Remember how a few weeks ago someone at “The Academy” (so ominous) decided that Damian Chazelle’s Whiplash screenplay was — all of a sudden — considered “adapted” and not “original”? Yeah well, they did, and their argument was that Whiplash (the 2014 long version) was technically adapted from Whiplash (the 2013 short version) and that’s that, so deal with it. (Never mind that 2008’s Frozen River was also “adapted” from the filmmakers’ earlier short film, but was somehow nominated for Best Original Screenplay.)
All of that awards nonsense aside: the good news is that Whiplash (the long version) is a fantastic film, a discovery that many people are making now that it’s out on blu-ray — and of course the DVD producers were smart enough to offer the 18-minute 2013 rendition of Whiplash as a supplemental feature. Or you could just watch it right now!
You will of course notice that the leading man is different — here it’s the likable Johnny Simmons (21 Jump Street) instead of the equally affable Miles Teller — but the great JK Simmons is still on board, and he’s still as horrifyingly entertaining to watch as he is in the full-length version. (He did win an Oscar, after all.) You’ll also see a few familiar faces in the band: the frustrated trombonist C.J. Vana (as “Metz”), for example, appears in both versions of Whiplash, which is an amusing bit of trivia he’s probably pretty happy about.