64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2003
"School Of Rock" is nothing less than the feel-good movie of the year. It's fitting that the movie is filled with blatant AC/DC worship, because it's very much like one of that band's albums: it's excessive and often lowbrow, but you can't help but enjoy it because it's so full of energy and enthusiasm. And most importantly of all, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Whether intentionally or not, director Richard Linklater and co. deal a major backhanded slap to all the sissified nu-metal and post-grunge "sensitive guy" bands currently dominating the airwaves, reminding us all that rock music is supposed to be fun and ultimately uplifting.
First of all, if "School Of Rock" doesn't make Jack Black a star, nothing will. Black gives one of the most lovably over-the-top performances in history as Dewey Finn, an aspiring metal musician who poses as his friend Ned in order to get a substitute teaching job at a posh elementary school. From the opening scene at a rock club, where Dewey launches into a frenzied guitar solo, whips off his shirt, and attempts a stage dive into an apathetic crowd, Black is a whirlwind of manic energy. Much like Jim Carrey, Black doesn't just play the demented role: he means it, and the authenticity he brings to the movie makes all the diference. Quick, think of another guy who could pull off the role this well. This is Black's show, and he knows it.
When Dewey takes a position teaching the uptight children of uptight parents, the stage is set for a classic fish-out-of-water comedy. Many of the movies' funniest moments come early on, when the overweight, disheveled Dewey and his privileged students can't quite figure out what to make of each other. The plot? Realizing that some of his students have musical talent, Dewey, under the guise of a school project, gets them to start up a rock outfit to compete at the local battle of the bands. Along with the way he teaches them plenty about the history of rock and its value for, among other things, "fighting the man." Naturally, the kids, their parents, and the school's principal (played by Joan Cusack, who would steal the movie if Black didn't), all learn valuable lessons about taking chances and enjoying life.
This plot may sound rather hackneyed, but "School Of Rock" doesn't succeed by avoiding cliches; it succeeds my embracing them with all the vigor and passion of Dewey playing a guitar solo. The movie's overbearing earnestness, which I typically find to be more of a turnoff than a woman with bigger muscles than me, turns out to be its greatest asset. The reason? Because "School Of Rock" conveys the too-often-forgotten lesson that people need to lighten up, and rock music has long been a valuable device for doing just that. At its heart, the film's message is simple but enormously effective: that Rock 'n' Roll really just might be able to change the world.
It all comes to a head in the film's monster conclusion, with Dewey donning an Angus Young-styled schoolboy uniform for the Battle of the Bands. Black absolutely owns the stage in this scene; there's no way the image of him performing won't be indelibly etched in the minds of all who see it. If you know your stuff, you can also see the nods to Yes and The Clash in the kids' attire. The song the band performs, fittingly titled "School Of Rock," is a lot like the movie itself: it's filled with rock cliches, but its youthful rebellion and energy more than make up for it. It certainly beats much of what's on the radio today, just as the movie beats much of what's in your local multiplex. Sometimes good intentions and inspired acting can carry a film, and "School of Rock" is one such example.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2004
School of Rock is a great movie with perfect Jack Black and an excellent supporting cast, most of them kids. Dewie Finn gets kicked out of his band and must find a way to pay the rent. When he intercepts a phone call for his substitute teacher roommate, Ned, Dewie decides to take the job. At first, he has no idea what to do, but when he discovers the kids in the class are great musicians, he decides to turn them into a band. Along the way, Dewie gets to know them all while also teaching them the history of rock. This is a great movie that surprisingly can be seen by the whole family. Jack Black has never been better, and the kids are amazing. If nothing else, the soundtrack is great with plenty of Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Black Sabbath and so much more.
Jack Black is perfectly cast as Dewie Finn, the down on his luck musician who takes a job as a substitute teacher. His eyebrows and facial expressions could not be done by anyone else. Joan Cusack is also very good as Principal Mullins, who tries to keep her school in order. Mike White and Sarah Silverman also star as Ned, Dewie's roommate, and his evil girlfriend. The real stars of this movie are the kids in Dewie's class. They are all incredible performers as well as pretty good actors. With all these things combined, School of Rock is a can't miss movie. For a great movie with hilarious Jack Black, check out School of Rock!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2004
"Formulated"......"Predictable"......"Unoriginal" These are all words you may have heard to describe this film, and I wouldn't argue any of them. Let me tell you though, you could also describe this film as "fun"..."energetic"...and "factual".
