La La Land (2016)

La La Land was by far the most romantic depiction of LA out of all the movies I watched. I mean, that makes sense because it was a movie partially about Hollywood. Yet, the film did an excellent job of showing the sights along with capturing the hopefulness of LA residents. Many of the scenes were shot on location in LA.

            The first scene made me laugh because it’s a musical number on an LA freeway interchange. Between the 110 and 105, to be exact. It’s funny because the commuters are singing on top of their cars, then they go back inside and continue to honk. The latter is incredibly realistic for any major city but especially LA.

             One of the following scenes in shot in one of the buildings on Warner Bros studio and we get a good look of the entire studio later in the film. That was one of my favorite scenes because it’s where Sebastian delivers the line “That’s just LA. They just worship everything and they value nothing.” He’s referring to LA residents who are who don’t really notice anything for what it is. I think there was truth to his statement because in a busy city, it’s hard to know what to look at. That’s what I think (500) Days of Summer did well at more than even La La Land.

            An image that I noticed right away was in the scene of the Retro Dairy Mart, a real store on Magnolia Blvd in Burbank. Sebastian is sitting on the patio and looks at a mural of a California oranges postcard on the side of a building. Sadly, the mural was CGI, but it was funny seeing almost an exact picture in a modern day film from a picture we’ve seen in class.

            One of the most beautiful scenes of the movie is when Sebastian sings City of Stars on a pier. The pier is actually Hermosa Beach Pier. Sadly, the blue lamp posts from the film were props, but the city is actually thinking of adding them because they matched so well!

            Another setting in the movie that we’ve talked about in class was Watts Towers. It was from the blog that I learned the Towers were built over a 30 year period by one man who used simple tools in his own backyard, Simone Rodia. Watts Towers is actually a National Landmark and can be toured 4 days a week.


— Alexandra Nguyen

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