‘La La Land’ seriously misunderstands music. So why are its songs pretty great? – Los Angeles Times

To prepare for the role of Sebastian — the hardheaded jazz preservationist in Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” which is nominated for a record-tying 14 Oscars at Sunday’s Academy Awards — Ryan Gosling says he spent three months learning to play piano.

“It’s a lot of time alone, and you become quite anti-social,” he told ABC’s “Nightline” of the experience. “Every time I tried to have a conversation during that rehearsal period with anybody, it was a bit like Bambi on ice.”

He needn’t have taken it quite so seriously.

A lavish movie musical set amid Los Angeles’ young creative class, “La La Land” is dimmest in its depiction of how musicians think and behave. Whenever we see a character pick up a horn or sit down behind a piano — or even open his mouth to hold forth on the supremacy of the past — the film bogs down in childish clichés about compromise and authenticity.

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