Whiplash (2014) Review

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Whiplash (2014)

Directed by Damien Chazelle

Starring:
Miles Teller
J. K. Simmons
Paul Reiser
Melissa Benoist

Running time: 106 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

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My Opinion:

This is another one of those “Oscar Season” movies where the performances are a bit better than the movie itself. Well, the performance from J. K. Simmons is, at least. However, I did at least enjoy this movie which wasn’t so much the case with Foxcatcher or especially Birdman.

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J. K. Simmons is great as the music instructor who goes too far in pushing his students to be the best. He’s SUCH an amazing prick! He’s like R Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman shouting horribly inappropriate insults at the soldiers in Full Metal Jacket. He’s so horrible yet so compelling you can’t help but watch & cringe as he reduces his talented students to tears. I think he’s certainly deserving of his best supporting actor Oscar nomination & think he’s the likely winner in that category. Then we have Miles Teller… What’s with this kid and why do I hate him for no specific reason? He just has such an unlikeable face. Is that rude? I don’t care – he won’t read this. πŸ˜‰ Maybe I’m still annoyed that I watched that stupid Footloose remake he was in. Or maybe it’s because I couldn’t wait to see The Spectacular Now as I’d heard it was just like Say Anything so I watched it and it was NOTHING like Say Anything plus Miles Teller’s character was a prick. Lloyd Dobler wasn’t an alcoholic prick! So, anyway… I don’t like Miles Teller. Sorry Miles Teller! You’re really pretty good in this, though. Good job, dude!

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As for the movie, I did enjoy it. I’m not at all a fan of jazz (except for Vince Guaraldi “Snoopy” jazz, which kicks ass). I played the saxophone for years but I totally sucked. I also know nothing about drummers other than that they spontaneously combust. However, I’m still a big fan of music so this movie did appeal to me anyway. It’s a difficult one in that the two main characters are hard to like. Teller’s character is extremely ambitious, which you can respect, but it means he puts his drumming before everything (and everyone) else. Oh, and Paul Reiser is in this – that asshole Burke from Aliens! It’s a pretty intense movie at times & it’s interesting watching how far Simmons & Teller’s characters are willing to go for success. And, wow – do drummers’ hands really bleed that much?! Ew. I suppose they do…

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Summary:

I’d definitely recommend Whiplash to musicians or to anyone with an interest in music. It’s also a good character study & I’d recommend it to those who love to watch a great performance. Teller does a very good job in this but J. K. Simmons steals the show (in my opinion). Whiplash doesn’t have a chance of winning the Best Picture Oscar but it’s a strong film with great performances & I enjoyed it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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43 thoughts on “Whiplash (2014) Review

  1. Simmons was astonishing. I’ve seen him around in different roles for years so great to see him getting the acclaim in an astonishing role. I liked this more than you. Sorry to hear you saw Footloose remake. It sounded very average. Btw, which film do you think will win Best Picture?

  2. Something tells me if you liked this more then Birdman. I will not be enjoying this one as much. I still really want to see J Jonah Jameson be more of a scary asshole and I’m a drummer so that appeals to me too.

    • Wait… Does that mean you did or didn’t like Birdman? I really wanted to like that one more but I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. I did enjoy Whiplash quite a bit – as a drummer, I would think you’d like it. πŸ™‚

  3. I really thought this one some very interesting themes around the nature of motivation and what separates talent from success. I think MIles Teller’s character is supposed to be annoying in this. I really don’t think you’re supposed to like him.

    • Well, he does a good job at making me not like him for some reason. πŸ˜‰ Actually, I didn’t mind him as much in this movie. I did think it was a strong film – I enjoyed it more than it probably sounded in my review. πŸ™‚

  4. Well hello! I loved the hell out of this film. It’s pretty all over the place and doesn’t have much depth but the intensity of it is brilliant, particularly that last scene. Great review and apologies for not being around for ages!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ Hey – that’s okay! I was hoping I’d have more time in the New Year to read blogs but I haven’t yet. I’m sooooo behind on reading them. 😦 Just can’t keep up! Glad to hear that you loved this film. I did enjoy it quite a lot. I love that feeling of REALLY loving a new film… πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! I’ve not yet seen all the nominees but I wouldn’t be disappointed if Whiplash DID win. Really can’t see that happening, though, although I think Simmons is likely to win. πŸ™‚

  5. Teller and Simmons were both very compelling here and allowed for these characters to feel more like characters. Rather than just, you know, types. Good review.

  6. I really liked it. Thought the pacing drew you in and good performances. However I felt we could have gotten more into Andrew’s motivation. Why was it so important for him to be the greatest and put up with this maniac? I didn’t get it but still enjoyed the movie

    • Yeah… Although the characters & performances were great, they DID feel a little underdeveloped. Would have been nice to get more background. I did enjoy it too, though. πŸ™‚

  7. Great work. I have been looking forward to this. You scored it well enough, seems everyone is in agreement about J.K. Simmons. Hoping to catch it sometime soon!

  8. Nice work here, lady! Not sure if it’d be my thing or not, but I do like Simmons, so I’m really hoping he gets that Oscar.

    P.S. After a hardcore round of Beatles Rockband, my fingers TOTALLY bleed like that. I will BE Ringo Starr, dammit!!! πŸ˜‰

    • Hi! Sorry – I missed your comment. It sounds like you DEFINITELY need to see this movie, then! I think you’d like it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out in a minute. We don’t get SNL in the UK – I loved it when I lived in the U.S. πŸ™‚

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  14. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    As part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge, I’m reblogging this review I did of Whiplash since the Oscars are coming up soon and this of course won an Oscar for J.K. Simmons last year. Also, I’m lazy. I’ve watched a bunch of new Top 250 films but am not in a reviewing-mood lately. Anyone feel free to send me a guest review to post! πŸ˜‰ The films available for guest reviews are listed below. (Whiplash is currently at number 44 out of 250, blah blah blah)

    Cool Hand Luke 1967
    The Wrestler 2008
    The Graduate 1967
    The Lives of Others 2006
    The Sting 1973
    Die Hard 1988
    LΓ©on 1994
    The Hobbit 2012
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
    All About Eve 1950
    2001: A Space Odyssey 1968
    Rain Man 1988
    The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
    Before Sunrise 1995
    Before Sunset 2004
    The Help 2011
    Catch Me If You Can 2002

  15. I liked this one and Simmons was indeed great. But I did feel his character became almost a cartoon. He gets so big and so loud. I do like how his character ends up though.

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