La La Land Breakdown: Part 2, Audition

If you’re like me,  you’re still a little tipsy from La La Land‘s “City of Stars” trailer. This is perfectly okay, and I’m glad to have you along the ride with me. La La Land has been such a breath of fresh air into the world of musicals, at least trailer wise. So far, they’ve been able to tackle two trailers with catchy, sing-along tunes. They’ve been able to capture the magic of musicals, which we haven’t seen since Hairspray in the 80s (I’d even argue the remake from 2007). I love, love, love, love musicals. They are infectious and a true delight to watch, when they are done right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to step up and suggest Moulin Rouge! or Chicago, maybe even Les Miserables, but this just feels a little bit more magical. Maybe because it is completely new; original music, a fresh story. Whatever it is, I’m pining for December.

Anyways, I’ve stalled you long enough. You’ve come for the main show, and I’m offering you some second-rate commentary on why it’s already so good. Snap to, the second trailer for La La Land was titled “Audition,” and believe it or not, it’s better than the first trailer. Like, a lot better, and that’s hard for me to say (I deeply loved the first trailer). While I wait for them to upload the song to Google Play (or the Music Store), let’s breakdown trailer number two.

Teaser Trailer #2: Audition

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Back to my Iris Shot, Damien Chazelle is already hitting all the right notes. To contrast from the first song, the beat is slower and the shot is inside the busy action of the city. We are pulled away from the full on blue, and are entered into a sunset of orange and blue. The city is blossoming and it’s no longer Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian’s turn to tell the story. Emma Stone‘s Mia is pulling out all the stops on her own.

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Here’s to the ones who dream… Mia seems to contemplate herself before revealing a smile. This is the start of her journey, and she seems like she is currently happy with the life she is making for herself.

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Foolish as they may seem… A reintroduction of Sebastian. Once again, it feels firmly set that Gosling’s character knows who he is and what he wants from life. Following along with the lyrics, it seems relevant that both of them are dreamers who seem like they are reaching for foolish dreams.

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Once again, this highlights the daydream living Mia seems to embody. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead.

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Here’s to the hearts that ache… Does Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club have room for two more? But truly, a lot of these images feel like direct callbacks to the original trailer. Returned is Mia’s coffee stained blouse and diminished sense of hope, and Sebastian’s deranged coif. But, there are also two hopeful images in these shots that are directly from the original trailer, as well. One of a perfectly groomed Sebastian getting down on the piano, and one of the returned look of Mia watching from a far. Together the blend into a mix of defeated hopefulness, which might sound like an oxymoron, but bare with me.

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Here’s to the mess we make. Could that be a beautiful mess? Because these images seem to capture a life worth living. One thing to note, in the last trailer we see Mia running down the middle of the street (we will see that again later on), but we actually she her face in this scene and it is smiles. This could suggest a reflection on the film, the two-sided love story between Mia and Sebastian. From the bottom two images, it feels like this isn’t the life Mia had envisioned for herself, but Sebastian is providing her with a radiant love that’s worth it.

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While Gosling’s trailer showed him humming along on the bridge, Stone’s song is taking place at an audition. Fitting place to tell the story that is surrounding her, and maybe how she is able to take a transition from struggling actress to budding starlet.

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A highlight reel of the life Mia is building with Sebastian. But is this what she wants? Or does Mia want to be an actress? From the audition, this feels like there is a building turmoil inside of her. This is the life she wasn’t expecting, and acting is the life she has always dreamed of. Shot out to the little bit of French New Wave feel with the gradient videos of one of their shared moments.

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Another direct callback to the original trailer. As I mentioned in Part One, this still feels like the peak of their relationship. Based on the slideshow that happens before this, I see this as the point where they become ships in the night.

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I can’t help it, the connection to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is unreal. I feel it though. I feel is so strongly. Also, I have no doubt these two scenes will feature incredible musical and dancing numbers. Will we see Stone dance backwards in high heels? Damn straight. I’m counting on it. We are looping back to the beginning of the song, with dreamers in mind. Here’s to the ones who dream…

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The two dreamers. While Stone is captured in the middle of a thought (as seen in the first trailer), Gosling seems to be signing a contract with John Legend‘s character Keith. Again, only formal introduction of a secondary character. To touch back to the first breakdown, I believe we caught a glimpse of Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. I’m now starting to wonder if Sebastian signing a contract with Keith is what pushes Mia away, and into the arms of Greg? Theories exploding everywhere. Whatever comes from this contract, I don’t think it is what Sebastian will want and maybe it will make him feel like it’s the reason he lost everything.

