Why is Hollywood so often full of itself, even when a Canadian steals the show?
I’ve just come in from the cinema. Went and watched the film so many are raving about — LaLaLand. And I am not sure what the raving is really about. Ryan Gosling is a good actor (comes from Stratford ON I think), and an occasional singer. Not even sure if he really plays the piano. And Emma Stone is a beautiful young lady (although not as beautiful as a good friend in Ottawa each of whom could be a double for the other, if not for the length of hair). But that doesn’t make a movie great.
The opening scene has a great dance routine, but I am not sure even now what the song was that they all were singing. The setting was all too familiar for those of us who have ever had the pleasure (sic) of driving the LA Freeways. It was a real opportunity to introduce to a song that we could all remember and then hummmm on the way home from the theatre. Instead the words were barely audible and so I’m not sure what we were supposed to learn from that moment that would help us interrupt the ensuing story.
After the film was fully launched the story was almost mysterious. The first few scenes wherein Mia (the character that Emma Stone played) had a front & centre position was disjointed and almost incoherent at times. What were her room-mates all about — what were they supposed to be contributing to the story and why do they suddenly disappear and aren’t even referred to again? And the character that Ryan plays (see, I’ve already forgot his name in the story — maybe Sebbie?) appears in the opening scene and his car never has the top up throughout the entire show (it may have been an old Buick Riviera but it was not clearly identified). Of course, in the early going, Mia’s Prius was so prominent it was as if Hollywood was daring Donald Trump to tax it out of existence. It suddenly disappeared when she moved in with Ryan (except when she decided to run away to Mom and Dad — and when he came to rescue her it never did reappear — maybe Trump did have some influence!!)
There was one musical number that had all kinds of energy and I could almost recall it’s title: Start a Fight (maybe). It was good and I enjoyed it but I can’t tell you who the group is (in the film they are called Messenger) but I could listen to them again. Otherwise, the only memorable music was instrumental, and mainly jazz oriented. I loved the solo piece that Ryan’s character played when his ex-love comes into the club he has built (with her husband of long enough to have a child of maybe 2 or 3 together). Of course we had heard the piece before as he played it a couple of times in her presence when they were an item.
But the epilogue, while cinematically fine, and a reminder of several former Hollywood musicals, didn’t really overpower in a musical sense. The one interesting aspect about it was the question it raised: What might one’s life be like if a key decision early in life about someone you love actually had been made in favour of keeping that love in one’s life? I have been wrestling with that question myself in the writing of my book on Leadership and Ethics, which I hope to have completed in this calendar year. But the way that it was portrayed in the film was too Holloywood-ish. She didn’t come back from Paris and re-connect with her love — she came back a star and moved into that circle. He had used the money he made from playing with the band he had joined (Messenger) to gain sufficient funds to enable him to set up the Jazz Club he had always wanted. In the end he did follow his dream — and while she did too in a way, she also didn’t let that new fame permit her to return to her normal life (i.e. the love of her life when she was not famous)!! I find that most interesting in the 21st Century. If it had been the other way around, it might have been more believable or perhaps acceptable, but why was she so typical old school Hollywood.
I believe that decisions we make in high school and even college are fundamental to the long-term evolution of our lives. If given better guidance and counselling advice, we can make very dynamic and positive choices that not only impact our career paths, but also the more appropriate and therefore more rewarding personal relationships. LaLaLand could have made this not so much a tragic fairly tale ending, but one that showed that love and personal career ambition can merge in a dynamic relationship that allows both to soar to new heights. Instead the story never really became evident and as the film wound down it seemed like the story was actually too long, especially for a story that never fully emerged.
What was the purpose? What really was the message? What was the story? I didn’t ask for my money back. But I won’t buy the soundtrack either. I will be upset if the Oscars find this film better than a number of other great films. Love can come early in one’s life if people don’t try to dissuade it. More importantly, early love can continue and flourish even through separation, if we allow the other to pursue activities that are helping lead that individual to getting to better. LaLaLand doesn’t do that. It actually plays to the cynical aspect of Hollywood movie-making and maybe that’s the point. But if it is, that is no reason to give it consideration for an Oscar.
Should an old geezer be allowed to ski any more if he is clocked 99.3 km/h?
What prompts someone of supposed sane mind to finish a 4 star day of skiing with a run that borders on the edge of madness?
On Monday, ski conditions were quite good at Apex Mountain Resort. It was a bit cool at the top of the mountain and due to shifting cloud formations the light was somewhat variable — occasionally the hill was bathed in brilliant sunshine, other times it was darkly cloudy and in between there were moments of extreme flatness. But all in all, even with some snow squalls in the middle of the morning it was a fine day to ski. In fact, the snow flurries actually improved the conditions by adding some powder on top of numerous runs that had been skied out and needed a bit of refreshment.
And there were very few people on the mountain so it allowed our gang to ski many runs that had very few tracks on them. One in particular, Little Joe, was so pristine that Sandy following me was able to do beautiful helixes by criss-crossing behind me. There were probably seven of us altogether at various times that were having the times of our lives — no one under the age of sixty… Great lives to be lived… Sandy and I managed to get in 7,200 Vm’s which is well over 20,000 vertical feet, and the distance we skied was over 33.2 kms!!
The last run was particularly good — most had left the hill for lunch and so the hill was basically open and devoid of other skiers. We left the quad chair, going to the right towards a run called Juniper. It was good cruising with only the occasional bump or rut. As we came off it the option was to cut back above the T-bar and then straight down the Okanagan run to the village. Sandy was behind me and as he rounded the final stretch of Juniper I was already at the top of Okanagan. There was no one on the run at all (this is the run where our national team trains, and all the local races are held). I couldn’t resist so I let the skis run — maybe four big turns and I was at the bottom. As Sandy later commented, he had seen me push off as he came along the track above me, and by the time he got to the top of the final run, he saw me skiing past the ski racks at the lodge and the ski shop towards our condo! It was a blast!! Only at lunch when I checked my app did I realize that I managed the fastest run I’ve ever recorded in the past four years — 99.3 km/h. That will probably never be surpassed — I think it is time to quiet the skis… This isn’t a sport like bridge or even dragon-boating — one bad moment, and hospital visitations can result. So I’ll mark January 30th, 2017 as a day to remember and a record to share, and you can too — ’cause it isn’t happening again!!