Sunday, April 12, 2015

Checking Out WHIPLASH, the movie

Watching WHIPLASH was about like watching a sadistic self-centered D.I. at a Marine boot camp.  You naturally feel for the young boot trainee that the cruel D.I. has leveled his sights on.

It was written and directed by Damien Chazell, based on his own experiences in a high school band.  Winning Band Competitions was the number one focus of the teacher/ band leader Terrence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons.

The protagonist, Andrew Neiman was played by Mike Teller, loved jazz music and wanted to be part of it.  He had in his head all the great memorable jazz greats and their performances.   He was enthused and competitive wanting the number one chair as the drummer.

His band teacher was more centered on timely discipline of the beat than inspiration.  He goaded his students, embarrassing individuals  in front of their peers, calling them names that suited their personality, like if they were gay he would call them names anti-gay kind of names, if they were chubby, then he made fun of the Happy Meals they might have rather be eating or with one he made fun of the kids parents.  He was a sadistic trainer.   He would angrily throw a chair or a drum at students not living up to his expectations.  He was very cruel and took the inspiration out of the musically minded students.

If you bumbled or challenged the teacher you were out of there with the teacher calling you names as you exited.  At least one embarrassed picked -on student committed suicide.
According to Terrence Fletcher winning at band competitions was everything.

My son was in a band that was always winning at high school band competitions.   Did he have to put up with all that kind of  rigid stuff?

The movie title WHIPLASH was the name of a jazz instrumental that the band students practiced with their leaders harassing them throughout.

Of course, WHIPLASH has other meanings metaphorically and what it is, which is sort of like BACKFIRED.  which is the  ending climax, sort of.

I think jazz is based on improvisation of music, no strict rhythm beats or rules - you do your own thing, sort of.  But, I am probably wrong.

I thought the movie was good,  high tension drama, and an ending with a question mark.

Actor  J.K. Simmons has been around a long time.  He was a shrink in LAW AND ORDER , and had a minor role in several movies, playing "second fiddler", so to speak.    But in this movie he got in your face, and I mean in your face, and proved what a good actor he is.




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