One Old and One New: A Look at Two Unforgettable Films

La La Land

My favorite thing about cinema is how it makes me feel. Maybe I take movies too seriously, but many of them have changed me. In many ways they control me. They make me happy, sad, motivated, etc. and that’s what I love about them. La La Land is a recent film that changed me. It’s one of those that no matter how I feel, I can turn it on and my day is now at least slightly better. I love it.


La La Land makes me love. I fall in love, then my heart is broken, then I turn it back on and I’m right back in love again. I love everything about La La Land.  I love the feel of La La Land. I love the look of La La Land, the set, the cinematography. I love the music and the dancing. I love the throwback vibe and nods to old Hollywood. I love Damien Chazelle, I love Ryan Gosling, I love Emma Stone, I love John Legend, I love Emma Stone’s friends, I love Ryan Gosling’s sister. I love it all.

But what I love most about La La Land is how it makes me feel. It makes me happy, it makes me sad, it makes me laugh, and it makes me cry. But most importantly, it makes me dream. It inspires me. It’s a film about dreamers and every time I watch it, it makes me want want to create. It makes me want to be like Mia and Sebastian. It makes me want to love something like Mia and Seb do with movies and jazz. And it never feels disingenuous. It’s such a REAL film. The characters feel real and their love feels real. It’s both grounded in reality, yet also dreamlike. I don’t know how Damien Chazelle does it, but he does. It’s a perfect film to me and a film that is the best of what cinema can offer. I love it so much. 




That’s right, Top Gun. Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, etc. There’s planes. There’s volleyballs. There’s fighting. There’s sex. There’s everything you could ever want in a film. It’s directed by the late-great Tony Scott and came out in 1986.

Top Gun is a classic film that feels like hanging with the homies and drinking a bottle of scotch. Now, I’ve never had scotch, as I am underage, but I imagine this is what it feels like. Also, it has that song that goes like “IIIII went to the DANGER ZOOOONE”. Dope right? Anyway, my favorite thing about Top Gun is the planes. I’ve always loved planes and felt that I related to them more than I did people. Like, even as a kid, I wanted to be a plane. There’s something freeing about just flying through the air and not having problems. Planes don’t have problems. They’re planes. The scenes with the planes are particularly good, and I’d argue this is the best movie with planes. When I was a child I had this plane costume. I’d dress up as a plane every day. My mother would even let me go out in public with my plane costume because she knew it was where I was most comfortable. My father on the other hand, was not as accepting. Sometimes I think that’s why he left. Not to get into personal stuff, but I want to be open and honest with my audience. My father left me because I wanted to be a plane. But it’s okay because it made me realize something special. That’s what’s beautiful about Top Gun: it accepts everyone. Men, women, planes. That’s the beauty of film. We’re all different inside and out, and not always accepted for who we really are. Sometimes films can ease the pain. They can make you feel not alone. That’s why I love the film. But even more than I love Top Gun, I love the IDEA of it; we’re all planes. 

Does the film have problems? Sure. Is it cheesy? Sure. But none of that matters. What matters is what I get out of Top Gun. And if you’ve never seen Top Gun, I seriously urge you to watch it. It’s a beautiful film. But if you don’t like it, that’s also cool. Everyone’s opinions are valid and we all matter. That’s what the film has taught me. As Maverick famously said “Everyone belongs. I’m Maverick baby!” right before he shot some finger guns at Val Kilmer and flew off into the sunset.

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