Whiplash (as reviewed by a jazz musician)
Whiplash as reviewed by a jazz musician

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Whiplash was a great movie that got jazz wrong - admittedly in subtle ways. Come join me in this half hour (!) exploration of how the movie portrays contemporary jazz culture in NYC. AWESOME blog post by Ethan Iverson about Whiplash and Buddy Rich https://ethaniverson.com/rhythm-and-blues/the-drum-thing-or-a-brief-history-of-whiplash-or-im-generalizing-here/ Interview with Justin Hurwitz https://www.mpaa.org/2014/09/whiplash-composer-justin-hurwitz-settles-the-score/ Peter Erskine talks jazz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b15KBLfvgw Whiplash Behind the Scenes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eEuds1Qtqk 5-hour practice routine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gog7xtXvndI (⌐■_■) ⦿ Adam Neely T-shirts! ⦿ https://teespring.com/stores/adam-neely-merchandise ⦿ SUPPORT ME ON PATREON ⦿ http://www.patreon.com/adamneely ⦿ FOLLOW ME ON THE INTERNETS ⦿ http://www.facebook.com/adamneely http://www.instagram.com/its_adamneely ⦿ Check out some of my music ⦿ http://sungazermusic.bandcamp.com http://insideoutsidemusic.bandcamp.com http://adamneelymusic.bandcamp.com Peace, Adam

Comments

Sam T. : as a paleontologist, _Jurassic Park_ was... okay.

Finlay Martins : I think some people in the comments are forgetting that the review is being delivered by a MUSICIAN not a FILM CRITIC

lil cam : This is one of the most pretentious things I've ever seen

Andy Chamberlain Music : Seems like half this comment section stopped watching before 11:13

Carazy123 : “If I _ever_ find one of these lying around again, I swear to *BASS* god, I will stop being so polite.”

Brian Sturm : I thought this was a jazz review of Metallica's "Whiplash". Damn.

jekanyika : Why would you watch it on a tablet outside?

Drew Ninmer : Hey Adam, I am one of the guys back there in the trumpet section in the "studio band". You are correct that the guys with speaking roles were not pro musicians. I was the only "real trumpet player" back there, and the rest of the band was about half real musicians, half actors. As you know, this was a low budget film. One of the prerequisites for those actors when they auditioned for a role in the film was that they had to bring their own instrument. THAT LOW BUDGET! The other three trumpet players played in elementary school or middle school and brought their horns with them to the shoot. Additionally, it was interesting that there wasn't a music supervisor present to make sure all musicians looked realistic while playing. There were numerous times where those of us that were the real musicians had to advise the actors how to hold the horn or not to have a trumpet mouthpiece in the trombone (yes this really happened). Also, yes I sharped that 9. You can see me nodding my head in the film ;) Those of us who are real musicians had a good laugh about that line on the set. But hey...I just do as I'm told, I'm not the director!

Jesse .Sutton : My big issue, my HUGE issue, is that a director would NEVER sabotage his own performance. That took me out of the story. That was like having Snow White start shooting people. No director would ever sacrifice their own performance to make a point.

ManFromMaine : I never cease to amaze myself with how little I really know about music.

Otto Toksik : "This is a sports movie" Sums it up perfectly. As a cook i also hate those movies where somebody wants to be a great chef and discovers that he knew how to perfectly cook everything ALL ALONG, without ever having to learn anything. They are sometimes good movies, but i have yet to see one that realistically depicts the qualities of a good cook. Of course if they made these movies accurate they would be boring for 99% of people so I do get it but sometimes it can be slightly insulting as well.

LifeOnTheEdge : 24:10 My piano teacher told me that 90% of practice should be slow, so that amused me a little.

j e : more like astrophysicists complaining about a star is born

SynthGuy777 : I've met one Jazz player who did talk about Buddy Rich but not as a legendary drummer but rather, as a glorified technician with no sense of musicality. *Ouch*

C O : A person could easily break a hand before punching thru a drum head.

cmg2491 : At 19:26 you point out that the music Fletcher plays is the same kind of music he goes on to complain about as "killing jazz", now I could be stretching here, but I'm pretty sure it was intentional for him to play such "boring, flat jazz" because he is not a great musician. His goal was to find that great musician more than likely because he was never accomplished as a musician himself. Those who can't do, teach philosophy.

