Whiplash (2014)

Man do I wish played the drums. Looking for a flick that has great acting and the storyline is pretty awesome? Whiplash is the movie for you. Newly admitted to Shaffer Conservatory, student Andrew Neiman, (Miles Teller) wanted to do one thing with his life. That was to become the best drummer there ever was. Andrew is asked to become a part of the main band from Shaffer that goes to all the different competitions. Andrew has one major problem during the film. That is his conductor, Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) who is nothing but an ass hole. Fletcher breaks his students down and tell them things like, “they are worthless and suck at everything they do.” Andrew does not know how to handle this at first and becomes very affected by it. Whiplash shows us just how people like this can work together on music.

Damien Chazelle is the writer/ director for Whiplash. Chazelle did an excellent job with directing this film. Whiplash was one of my top ten films for the year of 2014. I loved how everything was set up and what came next for Andrew as a jazz drummer. Conductor, Terence Fletcher is a very fearsome man. He will say anything he can to you to lower your self-esteem as a person. He does this because he is looking for the best out of everyone he is teaching at Shaffer. With his very foul-mouthed abuse, he looks to sort out the weak players from the great ones. If you become affected by his criticism, then you do not want to play for him in his band. Don’t even think of playing out of tune. That is probably the number one thing you absolutely cannot do. Fletcher will even go as far as hauling a chair at your head until you play something exactly the way he wants to hear it.

JK Simmons has already received the Golden Globe Award for his performance in Whiplash. The Academy awards are just under a month away and I think it is no question as to whether or not he receives the Oscar. I have always been a fan of Simmons and I think he’s always done some great work, but playing Terence Fletcher was the role of his career. He was absolutely outstanding. Even though his character was written a little like something you would see out of a ridiculous TV show, JK Simmons was definitely the one to watch in this film. Miles Teller is another one to watch out for. He was awesome and even though not having been in much prior to Whiplash, this will definitely open up many new doors for him along his acting career.

Whiplash saved us the best scene for last when Andrew tries to teach Fletcher a little lesson of his own. After watching Whiplash, one may never look at Jazz music or drumming the same way again.

Overall, while Whiplash may not be the best movie ever made. It is definitely enjoyable with great acting and great drumming performances. I definitely recommend giving this one a look.

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)




Inherent Vice (2014)

This is an ideal life for a stoner. The movie starts out in the early 70’s and Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a hippie that absolutely smokes a lot of pot. It seems as if all he does on a daily basis is smoke weed. Things start to change for Sportello when his ex girlfriend comes to him for help when she tells him that her current boyfriend has been kidnapped. Sportello’s ex, Shasta (Katherine Waterston) really wants him to help her out and try to figure out what the hell happened to her boyfriend. As soon as Doc agrees to do this for Shasta, more and more crazy cases start to come his way. Even with all these cases, there is always someone who is going to make sure they are done the correct way. That is Detective Christian Bjornsen (Josh Brolin). Things get way out of hand from here!

Inherent Vice tells the story of three awesome cases that are going on that Doc has to try to put the missing puzzle pieces together. The movie was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson is an excellent director who comes out with some great work. Most notable would be Boogie NightsInherent Vice is a film that is very confusing and may require a second viewing to get the full understanding of the movie. Anderson has done that in the past with some of his films as well. At least it seemed that way for me.

Inherent Vice had a superb cast with some performances where actors stole the scene. Josh Brolin was nothing short of a scene stealer. He was awesome and I think he was snubbed of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. But that’s a different conversation on my thoughts of the academy. Inherent Vice goes from one crazy scenario to another. What’s good about Inherent Vice is that you never can predict where Anderson is going to take you and this works for this movie because the surprises aren’t over the top but pretty unpredictable. And believe me when I tell you, it’s better to not look up the cast on IMDB. Seeing all the surprise little appearances by actors was something really cool about the movie and every part that had that was awesome.

Overall, Inherent Vice is a fun ride that keeps you entertained and amused. It is a movie watching experience that is a little bizarre, but nonetheless an awesome experience.

Grade= A- (Awesome!)