Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend

Okay, yeah we get it, liking musicals is either aggressively uncool or very, very cool if you’ve actually been able to see Hamilton. But don't let any of that affect how you see this movie musical. If you’ve been on the internet at all since September, it’s likely you’ve heard of La La Land, from Whiplash mastermind Damien Chazelle starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. You’ve seen the candy colored, L.A.-sun-drenched trailers with Gosling’s mournful croon of “City of Stars.” And if you’re a musical hater, you may have convinced yourself that you can’t “deal with this corny musical shit.” But that’s the thing—La La Land is a shaggy, flawed musical, one for the times. And that’s a good thing. It has spectacular numbers that have a hint of imperfection, that echo the relationship between struggling artists Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling). It peers into the Los Angeles that can make you hard and tough, the one that can easily disillusion your dreams with failed auditions and towed cars. But despite all that, Mia and Sebastian fall in love, though still, their swoony romance is ultimately grounded in undeniable, gut-punching realism. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make an effective musical in 2016. —Kerensa Cadenas