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With the city full in bloom, Los Angeles is the bird of the feather that ties them together. Foolish as they may seem…

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Taking a pause before uncovering more of the story, here is your introduction of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. While this is a fresh shot of Stone, the one of Gosling is from the theater date in the first trailer. Recall the Rebel Without a Cause. All I have here is that Stone’s white blouse is asking for coffee to be split on it. I’m more making this connection because she seems hopeful and full of life, but in a coffee shop. Does her day become unraveled leading her to let down her hair and call defeat?

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I’m still calling it, big Classical Hollywood happy ending. This just feels so perfect and in tune with the music and style and the films it is referencing. The path back to each other after everything has settled. Sebastian has gone back to the musical life he wants, and Mia knows that Sebastian is the one she wants to be with. Here’s to the hearts that ache…

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After the big move, this scene reminds us of the somber nature their relationship takes. It has me hot and cold, and I’m here for all of it. Maybe the mess they made from the beginning of the trailer isn’t so beautiful after all. Or maybe this is when they learn that they need to discover what they want and find a way back to the one another.

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Another direct callback to the first trailer, Mia is running away and Sebastian standing distraught outside the theater. I wonder, if the clip of Sebastian is following from where he is performing and looks to the crowd with Mia beaming back at him. That fits more in tune with the looks and styling, which feels like that scene will be the demise of the relationship. Here’s to the mess we make.

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Ultimately, the trailer ends on another positive note. The two star crossed lovers starring into the depths of each others souls, contemplating what life has in store. Guys, I’m a hopeless romantic, I can’t help but call it as I see it.

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While this ending isn’t as passionate as the kiss to end Gosling’s trailer, it is just as emotional. It’s also fools errand to compare apples and oranges. There’s something about Stone’s side of the trailer, something that feels more rewarding. Maybe it is because we feel more of the connection between Mia and Sebastian, and the journey of their love. It isn’t in the beginning stages, it is fleshed out and real. It is beautiful and breathtaking. Where as Gosling’s trailer featured more of the aspect of falling in love, capturing a feeling and not wanting to lose it. This trailer explores the beautiful mess of a relationship, and how it’s worth every moment. The high and low points charmingly intertwined. This is the ode to a true relationship, for the idealistic dreaming souls.

This is Mia’s take on La La Land.

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La La Land Breakdown: Part 1, City of Stars

Two trailers have been released for La La Land, and I’m more in love than ever. The songs are stuck in my head daily, and I find myself humming them or singing at random times. Of course I know all the words, and it’s completely, totally normal and not obsessive. I don’t need your judgement. Anyways, after watching each trailer for the umpteenth time, I started noticing connections and the storytelling going on between two trailers. I’ve been wanting to do a trailer breakdown since the first teaser, “City of Stars,” was released, and “Audition” provided me with a reason to dive deeper.

Before we get started, I’ve seen a few theories floating around that the next trailer could be a duet, taking my musical-loving little heart straight to the grave. I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until December, but alas. Onward with the tender melodies, let’s dive into hidden layers of these beautiful trailers.

Teaser Trailer #1: City of Stars

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Oh Damien Chazelle, how did you know Iris Shots make me weak in the knees? If there is anything that sets the tone of Classical Hollywood, it is an Iris Shot. But more than anything, these specific shots seem to serve as an introduction to La La Land’s characters. With the far glance of the city and the romantic blue haze that illuminates the setting, Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian might as well be marked as a Pisces because he is a dreamer. The full sound of piano brushing your ear drums during this scene matches the feeling established in this shot: while LA is crazy beast that can devour you in one bite, it is also a place where dreams begin and the greatest of love stories are born.

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With the sound of sweet humming flirting around, we are officially introduced to our two main characters: Emma Stone‘s Mia and Gosling’s Sebastian. We soon see that it is Gosling’s melody that is gliding us along, dawning on us that this specific trailer is his story.

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“City of Stars,” the words eagerly flow into the rhythm of the trailer. While this shot is established early on, I have a feeling that this particular scene is towards the end of the movie (more on that later). But the feeling of longing between Stone’s eyes and Gosling’s piano strokes, we know we are in for a story of two lovers.

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What follows next are two dreamy shots of Stone: one where she is making her way through a “chaotic” party, and the other where she is staring longingly out of a cafe window. But just as dreamy as they are, I think it also establishes a strong tone with her character; she’s the one trying to figure out her path.

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Gosling’s character on the other hand seems pretty settled into what his life revolves around: music. It seems fair to say that while Sebastian doesn’t feel like he has struck it big, he is rather comfortable in his way of life. He isn’t trying to reach for more, he’s attained the level of satisfaction that he was aspiring for.

