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School of Rock

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Caught this on cable one night.

It was pretty obvious from the previews that this was a vehicle for Jack Black.   It was even more so than I expected.

The part was no stretch for him at all.  He plays a guy in a rock band who's a bit overzealous.  He takes rocking a bit too seriously.  And maybe just slightly in his own world.

His two roomies are a long-time friend and the guy's girlfriend (Sara Silverman, yummy.)  They give him an ultimatum:  Pay his share of the rent or get out.

When taking a message for his roomie, Jack decides to impersonate him as a substitute teacher to get the money.  He manages to bullshit his way past the principal (Joan Cusack) and into the classroom.

It's a private school, so the caliber of child is very high.  But they still have several archetypes of ten-year-olds.  The Teacher's Pet, always raising her hand and tattling on the other students.  The music prodigy.  A geek.  A few others I can't think of right now.

There's an upcoming contest for rock bands, and when Jack's band kicks him out, he decides to make up a fictitious "class project" to build his own band with the kids.

One of the neat things they did with his character is that, despite his obsession, he actually does care about the kids.  And he does a good job of building up their self-esteem even if they're one of the roadies, or the manager, and not on stage.  He also shows what might be some of his own thought process by insisting that the kids listen to great rock bands and study them for musical appreciation and song-writing and performance technique.

Meanwhile, the plot has to throw in a few bits where he bullshits the other teachers.   And also has to fend off the principal a coupla more times.

Of course, just before the big show, everything falls apart.  But the kids take matters into their own hands and they make it on stage.

There were a few verisimilitude breaks.  Like, despite all this practicing in class, for weeks, I think, none of the other faculty nor students notice.

It was a fairly cute movie.  A friend of mine who was in the music industry for a while and is now in the school system said both portions struck a chord with her.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Pay Per View.  It was cute, but ultimately just fluff.

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Last modified: January 07, 2006
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