Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let it Whip

In what world would anyone ever think they'd pay hard-earned dollars to see Paul Reiser in a movie?

Not me.

In what universe does Paul Reiser even make it to the silver screen? I mean - I kind of get it if they made a film adaptation of My Two Dads, but....an actual dramatic movie?

The world has gone topsy-turvy, I tellz ya.

And don't start on that Diner crap. First it was 32 years ago, and it was a movie about Losers of the Year Club.

Anyway, we finally got to see Whiplash.

I think 710 was skeptical of my choice. I was even a little hesitant, as I'm not a fan of scenes with psychological abuse. But the Imagination Game hasn't opened here yet and I haven't heard really good word of mouth on the History of Everything.

I am really glad we went.

"Intense" would be the descriptor that comes to mind - if you had to put the review into one word.

We've all known, of known of, educators or bosses who berate folks, allegedly to get the best out of you. I never discount that they're just assholes and they really don't care about what you become or if they helped you on the way.

With J.K. Simmon's role as the teacher, it could go either way. I read reviews after the fact that call him a 'hangdog good guy' in many roles (Juno, Up in the Air, the psychologist on Law & Order, or the spokesman on those insurance ads), but I still identify him as white supremacist, Schillinger on OZ.

He is much closer to his OZ character here (or at least his J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man) and the prison is the most prestigious music school in the country. Somehow that school status gives his Fletcher the right to treat his students like chum - verbally, emotionally, psychologically.

You squirm a bit. Maybe more than a bit. It's involuntary. The tension is palpable.

Without the spoilers, you see how the student of focus almost becomes like his teacher, in the way he treats his cousins and girlfriend, though some of those behaviours are set before he's too ingrained in this teacher's culture.

The verbal tear downs are wicked. From a character like this, you expect to hear the words 'faggot' and 'cocksucker'  when they degrade someone - and you do. I know people get bent out of shape over those words and would boycott the movie on this alone, but it is totally who this guy is. You'd almost fault him if he used less derogatory words.

I had problems with one part of the movie, and oddly enough it wasn't Reiser (who is fine and almost nominal, btw). One scene was just too far out to hold any reality. There were ways to work a situation into that portion that wasn't that implausible, but other than that I enjoyed the film.

I will say that in the finale, the card pulled by Fletcher (Simmons) is kind of expected, but ultimately would not just make his student look bad, but him as well.

Simmons, like him or hate him here (and you do hate him), gives an incredible performance. I do not understand how he is up for best 'supporting' role for the Golden Globes. He is totally lead material.

Paul Reiser on the other hand...............

Whiplash in my top 3 movies of the year.

2014 Movie Count / Goal:   10 of 12

Song by: the Dazz Band


Anonymous said...

I liked his character in Aliens.

Bob said...

I've heard good things about the movie, but not a word about Reiser. :::shrug:::

rebecca said...

Is this the one where the teacher hits the drummer in the face over and over? Even terry gross couldn't induce me to go ...