Niclas Gustafsson : Personally for me working as a engineer with jazzbands occationally and have a master in classical music, the feeling of the movie is more classical music than jazz in my opinion. Lots of people quit because of the unfriendly environment and really bad attitude from teachers... i too have been pushed to practice until my body broke, by teachers that demanded perfection but never told us how that was accived or even how to practice the right way. Sore lips (im a clarinetist), muscle pain and hurting joints. Lots of people that quit for those reasons too. Didnt really get my joy of music back until way after university. So for me the movie really hit the nail in that regard. Very emotional.

Harry Ashley : I'm a bit disappointed that you watched it on your iPad in a park. The film is so brilliantly shot... It deserves a little more than that xD

P3RRI : Loved the movie but it’s pretty obvious jazz school ain’t really like this

Jared Norton : 4:11 MY DUDE you just changed my life

DaAcorn : “We have an out of tune player” The phrase would actually be “somebody is playing out of tune” Umm what?

Jäger 072 : ...I swear to *BASS* God, I will stop being so polite

Austin : I'm not gay, but you have beautiful eyes and a beautiful way of speaking.

Vigo Kovačić : "This is a sports movie" *"Part 7. This is a sports movie"*

Unknown Incronomous : I don't get it why didn't he just call Nyango star

Draven Flores-Rios : Good points, I watched through the video unlike some unfortunately. Thank you for posting.

M G : Birdman told a better story about the love of making good art.

daniel webber : Yeah. This is overthinking x100

Arnd Des Hives : ok now review Disposable heroes by Metallica..

NiklasStøterau : Today on CinemaSins: Everything Wrong With Whiplash

AstrooDocc : Adam on Whiplash: "Not quite my tempo."

Clerefor Sede : This is like a cabbie making a review about Taxi Driver.

LifeOnTheEdge : 26:04 Note that the beers are all open and also empty. Adam, are you okay, or have you been saving up beer bottles?

Rishab Dutta : The difference between this movie and sci-fi movies is that in sci-fi movies, we know they are talking about new science so we accept that it might happen in future. This movie tries to convince that this is actually happening in the current world. By doing that, it makes people believe that's how improvisational music works... that's the problem.

Sad Keyboard : 5:40 how is that a criticism? It's just 2 different ways of saying the same thing, is the word memorize an official jazz word?

Григорий Дубров : Are hands supposed to bleed?? I mean... I am a drummer and after hours of practice nothing happened. IF YOU HOLD STICKS THE RIGHT WAY

Rachel Brady : Imma be pedantic for a sec and point out that it's not negative reinforcement but positive punishment

Darrylizer1 : Punching through a snare drum head?! My god he must have muscles of iron and a hand of steel.

Lava Dasher : 12:38 You can see the practice in Adam's hand

Raddycal : What are you- What are you looking in the comments? There's no f[BASS] Mars bars down here.

Travis Hunt YouTube PhD : Adam isn't fun at parties.

Gar Nicht : I just realised that this here video made the first search result on "buddy rich" switch from "buddy rich impossible drum solo" or "buddy rich drum solo" to "buddy rich bus tapes". Thats pretty incredible. Unless the search engine switches the result based on the recently watched video, meaning that it knows that youtube watchers who watch this video are likely to search for "bus tapes" afterwards, who knows.

Adam Alakshar : "Its not really wrong, BUUUUUUUUT" - Adam neely

Ethanal Spencer : I think the scene in which Neeman discovers Fletcher in the Jazz Club and he's playing the default windows movie maker sample tracks version of Jazz is meant to be that way though. It comes at a point in the movie where Neeman is kinda quasi-recovering and is understandably tense about how a potential run-in with Fletcher may go, someone who (rightfully) has become a sort of demonic figure in his mind. The fact that he's playing that super inoffensive ultra-digestable simple jazz is meant to invoke an eerie facade of security, where what you're seeing is a calm, approachable and even friendly version of something that you know shouldn't be acting that way based on previous behavior. Its like the whole movie he's been Mr. Hyde but suddenly for this one scene where he's been off screen for a while he's back to Dr. Jekyll. You know any moment he's gonna turn back into a monster but they drag it on long enough that you may start to think 'well maybe he had a change of heart'. And of course the ending where he vindictively swaps the music is the payoff to that. I dunno long comment but I think that's what they were going for.

Lester Stein : Hey Adam, this was funny as all getup. I would love to see your take on Lala Land, I think you could come up with some entertaining insight, even though the "reviewable" aspects of the movie are quite different from those you explored in Whiplash. Keep up the good work man I dig it

Andrew Lawson : I always figured when Fletcher was asking him to count a specific tempo, it wouldn’t matter what Andrew counted: he was trying to break him.

Cläyton Higbie : ITS A TROMBONE NOT A TRUMBONE

Growthor : "Just watch my 5 hours practice routine" And that's why your life isn't a movie... Lol

phatbassanchor : After 5:45 I must disagree with you here. As a bassist for over 40 years now, I can attest that being able to sight read tempo accurately is just as important as getting the key, the time signature and groove correct. My proper schooling was classical (Indiana University School of Music) rather than jazz yet I have studied all styles from funk to flamenco to blues to classic rock to pop to folk to blue grass to punk to metal with a long lay over in Motown and even a touch of jazz. I played upright for many years switch hitting between acoustic and electric all through school. But, I eventually dropped the upright for electric 4 and 5 string basses (a Fender Jazz & active Jackson) and a Guild classical acoustic/electric guitar. I gave up concertos for groovy rock and funk bands and the occasional pit orchestra gig for theater productions and Broadway musicals. I've played just about every genre of music imaginable when the pay was there. I've even sight read for gigs filling in at the last minute. My tempo and groove had to be flawless from page to performance. The conductors that I've worked under expected me to know the tempo by the number on the page of every chart we sight read. I have been asked to give examples of specific tempos without a count during auditions and rehearsals alike just in a professional tone without the screaming heard throughout the film. In addition to performing excepts from our current selections we also competed with personal selections and sight reading skills, including tempo, whenever a chair challenge was issued. I was never unseated in any chair challenge from middle school through IU. I've never had perfect pitch, just a strong sense of relative pitch. Yet, I've always had perfect tempo. It's been honed to perfection with many years of click track training. It's come in handy more often than you might think. I used an old wood box mechanical metronome that my aunt gave me then later on a digital metronome. Eventually I no longer needed yet still used the click track. Nothing bothers me more in any session that a drummer who can't play in front of the beat without rushing or behind the beat without dragging. I've worked for some strict conductors and band leaders but never anything like the man depicted in the film, thank God. The worst that ever happened to me was rehearsals running overtime from 3-4 hours becoming 5-8 hours because some one wasn't getting a certain part right or things just weren't coming together well enough for the conductors expectations. Those situations were few and far between, fortunately. The most demanding statement I ever heard was, "Okay people, we're going to be here until we get this right, even if it takes all night!" or maybe running 6+ takes past a scheduled break. Never did I ever encounter anything remotely close to what I saw in that film. Quite frankly, I'd have been extremely offended if an instructor, conductor, band leader or professor EVER acted like that @$$hole. I would only go 'over their head' if we could not resolve the issue like professionals. Strict I can handle but that actor played the part of abusive @$$hole a bit too well. Most of the rants were completely unprofessional behavior that would easily get you fired from any ensemble in which I have ever played. There's only so much verbal abuse one person can take. You can be a demanding director without being cruel or abusive. Apologies for nit picking what has otherwise been an honest and exceptional review of this film from the viewpoint of one who has studied in a similar music school. I was saddened by this film overall as it painted a dim view of university level music education IMHO. I enjoyed the intense emotional drama expertly performed by these intelligent actors. The film is an emotional roller coaster and one hell of a ride. Yet, I feel they may have gone overkill on the abuse for the sake of building drama. I just hope "Whiplash" doesn't give any fresh young talent pause to not continue their music education. That would be tragic. I sincerely appreciate that your review well indicates that what is seen in the film is not indicative of what one can expect from a collegiate level music education. I totally agree that the joy of making music was utterly absent from this film. Music has always been fun for me. It brings me joy to be able to share something beautiful with fellow musicians and audience members alike. Side bar/FYI: My favorite jazz number is "Take 5" by the legend Dave Brubeck. It has a brilliant melodic hook from the airy sax lines and is the tune that taught me how to feel 5/4. I love how the piano and bass call and respond creating a wonderful bounce to the groove leaving the drummer free to add a lot of rhythmically diverse improv. Seeing Brubeck live was an awesome treat.