February 25th, 2017

At the movies: yearning for romance

The Oscars are being held tomorrow. I can understand why a lot of people might not want to watch them: the self-satisfied political posturing, the paucity of good movies, the windy acceptance speeches, and the sleaziness of what passes for glamour these days.

But I plan to watch, although probably not every single moment. I always enjoy the fashions, good or bad. And I’m curious to see if a movie I’ve actually seen—“La La Land”—will set some sort of record for Oscars.

A lot of people have questioned why this movie, which is pretty good but not necessarily one of the all-time greats, has been nominated for so very many awards. Well, one reason might be the lack of quality competition. Another might be that it celebrates the city of Los Angeles and aspiring to be an actor, which after all is the home of most of the people doing the voting and the profession of many of them.

Oh, it has other things to recommend it, too. A hummable score, an opening number that knocks your socks off, popular and attractive leads, bright colors. But I think key to the whole thing is romance. I think that I can say, without spoiling the movie for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, that one of the most remarkable things about the film is the big big deal it makes of the first hand-holding between the man and woman who are its main protagonists. Hand-holding, a monumental activity, a watershed moment? Yes.

Same for their first kiss. And though we can assume that sex definitely enters into the picture for this couple, it doesn’t really enter into the picture known as “La La Land.” Dancing is the stand-in for it.

I maintain that people are thirsty for that sort of approach, even young people. They’ve been brought up on so much overt and even casual sex in the movies (and in music, and online, and in life) that it no longer has any novelty to watch it being enacted on the big screen.

22 Responses to “At the movies: yearning for romance”

  1. AesopFan Says:

    A friend saw the movie this week and recommends it highly.
    “The Oscars are being held tomorrow. I can understand why a lot of people might not want to watch them: the self-satisfied political posturing, the paucity of good movies, the windy acceptance speeches, and the sleaziness of what passes for glamour these days.”

    “I am the Cal Ripken Jr. of non-Oscar watchers. My streak of non-Oscar watching goes well back into the 20th century. So it’s not a stretch to not watch this year’s, which is Sunday I think? I’ll be off in La-Te-Da Land, skipping to my own tap shoes. Or at least my own beer tap. I am guessing this year’s awards show will get low ratings, or declining ratings as the night goes on if, as expected, lots of winners decide to use their time at the mic to give anti-Trump harangues.

    So we have our friends at Reason TV to thank for this perfect send-up (just two minutes long):”
    Watch the video; it is priceless.

    Not as good, but on point;
    “Actress Meryl Streep isn’t just denouncing the dire state of America at Hollywood awards shows. She’s now taking her speech to far-left events, recently accepting the Ally Award from the LGBTQ political-correctness police at the Human Rights Campaign. Since so many Americans will never get to stand on an awards show stage and speak their mind about what’s wrong with the world, we thought we’d present a speech responding to Streep and what she represents.”

  2. Patrick Says:

    I’ll disagree about a paucity of good movies. I’ve only seen 4 of the 9 nominees, but thought all were good movies, worthy of a nomination. The others, going by the general buzz and reviews, are all serious and well done movies. My preference would be for La La Land, then Arrival. I won’t be watching the ceremony, haven’t for many years, watching a lot of speeches thanking everyone with the occasional political commentary thrown in – and we know which way that will go – isn’t my idea of a good time.

  3. Lino Says:

    I will not watch the ceremony (I have never). My votes would go to La La Land, that excellent musical that recreates the art of decades ago. Chazelle was inspired by Jacques Demy´s Les parapluies de Cherbourg, including its unhappy ending
    but his movie is nevertheless an explosion of joy.

  4. Lizzy Says:

    I haven’t seen La La Land, but I agree that Hollywood now makes so few romantic movies. I suppose that’s why they have to fall back on Austen; tinder hook-ups don’t make one swoon.

  5. parker Says:

    We thoroughly enjoyed La La Land. It reminded us of movies from the 1950s. Hacksaw Ridge is not romantic, but it is an excellent film telling the story of the only conscience objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    OH, I see. The devil worship at the oscars, I’ll be sure to avoid all contamination from those humans.

    And by human, I am being conservative in estimates.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “As Time Goes By”

    You must remember this
    A kiss is still a kiss
    A sigh is just a sigh
    The fundamental things apply as time goes by

    And when two lovers woo
    They still say “I love you”
    On that you can rely
    No matter what the future brings, as time goes by

    Moonlight and love songs never out of date
    Hearts full of passion, jealousy, and hate
    Woman needs man, and man must have his mate

    That, no one can deny
    It’s still the same old story
    A fight for love and glory
    A case of do or die
    The world will always welcome lovers as time goes by

    Songwriter: HERMAN HUPFELD

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    I also find it interesting that humans endlessly complain about the power and might of the media to deceive and Hollywood always having useless actors who spout off political wisdom, yet they refuse to talk of taxing Hollywood and breaking their economic gains. It’s like they can’t connect two dots with a line.

