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La La Land has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards. Many people feel that this film marks the renaissance of the musical. If so, it is a new type of musical. One that pay homage to the films of yesterday with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers but one which attempts to ground itself in reality according to writer/director Damien Chazelle:
I liked this film and I did feel the humanity, however, I also wanted to FEEL the dancing. Unfortunately, I felt the level of dance difficulty was so common, so human that I could do those moves myself. And while that is what it appears that Chazelle and team were going for, I wanted more. I wanted to see something greater than myself – dancing that excites and inspires. May this desire to see phenomenal dancing is why I LOVE movies like Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, The Wiz and All That Jazz – The dance numbers were aspirational if not unattainable for the mere fan. They set a standard and I felt a bit let-down with La La Land. The high dance quality in the films mentioned above made performers like Kelly, Rogers and Astaire special – the real triple threat! For me, the story, the music and the acting in Chazalle’s film might have one floating in La La Land but the dancing left his cast outside the studio with the rest of us trying out our moves on a cardboard box on Hollywood and Vine.