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Presenting the NATO of CA/NV 2017 Scholarship Winners...

New Years’ Day, as the house lights slowly turned back on and as people exited the theatre, I sat frozen in my seat. In complete awe, I thought to myself “I never want to watch another movie again.” I could not begin to comprehend the spectacle that I had just witnessed. I turned around to my brother and sister, also stunned, and immediately made plans to watch this movie again the next day. I would have spent the rest of New Years’ Day watching that movie over and over again if I did not have work the same day. That is the profound effect that Damien Chazelle’s modern-day musical La La Land had on me.

La La Land made me excited about cinema again. I have watched so many movies since I started my job at Pacific Theatres about 2 years ago, and none of them left such a yearning to watch more, experience more, than La La Land did. It may not be what is deemed an “important” film, such as the other best picture contenders of 2017, films such as Moonlight or Hidden Figures. Those films, while great films that depict the plight of the human condition, didn’t leave the same mark on me as La La Land did. To me, La La Land is an important film in an untraditional way. It offers something vital to every human being: entertainment. It’s a marvel to be witnessed on screen, its visual splendor and infectious musical numbers go above and beyond what makes a good film great. When I watched it for the first time, all my troubles and worries melted away. I sat completely absorbed by every frame and sound that La La Land presented to me. I couldn’t think about anything else when watching it. And that’s what we humans need. We need a film whose goal is to bring out joy in its audience.

It’s not only the musical aspect of the movie that I believe makes La La Land so important, it is the message the film brings out. The central message of which is to follow our dreams no matter what. Though we may not relate to Sebastian’s and Mia’s specific struggles, it’s a story that can be universally told. La La Land isn’t simply about a struggling actress and jazz musician; it is a story about love. Ambition. Passion. Failure, and sacrifice. La La Land makes me want to sing, dance, fall in love, chase my dreams, and so much more. It isn’t a movie that demands you to take action after you watch it, it instead inspires action. The world doesn’t deserve movies as good as La La Land, but now that we have it we should take its lead.

I remember very distinctly when the film first came out, practically all of my coworkers and I would do is talk endlessly about the film. It sparked a dialogue, an intense one at that, particularly about the ending of the movie. We argued endlessly about the ending, to the point where if La La Land was mentioned in some way, we would get into heated debates with one another. Some of my coworkers took the film’s melancholy ending negatively, saying that it should have been different and that it was too realistic. And others, such as myself, argued about how the ending was perfect the way it was, how it was indeed painful, but necessary. No matter our opinions about the ending, we could all agree about one thing: La La Land affected us all in some way. It stuck with us. We never talked about movies the same way we did with La La Land.

If I could choose only one movie for the whole world to see, it would be La La Land. Everyone will take away something different from the movie, but there is no doubt that it will leave an impact. This movie is what cinema is all about, and everything that it should be. Almost no other movie can convey a story with such emotion, gravitas, and fun as La La Land. It is the one movie that will stick, and every single person will leave the theatre humming “Another Day of Sun,” as I did.

 

 

 

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