Top 10 Movies to Watch if You Liked La La Land | Articles on (2024)

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Did you love La La Land? Are you looking for a movie recommendation that is similar to La La Land? We've got just the list for you! In this countdown we recommend 10 Things to watch if you like La La Land. We've included movies like The Artist, Los Angeles Plays Itself, The Band Wagon, Top Hat, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, Rebel Without a Cause, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Singin' in the Rain.

#10: “The Artist” (2011)

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This Best Picture winner is a love letter to a nostalgic genre that seemingly had no place in modern cinema. A black-and-white silent film, “The Artist” looked like it was destined to flop. Against all the odds, however, critics and moviegoers got wrapped up in this captivating tale about a silent film star’s struggle to remain relevant as “talkies” take over. While the film cleverly works sound and spoken dialogue into a couple of scenes, a majority of the story is conveyed through the charismatic performances and Ludovic Bource’s energetic musical score. Like “La La Land,” “The Artist” demonstrates how emotions and music speak louder than words, especially in a visual medium like film.

If you’re looking for a film that truly understands Los Angeles, this video essay should be right up your alley. “Los Angeles Plays Itself” explores how the City of Angels has been depicted on the silver screen over the years. Thom Andersen’s documentary is littered with fascinating trivia about Los Angeles and film history. Most significantly, Andersen analyzes how Los Angeles can act as a background, a character, and a subject. Los Angeles feels like a living, breathing entity in “La La Land.” If Andersen ever made a follow-up to “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” we’re confident he’d have a few thoughts on Damien Chazelle’s depiction of the city.

#8: “The Band Wagon” (1953)

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Get ready; Fred Astaire may reappear on this countdown. In “The Band Wagon,” Astaire stars as Tony Hunter, a seasoned actor looking to turn his career around. Upon landing a spot in a Broadway musical, Tony clashes with co-star Gabrielle Gerard, played by Cyd Charisse. Despite getting off on the wrong foot, a charming courtship eventually blossoms between these two, which draws comparison to Mia and Sebastian’s romance. It shouldn’t come a surprise that “La La Land” borrows a few visual cues from “The Band Wagon,” most notably during a dance against the glorious backdrop of L.A. Overflowing with joy, both of these love stories will leave you saying, “That’s entertainment.”

#7: “All That Jazz” (1979)

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Jazz plays a key role in “La La Land.” As its title suggests, this 1979 film also largely revolves around jazz. While both movies embrace the same musical genre, the similarities don’t end there. “All That Jazz” also mixes pure fantasy with brutal reality. The story centers on a director/choreographer who overdoses on drugs, alcohol, sex, and work. Although its themes are dark, “All That Jazz” is an often dream-like experience. The film will make the audience feel like they’re walking on air one minute, and bring them back down to earth the next. Whether it leaves you feeling uplifted or heartbroken, it’s a film that speaks to artists everywhere.

#6: “Top Hat” (1935)

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According to director Damien Chazelle, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling "feel like the closest thing that we have right now to an old Hollywood couple." Back in Hollywood’s golden age, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the ultimate screen duo. “Top Hat” is widely considered the pair’s finest outing, as Astaire’s Jerry tries to romance Rogers’ Dale. It’s safe to say that neither “La La Land” nor “Top Hat” would’ve worked without the right leads. Fortunately, the couples in both of these films light up with silver screen with their undeniable chemistry. “Top Hat” was one of several films Chazelle screened for his cast and crew, getting everybody in the mood to dance cheek to cheek.

#5: “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” (2009)

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Before hitting it big in Hollywood, Damien Chazelle directed, scripted, produced, filmed, and co-edited this indie flick. If that’s not enough, he also contributed to the film’s original music. “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” follows the on-again, off-again relationship between a passionate trumpeter and a timid woman, injecting several musical numbers along the way. While it looks gritty and was clearly made for next to nothing, the film still manages to have a ton of personality and atmosphere. With jazz, tap-dancing, and romance, you can definitely see glimpses of Chazelle’s debut film in his follow-up efforts, the Oscar-winning “Whiplash,” and of course “La La Land.”

#4: “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955)

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Mia and Sebastian’s romance reaches a pivotal moment as they watch this James Dean classic in a movie theater. Inspired by a scene in “Rebel Without a Cause,” they visit the Griffith Observatory and share a dance that defies gravity, as well as their first kiss. This L.A. landmark left a huge impression on Damien Chazelle, who stated, “Griffith sits atop a hill as if it’s in its own world.” What’s more, “La La Land” is presented in CinemaScope, calling back to films like “Rebel Without a Cause” that were filmed in the same format. Sharing a similar look and feel, either of these films will transport you back to the mid-20th century.

#3: “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964)

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French filmmaker Jacques Demy directed two musicals that inspired “La La Land.” While Demy’s “The Young Girls of Rochefort” is essential viewing, we’re shining the spotlight on his 1964 musical, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.” Where “La La Land” opens with another day of sun, this film opens with another day of rain. “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” plays out like a parade that gets rained upon, as two adoring lovers are driven apart due to the unpredictability of life. The film balances out all the melodrama, however, with exuberant music, eye-popping colors, and lively settings. Like “La La Land,” it’s a rare film that’ll leave you feeling uplifted and saddened simultaneously.

#2: “Casablanca” (1942)

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When people think of classic romances, “Casablanca” instantly comes to mind. “La La Land” pays homage to this 1942 Best Picture winner on multiple occasions. At one point, Mia calls attention to the window that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman looked out of in “Casablanca.” Bergman’s face is also plastered on a wall in Mia’s bedroom. Aside from directly referencing “Casablanca,” “La La Land” also ends on a similar note. Without giving too much away, neither of these love stories amount to the fairytale ending audiences expect. Rather, both films leave us on a bittersweet note. They might not have the happiest final curtain, but we can’t imagine them ending any other way.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Crazy, Stupid, Love.” (2011)

“Boogie Nights” (1997)

“West Side Story” (1961)

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