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I saw Birdman. Interesting movie. Michael Keaton was terrific. I never need to see it again. The first thing I did after watching Whiplash was to buy the Blu-ray.
What makes Whiplash so superb is that it doesn’t take the stock, convenient approach to its characters—the approach that a lesser film might have taken. A Whiplash in which J.K. Simmons’ Terence Fletcher is purely an evil, sadistic taskmaster and Miles Teller’s Andrew Nieman is simply the sympathetic underdog could have been a decent movie. Forgettable, but decent.
***Obvious spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen Whiplash, don’t read any further***