Month: June 2015

Tuesday’s with Morrie

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tuesdays-with-morrie

 This book has been a classic for many years. I myself had never heard of it until I was in college. I put it on my “book bucket list” and decided to ask for it for Christmas. Now, 6 months later, I’ve finally read it.

Tuesdays was a pretty quick read and an easy one at that. I really didn’t know what to expect going into it, but here’s a quick summary:

“An old man” befriends and mentors a “young man” aka Mitch Albom in college when he takes Morrie Schwartz’s  class. Morrie is diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). (Yes the same disease that Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with, which you can read about in one of my previous posts here.) So anyway, Morrie goes into teaching this class with a death sentence, about which he is very blunt and real. He starts having special Tuesday meetings with Mitch in his office. These meetings are mostly about life lessons, things Mitch should know about life after college. The meetings end when Mitch graduates.

Twenty years later, Mitch hears that Morrie is dying and decides to go visit him. Morrie welcomes him with frail arms. As Morrie’s physique deteriorates, his life lessons with Mitch increase. They talk about love, careers, wisdom, and the raw feelings Morrie has about his disease. As you guessed it, Morrie dies at the end, but not without leaving Mitch with a book full of wisdom to publish.

I thought this was a good book, one that definitely should be studied in classes (high school). Yes, it was very depressing, and made me feel sad while reading it. The dude is DYING. The whole book is about him passing his wisdom onto his student. Mitch himself seems to have a pretty obligatory life. He’s got a great career as a sports journalist, he has a beautiful wife, he’s got his health, but he’s drifting through life with little purpose. I think Morrie sort of gives him purpose. Every Tuesday, he drives/flies to meet with Morrie, bring him food he can no longer chew, and sit with him, helping him use the bathroom, rubbing his sore muscles, holding him while he cries unabashedly. That right there builds character. Seeing a grown, dying man cry.

From a Christian’s perspective, this book also made me sad, because Morrie doesn’t seem to have anything to look forward to. Mitch describes Morrie as “agnostic” several times in the book. Their discussions are all about life and how to live it to the fullest. But they seldom mention religion or an afterlife. That’s why this book makes me sad, because Morrie could have been, not looking forward to death, but maybe not dreading it so much. Of course, I’ve never been dying myself, and we’re so attached to this world that we would be scared to leave it no matter what lies ahead after death.

I give this book a 3/5.

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Whiplash

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whip

To view the trailer, click here.

Whiplash is a story about perseverance, coaching, music, and stamina. It’s essentially a classic sports movie where the coach has to raise a player to his highest potential through any means possible; in this case, the teacher inflicts emotional abuse to produce the next Buddy Rich.

Miles Teller plays Andrew, a 19 year old prodigy drummer attending Schaffer Conservatory in New York. His goal is to get into a prestigious jazz band led by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Fletcher notices Teller and gives him a chance to sit 2nd chair drummer. Soon, he proves himself worthy to play core.

Fletcher torments Andrew constantly, to the point of mentally and sometimes physically abusing him. Andrew practices and practices, to where his hands are bleeding profusely. Andrew pushes on, until the band has a performance, and he has to play core drummer. However, this is the breaking point for Andrew. Fletcher threatens Andrew that if he does not retrieve his sticks in time for the performance, he will forfeit his chair, and possibly, his seat in the band. On the way back from the rental car place, Andrew gets into a nasty car accident. He is so out of it (possibly from a concussion) that he runs back to the music hall. Bleeding from his head and arms, he attempts to play, but fails, as he can barely hold the sticks. Fletcher tells Andrew he is done, but Andrew is so furious and distraught that he attacks Fletcher on stage.

Andrew meets with a lawyer per his worried dad’s request, and they eventually de-throne Fletcher from his jazz kingdom at Shaffer. Andrew wanders aimlessly, dismissed from the university and seemingly has no drive left. Fletcher and Andrew are reunited in a jazz club where Fletcher is performing. He invites Andrew to play at a festival concert he is conducting.

I won’t give the ending away, although I will say, it was very abrupt and VERY disappointing. The audience is left hanging, with no real conclusion. I know this is probably just director’s vision, but it’s still annoying. I will say, the cinematography was EXCELLENT. I loved the close-up shots and details of the drums, the blood on Andrew’s sticks, the sweat trickling down his head and face. It was all very raw, like you could feel the pain Andrew was feeling while he was playing.

I thought Miles Teller did a great job of performing in this film. I could tell he really had to practice hard for it, and probably was feeling all the same pain and torment that Andrew was feeling at times. J.K. Simmons really blew his part out of the water. He had my husband and I yelling at the TV, “WHAT A D*CK!” a few times! Simmons really had a way of digging deep to find his inner coach/douche-bag for this part. I believe he won an Academy Award for this picture.

Although I’m not personally a fan of jazz, any fan of concert music would enjoy this film. Actually, anyone a fan of a Rudy story would like this film.

I give this movie a 3/5, mostly because it was a great film, but not one I’d watch over and over again.