School of Rock

By Mark Ramsey | 2003/10/05

Somewhere there’s a school where it’s all about the music and your teacher is a Meatloaf tribute singer. That place is the School of Rock and that teacher is Jack Black.

As the faux substitute who turns a pre-pubescent class into a Schoolhouse Rock band, Jack was born to play this role – which is what happens when a role was written to be played by Jack Black.

To make an SAT analogy: Jack Black is to School of Rock as Whoopi Goldberg is to Sister Act.

schoolofrock_pose.jpgSome critics are so euphoric over this movie they’re not tapping out reviews, they’re blasting out power ballads. Entertainment Weekly even goes so far as to call the premise “original.”

Original?! New teacher enters class constrained by rules, tradition and rigid parenting. Teacher inspires students to seek their identities through the arts, suffers the consequences, and is redeemed in the end.

Never seen that one before.

Jack’s lofty goal is world peace, but since that was already in sight thanks to the combined efforts of thousands of beauty pageant contestants, Jack reverted to plan B: He would create the Most Rockin’-est Band Ever – or at least shortest one since the Lollipop Guild serenaded Dorothy.

“Rock is about the passion,” preaches Jack, “specifically, the passion between Tawny Kitaen and the hood of a car in a Whitesnake video.”

And not just passion, Rock is also about “sticking it to The Man,” says Jack, “and Tawny has stuck it to a lot of Man.”

Even at their tender ages, these kids have been kept down by The Man, and I mean The Man at Chucky Cheese who keeps them down off the furniture.

schoolofrock_history.jpgJack complains that The Man has ruined music, but Rock was pure once upon a time. Specifically, a time after Perry Como and before Perry Farrell when “Manson” meant Charlie, not Marilyn. A time between Little Richard and Little Steven when the Fred of the moment was Flintstone, not Durst. School of Rock’s musical references are almost dated enough to be performed by Herb Alpert.

Why the hostility towards today’s tunage, bro? You think modern bands are the only sellouts? I’ll remember that next time I see the TV spot where the boomer guy’s revving his mack Cadillac to some mad Zeppelin beats. Hey, if you’re gonna fight the Man, wage war in a Seville V8! Groovy!

I know credulity is supposed to sustain an unholy alliance with movies of this type, but I doubt credulity and School of Rock are even on speaking terms. If Retirement Rock had this kind of power to inspire kids, most 10-year-olds wouldn’t regard it the same way medieval juveniles regarded the plague.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh

You don’t have to go

oh oh oh oh oh

You don’t have to go

oh oh oh oh oh

Baby please don’t go.

Now that’s sticking it to The Man!

Sheesh. I didn’t expect this movie to be aimed straight at kids. Or families, really. Which is “aimed at kids” plus frequent use of the word “ass.”

Is School of Rock cute? Sure, in the way all kids are cute when they dress up like Rock stars. Is Jack Black fantastic? Sure, how can he not be?! Are the end credits worth the price of admission? Absolutely!

Cute, School of Rock is.

Dead Poet’s Society it ain’t.

Photos Copyright ©2003 Paramount Pictures


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