This week I joined the long, long list of people that fell in love with La La Land. I wandered into the Rave with a friend, equipped with the water bottle I always sneak into theaters. (Seriously, who would ever pay five dollars for a water bottle? Water is a basic human right, dammit.) I expected to poke holes in the movie—I'd been warned that the film was deeply flawed, or boring, too long, overrated.
But I loved it. I loved everything about it—the subversion of a classic movie genre, the stunning cinematography, the aching feeling of wanting success and knowing you might just not be good enough. La La Land captured that moment of pure serenity, that feeling of twilight—both perfectly still and yet completely on the verge of something amazing. The movie was about anticipation, about being on the cusp. There were scenes so beautifully composed they moved me to tears. Not crying, just tears.
To me, the movie wasn't about Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone or their sweetly Hollywood romance. Yes, Ryan Gosling is handsome. And Emma Stone should win an Oscar. But the movie was just a means through which Damien Chazelle could write a love letter to what he loves most: music and musicals. The movie succeeded in making me feel something because it was so clearly made by someone who creates with love.
And that's what good art does. It makes you feel something. The same reason I loved La La Land is the same reason I'll always love Broadway musicals and movies and television—you can tell when it's good, because it will inspire the same feeling in you that it inspired in its creator.
I'm attracted to people who are passionate about things. I think one of the most magnetic things in the world is passion, especially for the arts. It's why art is important. It can move and inspire. And more than that, it begs people to commit to it. This week we saw our writers and editors go above and beyond for art—we saw them spend 24 hours in Van Pelt basement, explore strip clubs and cover their face with food, all in the name of a story or a piece or a video.
And at the end of the day, we have to give credit where credit is due: La La Land nailed the Los Angeles traffic.