Sam Bauman: Super Bowl again but ‘La La Land’ is more fun
The Super Bowl has come and gone again for the 51st time (oops, LI time) meaning more than half a century of the event, certainly the biggest merchandising of an American sport in history. And I can remember when the Army-Navy game was the big one.
I, like most Americans (and many overseas), watched the commercials and occasional football along with friends enjoying an indoor tailgate of snacks, chicken, and beverages. Luckily, I didn’t drive but rode with a friend.
I drifted off after overly partaking and recalled my youth as a member of the Young Cowboy Singers, a quartet of fifth graders who serenaded any group in Ohio who would listen to us. I was a tenor in those days but now I am a wheezy baritone. I even remember a chorus of “Home on the Range:”
“Where the air is so pure, and the zephyrs so free,
The breezes so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home on the range.”
But I still sing a lot these days, mostly to myself while driving. I still remember those young singing days along with the old player piano, often the center of family ”sing-along” pumping the piano bellows to keep the paper roll turning and playing the keys.
Which brings me to the question at hand; have these merchandising spectacles like the Super Bowl robbed us of aspects of family life that are traditional and important?
I don’t think many teens would be happy to put away iPhones to stop and sing along with Mom and Dad (who probably wouldn’t know the songs). Those days are past, I suspect.
And do dads still have poker nights where the bets are 25 cents and the drink is beer? And do moms still have sewing circles or quilting parties? And the drink is tea? Don’t know.
But change is inevitable, and we might as well welcome it because there’s no way we can stop it. Change makes life exciting and demanding, and the only way to avoid it is live on a desert island. Or the other way …
I’m looking forward to my next birthday. I’ll be older, and my skiing will be sloppier, but I’ll be looking at the ads for new skis and hoping I can ski at least the easier blue runs with joy.
Who was the poet who wrote, “Hope is a thing with feathers?” Don’t remember, but I hope my feathers are still light and strong enough to get me down the hill. And another Super Bowl.
“La La Land” film is a true delight
It’s a joy to find a film of much fun and so imaginative as director Damien Chazelle’s musical comedy “La La Land,” even if I had to drive to Minden to see it. The movie scored big at the Golden Globe awards with seven wins.
With a title like “La La Land,” one would think comedy and it starts out that way with a traffic jam on a Hollywood freeway with people jumping out of cars, over cars and around cars in carefree exuberance. Great way to launch what turns out to be a romantic comedy involving Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) and Emma Stone (Mia). She’s a struggling actress, he’s a struggling jazz piano player. Both do more than simply show up — they’re authentic and their dancing seems to be just natural good feelings in movement. Both have problems with professional life — she suffers meaningless auditions and he loses work when he plays jazz to upscale dining rooms. He winds up with a touring jazz group on the road, she with role in a play. Her audition scene is beautiful as she appears in a plain blue sweater.
But getting there is more than half the fun. The two go through dating moments of dancing with the stars — literally — as they wander from the Watts Towers to the Griffith Observatory, where miraculously they wind up dancing up amid the stars of the observatory. It’s a beautiful scene, light and joyous and perfectly natural. Alone worth the admission price.
Both suffer losses and some success and their love had its rocky moments, but both stars are utterly authentic and both pull through their problems.
This is a film that seniors can really enjoy (as can everyone else interested in an excellent movie). Think I’ll see it again if it ever comes to the Galaxy.
La La Land is Hollywood.
Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.