‘Whiplash’: Much better than a neck injury


Daniel McFadden

On IMDb, Whiplash is the highest rated of all the best picture-nominated films from the Oscars with 8.6.

Before the Oscars, I contemplated which movie would win “best picture.” I didn’t contemplate long, however, because it was obvious what would happen: “‘Birdman’ will win it,”Boyhood” should win it, and “Whiplash” deserves it.

“Whiplash” was an unexpectedly remarkable film I stumbled upon when I was browsing on rottentomatoes.com. It came up on the “Certified Fresh” list with an icon next to the title which said that 95 percent of critics liked it, and 96 percent of users liked it. It also had J.K. Simmons, one of my favorite actors, in it, so I knew I would like it. I am happy to say that, like my Oscar prediction, I was right because it ended up being my favorite film of 2014.

Miles Teller plays Andrew Neyman, an aspiring jazz drummer who attends the Shaffer Conservatory, the most prestigious music academy in the country. He starts playing drums for a lower-ranked band that does not play in competitions. But one day, while he is practicing with his band, he is asked to play for Terence Fletcher, the conductor of studio band.

This particular conductor is known for his prestige and excellence as equally as for his intimidatingly strict tactics. Fletcher accepts Neyman into his band, not realizing how unimaginably fearful the experience of the class will be. Throughout the film, Neyman showcases his persistent attitude towards being a great drummer, whether it means drumming until his hands bleed or breaking up with his girlfriend to devote more time to practicing.

“Whiplash” won three Oscars, including “best actor in a supporting role,” and that was no surprise to me. I originally thought that Edward Norton’s performance in “Birdman” would win. But after seeing Simmons’ performance, there was no question to the matter.

My compliments go to the casting director because Simmons’ deep, bellowing voice, intimidating stature, and big muscles fit the role perfectly, in addition to the fact that he was already an amazing actor. Teller also made an impact in the film. He proved that he could both play the drums and actually “act” after receiving bad reviews from poor performances in films like “That Awkward Moment” and “21 and Over.”

In sum, watch the movie. It deserves much more than just a supporting actor award and two minor technical awards and it certainly deserves more recognition since it has only grossed $11 million since October. “Whiplash” is a prime example of what a good film should be. It has a simple plot to follow, a great cast, and riveting scenes of anguish and triumph.