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Whiplash (2014)Whiplash (2014)

This darkly intense drama reminded me of a quip by a Stanford professor, made only partly tongue in cheek, that "behind every great man lies a trail of human wreckage."  How high of a personal price should one pay in order to achieve professional success?  Does Steve Jobs' success at Apple absolve him from being a jerk?  That's the dilemma in this movie.  An ambitious young drummer named Andrew is a first year student at the best conservatory in the nation.  He longs for greatness.  He bloodies his hands in practice and dumps his girl friend as a distraction.  The conservatory is run by a horribly abusive director who believes that easy compliments like "good job" short-circuit true greatness. He's a foul-mouthed tyrant who throws chairs and screams at his students.  What should Andrew do?

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