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School of Rock (2003)
26. Sep 2003 at 03:57
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review from village voice :

 
A Slacker Musician Teaches Preppie Tykes a Lesson in Unleashing Their Inner Rockers
Hear My Song
by J. Hoberman
September 24 - 30, 2003

Kid Rock: Black in School
(photo: Paramount Pictures)


School of Rock
Directed by Richard Linklater
Paramount, opens October 3


The School of Rock
Date:
Fri 09/26Sat 09/27Sun 09/28Mon 09/29Tue 09/30Wed 10/01Thu 10/02
Location:
ManhattanBrooklynQueensBronxStaten IslandNew JerseyNassauSuffolk



 


hurling himself into the role of pop pedagogue Dewey Finn, Jack Black is consistently hilarious—and not just in his dreams of moshpit glory. School of Rock, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens here next week, is the most commercial movie directed by the versatile Richard Linklater; written by Mike White (Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl), it's also Linklater's funniest.

This has been an outstanding month for male comic performances—Bill Murray, of course, but also Nicolas Cage's manic turn in the otherwise bogus Matchstick Men, and Bruce Campbell's sustained impression of a geriatric Elvis in the midnight wannabe Bubba Ho-Tep (reviewed elsewhere this issue). Black, a beady-eyed performer not known for his subtlety, exceeds even Cage in physical comedy, at times exhibiting a chubby grace that can suggest Zero Mostel's. Loud and obnoxious, a fount of inane jive, absurd bluster, and banshee shrieks, his Dewey lords over the set—delivering White's rock clichés with lunatic conviction. White himself appears as Dewey's sometime foil, his wimped-out roomie Ned Schneebly, a substitute teacher with an extremely judgmental girlfriend, Patty (Sarah Silverman).

"I serve society by rocking," feckless Dewey stoutly maintains in the face of Ned and Patty's accusations of deadbeatdom. Threatened with eviction and fired from the heavy metalloid band he founded, Dewey intercepts a phone call for Ned; passing himself off as a sub, he tries to make the rent money by teaching fifth grade in an exclusive private school. One thing leads to another, and after exhausting the option of the all-day recess, Dewey orchestrates a secret "class project" to mold his po-faced, 10-year-old charges into his replacement rock band. Thus, the culture of rock 'n' roll takes hold.

The movie's basic joke is that, no less than the beloved teacher of Dead Poets Society, Dewey is initiating his students into the mysteries of literary appreciation. As noted by Robert Pattison some years ago, rock ideology vulgarizes a number of 19th-century romantic conventions, including the glorification of youth and youthful energy, as well as a distaste for formal education. Perpetual motion machine and messianic master of the hot-air guitar, Dewey embodies these qualities and more—he's inanely oracular as well as belligerently anti-authoritarian, encouraging his students to "stick it to the Man."

Rock 'n' roll pedantry is perhaps an unexplored subject for comedy. "We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school," Bruce Springsteen (not one of Dewey's heroes) proudly sang in "No Surrender." Dewey instructs his charges in three-chord guitar, explains that they have to be "pissed off" to write a rock song, and elucidates the history of Led Zeppelin. School of Rock is The Blackboard Jungle (or High School Confidential! or Rock 'n' Roll High School) in reverse: The teacher liberates his uptight students and shows them how to be "cool" in a safe way. However anarchic Dewey may seem, he dwells in a drug-free zone and his charges, like himself, are uniformly pre-sexual.

No one in this PG-13 world is particularly dazed and confused, but everyone has his or her inner rock god—even Joan Cusack's amusingly nervous principal is a closeted Stevie Nicks. Piloted by Black's endearingly obnoxious true believer, School of Rock successfully navigates between the sentimental Scylla of Dead Poets Society and the cloying Charybdis of The Bad News Bears. Of course, given Dewey's oft-stated belief that "one great rock show can change the world," there's a nearly unavoidable Rocky ending. But even this is mitigated by the movie's inane energy. And what is culture anyway?

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« Last Edit: 29. Jun 2008 at 18:15 by Zabladowski »  
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josephk
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Re: school of rock
Reply #1 - 26. Sep 2003 at 07:29
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LOL! What a coincidence. I just wrote in another thread that Richard Linklater is one of the most over-rated directors of all times.

Well, I'll make an exception and check out this movie, because the writer, Mike White, is simply brilliant. I've seen every one of his movies so far and I love them all. (My favourite is Chuck and Buck.)

Besides, what I couldn't stand about Waking Life was not so much Linklater's directing as his terrible writing. I think he should be forbidden from ever writing another screenplay after that atrocity.

Thanks for the article, aaaa.
  
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Re: school of rock
Reply #2 - 26. Sep 2003 at 09:24
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"...belligerently anti-authoritarian, encouraging his students to "stick it to the Man."

I like it already!
« Last Edit: 29. Jun 2008 at 18:14 by Zabladowski »  
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Reply #3 - 04. Oct 2003 at 15:43
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SCHOOL OF ROCK is amazing.  I absolutely loved it.

  • Do you like kids of a certain age?... They were nominally 10 years old, but some of the actors were probably a year or two older.
  • Is music meaningful to you?
  • Are you inspired by the relationship of a teacher to a student?


All of these fit me, making this movie an emotional experience for me.

Maybe you will like it too!
  
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Re: school of rock
Reply #4 - 04. Oct 2003 at 16:29
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I look forward to seeing it soon.  Thanks for the review, Hosenhaus.
  
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favorite kids
Reply #5 - 04. Oct 2003 at 16:46
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Some of my favorite actors.  I think I have seen none of them before...

Joey Gaydos as Zack, the lead guitar player

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Kevin Clark as Freddy, the drummer

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Robert Tsai as Lawrence, the keyboard player

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Brian Falduto as Billy, the band stylist

and many more

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Note, what they call a "trailer" there is more of a "music video" ... with lots of material not from the movie.


« Last Edit: 04. Oct 2003 at 17:56 by hosenhaus »  
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Re: school of rock
Reply #6 - 03. Mar 2004 at 22:35
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For anyone in the US who has missed seeing this in theatres, School of Rock was just released on video yesterday.  Smiley
  
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