Director: Damien Chazelle
Year Released: 2014
A budding drummer (Miles Teller) at a prestigious musical school finds himself challenged and consistently berated by a cruel but passionate instructor (J.K. Simmons) who thinks nothing of throwing objects at his pupil and ruling by intimidation. While I'm not of the Parris Island School of Thought that believes draconian methods of instruction produce enlightened students, I'd be lying if I didn't find the Teller-Simmons dynamic to be utterly compelling (if unscrupulous and illegal): imagine Full Metal Jacket if Pyle, instead of committing murder-suicide, found a way to best Drill Instructor Hartman by being the best Marine he ever trained. Chazelle films the drumming sequences as if they were murder scenes, with Teller literally pouring sweat and blood over his kit and drumsticks while the camera shakes and Simmons pours hate and bile over him. Teller's character may not turn into the next Buddy Rich, but he does willingly suffer for his Art.