There are a lot of perfectly-made films. A lot of them. There are films where all the elements come together in such a way that you are left in awe of the sheer power of the craftsmanship. There are some that are before there time. There are some that come too late. Then there are some that are so good, yet completely slip people’s minds because they are too Indie, or too dispassionate. Some films touch people in an emotional way. Not all of these are perfect films. Look through my list of the top 20 favorite films, and you’ll see that not all of them are perfect. But then you have a movie like this come along. It is so utterly perfect in its construction and performance, and it touches me in en emotional way.
It tells the story of a young man named Andrew. He is a drummer who wants to be a jazz musician. He is discovered one night by the most admired and feared musician in his college – Terrance Fletcher (played by J.K. Simmons). What follows is the emotional, turbulent, and painful tale of Andrew’s time in his band, with Fletcher’s violent and beyond-insane need for perfection.
Really, I can’t honestly say more about the plot. It’s not supremely complicated. This is about the characters. It’s about Andrew and his need to show that he is the best, his feeling marginalized and alone, and being given a chance. It is about Fletcher and his insanity that drives him to push people beyond the point that they can physically handle. The emotions in this movie run as high as you can possibly imagine. It’s what makes it so perfect.
The best role in this film is Fletcher. J.K. Simmons is a criminally-underrated actor. He’s like Bryan Cranston in that regard. He plays these roles that are good, but get overlooked all the time. Then he lands something that gets to show off what an incredible actor he really is. It’s amazing. I have never seen a role that got me so captivated by the performance. He displays the cold driven anger and the emotional turbulence of the character so well. Just when you think that you’ve got the character all figured out, you have him turning over another side of the leaf and you get more perspective. This kind of performance is something that you almost never get to see, and I am desperately hoping that we get to see more roles like this from Simmons in the near future. This man needs more chances to shine like this.
Here’s where I kind of abandon objectivity, because I want to tell all of you why this film resonates with me as much as it does. Fletcher has this great scene where you finally see him unapologetically explain why he pushes his player the way he does. The man doesn’t regret anything. He wants to bring something out of musicians that he believes is long dead. I kind of love that. It gets me to thinking about the forces in life that have brought me here, and what I’m doing with my life.
I’m not happy with where I am now. I’m a college grad with no prospects. My ability to find a job is proving so difficult that it has made my depression go to places that I can’t imagine. My resume sucks, because it seems that employers don’t care about a degree. They care about experience. To hell with having a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Public Communication. I haven’t held a fuck-ton of jobs, so I barely get a second glance. This website has been my passion project for over seven years, but it’s in a medium that is dying a slow death, and on of a million other sites just like it. I can’t see how I stand out from the rest. I am doing things with my YouTube channel now, but my videos are basic as fuck, and not very good. I can’t afford good video editing software, nor a PC to put it on. Or a desk to put a desktop PC on. I do everything on my cheap laptop. That’s the life I lead.
There was a teacher I had back in college. He was awesome. He was stern. Each assignment, he would have the students who made mistakes papers put on the projector. Then he would have the rest of the class rip your mistakes apart. I learned more in that class than I did in any other. It’s the reason that I have gotten so good at writing. I was alright, but he gave me my new drive and helped me relearn things I thought I always knew.
I don’t know where I am going to land. I am looking for a place where I can put my talents to work. Unlike music, all I can show for what I do is the words I write. And as I said, there are a million other sites like me. There has to be a place for me to show what I can do. I just don’t know where it is. I’ve had contributing jobs before. Wrote for three different publications over the last five years. Short-lived gigs. Either the sites went under or I got tired of writing for them. There has to be an opportunity out there. Maybe I am just looking for a person like Fletcher, to push me in a way that I can be pushed.
Anyway, this film is perfect. It is a perfect movie. It’s one of the greatest movies I have ever seen, and I hope you all love it as much as I do.
10 out of 10