I originally had this review scheduled for later. I pushed it up in light of recent events. #biebersucks
SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003 Paramount)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Do you have kids? This movie should be compulsory viewing for all parents who want their children to kick their Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus habits. In this surprisingly family-friendly rocker, Jack Black turns a group of school kids on to the greatest sounds known to man: classic rock! Funny with great songs, School of Rock is among my favourite Jack Black films. Even those who aren’t particularly into classic rock have been lured in by this movie, such is its charm.
Down-and-out rocker Dewey Finn has been kicked out of his metal band, and replaced by a shirtless guitar player named Spider. Desperate to pay his share of the rent to his substitute teacher roommate Ned Schneebly (Mike White), Dewey steals a teaching gig at a private school. He pretends to be “Mr. Schneebly”, but is barely literate himself. Of course, Dewey’s a bit of a burnout, but he has never let go of his dream. He believes that the world can be made a better place by performing the public service of rocking out. He believes that he has what it takes to rock out. All he needs is some money and a new band….
Starting at the school, he is under the watchful eye of the principal, perfectly played by Black’s High Fidelity castmate Joan Cusack. When Dewey hears the kids play classical music at the school, he realizes he’s found his band. He just needs to teach them a little bit about rocking.
Black is infinitely quotable in this movie, and the music is top notch. The original songs are all stellar, particularly “Way Hard Core”. The classic rock soundtrack are some of the best ever assembled: Metallica, rare Kiss, The Ramones, and even Zeppelin who gave special permission for “The Immigrant Song,” which is used to full effect. The cast is more than good, and lots of very talented young people all appear. And these kids all play their own instruments, too.
Bonus features are generous, and include Black and the kids begging Zeppelin to use “The Immigrant Song”. Insightful behind-the-scenes features concentrate on the kids, and they seem so happy to be taking part in this film and the music.
This film is fun for the entire family, perhaps the only Black film that is appropriate for that. Most importantly, it will give kids an appreciation for the greatest music in the world: rock and roll. And a healthy dose of stickin’ it to the man!
Jack Black as Dewey Finn (lead singer, guitar)
Joan Cusack as Principal Rosalie Mullins
Mike White as Ned Schneebly
Sarah Silverman as Patty De Marco
Miranda Cosgrove as Summer Hathaway (band manager)
Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zack Mooneyham (guitar)
Kevin Clark as Freddy Jones (drums)
Rebecca Brown as Katie “Posh Spice” (bass)
Robert Tsai as Lawrence “Mr. Cool” (keyboard)