School of Rock movie cast: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman
School of Rock movie director: Richard Linklater
School of Rock movie rating: 3.5 stars
The inspiring teacher-student tale can be a bit dry and burdensome at times. But those moments are few and far between in the Richard Linklater directorial School of Rock (2003). Led by the underrated and hilarious Jack Black, the film turns the niche genre of the mentor-pupil story on its head.
Jack Black is a comedic genius, but he also happens to be a passionate musician. And filmmaker Linklater squeezes that passion out of him to the movie’s great advantage. The premise of the plot itself is incredulous — An out of work musician takes up a job at a school, and plans to lead the class to a local battle of the bands.
While the movie stretches a bit in the second half, the fun first half more than makes up for it. Black’s turn as Dewey Fin is reckless, almost unreal but it still somehow manages to evoke the spirit of ‘never say never.’ The background score is great and so is Joan Cusack, as the somewhat stuck-up principal who fears ‘to let loose.’
Linklater has written other coming-of-age films before, most popularly Dazed and Confused. But School of Rock, if you have to ultimately pin down and categorise it into a larger genre, is a refreshing take on coming-of-age movies. Here, not only Jack Black’s character grows and comes to terms with his life and what he wants to make of it, but the kids he finally ends up teaching music to also grow with him in a promising fashion.
Hollywood Rewind: About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Not everyone has to make a Dead Poets Society to pass the message — do your own thing, and do it with honesty. The rest will take care of its own. A tip which we would all do well to take time and again.
School of Rock is available for streaming on YouTube.