Author Topic: Whiplash  (Read 5070 times)

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Re: Whiplash
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2015, 11:58:25 PM »

When I was six and entering what americans call elementary school, the private school I attended had an obligatory music class. They taught us to read music and play the flute. The teacher wasn't some nice old lady, but an orchestra conductor. I vividly remember this. The first day of school this guy, a man in his early 40's, completely different to any other teacher I ever had, steps into the classroom and in a matter of seconds screams at the top of his lungs and manages to shut everyone up. 30 minutes later, he had already explained how you play each note and the class was over.

Next class he barely enters and he goes to the first kid on the first row: "Give me a B", and the kid plays it. "Give me an A", the kid doesn't do anything. He snaps. "GIVE ME AN A!". The kid can't do it. He goes to the next kid, same story. Five kids later it's my turn. I'm already scared shitless. "Give me a B". I got this, so I play this motherfucking B. "Give me a G". I don't know how to play a G, and he's batshit crazy by now. "B! B! Don't you know how to play a damn B?!?!?!" Nobody had ever screamed at me like this. He takes my hand and fingers and shows me how to play a goddamn B while screaming "LIKE THIS, LIKE THIS!" This guy was our music teacher for six years. In fact, later when I joined the band to play trumpet, he was my conductor for an extra three years.

I gotta say, kids always complained about him, but fuck me if I didn't became the best in that fucking class. When watching this movie, I could totally see this happening. Art schools and art teachers set their own rules. The only other time I had a teacher on that vein was in theatre school, and shit, I thank that woman for her toughness. J.K. Simmon's methods in the movie are not implausible at all in this context, even within jazz.

Also, the film never says that playing faster makes you a better musician or player. It's about the difficulty of playing fast and slow and in the tempo the piece needs, and making it work. However, playing any instrument fast is hard as hell, and only the best can do it right, so it's not at all a bad way to illustrate difficulty for a drummer.

Yes, the films has it's flaws. That car accident is so unnecessary, but things like being unable to play without a music sheet and having the drive to endure an asshole because you are an asshole yourself, that's great. That scene with the family, when the guy stands up to everyone and basically says to everyone: "what you do is worthless, I am a genius". Shit, that's much more real than the usual scene of the sensible guy being under appreciated and misunderstood. People with the drive to be "one of the best" always have that moment in their lives when they assume their inner asshole. And the film does something very right by ending with the drum solo. There's no emotional payoff because this character doesn't want it. His goal is to play on his terms and that's his reward. We know he's an unbalanced individual, we know he can be an asshole with his loved ones, and we know he will probably never stop suffering from anxiety. That's his future. But he goes after this thing and gets it, and then the movie ends. 


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Re: Whiplash
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2015, 04:11:03 PM »
I liked Whiplash


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