The Word on the Street

La La Land

The movie La La Land was just nominated for 14 Oscars – matching two other classics for the most nominations ever. It is a fanciful musical – dreamlike – with music and dancing. Not quite what the general public would have expected from Hollywood, given the gravity of almost everything these days. With unparalleled national division and
angry people marching in the streets on both sides of every issue – song-fest and softshoe hardly fits the times. And yet, aren’t most musicals about hope and the realization of dreams? We could use some of that!

Most of the other top Oscars’ contenders this year are of a more serious tone: Moonlight is about a gay black youth coming of age in a rough neighborhood; Fences is about a working-class African-American man who never got to pursue his dream; Manchester by the Sea is the story of a loner who suddenly has the responsibility of his nephew’s
guardianship placed upon him; and Hacksaw Ridge is a World War II movie. Pretty serious stuff. No breaking into song here.

I am personally glad to see not only the revival of the musical, but a film musical in the Oscars’ running. The only recent film musicals that I can recall have been animated. This is not to say that La La Land is without a few tears. But the song and dance is mesmerizing as it lifts the spirit and gives flight to the heart – providing a much needed,
albeit temporary, respite from the drudgeries of life.

The movie opens with a fanciful song and dance scene in which LA drivers, stuck in a stand-still on the freeway, abandon their cars - along with their road rage – to make the most of a bad situation. Granted, the scene is absurd – but refreshingly so. It serves as a reminder that we would all do well to chill out and take life’s temporary set-backs
and disappointments in stride. If there was more lighthearted song-and-dance in our nation’s capital, and less bickering and back-biting, the nation’s morale would be better served.

What does all of this have to do with Jesus, you ask? Well, he is both Lord of the Dance and the Song of the Universe. And while there are those who think Christians live in La La Land – the truth is that we know a peace and joy that puts a song in the heart every day.

I’d rather live in La La Land than Broken-and-Bickering Land any day.

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