September 26, 2014

School of Rock

Richard Linklater, 2003
After getting kicked out of his band, Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is desparate for some form of income especially with his roommate's girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) putting pressure on him to contribute rent money. When he intercepts a call from the local school trying to reach his roommate Ned (Mike White) for a substitution position, he decides to dupe the school into thinking he is Ned and takes the position himself.

If you are not a fan of Jack Black's, School of Rock is probably a no go for you. It's Jack Black at his very Jack Black-est, demanding attention from everyone in close range. Lot's of sudden jerking movements, and loudness. But it's hard to picture anyone other than Jack Black playing the part of Dewey Finn. While his ADHD behavior can grow tiring, there is an endearing quality that fits well -especially in the role of a school teacher. Instructed to follow a standard curriculum, he abandons this quite quickly for his own brand of anti-authoritarian expression. Using Rock and Roll as a platform for his own satisfaction but also playing to his strengths, he inadvertently shows the kids how to open up and express themselves in an environment that they've grown imprisoned with. Living up to the high expectations of their parents, they assume that their parents will push their own wishes on them and they will simply follow. But Dewey comes in and shakes it all up. The film could also be considered Linklater's love letter to music, very much like Almost Famous was to Cameron Crowe. The two films are similar in a way. Both push the idea of young innocents wrapped up in their love of music, to the point where it becomes an all-consuming thing inside of a traditionally strict environment. But bearing the warning that the film may not hit the mark with Black haters, perhaps there are some aspects of it that may be able to make their way into your heart if you were one before. Maybe you can come away liking Black at least a little bit more. If this film doesn't do that, nothing will.

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