The basis of the story is simple. The Belushi-influenced Jack Black plays Musician/loser Dewey Finn. Dewey just got kicked out of his band for being too maniacal and unpredictable, and he's about to be kicked out of his best friend Ned's apartment for being a lazy freeloader. It just so happens that Ned is a substitute teacher, and when Ned gets a call for some work, Dewey answers the phone and accepts the job for himself. Being the furthest thing from a teacher, he tells his class to have recess all day, and teaches his kids about "the man". As he feverishly refers to all authority as "the man", he says "There used to be a way to stick it to 'the man', but 'the man' ruined that too with MTV!" Then he sees his kids in their music class. He has a classically trained guitarist, a classically trained pianist, a percussionist, and a cello player in his midst, and he then gets an idea. He wants music class all day instead of recess. He teaches his guitarist to play classics like "Iron Man", "Smoke On The Water", and "Highway To Hell". He tells his piano player to play The Doors "Touch Me". He absurdly convinces his cellist that the cello is the exact same thing as a bass guitar when it's tipped on its side. Dewey has plans to enter the Battle Of The Bands contest and win some rent money, and he's going to do it with these kids.
Yes, it is predictable. It is also a similar plot to many other teen comedies of the past. The biggest difference between this film and its predecessors, is its intensity and accurate rock knowledge savvy. Jack Black is a power load as Dewey, a real high voltage entity here. As he states in the film, "Rock is about the passion", and his passion and knowledge of rock is so eminent throughout the film. He makes the difference in this film. You just want to stand up and cheer as he hands his keyboard player Yes, and tells him to listen to the solo on "Roundabout". He eloquently informs the timid pianist that the solo will "blow the classical music out your butt". He continues with his drummer, by telling him to listen to Rush - "2112", and informs him that Neil Peart is one of the greatest drummers of all time...."study up". For his guitarist he has Hendrix's "Axis: Bold As Love", and for his backup singer he assigns a listen to "Dark Side Of The Moon"'s vocal solo on "Great Gig In The Sky". I couldn't have done it better myself.
Great moments just fill the time here. When Black asks the class "What's Rock all about?", he gets answers like "scoring chicks" and "getting wasted", both of which he replied an emphatic "NO!" to. He then gets the answer he was looking for, and that's "sticking it to the man". Rock is about breaking the rules, and standing up to "the man". Nice work, Mr. Black.
Early in the movie he asks the kids about their knowledge of legendary bands such as Led Zeppelin. They all look dumbfounded, and have no clue what language he's speaking. He continues to spit forth names, "....Sabbath......AC/DC........MOTORHEAD!!!!!", all of which are foreign to these kids. This is the point where he establishes time slots for teaching "Rock appreciation" and "Rock theory" classes. This is great stuff.
If you want to see a factual, fun, and light hearted movie with some great Rock 'N' Roll.......go rent, or better yet, buy this one.
For more Dr. (...)
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2003
Despite some of the various plot holes and implausibilities, this is Jack Black's shining moment (as well as other child actors) and crowning achievement. I enjoyed this film partly because Jack Black and the makers of the film seem to have an obvious appreciation for classic rock/hard rock/metal that was missing from recent Hollywood failures like Rock Star. References abound to Yes, Rush, Led Zeppelin, even Iron Maiden abound in this movie. Jack Black is hilarious as a burned out early 30 something rocker turned substitute teacher, and his usual mannerisms and inflections are used to humorous effect.
