Whiplash

DeeDee Adelaide
I finally got to see Whiplash last night and oh my god what a movie. I had zero interest in it - I hate jazz, I have no interest in drumming, and I'm not even really interested in music. But I heard the guys on the Fruitless Pursuits podcast rave about it a couple of months ago and since then it's been on my to do list.

I don't even know where to start. J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller were incredible. The story was weirdly riveting and I've never been so tense watching someone play music in my whole life. I've been thinking about it all day and I just want to sit and watch it again. Has anyone else seen it? What did you think?

Comments

  • Beat me to it with this thread, I just saw this the other day too. Whiplash is quite possibly the best movie from 2014.

    I too dislike jazz and don't know/particularly care at all about drumming, and for that to not matter one iota in a movie with essentially a single-minded focus about exactly those things really speaks volumes about how incredibly good it is, from acting and directing to cinematography and editing.

    I did have two small issues with it; one was the relationship aspect. I guess it's supposed to emphasize his drive and devotion to his drumming but that was completely unnecessary, that was perfectly clear on its own. I also didn't like the stupidity of him being late not once but twice to something he's supposed to be so incredibly devoted to, it's just eye-rolling contrived drama, which is strangely out of place since pretty much everything else about this movie is stellar.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I guess the original contrivance is that a school would risk law suits by allowing a teacher to be so abusive in the first place. Once I let that go, I was okay with everything else. :-)
  • @Dee Well in real life Penn State allowed its faculty to molest children for years, so I don't think allowing a teacher to throw chairs and and shit talk is such a stretch, I had zero issues with that, especially since he's supposed to be the best teacher at the best music school in the country.
  • ksa1001ksa1001 Plano, TX
    edited January 2015
    I loved the two main performances and JK Simmons deserves every statue he will earn.

    However....I found a few of the typical hollywood tropes to be a bit far-fetched.

    [spoilers ahead]

    A What the hell happened to the folder of music?
    B A 19 year old cannot rent a car in the state of NY or NJ.
    C The running away from a car wreck is a bit much, and leaving the scene of an accident I believe is illegal.
    D Why in god's name would you let a student who is obviously suffering from a head wound perform?
    E The whole incidental meeting was a tad far fetched at the end.
    F Why would this gentleman risk his career and standing by sabotaging his own band member by not providing him the sheet music?


    This movie reminds me of Training Day in that way. Two great performances and a story that leaves reality far behind in the 3rd act.
  • I really enjoyed it as well. Apparently the Charlie Parker story in the movie is mangled. JK Simmons was fantastic. Miles Teller was pretty damn good too. Highly recommended.
    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/whiplash-getting-jazz-right-movies
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/10/11/whiplash_charlie_parker_and_the_cymbal_what_the_movie_gets_wrong_about_genius.html
  • @ksa1001‌

    A- Fletcher just got done bitching at them about leaving them lying around, it's not unreasonable that he or one of his minions stole it to make an example and he just played dumb to let it play itself out, or that any other student did to study the music/notes from a student in the class of the most highly regarded teacher. My problem with this scene was that at first I was thinking he did this on purpose to get ahead, but that really didn't seem to be the case by his reaction (and if so he should've thrown it in the trash or something instead of a chair). My other problem is how stupid the first chair guy was for handing it over to someone he's a complete dick to just after the speech about it from Fletcher.

    B- Yep this was dumb, I don't know of anywhere where you rent a car when you're under 25. Again though my problem with all this started with the whole stupid trope of being late for something so important (again).

    C- Disagree. He's clearly totally obsessed at this point and angry about the possibility of losing out the most important thing in his life so far. Don't think he'd care about something like walking away from the accident, it's not like anyone else was hurt.

    D- I think he wanted to see if he could do it. He's always been about pushing everyone to their limits, and it's no better personified here. He sees him all banged up but still sitting down taking his place, I think he wanted to know if he could do it.

    E- This certainly has some movie tropiness to it but it's really not all that far fetched. First of all he didn't stumble on him in the street, he saw his name outside and seeked him out the rest of the way. But they're likely living the same part of the city and have the same interests so it's not a stretch to me that he's walking around same part of town where he was performing.

    F- I don't think it was much of a risk to his career. First off who is he going to complain to and who would care to hear it? Then Fletcher just denies it and says he lost it himself and what evidence is there to the contrary?
  • ksa1001ksa1001 Plano, TX
    ghm3 said:

    @ksa1001‌

    A- Fletcher just got done bitching at them about leaving them lying around, it's not unreasonable that he or one of his minions stole it to make an example and he just played dumb to let it play itself out, or that any other student did to study the music/notes from a student in the class of the most highly regarded teacher. My problem with this scene was that at first I was thinking he did this on purpose to get ahead, but that really didn't seem to be the case by his reaction (and if so he should've thrown it in the trash or something instead of a chair). My other problem is how stupid the first chair guy was for handing it over to someone he's a complete dick to just after the speech about it from Fletcher.

    I didn't have an issue with this occurring as much as I would have liked to know what actually happened.
    I wonder if upon a 2nd viewing it's more obvious once you're looking for it
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I was listening to a podcast where they speculated whether Andrew deliberately lost the folder because he knew the song by heart and he knew the other guy didn't. If that was true that's a bit of a cheat though, because the movie is first person perspective all the way through, and we saw all the other shitty things he did to get ahead.
  • ksa1001ksa1001 Plano, TX
    Dee said:

    I was listening to a podcast where they speculated whether Andrew deliberately lost the folder because he knew the song by heart and he knew the other guy didn't. If that was true that's a bit of a cheat though, because the movie is first person perspective all the way through, and we saw all the other shitty things he did to get ahead.

    Sounds like you heard the same /filmcast podcast I did. Yeah that would be a cheat. I figure the filmakers obviously wanted to leave some "mystery" in there. I don't feel it was needed, the performances were well enough.

  • ksa1001 said:

    ghm3 said:

    @ksa1001‌

    A- Fletcher just got done bitching at them about leaving them lying around, it's not unreasonable that he or one of his minions stole it to make an example and he just played dumb to let it play itself out, or that any other student did to study the music/notes from a student in the class of the most highly regarded teacher. My problem with this scene was that at first I was thinking he did this on purpose to get ahead, but that really didn't seem to be the case by his reaction (and if so he should've thrown it in the trash or something instead of a chair). My other problem is how stupid the first chair guy was for handing it over to someone he's a complete dick to just after the speech about it from Fletcher.

    I didn't have an issue with this occurring as much as I would have liked to know what actually happened.
    I wonder if upon a 2nd viewing it's more obvious once you're looking for it
    I remember it fairly clearly, he just put it on a chair and turned his back for seconds and it was gone, no hints afterwards or anything. The complete explanation was intentionally obtuse because it didn't really matter once they make it clear he wasn't supposed to have intentionally trashed it. I dunno, I never cared because beyond that it doesn't matter. Someone did point out later though how he was involved with that fortunate accident that put him ahead, I think this was truly the only real takeaway, the perception of him to all the others. What actually happened is irrelevant, the effect on everyone's disposition towards him is what matters.

    This is a good example of my really liking the pacing and editing of this movie; many other movies would have wasted a scene or two explaining this when it doesn't matter, but here they just trim the fat and move on.
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