2014, Movies

Whiplash (2014, Damien Chazelle)

I need to see hyped movies either right away or years later when I’ve forgotten about them. Inevitably, whenever I see a hyped movie after I’ve been inundated by hype but before I’ve forgotten the hype, I am disappointed.

I understand that this film is not supposed to be realistic but something about this really bugs me. I don’t think a teacher like this would ever be tolerated. A band leader maybe… maybe in the ‘50s. (Mingus was supposed to be like this.)

As a bit of a jazz snob, I find all of this preaching about how you can be a great jazz musician only through violence kind of insane, given the music they are playing. (It’s pretty traditional big band jazz, folks.) Also, maybe I don’t spend enough time going to stupid orchestral jazz shows, but a conductor??? Really??? How is that Jazz?!?!?!?!?

I find this all as believable as, say, any other plot with a sociopath who gets away with his sociopathy. Not all.

But everyone’s committed. And it’s nice that JK Simmons has finally got some recognition as a great actor.

One other thing: it’s a little too traditional in its story arc. Oh, and is he supposed to be Bird on the drums? Wouldn’t his fellow musicians walk off stage during the solo? But anyway, if this is supposed to blow us away… well, they should have picked another instrument or maybe another actor.


  • Directed by Damien Chazelle
  • Produced by Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, Michel Litvak, David Lancaster
  • Written by Damien Chazelle
  • Starring:
    • Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman, a student at Shaffer who plays the drums
    • J. K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher, a jazz instructor at Shaffer
    • Paul Reiser as Jim Neiman, Andrew’s father, a high school teacher
    • Melissa Benoist as Nicole, a movie theater concessionist
    • Austin Stowell as Ryan Connolly, a drummer in Fletcher’s band
    • Nate Lang as Carl Tanner, a in Fletcher’s band
    • Chris Mulkey as Uncle Frank, Andrew’s uncle
    • Damon Gupton as Mr. Kramer
    • Suanne Spoke as Aunt Emma, Andrew’s aunt
    • Jayson Blair as Travis, Andrew’s cousin
    • Charlie Ian as Dustin, Andrew’s cousin
    • Kofi Siriboe as Greg, bassist
    • Kavita Patil as Sophie, assistant
    • Michael Cohen as Overbrook Stagehand
    • April Grace as Rachel Bornholdt
    • Henry G. Sanders as Red Henderson
    • Max Kasch as dorm neighbour
    • C.J. Vana as Metz
    • Tarik Lowe as pianist, Studio band
    • Jocelyn Ayanna as bus station passer-by
    • Keenan Henson as truck-driver
    • Clifton ‘Fou Fou’ Eddie as drummerMarcus Henderson as JVC bassist
    • Tony Baker as stage hand
  • Music by Justin Hurwitz
  • Cinematography by Sharone Meir
  • Edited by Tom Cross
  • Production companies: Bold Films, Blumhouse Productions, Right of Way Films
  • Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
  • Release date: January 16, 2014
  • Running time: 106 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $3.3 million
  • Box office: $49 million

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