The film is inspiring, funny, even a bit "cute" in a family film sort of way. However these more "cutesy" themes are transcended with the wit of the dialogue and some of the more adult situations in the film. It isn't EXACTLY a kid's movie, but could be seen with probably younger preteens, in my eyes it appeals to adults more. Ironically, I was the age of the kids in the movie when I first got into hard rock and heavy metal! I wish I had gone to somewhere like the School of Rock!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2004
Yeah what a film.For some unknown reason i had to miss this movie in it's theater release.I now have made my repentance for that to the Mighty Gods Of ROCK by renting this movie today on the day of the DVD release : March 2 2004 Tuesday..I just finished watching both the movie and the extras.To say this movie ROCKS is a severe UNDERSTATEMENT..In a day of too many pop divas and boy bands who can't even play an instrument..It is great to see this movie come out and kick them all in the ass..This is also one of the most FUN movies in a very long time.And one NOT to be missed..Jack Black is kinda like Chris Farley meets John Belushi..This is so funny..And these kids that is in this band with him are awesome to watch and listen to..One can only hope that they will keep the torch for ROCK and carry on in bands in the future..It would be a shame to see their talents go to waste..They all play their own instruments too..I along with my friends had started a rock band called "DAWN PATROL" when i was 13 going on 14 in 1980 and we are still playing together today..So this movie really hits home for me..And no matter what the powers that be say it is coz of that why we stayed off of drugs & drinking.In Jack Black's words "ya gotta stick it to the man" and so called today's rock has lost that incrediant that this movie resurrects and hopefully will transport over into the music world at warp speed.For that reason Jack Black may will be Rock's much needed Saviour.And if you are a ROCK fan i can guarantee it will for you as well..You are a ROCK fan you will love this movie and that is an understatement..
The extras on here ROCK as well..Mostly the music video and the "lesson.." behind the scenes..There is also a "Kommentary" done by the school of Rock kids..All the Kids here deliver great performances all around..The character of them named "Summer" played by Miranda Cosgrove is a little scenestealer..Watch this girl she is going to go places she is priceless and sooooo cute..And i have to mention too that another one "Katie" played by Rebecca Brown looks so much like Jessica "Dark Angel" Alba when Alba was that age and also lot like Vega of Spy Kids Fame..So ROCK fans unite and enjoy this truly one of a kind movie..Not enough space here to tell of all its greatness. Parents that have grown up with the REAL ROCK do what this movie does and teach your children the education of the SCHOOL OF ROCK. *********Long Live Rock And RoLL!!!!!!***********
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2004
Come on, you people! Sure we all watch the obscure realiztic foreign movies and get meaning out of them, but this movie is really cool because it has heart! It is about being inspired in school, something that most of us didn't get when we were that age. if you did got inspired like that by someone that truly loved what they taught, good for you! For me School of Rock was a touching albeight unreal story. It would have been great if it could be real but it is not.
I am not from the age of the big rockers, but I sure love them. If kids who watch this movie go out and listen to Janis, the Led, and Jimmy, that movie will have fulfilled its purpose! Rock is great music, it has passion, it goes against the status quo. It is good for kids to know that type of message.
Jack Black was great : ) The way he says stuff, it is really awesome! Watch this movie and remember the times when you wanted to rock too!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The movie was implausible, sloppy, predictable and silly. It was just plain dopey. However, the performance of Black was good and Joan Cusack's performance was very good. The skill of the kids was amazing and their enthusiasm for the music was contagious. The movie doesn't quite hold together, but it was fun and I enjoyed it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2003
After seeing the previews of "School of Rock", I highly anticipated seeing it in the theaters. It is the best movie I have seen in the theaters this year and I highly recommend it all fans of Black, Rock, and smiling to head straight to the closest theater playing this fantastic, awesome, and all around wildly entertaining hour and 45 minutes.
Black is hysterically funny. My sides were splitting from laughing so much at his goofy rocker character, Dewey Finn. Especially his eyebrows.
Dewey has just been kicked out of his band and decides to start his own band. The Horace Finn school calls looking for Ned Scheebly (played by the screenwriter of the movie, Mike White) a substitute teacher, Dewey answers the phone. He desperately needs cash to pay his rent so he pretends to be Ned. Now, at this juncture in many comedies, this is where the film should lose much of it's audience. However, Jack Black's antics and wildly goofy behavior keep you.
His students are all in 5th grade, and when he finds out some of them play instruments, his mind and eyebrows concoct a brilliant scheme. His old band is entering a battle of the bands so he decides to create his own pre-teen band and enter the contest as well. The guitarist kid is amazing!!! All the children did a great job, and seemed to be having a blast with Black. He's just a big kid himself after all.