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But Mia is the struggling character that is trying to find her way. Really driving this point home, folks.

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It feels like Sebastian is trying to help Mia establish her way. While this next bit of info is gathered more from pictures, it looks like this matches the setting with them on a date at a movie. If I know my movies like I think I do, that is James Dean and they are seeing Rebel Without a Cause, which totally comes into play later on. Plot wise, this is still early on in the movie and in the relationship. Sebastian helping Mia realize what she wants? Or that she is better than how her circumstances are at the moment?

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The next shots establish a taste of the Hollywood lifestyle, and it feels like maybe Mia is starting to catch her break or maybe just showing Sebastian why acting is important to her. I’m leaning to the former. I bet this is when we start seeing the cracks forming in their bond.

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Continuing her no good, very bad day spirit, Mia is on the next level of fed up. And the huge coffee stain emblazoned on her shirt might be why. Matched in between these two scenes, this feels very out of place. Maybe to fully establish that Mia isn’t where she wants to be in life.

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Because in this shot, it’s back to another reality with Sebastian.

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Because love is real, and the chemistry between Stone and Gosling is palpable. I haven’t even seen the movie and I can feel the Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant vibes through my monitor. Maybe I’m crazy, but this movie is an ode to Classical Hollywood and an open love letter to Los Angeles. And these scenes, in their simplistic form, scream the film bonds that have eluded us for such a long time.

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This feels like the peak of their relationship. Mia is starting to blossom as an actress, her makeup and clothing has already started to change. Sebastian looks like he is in the prime of his career. They’re happy. Who knew…

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Is this the start of something wonderful and new? All these glitzy shots of their beautiful relationship. From the riches of blues, to the brightness of the day and we end on an subtle red hue that is creeping into their love story. While this musical might be based on some of the golden eras of film, it seems like this will match place with real life struggles and triumphs, meaning it won’t venture too far into the dreamland of musicals past.

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Leaving this scene to echo of a couple that is no longer in the company of one another. Why? Gosling is a hot mess, his hair no longer groomed as it was before. Stone is starting to look the full transition of an actress who has arrived at her big break. Coming to reminiscence over her long lost lover, Mia sees the mess that was caused by her departure.

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Glistened up by their lighthearted melody, the series of shots end with Mia running away down the middle of the street. I also want to highlight that it is snowing in this scene, or maybe it’s leftover glitter from the one before. Or one last dream…

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That I cannot make true. Although these are a lot of highly stylized shots of Stone and Gosling, I’m fairly confident this pool shot is Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. This feels like it might be the same party we see Mia entering towards the beginning of the trailer.

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Sidetrack from the last few shots suggesting sorrow, we enter into the Observatory. The same one from Rebel Without a Cause. My heart beats with excitement for these little nods to the classical era.

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Then it explodes when it feels like it is reaching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers territory. Side note: I’m a huge Astaire and Rogers fan, and I feel like La La Land has played on their dynamic more than any other of the Classical Hollywood duos.

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Insert Gosling to tell us his story is coming to an end (for now).

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Which leads us to mirage of dazzling shots, including the introduction of John Legend‘s Keith. Please note, that Legend’s character is the only supporting character to have a established introduction. Of these shot, my favorite is the top one, which seems to be a continuation of their first date. They look like they are running through a Monet styled painting. My hope is that the bottom picture lead us in to the closing of the trailer.

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Before we get to that, Gosling and Stone get their last look at each other. This seems to be from the scene where I felt like they were no longer together. My hopes that this is the climax of the movie, and not the actual ending.

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Because if there is one thing that is imperative to a Classical Hollywood movie, it is an over-the-top happy ending. But perhaps this isn’t a Classical Hollywood movie, it is just a nod to a genre that is no more.

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So let’s tie my jumbled mess of thoughts together. Gosling’s Sebastian sings of falling in love with Stone’s Mia. He feels like she is a gift from the galaxy, but fears that she will slip away because nothing in life is guaranteed. Based on the images throughout the trailer, we can probably conclude that they depart from one another for awhile causing Sebastian to slip into self destruction. While the City of Stars can cause broken hearts, it is also known as the City of Dreams, leaving me to believe that they find their way back to each other. Point of the story? No matter how much you may be struggling in life, it is better to struggle together than struggle alone. There’s a hidden magic when you are in the company of the one you love. And with that:

This is Sebastian’s take on La La Land.

Next up, La La Land’s “Audition” Teaser Trailer.