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.
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!
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. (...)
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!
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!!!!!!***********
on July 11, 2013
For this review, I'm assuming you have seen the movie (otherwise, why buy the dvd) and are considering owning a copy.
This is a fine DVD. It is not HD or Blue Ray, but it plays and looks great on my blue ray player.
There is really nothing wrong with the copy, and for that alone this would get 5 stars. But I rate dvds on their bonus material, especially the commentary, since this is where the added value is for me. And in this aspect, I think the value could be higher. The commentary was very half-assed. I don't mind the commentators goofing off or even digressing wildly - often this provides valuable insights into these personalities. But I expect a certain amount of discussion of the film, its production, the development of the story, the actors' interpretation of and improvisation with their roles, etc. The commentary section was very mediocre. Not bad, just not great. Hence 4 stars. If I was rating just the commentary, It'd be 2 stars.
The redeeming qualities come with the many other special features: the kids have a commentary track, and the kids have a video diary of the showing of School of Rock at the Toronto film festival; there is a fun music video of a song one of the kids (in the story line), and other such features. I found the kid stuff really fun. So many of them were so delightful in the film, it was great to get a sense of their real personalities.
Hope this helps.
I've never given Jack Black much thought. Although he's been around movies and television for the past few decades, he started mostly in minor or supporting roles, where I hardly noticed him. Then there were the voice characterizations in various screen animations, which I enjoyed; some wholly forgettable starring parts in things like "Shallow Hal," "Nacho Libre," and "Gulliver's Travels"; his leading role in the "King Kong" remake, where he reminded me of a young Orson Welles; and this 2003 film, "School of Rock," which is still probably my favorite Jack Black vehicle.
"School of Rock" gives Black a chance to do what he does best: Be a chubby, manic, warmhearted, unpredictable wild man in the John Candy, John Belushi mold. The surprising thing to me is that Richard Linklater directed the movie, surprising because I usually think of Linklater as a filmmaker of more subtle tastes, doing things like "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset," "Fast Food Nation," "Waking Life," "A Scanner Darkly," and "Bernie." But then I remembered he also made "Dazed and Confused," another film about school life that was raucous, truthful, and heartfelt. Apparently, he's a more successfully eclectic filmmaker than I recalled.
In "School of Rock" Black plays Dewey Finn, a dedicated rocker, a guy for whom music is life. It's just that he's not a very good musician, and he's too much of an egotistical scuzzball to recognize how destructive he can be. As a result, his band has voted to kick him out and replace him with someone more sensible. What's more, Dewey hasn't paid his rent to old friend and roommate Ned Schneebly (Mike White, who wrote the film) in months, and Schneebly's rigidly uptight girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) wants Ned to kick him out of the apartment. What's poor Dewey to do?
Dewey hits upon a scheme. Ned is a substitute teacher and gets a call for a job one day at a prestigious, private, upper-class elementary prep school; Dewey takes the call and accepts the job for himself, needing the money and pretending to be Ned. But he hasn't a clue how or what to teach in a classroom full of ten and eleven-year olds. So he decides to teach them the only thing he knows, rock and roll, and organize them into a classroom band.
You can guess the rest as he prepares the kids to participate in a Battle of the Bands contest, all the while trying to hide from the school's principal, the ultraconservative Ms. Mullins (Joan Cusack), the fact that he's not really a teacher.
Naturally, Dewey learns as much about himself from the kids as he teaches them about rock-and-roll music. This is Jack Black front and center at all times, and his extrovert personality works perfectly for the part. He makes the kids feel important, and they help restore his self-confidence. Dewey even throws in some rock history and rock appreciation in his teaching, which is kind of cute, considering it as a metaphor for how little young people know anything about their own culture.
The movie has a few slow spots in it but otherwise displays a strong forward momentum, again thanks to Black. More important, though, it's funny, Black is tiptop, and the kids are appealing, not precious. It's a high-energy movie and a joyous one, too, with a soundtrack filled with great old tunes from the likes of Kiss, the Clash, Cream, the Doors, AC/DC, The Who, The Ramones, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, T-Rex, Velvet Underground, and a slew of others.
Using an MPEG-4/AVC codec and a dual-layer BD50, the Paramount video folks give us a picture quality that probably looks about as good as I imagine the original print to look. There are no obvious signs of their tinkering with the image, no filtering or edge sharpening, no halos, no glossiness, nothing but a clean screen, a little inherent print grain, good object delineation, realistic colors, and especially lifelike facial hues.
Surprisingly, the soundtrack doesn't offer all that much surround activity, mostly just a good front-channel stereo spread. The engineers use lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, but maybe because a lot of the material they reproduced was in two-channel, not much in the rears came through they were willing to enhance. Anyway, expects lots of rock music surrounding even more dialogue, the rock clear and dynamic, the dialogue sounding quite natural.
The extras begin with two separate commentaries, one with star Jack Black and director Richard Linklater and the other a "Kids' Kommentary" with seven of the young actors and actresses in the film. After those, we get a twenty-five minute making-of featurette, "Lessons Learned on School of Rock," with the stars and filmmakers; "Jack Black's Pitch to Led Zeppelin," about two minutes, in which Black teasingly begs the band to use one of their songs; a "School of Rock" music video; an eight-minute "Kids' Video Diary: Toronto Film Festival"; a sixteen-minute featurette, "MTV's Diary of Jack Black"; and an interactive text feature, "Dewey Finn's History of Rock."
The extras conclude with eighteen scene selections; bookmarks; a widescreen theatrical trailer in HD; English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese spoken languages and subtitles; and English captions for the hearing impaired.
Sure, "School of Rock" is a predictable fantasy, but it's also great fun. It's like one of those inspirational sports movies where you want to stand up and cheer at the end. More to the point, I found any number of laughs in it. I mean, what do you want from a comedy?
on April 12, 2015
Love this flick. Love watching it my granddaughters especially. Jack Black is perfect as the scamming musician posing as a teacher. The kid musicians are great and so is the music. Joan Cusack is hilarious as Black's foil. Lots of fun. Safe to watch with kids, and adults won't be bored.
on December 24, 2004
Okay, Jack Black isn't my favorite. And I didn't really think I'd like "School of Rock" terribly much, but it wasn't that bad. Actually, it was pretty good. I enjoyed it, and I would allow my kids to watch it, too.
Black, like in many other roles, portrays the loser - the guy that really isn't doing anything with his life - until he is sort of inadvertently given the opportunity to substitute teach at the best elementary school in town. Easy, right? Recess all day long, no worries. Wrong. Of course the school is completely filled with baby overacheivers.
To make a long story short, Black ends up teaching these kids the only thing he knows, and the only thing they don't: rock 'n roll.
He creates a band using the kids' talents, ending in playing, and being a huge success, in the Battle of the Bands.
In all, Black's character teaches the kids valuable life lessons: there's more to life than looks, music can be fun, everyone's put here for a reason. Trends where morals are cool have been happening not only in "School of Rock," but also in smash films like "Shrek." I think that a film like this is not only fun, but okay for the kids. They won't leave it feeling like they have to be perfect, but that flawed is cool.
The writing is also rather smart. It appeals to older fans with scenes with Jack Black and the rock music, but "School of Rock" also appeals to the younger audience because most of the cast is comprised of, well, a younger crowd.
Overall, "School of Rock" is pleasing to just about any audience. However, if you really can't stand Black's antics, maybe pass this one up. But for me, four stars!
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.