Eventually, he is found out thanks to Ned's annoying and controlling girlfriend played by Sara Silverman. I remember her from "greg the bunny", a very short lived sitcom. We have a film with an uplifting happy ending that sends you home with a smile on your face as you go searching through your c.d. collection for some AC/DC.
Also, I thought Joan Cusack was quite comical as the uptight school Prinicpal. Black works well with both Cusacks(John is High Fidelity)
And thanks to Mike White for confirming to me that you aren't a total nutcase screenwriter(also wrote Chuck & Buck and The good girl). You've restored my faith in your work after this charming rocknroll comedy.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I really had heightened expectations for "School of Rock," because I tend to really like movies where people find an excuse to get up and play songs. Besides, there was such good word of mouth on this film as well and I liked Jack Black's performance at the end of "Shallow Hall." This time around Black plays Dewey Finn, who has been kicked out of the rock band he created because he tends to confuse his commitment to the power of rock 'n' roll with the gratification of his own ego. He cons his way into a gig as a substitute teacher for a fifth-grade class at a private school and as soon as he finds out some of these kids can actually play instruments he start turning them into a rock band. The goal is to go head-to-head with his old group and beat them into the ground at the upcoming Battle of the Bands. He also gives his cherubs an education in rock, mainly because he is so appalled at their lack of knowledge.
Granted, there is a certain predictability to the plot here, but "School of Rock" does not fall into a similar trap with the characters. Dewey does not get changed in the process as much as have his eyes opened to what is happening when you really collaborate in creating music and playing in a band. In simpler terms, he starts practicing what he has been preaching. As for the kids, they follow their rock 'n' roll Pied Piper's lead but they also are more than willing to stand up and get in Dewey's face.
I actually wanted more of a rock education for the viewing audience. There is a nice little scene where Dewey has laid out a constellation chart of rock groups on the board, but instead of hearing him lecture we get the music on the soundtrack turned up loud. Old viewers will of course recognize the names that Dewey drops throughout the film, but I kept thinking it would be nice if there were a few choice instances where Dewey drove home a couple of key points to the kidlets. In other words, do with words what is done with music when Dewey teaches the kid who plays guitar the riffs for "Sunshine Of Your Love," "Iron Man," and "Smoke on the Water," or the keyboard player the opening of "Touch Me."
You can guess what is happening at the end, but that does not take away from the overall sense of fun, especially for younger viewers who will enjoy the fact the kids are all doing their own singing and playing. I have just been comparing such musical grand finales to the end of "Uptown Girls," and I find this one to be okay (the song was not up to the kids). There are some efforts to take advantage of Joan Cusack playing the head of the school, but she really is underutilized (I was expecting more off of the Stevie Nicks reference). These things just underscore not only that "School of Rock" could have been better but that we really would have liked this 2003 film to have made it all the way to the next level.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Jack Black is the star of the hit movie, "School of Rock". He plays an unemployed rock musician named Dewey Finn who is abruptly dumped by his band before a big performance. Dewey has an encyclopedic knowledge of rock music, which is his life's passion. Unfortunately, he has no income, and he is on the verge of being tossed out on the street by his long-suffering friend, Ned, for not paying his rent. Desperate for a buck, Dewey poses as Ned to get a substitute-teaching gig in a fancy prep school.
Sounds logical, right? Try this on for size. Dewey knows nothing about teaching, so he organizes his tightly wound and upwardly mobile students into a rock band. The versatile Joan Cusack plays the buttoned-down and intense principal, Rosalie Mullins, who is oblivious to the raucous sounds emanating from Dewey's classroom.
Why does "School of Rock" work, considering that it is so preposterous? First of all, the director, Richard Linklater, tailored the movie around the special talents of the manic Jack Black. Black's uninhibited acting style is perfect for this role and his unbridled enthusiasm helps the audience to go with the flow. Not for one second did I believe that any of the goings-on in this movie could happen in our galaxy, but I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. The physical comedy is marvelous. The children who play Dewey's students are appealing. There are even several touching scenes, especially one in which Dewey encourages a heavy-set student to accept herself the way she is and to be proud of her considerable talent.
"School of Rock" has plenty of conventional elements, but the far from conventional Jack Black is an absolute hoot. Put your brain on hold and be prepared for a rocking good time when you see the entertaining and lively "School of Rock".