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On fraught times and 'frothy' films: 'La La Land' versus 'Moonlight'




Producer Fred Berger and the cast and crew of
Producer Fred Berger and the cast and crew of "La La Land" accept the award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy onstage during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
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Last weekend, just as the Golden Globes were shining on "La La Land," a backlash began bubbling against the film and its casting for being “naive,” “ill-conceived” and generally out of step with our time.

While movie critics have been nearly unanimous in their praise of the modern-day musical, some are wringing their hands at the spectacle of Hollywood's awards season celebrating "another intoxicating vision of itself."

To boot, some detractors are juxtaposing the musical's escapism against the realism and cultural currency of other awards-contenders such as "Moonlight," which emphasize less frequently told storylines about marginalized Americans, sexuality and identity.

Keeping in mind that both films were produced before the Sturm und Drang of the 2016 presidential election, how will history remember these and similar films? Do tumultuous times demand more escapist or thought-provoking film? How should filmmakers factor in society's mood, if at all? And what should award ceremonies highlight?

Guests:

Justin Chang, Film Critic for the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @JustinCChang

Amy Nicholson, Film Critic for KPCC and Chief Film Critic, MTV News; she tweets @TheAmyNicholson