“Whiplash” Sucks, I Don’t Care What You Say

As does “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”

But, sorry, this abortion of a movie, “Whiplash”,  is by far the worst music movie Professorscosco has ever seen clips of.

It’s derogatory, inflammatory, insulting, and from what I hear, done non-union. How much more anti-music can it get? It’s insulting to Buddy Rich’s legacy (a genius in his own right), and it portrays a noble art form and the people who dedicate their lives to it as savage assholes.

ProfSco is a big fan of J.K. Simmons, having been an “Oz” freak, and he’s happy that J.K. is finally being recognized, but REALLY guys, “5-6-7-8…”????  No musician counts a tune off like that…dancers do, musicians give a different count. WTF! Nobody can tell the difference between 114 and 115 BPM in ONE BAR of playing…seriously? Bleeding hands? I hear there’s a car accident, more blood, and more abuse.

The whole thing is ludicrous, and it is a shame that people are going to be influenced by this movie, like they were with the more tame but still irresponsible “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (… some of you liked that one, I didn’t, and I know it started a big foundation, I know all about it and support it)…but don’t get me started on old Mr. Holland…musical inaccuracies (Coltrane, etc), the awful “American Symphony”, which was bad Yanni (we like Yanni BTW) , …Mr. Holland was a tortured composer ‘forced’ into a cake job which most would kill for,  claims to be “hip” while he totally misses the most productive and creative period in American music history (the late 50’s, early 60’s), who puts his side work and frustration above his DEAF KID, and almost runs off with an underage high school student of marginal ability after she sings a Gershwin tune, to leave her perpetually tearful, long-suffering wife. Mr. Holland is the worst kind of stereotypical, entitled, bitter, “failed” artist-turned-teacher, which reinforces the idea that those who can’t do, teach, which is NOT true…or that when you DO teach you can’t do anything else on the side, which is NOT true (really, was he not doing any playing or hanging on the side? Nothing? His only friend, a cool, happy gym teacher) …but he eventually gets good results in spite of his bad attitude.

Professorscosco’s long-suffering wife fed the following article into the feed–it’s from Huff Post and, while we think it’s wrong about the shrinking jazz audience, it gets everything else right. Professorscosco has taught at a top conservatory, and if he’d ever slapped a kid, thrown a chair, or called anyone a cocksucker he’d have had the shit beaten out of him and fired.

Suck on this, “Whiplash”! You suck!

From the Huffington Post:

The indie movies were the big winners at the 2015 Oscars, but the biggest loser was jazz.

J.K. Simmons won a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Terence Flethcer, an abusive “genius” director of a big band at some New Yorkish Jazz conservatory, pitted against Miles Teller’s Andrew Neyman, an equally arrogant egotistical young drummer who sees himself as the second-coming of Buddy Rich.

In Hollywood lingo the Sony Pictures Classics film Whiplash was The Gene Krupa Story meets Silence of the Lambs.

As a piece of film, the high-adrenaline performances of Simmons and Miles Teller, with the editing and sound mixing that kept the intensity at a razor’s edge, that have the film garnering a 95 percent at Rotten Tomatoes.   read more….

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About Scott Healy

LA composer and performer.
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6 Responses to “Whiplash” Sucks, I Don’t Care What You Say

  1. Yes, well, it gets worse. The film is reflecting a number of things, including the director’s attempt at exorcising the suffering apparently done to him by an abusive school orchestra director. At least this was explained at the NARAS- sponsored preview viewing. Why the director and/or writer didn’t get to know jazz a little better before before creating an over-the-top obnoxious one-dimensional view of the music-that it is about suffering, rote practice, and pointless virtuosity to win competitions, without even the redeeming possibility of some actual jazz solos within a musical context- is possibly due to a certain kind of hi-educational Harvard ghetto mentality shared by the young recent graduates who created the film. Perhaps they were guided by stage parents, but the idea of competition being everything is not conducive to music making in the long run.
    -B.

  2. And of course the film reflects an extreme ignorance of the purpose of music. The sadistic teacher could have been a Army sergeant, a college football coach, a hyper-competative Wall Street swindler, or any other of many professions where confrontation and domination are often part of the deal. Few humans would want to be treated as the student in the movie was. And confrontation and domination, along with what I said about competition above, don’t work if you want to make music in the long run.
    -B.

  3. Gabriel Judet-Weinshel says:

    Woah, Scotty! Really eager to talk with you about this one. I hate to say that I enjoyed it, but I did that suspending my disbelief (yes, there’s no way anyone can guess a tempo in one measure spot on etc.), and obviously the abuse is over the top. Can’t wait to discuss—and moreover, catch up.

    See you soon! (sent from the air)

    FT

  4. Doc JC says:

    ProfSco, I cannot agree with you more, I refuse to see this movie. This is a not the way I teach or imagine any of my students teaching. To suggest things would come even mildly close to this would be utter hogwash.

  5. Christopher Smith says:

    About the count-in: the piece is in 7, so “4-5-6-and” is not totally off the wall. But his count-in is rather mushy, and you of course are totally correct that if he is so anal about 1 BPM difference then maybe he should give a two or four-bar count-in, maybe with some clicks the way percussion ensembles often rehearse. When I was in university Frank Foster came to be our guest artist, and he counted in a medium swing with an 8-bar count-in (he really wanted us to be in agreement about the groove!)

    The movie was a fine comedy. I never laughed so hard! The only scene that rang true was the young drummer at his family’s dinner table. That never happened to me, but I’ve heard things.

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