‘La La Land’: Hollywood’s failed bid to make America great again

(CNN)The announcement that “La La Land” had received 14 Oscar nods tying the record for most nominations for a single motion picture was met with a sigh of resignation by those who found Damien Chazelle’s wistful homage to the classic Hollywood musical overrated, clich or simply put, kind of boring.

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As Alison Willmore wrote for Buzzfeed, 2016 was the year that nostalgia turned on us: “It turned on us in minor ways, in how cynically and inauspiciously it was used to leverage sequels ‘Bridget Jones’ Baby,’ ‘Zoolander 2,’ ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ that no one seemed to want. And it turned on us in large, frightening ways, in the war cry of ‘Make America great again,’ which brought with it the question of when the country was last ‘great,’ and for whom.”
It’s long been a science fiction corollary that only white people can experience time travel as a thrilling, exotic adventure; everyone else will end up facing hell. As Rufus, the chrono-tripper played by Malcolm Barrett in the NBC series “Timeless” notes, when you’re black, “There is literally no place in American history that’s awesome.”
So what does it mean if this bright-dyed piece of nostalgic chiffon is elevated over more substantial and meaningful competing works at the Academy Awards, works that happen to star African-Americans and highlight African-American concerns? It will mean Hollywood has symbolically revealed its desire to turn back the clock, and turn back the hard-won progress that we’ve seen in the past 50 years, the past eight, even in the past 18 months. It will be tantamount to stating that people of color are too loud, demanding, complicated. If only they’d only come out by moonlight. If only we could put them behind fences. If only they’d remain hidden figures.

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If only we could make American movies great again.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/24/opinions/la-la-land-is-tragedy-yang-opinion/index.html

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