If you’re living in the world of genre love like so many of the writers at Biff Bam Pop are, you’ve no doubt heard all the worries about the upcoming Fantastic Four film, directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle) and starring Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. On set strife, new origin stories, yadda yadda yadda. Hopefully, the trailer from a few weeks ago has helped allay some of your fears. It certainly has me jonesing to see what everyone involved can come up with. And now, having watched Miles Teller in the absolutely fantastic film Whiplash, I’m even more excited and optimistic about the new Fantastic Four.
Have you heard about Whiplash? I’d guess yes, but likely because of J.K. Simmons jaw-dropping performance as Terrence Fletcher, a intense and ferocious jazz conductor that 19 year-old music school freshman Andrew Neiman is desperate to impress with his drumming prowess. Whiplash is nominated for five Oscars, most notably Simmons as Best Supporting Actor. He’s pretty much a lock to win, which makes sense, as his performance is astounding. He can be evil and barbaric at one moment, sweet and vulnerable the next.
Simmons was a guest on The Howard Stern Show last week an Howard, who loved Whiplash, questioned why J.K. had to settle for the Best Supporting Actor category rather than Best Actor. While appreciative of Stern’s own support, Simmons simply said that Whiplash is “Miles’ film”. It’s easy to initially question that comment, since Fletcher is a pretty flashy role and Simmons sinks his teeth into it. However, when I watched the film late Saturday night, I had those words going through my head the whole time.
It’s Miles’ movie.
Considering the fact that I’d yet to see Miles Teller act, I was eager to see what he could deliver, especially considering he’s got the prime role of Reed ‘Mr. Fantastic’ Richards coming up. Watching Whiplash, I couldn’t help but be constantly impressed by his ability. His character is a mix of bravado and determination, fear and self-loathing, and Teller pulls it off brilliantly. Simmons’ performance may be the one we’re all talking about, but one solid delivery doesn’t make a classic film. Believe when I tell you, Whiplash is a classic, from supporting performances from Paul Reiser, Chris Mulkey and Melissa Benoist (television’s new Supergirl), to Damien Chazelle flawless script and direction, to finally, yes, Miles Teller’s wonderful lead role. Anyone worried about his acting chops for Fantastic Four, you can at least take comfort knowing that Teller has ability. If FF fails, it won’t be on account of him.
During that Howard Stern appearance, Stern also wondered why Whiplash hadn’t made a ton of money at the box office. While it’s made back it’s slight $3 million budget, it really hasn’t found an audience yet. Hopefully, with its release on DVD this coming February 24th, that will change. It certainly deserves to be seen by as many people as possible – it’s one of the best films I’ve watched in the last year.