Guardian by the Big Picture- La La Land’s inevitable Oscars win is a disaster for Hollywood – and for us. This is the type of article you write when something is cool and you want to join the train hating it. It is extremely biased, opinionated and derides La La Land based only on the author’s view rather than an analysis of the film’s merits and demerits. The author, like so many people, have the issue of:
1) “For some, the narrative sags and the plot fails to convince. Just why do Seb and Mia break up? A temporary separation doesn’t have to destroy a relationship.”
2) Then there is the counterfactual ending. What is it supposed to mean? That they should have stayed together? When they could have, but didn’t and appeared content with the alternative paths they had chosen?
Both the points have the same answer: USE YOUR IMAGINATION. You know, that thing we had as children. Just because we’re grown up doesn’t mean we have to stop using it. It’s up to us to wonder why Seb and Mia break up. It’s up to us to wonder why they leave each other the moment they need to part ways. The ending, the author themselves has proved his folly and those of various others like him by asking “What is it supposed to mean?” It means whatever the hell you want it to mean. The story, the director can’t spoon-feed you everything. Some things you must interpret on your own. That’s what art is. It’s what you feel about it. You’re fighting over what the ending was supposed to mean. It’s up to you, you unimaginative idiot.
Then, the author had the issue:
“Of course, its characters are humourless and insensitive: narcissists usually are. They can’t be rich and complex, because self-obsessives aren’t.”
WOWWWWW!!! So much generalisation! Is that what you use to say that the movie is not good? That its characters are narcissists. Are you a phycologist? Can I see the degree which allows you to make such a diagnosis? No? Then I’m sorry, your diagnosis cannot be accepted. Lastly, one more point:

“When Seb arrives to pick up Mia, he blasts his car horn rather than ringing the doorbell. Never mind the neighbours; it’s only Seb who counts. When Mia is looking for Seb in a cinema audience, she stands in front of the screen and blocks the picture. Of course. She matters; the other filmgoers don’t.”

Oh hell! Oh my God! Does somebody have an inferiority complex? (I’m not a psychologist, so I can only ask, not label). Seriously? Is that what you think is wrong in a movie? WOW! So much nit-picking. The rest of the article is all talks about how the movie has no soul, how it is self-indulgent and just like today’s people and that’s why we like it and all opinions, none of which are in anyway connected to the film’s merits. The author feels that the film doesn’t celebrate love and life. I would like to tell the author that this is an opinion; I for one think it does celebrate love and life. Opinions clash, but just because your feelings for a movie are negative, doesn’t mean the movie is bad. They are your opinions; not facts.

Another article I read recently on MTV NEWS was that:

“If you’re gonna make a film about an artist staying true to the roots of jazz against the odds and against modern reinventions of the genre (from white musicians like, say, Mayer Hawthorne), you’d think that artist would be black.”

I don’t get this. Had the movie been less successful, would people have raised such a question? Wouldn’t the movie been heralded as a fine attempt to re-invigorate the Jazz genre. The author was so butt hurt over the fact that the lead actors were White and there weren’t people of colour. I would like to point out the fact that nobody did such a thing for “Swiss Army Man”, which only had two white actors for almost the entire movie. Why not the push for one of the leads being played a colour actor? Again, the author said:
“La La Land opens with a stunning and visually masterful dance sequence sung by an incredibly diverse group of Los Angeles denizens…….. (Skipped a few lines)…… Those people of colour who gave it their all in the opening sequence, perhaps to remind Oscar voters of that Hamilton musical they love so much, are quickly whisked away so the Caucasian sing-along can begin.”
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ON YOUR PART AND SPWEING THEM OUT AS BEING THE TRUTH. This is bullshit. The author assumes this is the aim, rather than having a great opening sequence; and then lays their criticism on what they think is the aim. Wow!

Washington Post in their article-  Your guide to the ‘La La Land’ backlash said:

“the Guardian deems Sebastian “every bad date you ever had,” adding he’s “a jazz snob, the kind whose response to a woman saying she ‘hates jazz’ is to tell her she’s wrong and take her to a jazz club on every date thereafter. He is also, as a side note, often an actual jerk.”

Oh god! Oh my god! Is that why this movie should be crucified? Man, is this criticism? Really? That’s like saying, fuck. I don’t even know anymore. All this anger has me so goddamn tired.

Refinery had another horrible/ terrible article which goes over all the same notes as every other article on the net about La La Land backlash. I’m tired of reading that people hate it for all the wrong reason. All the reasons people hate it for are caused because of nit-picking. Seriously, I should hate this movie because Seb is an asshole? Because the movie doesn’t explain why Sab and Mia broke up?
I will not stand by and let people tarnish the image of La La Land and throw it down for stupid reasons. I loved La La Land. I loved every second of that movie. I will defend it where people will wrong it for wrong reasons. Where the criticism is just, we all accept it. But these opinionated articles, heavily biased articles I will fight against. Because the only thing they do is make a movie look bad for all the wrong reason; all of which are not based on the movie’s merits or demerits.

I have never been more infuriated or angry while venting out my feelings. All these articles, and so many more are detrimental to all of us. Because they stand as metaphors to the fact that at times, we simply can’t accept what is good and we must nitpick and break it down and prove it is bad.
This has been done for so many movies before this. Since La La Land is one of the most amazing and magical movies I have seen, all these articles pushed me into action and fight back for it.


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