Man oh man did this movie exceed my expectations. “Whiplash” is the story about music major Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) an ambitious young jazz drummer, well intentioned in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher (J.K Simmons), an instructor equally known for his unequaled teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the country. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability-and his sanity. I don’t often give out perfect scores for movies, and there is so much to talk about when it comes to this film as one of the best of 2014. If Simmons doesn’t WIN the Oscar for best supporting actor, i will no longer watch the Oscars. Simply put, he is that damn good in this film. His mentoring lessons are very damaging on ones mental psyche, but he has managed some of the greatest musical talents in the country, so there has to be a method to his madness. Simmons pushes the movie to such heart pounding levels of intensity, even to the point of exceeding the very drums he is hearing in the same room. What makes this role so memorable isn’t just the dictatorship, but the understanding of the kinds of pressures that someone with his accolades carries as he has to start fresh with a new group year after year. Simmons has always been known for him comedic talents, but it’s about time that he gets a dramatic role worthy of him carrying a movie. Teller also proves that he is ahead of the class with the next breed of a-list actors. It’s hard to believe this was the same kid who starred in 21 and Over, but he sure has come a long way. You see Andrew coming unglued with each lesson that passes. Every time he takes one step forward with Fletcher, he takes two steps back. The score is easy to talk about because it’s much more than just another musical score; it’s the whole movie. The smooth jazz is so alluring, and so complimentary to the scenes that you find yourself getting aggitated like his students when Fletcher stops them to give feedback. If you are anything like me when watching this film, you will find your toes always tapping to some impressive numbers. The camera editing is among the very best that i have seen in 2014 with a lot of quick cut drum shots to support the volume increasing moments of the drum solos. The pacing was great considering the film has a plot that isn’t anything extraordinary. The movie is very down to earth and knows how to pace every positive and negative with Neyman’s life. One scene in particular i found great was a dinner table conversation with some of Andrew’s family members. The scene has two college men who play football for a division III school, and it’s clear that their family views football as more important than music. It’s a very sad but true realism of the way our society views art. I was also happy to see that a movie knows how to do a great 3rd act, as i felt it was one of the best endings to a movie this whole year. So many films have been close 10/10’s for me, but ruined by an ending that is either unrealistic, or doesn’t mix well with the rest of the movie. I can safely say that “Whiplash” is never dull for a minute. I worry that director and writer Damien Chazelle won’t get enough credit for this masterpiece. A movie like this can only be written and executed on camera by a man with a vast musical knowledge, and it’s clear Chazelle knows what he’s doing. This is the 3rd film he has directed about music, so it’s clear that he has a passion for it. It’s sad that films like this are only showing at two theaters in Northeast Ohio right now, and yet films like Ouija, The Best of Me, and other boring moaners get a wide release. I have often questioned America’s taste when it comes to film, and this movie is evidence of that very question. If you feel like driving a little further, i can promise you it’s worth it. Get out and support this movie. It is one of those rare cases where i am 100% positive you will enjoy it. “Whiplash” is a behind the scenes look at the obsession to be great, and the consequences that come with such obsessions

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