Yesterday, I took myself to the movies. Yes, in the middle of the day, all by myself. And yes, I bought popcorn. After all, if I’m going, I might as well go big. Why did I go? you might ask. Why did I go on a random Thursday, when I could have been working, writing, getting my tires rotated, my laundry done or my mail file cleaned out? Well, why does anyone go to the movies?
The answer is simple. To escape. To dream. To turn off our cell phones and sit in a theatre and forget about all the to do’s. Some of us will leave the theatre, still dreaming in daylight. At least, when we see a film that leaves us with a story, a song, and ideas worth dreaming on.
And what I saw left me with all three, plus a dance in my step. So yes, if you’re wondering – it was a musical. To be specific, a jazz musical. I know, I know – this is where many of you may stop reading, where you might say “I don’t like jazz” or you will decide you don’t want to hear about a sugar-coated schmaltzy song-and-dance confection.
La La Land isn’t that. It’s a story about artists, who, by their very nature, do live in their heads and in the stars most of the time. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t continue to be artists, to strive for their near-impossible seeming dreams. But this is also a story of two people falling in love in the real world, where young people (played by Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling) have complex emotions and tough choices to make.
Set in modern day LA but also within a movie studio lot, the film is a nod to actors & musicians of both today and yesterday. Fans of the old movie musicals of the 30s and 40s will be drawn to the nostalgia, as will fans of the jazz music from that era. The soundtrack is a gorgeous mix of solo piano, acoustic guitar & jazz band. The emphasis of the lyrics is not on beautiful (or perfect) singing but instead, telling the emotional stories of these two young artists in a uniquely human way. Of how two young artists came to a city of stars – with big dreams.
Here’s to ones who dream
foolish as they may seem
here’s to the hearts that ache
here’s to the mess we make
A bit of madness is key
to give us new colors to see
who knows where it will lead us
and that’s why they need us
So, bring on the rebels, the ripples from pebbles
the painters and poets and plays
and here’s to the fools who dream
crazy as they may seem
here’s to the hearts that break
here’s to the mess we make
And yes, after I left the theatre, I sang this song in my head and then out loud a few times – and wrote a poem.
They were artists, dreamers, poets, musicians, lovers –
their passions carrying them through the night sky,
dancing a waltz to jazz rhythms,
stars born to fly!
May we all keep singing, acting, writing, dancing, painting, playing, creating, loving and dreaming. For life.