A Winning Weekend with Ryan Gosling…
A girls only weekend with three different movie romance genres with three really different reactions to one Ryan Gosling.
Early last June, I’d heard of Ryan Gosling but I confess I’d never seen Ryan Gosling act. I’d only seen him as a meme wishing every girls’ name ever a Happy Birthday. Including mine. My sister and a blogging friend had raved about him, but tbh he never really appealed to me. This as I associated him with Nicholas Sparks and Emma Stone. And as not the greatest fan of both had avoided him. Little did I know my life without Gosling (and Stone), was going to change this year after seeing 5 movies with him … but here reviewing just 3.
However, I spent the weekend in the big capital (Helsinki) visiting friends and having a wee break from the fortnightly
boy man orientated norm of Star Wars Battlefront, Minecraft and superheroes. So as Darlin’ Husband hung out with the dudes and did dude things, I met up with the gals. After spending the first night catching up with a lovely friend from the Philippines, I visited a Romanian friend and her daughter in Espoo. There I had the 3 most relaxing three days involving coffee, cake and chat.
And there, I had a horrific first encounter with Sex in the City (1998-2004). SITC is a girly orientated TV programme I’ve avoided since it started on the telly (and its constant reruns on Finnish TV). I was relieved to see that it was as irritating as I had thought it would be and so I hadn’t really missed anything. The grating SJP monologue narrating her friends every move was annoying and almost stalker like. Even a five second appearance of Kyle McLachlan didn’t improve it. Perhaps if
Runkle from Californication (2007-14) Evan Handler had appeared in it just might have made it better. But sadly luckily it was not to be.
The next night, Saturday, my hostess and I discussed the finer films of Rachel McAdams, and after plugging her best performance in About Time (2013), this led to her sharing her favourite “drama” from this actress. It was, in fact, a romance which I’d inadvertently confessed to wanting to watch only as James Garner – who I loved in Rockford Files (1974-80) and the Doris Day movie, The Thrill of it All (1963) – was in the cast. The film was The Notebook (2004), leading inexplicably for us to watch three films with Ryan Gosling in a row. And two of these films with Emma Stone. And for you dear reader, the best explanation for my reviews’ rating system.
The Notebook (2013)
The Notebook (2004) Extended Trailer HD, A99 Studios
Obviously, The Notebook (2013) was the Hulk reaction despite Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Sam Shepard. I hate contrived romance and therefore Nicholas Sparks with a passion. After reading his plots for those tie-in movies alone. With 2013’s Safe Haven’s premise sounding like this plot was much better in Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) with
Kevin Kline Patrick Bergin.
Watching The Notebook confirmed all my fears. For a full tilt rant on this read my tagged post on 3 Films that I Hate HERE. And the film would have been much better with Darlin’ Husbands interpretation where Garner tells her all about where they met etc …. in an answerphone message Jim Rockford style.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Crazy, Stupid, Love. Official Trailer #1 – (2011) HD, Movieclips
This was the perfect handsqueezer material with a number of twists and turns in love (and sex for those over a certain age) with tales of romance for all ages. Therefore as a rom-com much better, more believable and substantially less annoying than He’s Not That Into You (2009). And not just because the all-star cast isn’t headed by Affleck and Aniston.
Tells of Steve Carell’s middle-aged (again) almost typecast character… Cal (Carell) is being dumped (again) then asked for a divorce (again). As a wife (Julianne Moore) leaves him for the dubious delights of Kevin Bacon’s co-worker David.
Then at a bar and in some wee montages, Cal is given man to man “seduction” advice. Including fashion tips to chat up lines from serial heartbreaker, Ryan Gosling’s Jacob. Who better to do this, than this pin-up meme in real life and in this movie, a cad and a bounder. And as the first in-film public information film of How to Pick up Girls as presented by Ryan Gosling. With Jacob’s Dirty Dancing (1987) chat up line which seems to work 100% of the time, all of the time. And works on one of the ladies in the cast, but tbh wouldn’t work on me.
Emma Stone, however, has her heart-broken with a lack of commitment from her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cal’s other kid is suffering from the unrequited love of a different kind as he’s besotted with the slightly older babysitter, Jessica. Jessica is, in turn, is obsessed with Cal. Cal is best friends with her dad. (Confused yet?).
The film also has a wonderful appearance by Marissa Tomei who steals the show as his son’s unhinged English teacher. Why she’s unhinged I’ll let you find out but insist you watch this instead for her performance alone. This makes me yearn for Pepper Potts and Iron Man to uncouple in time for Avengers: Infinity War (2018) just so we can see her as Aunt May flirting with that Marvel Superhero once more.
La La Land (2016)
La La Land (2016 Movie) Official Trailer – ‘Dreamers’, Lionsgate Movies
Admittedly this film for me started off as feeling awful and contrived. This with the scene where our leads Stone and Gosling met and this followed up swiftly (or was it the other way round?) with a song about traffic jams in LA. And with him as a jazz pianist and her an aspiring actress. Obvious attraction. He’s called Seb. She’s called Mia. They fall in love as they pursue their dreams in LA. Ryan Gosling. Emma Stone. It all felt a bit too Nicholas Sparks like for me. Almost like Sparks version of Rock of Ages (2012) but sadly without Alec Baldwin to rescue it. And
Tiny Tom Cruise.
But then the haunting tune, Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (Late For The Date) got to me as did those dance routines appealed to my romantic side, reminding me of those much-loved dance routines in musicals. And don’t get me started on the effect on me of that montage at the end. As there I sobbed so much, that you must forgive me for all the times I’ve called this Bla, Bla, Land… and expect a longer in depth / Main Feature post once I get more tissues…. and I manage to convince Darlin’ Husband he’ll like it.
So to conclude is Ryan Gosling more than a meme? If you ignore his Nicholas Sparks past – as you should have done with Garner, Shepard and McAdams – and possibly others. Instead, credit him with some of his better movies namely Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and The Nice Guys (2016) then yes. But as appealing as he is now, please don’t send me his birthday themed meme, as there can only be one.. and that is Mr DiCaprio. As The Great Gatsby. Wearing beige. But minus that beard and man bun. And Carey Mulligan.
This post was featured in the O’ Canada Blogathon run by Silver Screenings and Speakeasy. Other reviews with this cast include Sam Shepard in Steel Magnolias and his tribute post HERE. Baby Boom is also written about here. Rachel McAdams in my About Time trailer review here and the full movie here. James Garner is in a blogathon starting HERE, The Thrill of it All and his daughter, Gigi was interviewed HERE. James Marsden stars in 27 Dresses.