8 Other Films You'll Like if You Love La La Land
So just like everybody else, you've just seen La La Land and now there’s a Hollywood sign-shaped hole in your heart. From what I’ve seen, La La Land has become the gateway film for people who didn’t think they’d ever be into a movie musical featuring jazz and paying an homage to Old Hollywood. Get your Netflix queue ready, because you’re about get some more of that.
Singin’ in the Rain
This is pretty much the prototype for La La Land with two performers (Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly) falling in love amidst movie backlots and saturated L.A. sunsets. It’s also a delightful and entertaining story of Hollywood’s awkward transition from silent pictures to talkies. If anything, you’ll want to watch it for Donald O’Conner’s intense dance number (“Make ‘Em Laugh”) that left him in bed for three days straight.
A bit of trivia: La La Land director Damien Chazelle tried pitching La La Land to studios before he started working on the critically acclaimed Whiplash. It’s another movie about jazz, minus the dance numbers and feel-good factor. J.K. Simmons won an Oscar for his role as the tyrannical band conductor Terence Fletcher, who sharpens drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) into perfection. It has a kick-ass soundtrack, too.
Not a movie musical, but it’s still set in L.A. and stars Ryan Gosling, who hardly has any lines in this movie. It’s worth the watch if you were particularly awed by the cinematography and colors of La La Land. In Drive, Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for thieves. What would Mia think?!
Back to movie musicals, if you were impressed with how La La Land made Old Hollywood musicals cool and contemporary, you might enjoy Moulin Rouge! Directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge! is about the rise of bohemian culture in Paris at the turn of the century. Sounds dull? Not when you’ve got cancan dancers moving to the the music of David Bowie and Nirvana.
Another Hollywood film about Hollywood, Boogie Nights shines a spotlight on the sleazier side of the entertainment industry—that is, porn. You’re about get up close and personal with Mark Wahlberg in this one as he portrays Dirk Diggler (yes, really), a high school dropout who becomes a pornographic star during the Golden Age of Porn, the ‘70s.
Rebel Without a Cause
You may recall La La Land opens with “presented in CinemaScope,” which is a lens used to shoot widescreen movies back in the day. Rebel Without a Cause is not exactly a sweeping, epic film, but CinemaScope still contributes to its stunning visuals. Also, this serves as an excuse to see how James Dean pioneered the suburban bad boy of modern day films.
This movie has been compared to La La Land in terms of style and Oscar buzz (it won Best Picture in 2012). Both are musicals set in Hollywood, but if you’ve just started getting out of your comfort zone with La La Land, you might want to save The Artist for a later time. It also happens to be silent, black and white, and French. There’s a cute, scene-stealing dog, though!
If you’re ready to take your post-La La Land high to a weird place, then check out David Lynch’s surrealist neo-noir starring Naomi Watts as an aspiring actress who moves to Los Angeles. Darkly comic with a jarring and cryptic narrative, Mulholland Drive is pretty much La La Land’s weird, angsty, older brother.
Special mention: Dead Man’s Bones
Not a film, but if you were surprised by Ryan Gosling’s piano skills, you shouldn’t be. He’s one half of the rock duo, Dead Man’s Bones and goes by the name “Baby Goose” (of course). While their first, and so far only, album was released long ago in 2009, it’s absolutely worth the listen.