Whiplash, Silver Linings Playbook


We’ve all had an insane teacher, right? I know I have. Those people that push you really, really hard, scream at you, and bring you to your boiling point. And then, when it’s all over, you look back and realize, “Holy shit, I am better at this thing now because of how hard they pushed me.” Whiplash is like that, but dialed up to eleven. J.K. Simmons plays an instructor at a prestigious music school, who is trying to push his student, Miles Teller, to become the next big jazz musician. Teller tries to live up to Simmons’ impossible standards. He practices his drumming until his fingers bleeds, he deprives himself of sleep, he breaks up with his girlfriend, and he endures hours of torture just to please his instructor. But there’s a fine line between pushing for greatness and going too far. Simmons ends up crossing the line, taking the hazing to lunatic levels. While you watch this movie, you simultaneously cringe in fear in anticipation of Simmons’ next tirade, and you watch with rapt attention, hoping that Teller will win his accolades. Simmons is in a league of his own with a phenomenal acting presence here. He absolutely deserved every award he won for this role. This was a phenomenal movie, and one we can all relate to on some level.

Verdict: Good

Silver Linings Playbook

This is a movie about damaged people, but it manages to be fun and uplifting at the same time. Hollywood almost always gets the medical field wrong, and the psychiatric field gets the shortest end of the stick. This movie manages to get things kind of right, at least more right than most Hollywood movies. Bradley Cooper plays a Bipolar guy who refuses to take his meds, and Jennifer Lawrence plays a girl with raging Borderline Personality Disorder. They freak out and clash with each other, and are as dysfunctional as one would expect given their diagnoses. Even so, they work together, and through teamwork (and love *facepalm*) they get better. The hokiest part was that they find happiness THROUGH THE POWER OF DANCE! I JUST GOTTA DANCE YOU GUYS! which is a bit too cliché for my tastes. The acting was pretty good, though.

Verdict: Average


13 Responses to “Whiplash, Silver Linings Playbook”

  1. May 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I love Whiplash! I feel recent popular cinema is too obsessed with interpreting itself and judging everything; it was such a great feeling to see someone ignoring that trend and just telling a story.

  2. 3 Paragraph Film Reviews
    June 1, 2016 at 4:23 am

    You’ve just whipped whipliash out of my to watch pile and closer to the DVD player!

    I liked SLP too, but felt the setup was better than the payoff. Still can’t believe someone got DeNiro to actually act again… madness!

  3. June 3, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    every time I read a review on Whiplash I remember just how damn good it was and wonder why it was never a serious contender for best picture. Simmons was awesome, tho. I thought Miles teller was solid opposite him too, which is to say he held his own despite fierce powerhouse stuff from the elder statesman.

  4. June 4, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Whiplash just confirmed to me what a quitter I am. The first time the instructor yelled at me I’d have thrown the sticks in the air and gone home.
    Great film though, really tense and dramatic.

  5. 13 VartAndelay
    July 4, 2016 at 12:32 am

    Whiplash offered nothing that hasn’t been put on film a thousand times. Instead of, say, a hard-driving football coach, this time it’s a hard-driving music instructor. Big deal.
    Silver Linings Playbook offers an insultingly facile take on mental health. Was it asking me to laugh at stalking? I liked the dance part better when it was called Saturday Night Fever.

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