Film Review : Whiplash (2014)

IMDB Score – 8.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 97%
Grand Jury Prize Winner at Sundance

Directed By – Damien Chazelle
Starring – Miles Teller, JK Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, and Nate Lang

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Wow.

Fucking WOW.

I have only clapped at the end of one movie(which was this year…Boyhood), but now I can say I clapped to two. I couldn’t help myself. The theater couldn’t help itself. Whiplash was that good. I turned to my friend with absolute glee and shouted “THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOME”. I was, and still am, completely blown away by this film. The plot is simple. Andrew (Teller) is an aspiring jazz drummer in the most prestigious school in the country. He is hand picked by Terrence Fletcher (Simmons) to join his competition band comprised of some of the best musicians in the country. While there are a small amount of secondary characters including the return of Paul Reiser, the film mainly focuses on the relationship between Andrew and his teacher; a relationship that grows more volatile by the second.

There just isn’t enough to say about this one. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that doesn’t let up from the starting drum roll to the final curtain. I was captivated the entire time. I’ve had experiences with all the parties involved. I saw Chazelle’s first film “Grand Piano” earlier this year and found it to be entertaining but ultimately forgettable. Miles Teller broke onto the scene with his role in “The Spectacular Now” but is mostly known for his college party films such as “21 & Older and Project X”. JK Simmons is a brilliant character actor who was perfectly cast as Jonah Jamison in the Spiderman films and always delivers an interesting performance. All three combine to give the highlights of their careers in this film. Teller is remarkable. He completely sells Andrew’s strive to be the greatest drummer the world has ever seen. He is passionate, dedicated, and driven. Simmons is a force of nature. It is, without a doubt, the performance of the year so far. He dresses in all black. His face is stone cold and the boom of his voice is thunderous. Not even the smallest mistake makes it past his ears and of you don’t fix it on the next try, you’ll be sorry. The thing is, never was anything he did, no matter how terrifying, ever over the top. Simmons played Fletcher with a frightening sense of realism that will notch him into the lists of greatest villains of all time. This thing was full on psychological horror film for most of its running time, and I couldn’t get more of it.

The films writer/director, Damien Chazelle, knocked this out of the park. The editing was perfect. The pace was perfect. The dialogue and story were engrossing. There was symbolism in the cymbalism. The sound design was amazing. The music was amazing. The man has made a perfect film. It’s always a good thing when as soon as the credits begin to roll, I want to go out and buy a ticket to the next showing. The final 20 minutes was one of the most batshit emotional tornado I’ve ever experienced. In minutes, I was on the verge of tears to almost jumping out of my seat with excitement. His script is uplifting, scary, and ambitious. It tells the story of people who try to be the best and try to get the best out of people. If you have EVER been REALLY REALLY good at something, this film will show you just how much you have to go.

I just…can’t say enough about this film. I know this review is kind of short, but I really just can’t talk about this film in too much detail. I’ve noticed that most of the films I review that I consider fantastic pieces of film, have short reviews. I want you guys to experience these movies with a general idea of what to expect but to still be blown away by completely unexpected events. This film is not a masterpiece. This film is like your grandma’s cooking. It may be lasagna, but there isn’t a thing you can find wrong with it or a thing you would change. I can’t wait to see this again. I can’t wait for it to be released in more theaters so others can experience it.

Fuck it. This is my film of the year. So earned. It was just my fucking tempo.

5/5




Biscuits & Trail Mix

Sorry for the wait. It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been pretty busy lately with work, friends, family and things like finally picking up a book and and football starting (NINERS! YEAH!). Here’s some biscuits…

– I have seen a few movies recently that I chose not to write about due to lack of either interest or procrastination. These films include Freaks, The Arbor, and Blow Up. I just didn’t find a lot to write about with these ones even though I really did enjoy Freaks. The Arbor and Blow-Up were a bit disappointing.
– Has anybody been to the fucking movie theater recently? Ugggghhhh I hate September. Thankfully there are some great films coming out soon including The Drop, The Skeleton Twins, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, and Tusk. Some of those trailers and more will be below.
– Did I mention football? I may be more 49er fan than movie nerd. It’s been a passion of mine for about fifteen years now. They kicked the shit out of Tony Romo yesterday so I’m pretty happy.
– Please check out my 2014 Films page and see if you missed any great films from the beginning of the year. They may be out on home video now. I know that Only Lovers Left Alive and Enemy are. That is reason enough.

Here are some trailers until I get some time to watch my next film. I should be watching “Korengal” tomorrow night. The first are all coming out in the next three weeks.

September 12th

Yeah, I literally can’t wait for this. I love Tom Hardy. I love James Gandolfini. I love Noomi Rapace. I love and own “Bullhead”. I love Dennis Lehan adaptions. You know, this is probably going to suck and ruin all this hype I built up for myself but I’ve read that there were standing ovations at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival” so I’m expecting brilliance. Plus, that puppy is adorable.

September 12th

I laughed…A LOT…during this preview. Two of my favorite funny people being funny. Sign me up.

September 12th

There’s something about this one that intrigues me. Maybe it’s the acting or maybe because…

The project has one of the most unique structures in cinema. It was shot as a two-part movie, which follows the story of the couple played by James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain from both of their point of view. The two films premiered in 2013 at the Toronto Film Festival. After the premiere, although it received rave reviews, Ned Benson started cutting the movie again, as a one feature, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. All three movies received a theatrical release.

I have no idea how I’m going to see this but I’m going too.

September 19th

Justin Long acting like a jackass? Haley Joel Osment as a fat radio DJ? Walrus experiment? Michael Fucking Parks? Sign me up.

September 19th

Looks weird as shit. I love Gilliam. I’ll be seeing this. From the trailer, it looks like Christoph Waltz was made for this role. Also, did I see Tilda Swinton with another mouth piece and weird accent? Every movie should be doing this now. Every one.

October 10th

Looks like a crazy psychotic ride on the JK Simmons train. Miles Teller is turning into a great actor and this should be his best role yet. It won the grand jury prize at Sundance by the way.

October 17th

This is my movie. If this isn’t my favorite movie of the year I’m going to be very disappointed. The return of Michael Keaton to actual prominence. It is apparently edited to look like a single take, like, the entire fucking film. I’m going to nerd out ALL over this.

October 31st

I think this film is going to disturb and entertain me while also driving in the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal is only beginning to become one of the best actors of our time. He looks bonkers in this film and I love that.