California · Entertainment

Random thoughts on ‘La La Land,’ Betty Broderick and Sea World


Even though we’re in the middle of Oscar season, there wasn’t much that caught my eye at the multiplex last weekend. “Rogue One”? Not a “Star Wars” guy, thanks. “Sing”? Looks cute, but we’ll save it for a kids’ outing. “Manchester by the Sea”? Sure it’s great, but looks way too depressing for the holidays. In the end, we decided to go with “La La Land,” the new musical by the guy who did the brilliant “Whiplash” (Damien Chazelle).

“La La Land” was ranked as Entertainment Weekly’s best movie of the year, but I’m afraid EW (and many other publications) are overselling it just a bit. The Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone movie deserves ample credit for trying something different, and there were times I was right there with them. But the movie lags at times and I never felt Gosling was fully engaged. It’s worth the price of admission and deserves to be in the best picture race, but I expected a little more.

Checking out the news down south in San Diego and saw that convicted killer Elizabeth “Betty” Broderick was denied parole for the second time since her double murder conviction in the shooting deaths of her ex-husband and his girlfriend  in 1989. The killings dominated the news in San Diego at the time and later became a made-for-TV movie.

Broderick is 69 now and won’t have another parole hearing for another 15 years. Here’s hoping she never gets out. She was reportedly “defiant, smirked, and in complete denial” at Wednesday’s parole hearing, and she’s never shown any sign of remorse for the double killing. It would’ve been awfully surprising if Wednesday’s hearing resulted in her release.

Also in San Diego…SeaWorld will hold its final killer whale entertainment show on Sunday before moving onto an “educational presentation in the pool.” This has been years in the making after animal advocates gathered tons of support following the documentary Blackfish.

I have mixed feelings about all this and have defended Sea World in the past, but I’m hopeful this is a good solution for all. Sea World can play an important educational role, and I’m optimistic they can make this work. It’s easy to view Sea World as a sinister company taking advantage of incredible marine life, but as one who grew up visiting the park, I’m convinced there’s more to the story than we saw in “Blackfish.” It’ll be interesting to see the park evolve over these next few years.





4 thoughts on “Random thoughts on ‘La La Land,’ Betty Broderick and Sea World

  1. I agree on many fronts with your three subjects. I don’t know much about the Broderick case as I had moved that year to Colorado and was in the midst a marriage problems of my own,
    As for LaLaLand. I’m so glad you said what you did, I think I’m spoiled by the generation who grew up on musicals and know what one should look like and maybe that’s what they were trying not to do, I don’t know. I liked many of the numbers and there were many great aspects of the film, but it did lag in places and my disappointment was not seeing Ryan’s talent utilized better. Even as a great an actor as Emma Stone is, her role was not maximized either.
    My sister loved it, but then she’s guilty of falling into “if the hype says so, that’s it.”

    Seaworld, I believe has gotten a bum rap. My brother worked their when he was in high school (1970’s?), he liked it and he’s inclined to be critical. I believe that much of their work is already educational. I went recently and missed some of the physical interaction between the whales and trainers. I get it though that there have been mishaps. I’d not been in over 20 years and only recently moved back to SD. Some of the shows are still entertaining, but it has lost some of it’s luster. I cannot speak knowledgeably on anything else either.

    I have to admit, I once saw the living conditions behinds the scene of animals in a circus and have not been back to one since. It was deplorable. I am an animal lover not an activist. I just can’t condone maltreatment of any creature, man or animal and in this case it was less than optimal.

    When it comes to the media and what you see and hear, well, I’ve personally seen media distortion at work and generally hold them in low esteem or anyone who uses them to bend the truth or use them to retaliate for some presumed wrong.
    One never knows for sure where the truth is unless it’s self seen or experienced, but even then…
    I remember a saying that you should “believe nothing you hear, half of what you see and all that you do.” Sorry, I took so much of your space. Pleased to meet you and like your post.


  2. Thanks for the great feedback, especially your insights on Sea World. It’s definitely a complicated issue, and I always appreciate people who take the time to look at all sides before rushing to an opinion. It’ll be interesting to monitor Sea World’s new direction moving forward.


  3. thanks for the thorough reviews – haven’t seen any of the movies yet – as for La La Land, its true – Gosling doesn’t look engaged even in the TV commercials for it


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