    The economy is why they have the power to deceive, and people LOVE what comes from the evil capital in Hollywood. Humans lack the power to fight evil, but they can always do something about money.

  9. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    We seldom go to movies (which irritates our filmmaker son) but my wife has suggested we go to this one.

  10. Beverly Says:

    Just because — Christopher Parkening, Bach Prelude no. 1:


  11. Beverly Says:

    “Louis, have your men go with Major Laszlo….”


  12. Dafe Says:

    Inevitably, widening the Best Picture category doubled the size of the campaign racket. Many top strategists are Miramax alumni, most prominently Cynthia Swartz, in New York, and Lisa Taback, in L.A.—“the queens of East and West,” as one awards consultant put it. “Spotlight” vs. “The Revenant” was Taback vs. Swartz. This year’s matchup is “La La Land” (Taback) vs. “Moonlight” (Swartz), though Taback is also consulting on “Moonlig,” and Swartz on “Fences.” Strategies from the so-called Weinstein playbook are evident: Lionsgate flew Damien Chazelle, the young director of “La La Land,” to Paris in December to appear alongside veterans of Jacques Demy musicals, to play up his highbrow influences, while August Wilson’s widow has joined the Q. & A. circuit for “Fences.”


  13. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    An intellectual deconstruction of Hollywood’s self-congratulatory rite:

    “Camille Paglia on Oscar Glamour Then and Now: “Grandeur of Old Hollywood Is Gone”

    A picture truly worth a thousand words:
    Host Neil Patrick Harris…

  14. texexec Says:

    My wife and I haven’t been to a movie house in years but we are huge movie fans. We just can’t stand the filth that’s often present in the movie houses – popcorn containers on the floor, soda cup half filled with ice and/or soda, sticky candy on the floor, etc.

    We’re content to wait for current movies to come out…we’ve already seen “Manchester By the Sea”, “Hell Or High Water”, and “Hacksaw Ridge” – all of which are good movies. We rent our movies in HD and they cost about 1/4th of the cost of going to the movie houses.

    We’re looking forward to seeing “La La Land” soon.

  15. MissJean Says:

    De-lurking to say that I know some teenagers (young men and women) who saw La-La Land at least three times. Their whole exposure to musicals has been Disney; they’d never seen an adult musical. Except one had seen White Christmas.

    I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how it stacks up to the old-time musicals.

  16. groundhog Says:

    MissJean says I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how it stacks up to the old-time musicals.

    Well, I just rewatched “Singin’ in the Rain” and would say “Singin'” dances circles around La La Land as far as choreography.

    On the other hand, the important point is if you walked out at the end of La La Land and know you thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I say it really doesn’t matter.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. Yankee Says:

    “La La Land” wins the Best Picture award!
    Oh, wait, it was actually “Moonlight” that won Best Picture.
    What a fiasco.

  18. Dafe Says:

    What a fiasco

    They climed the envlop was mixed/ swapped!

    Ohh these guys orgnazer for anti trump campain
    What outcome they will deliver, if the draw of best movie went wrong so what about presidential matter?

  19. John Says:

    I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated, but I agree with your point about people being fed up with sex scenes in the movies. It is a bore and an embarrassment. Much more interesting are the knowing glances, the humourous flirtation and all the other elements that went into old-time romantic movies.

  20. Sarah Rolph Says:

    I think you’re right that people are starved for old-fashioned romance on the big screen, and for old-fashioned movies in general.

    That was my theory last year on why Brooklyn was nominated. I thought it was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. (The plot is based on the culture clash between Ireland and Brooklyn, yet there is no visible clash in the movie, for example people wear the same types of clothes in both places. I wanted to give the movie an anti-Oscar for costumes; the star wears this one wool sweater a whole lot, and the sweater has sewn sleeves. I kept looking at those seams and thinking, wouldn’t a gal from an Irish village in the early 1950s be wearing a hand-knit sweater? And there is no language difference between the two countries, nobody even has an accent — except for Tony in Brooklyn, who has a super-exaggerated Italian-American accent, although his parents do not! There is no chemistry between the two leads, which ruins the plot since it’s supposed to turn on that. Etc.)

    But it was an old-fashioned movie without any guns or violence. (And the female lead did give a good performance–she saved the movie; without her it would be unwatchable.)

  21. MissJean Says:

    Thanks for the response, Groundhog. I’ll try to catch it whenever it comes to the local rental place?

  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    Evil yearns to be God and inherit the honor/power of the Creation. OF course people in Hollywood yearns for Romance and love. Being what they are, of course it is so.

    I always enjoy the fashions, good or bad.

    The allies of the world are not allies of the divine kingdom.

    I see a significant difference between the divine laws and the human made laws. In the past, people tended to conflate them without pointing out the difference.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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