Here's the one thing that REALLY annoyed me about LA LA LAND. The disrespect for jazz. Sebastian's sister in the opening scenes comes off like a great granddaughter of the Lauren Bacall character in 1950's YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN starring Kirk Douglas. Douglas played the horn player who loved and learned from black jazz greats. Bacall was the wife who could've cared less about that music. There's a LA LA LAND scene in which Sebastian explains the history of jazz to Mia while they're in a club. A black jazz trio performs onstage. At no time in his brief history lesson does Sebastian mention black people. If I had the money, I would ship the Ken Burns JAZZ mini-series documentary that aired on PBS to the screenwriter/director. As for the scene itself...well, there's nothin' like having a young white dude explain an African American art form in about 30 seconds. With no mention African Americans.
Then comes John Legend as a guy who can get Sebastian some steady employment. But he doesn't seem to have any reverence for the old jazz masters either. He tells Seb that he's living in the past with the music he loves. It's old stuff. Why would a film director give a young black musician/songwriter that material to say about an American music art form started by black people? Legend's character wants Seb to play more contemporary stuff. At the open of the film, Seb is fired from his restaurant/lounge piano player job for playing jazz. Seb's sister doesn't care for jazz, his boss forbids jazz to be played and Mia hates jazz. Then John Legend's character casually disrespects jazz. I would've given Legend dialogue like: "You are keeping the memory of these jazz greats alive. Jazz. My people created the foundation for jazz. They built the house on top of that foundation with an open door so folks of all colors could come in, enjoy, go out and build their own new material with what they learned from and loved about the masters of the music. That's what I need you to do, Seb. Build some new material inspired by that old house you loved being in." See what I mean?
But there are some precious things about LA LA LAND. The lead actors are likable and there's the lovely use of actual L.A. locations. Here's a taste of LA LA LAND with an influence of the Michel Legrand music for THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG.