Whiplash Brings Back Your Worst Memories of Music Teachers 

October 9, 2014 12:25 AM

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Jazz isn't dead. Miraculously, there's always a small but steady stream of young people who continue to fall in love with this most dazzling and elusive American genre, spending hours, days and months running ribbons of scales and memorizing Charlie Parker solos in the hopes that some of the alto god's facility, if not his indefinable genius, might flow through their own fingers. To care so much about a kind of music that's nearly impossible to conquer, and that is almost certain to guarantee a lifetime of being broke and miserable, is a specific kind of devotion. The best thing about Damien Chazelle's exuberant but wayward Whiplash is that it captures that ardent near-mania so beautifully. Loving any music this much will surely end in heartbreak — and still, fools rush in.

In this case, Fool No. 1 is Miles Teller's Andrew, a New York City kid with big dreams of — well, who knows what his specific dream is, in terms of making his mark, making a living, making it big? Andrew is a jazz drummer, crackerjack for his age, and the only thing he seems to yearn for is that neb...

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