Movie Review: “Whiplash” (Damien Chazelle, USA 2014)

First point: The director has a truly awesome name. Anyone named Damien is awesome.

The ballroom at the student center at the University of Colorado is named the Glenn Miller ballroom, after one of the most prominent swing and big bandleaders in history who briefly attended the school in the mid 1920s before dropping out. If you visit a small town named Fort Morgan to the northeast, you will see on the sign as you enter town, “Boyhood home of Glenn Miller.” Roughly an hour away from Fort Morgan, bordering the city of Greeley, is a very small town named La Salle. Miller once asked a man from La Salle to be his drummer as he struck out on tour, years before fame hit, but my great grandfather felt it was irresponsible to leave his railroad job, what with having a family and all. Or so the family story says, anyway. I have not followed in his footsteps at all. I’ve played guitar for 13 years now, but I have no interest in drums and little interest in or understanding of jazz. The fact that this tangential connection to Glenn Miller, never one of the favorites of jazz aficionados, is as close to jazz as I can get should be enough to explain that. Continue reading