1. Why is California so closely connected with melancholy? Here is a smart, critical review of La La Land, but I think it misses the point: the movie is a critique and indeed subtle reflection of what is (supposedly) an all-pervasive mediocrity of contemporary life and art. Setting the opening musical number in a traffic jam plays up the contrast with the older, “more glorious” musicals quite deliberately. At the same time, the movie questions whether the past was ever so glorious after all.