starring J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Melissa Benoist and Paul Reiser
written and directed by Damian Chazelle
I watched this Academy Award-winning movie on an airplane back to Tokyo from Toronto on August 7th. It was released on DVD in my local Tokyo shop in late-September. It’s a great movie, but I could not bear to watch it again. Or, at least not so soon. The reason is that J.K. Simmons character, cruel, abusive, even sadistic music teacher/conductor Terence Fletcher is so abominable. I mean Terence is such a complete and unredeemable asshole that I have to wait longer to expose myself to it again.
Andrew Neiman (Teller) is an ambitious jazz drummer dreaming of modeling himself after virtuoso drumming legend Buddy Rich. At the prestigious Shaffer Academy in New York (fictitious) he comes under the tutelage of Terence Fletcher. Fletcher is not just legendary tough, he’s downright illegally abusive. Thank God he eventually loses his teaching job. I suppose in his own defense he would explain about pushing his students to exceed themselves as a way of producing brilliant, exceptional musicians. Poppycock. I reject the culture of self-esteem and affirmation, but what Fletcher does is enough to get himself killed in some American schools.
I like J.K. Simmons. If you don’t know his name you will probably quickly recognize his face from movies and TV shows. He well deserved the Best Supporting Oscar he won for this film.