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Overall Rating
4.33

Awesome51.87%
Worth A Look: 34.76%
Average: 10.16%
Pretty Bad: 1.07%
Total Crap: 2.14%

10 reviews, 127 user ratings


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School of Rock
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Jack Black owns you."
4 stars

I know a guy who was probably in his teens when KISS were at their peak of popularity in the '70s, and who now has a son who's happy to go to the more recent KISS concerts with his dad. 'The School of Rock' is for that guy and his son: Two generations lock hands over bone-crushing guitar solos and the "stick it to the Man" ethos of rock.

And when I say "rock," I don't mean the bland growling noise that passes for rock today; I mean rawwwk, dude, the soundtrack of the '70s -- not only heavy-metal titans like AC/DC and Led Zep, but also more contemplative outfits like Yes and Pink Floyd. Doesn't have to break windows, man, it just has to blow your mind and melt your face.

The School of Rock is a loving valentine to true rock, disguised as a kiddie movie incongruously starring Jack Black and even more incongruously directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Waking Life) and written by Mike White (Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl). What are all these people doing messing around with a kids' movie? Well, they're not, even if it has kids in it.

White has devised a rather shrewd premise: Black plays Dewey Finn, an egomaniacal singer/guitarist -- wait, that's sort of a redundancy -- who gets booted from his band for being, well, a singer/guitarist. He pulls killer solos, capers around onstage, and leaps into the audience to surf the crowd. He's not the lead singer, but he doesn't know that. Meanwhile, he's living with his substitute-teacher buddy (screenwriter White), who used to be in a crazy rock band before settling down, and his buddy's bitchy girlfriend (Sarah Silverman), the kind of girlfriend who lives to domesticate her man and strangle his dreams. Dewey needs money to pay the rent or Ms. Bitchy will kick him to the curb, so he snags one of his buddy's substitute jobs at an elite private school.

Weaving from a hangover, Dewey stands before the class -- full of a bunch of already-neurotic overachievers, driven to succeed by their yuppie parents -- and declares that there will be no grades, no learning, and lots of recess. But he happens to glimpse a few of them in a music class, and sees that they have talent. Wheels turn in Dewey's head, and his "secret class project" gets underway. The classical guitarist in the class becomes "Zack Attack," learning Black Sabbath riffs. A shy, chubby girl unfurls a voice to rival Aretha. The cymbal player gets set loose on a full set of drums. The bashful piano player is pointed towards a keyboard and given Rick Wakeman as homework. Dewey knows his classic rock, and the movie does, too. Linklater, whose nostalgic masterpiece Dazed and Confused was loaded with the stuff, feels the down-and-dirty transportive power of "The Immigrant Song" or "The Great Gig in the Sky."

Make no mistake: The School of Rock breathes mainstream air. It's another case of independent film artists beating Hollywood at its own game (it's being distributed by Paramount, but its many symbols of anti-authority rock don't feel misplaced). The script is something of a first for Mike White, who here seems to be engaging in Hollywood formula to study its habits. There is, for instance, an uptight school principal (Joan Cusack) who must eventually loosen up and appreciate the band Dewey forms with the kids; but Joan Cusack plays her as an update of her harried mom in Say Anything, of whom Lloyd Dobler said "You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious." I believed that then, and I believe it now.

Would there be a movie without Jack Black? Maybe, but not as fun. Black's performance, while toned down for PG-13 consumption, loses none of its hellraising glee, and he makes us buy Dewey's skewed altruism in teaching the kids about Iron Maiden and Led Zep; these kids don't even know what rock is, for God's sake, they need help. The movie threatens to veer into Dead Poets Society territory when we learn that some of the parents don't approve of Dewey's methods. After all, rock will not help their children compete in the real world. Maybe not -- and the script acknowledges that with the outcome of the Battle of the Bands the kids enter -- but the purpose of rock is not to win or lose; the purpose of rock is to rock.

Dewey plausibly teaches a bunch of post-rock kids the power of old-school rock, and maybe a lot of viewers young and old will learn it from this movie, too. Well, except that guy and his son. They already know.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8224&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/14/07 12:01:51
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User Comments

2/04/14 gcssubyzm USA 4 stars
2/04/14 zqdcti USA 4 stars
7/08/13 Monday Morning One of Jack's best - lots of fun. Just sit back and enjoy 4 stars
11/15/08 Annie G Fabulous acting from a group of young musicians. Just an overall good time! 4 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Movie! 5 stars
9/21/08 Samantha Pruitt awesome family film, with really great music! 5 stars
9/07/08 Claire Sun Excellent movie, great for the whole family. 5 stars
8/10/08 PAUL SHORTT FEELS ABOUT AS LIBERATING AS A WHALEBONE CORSET 1 stars
7/17/07 Andrea D Freddy (kevin clark) is soooooo hot!! ( it is 5 stars because of him) 5 stars
6/27/07 Pokejedservo A genuinely appealing film, not a classic but its fairly close. 4 stars
6/06/07 ashley was frankie that fat kid? 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega This school rules!!!! Fun-lovin' movie. 4 stars
12/24/06 11pop lame and predictable 1 stars
12/03/06 R.W.Welch Appeals mostly to Rock fans, but gonzo perf by J.B. C+ 3 stars
11/05/06 Samantha OMG I went to Montosery Preschool with Angelo Massagli! He promised to marry me! 5 stars
10/19/06 David Pollastrini very funny 5 stars
10/17/06 AJ Muller God of Rock, thank you for Jack Black, who has melted our faces with his high voltage rock 5 stars
10/05/06 Stanley Thai One of the best film's...and it stars Jack Black! 4 stars
6/26/06 ClaranceTheCobra See this Movie 5 stars
5/26/06 Ace ROCK ON JACK BLACK! WOO! WOO! OH yeah! 5 stars
3/16/06 Gribley HEHE - I know all the words! TEEHEE!! :D 5 stars
1/08/06 Quigley one of comedy's finest hours. Black steals the show. I was laughing every minute, no joke! 5 stars
12/29/05 Steve Newman Excellent excellent excellent (dec 05) 5 stars
8/18/05 John Aster Habig incredible gifted kids, a hilarious script and Black's comic genius=sweet 5 stars
7/24/05 Lisa Sammi A very inspirational movie-I wet my pants laughing! 5 stars
7/23/05 Dan !!! :D !!! 5 stars
3/17/05 Mask critic its ok but Jack Black is fucken insane 3 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Very entertaining, feel good movie! 4 stars
12/12/04 Kristina Williams hilarious and the kids were awesome 5 stars
11/16/04 GAIL THIS IS A GREAT FEEL GOOD MOVIE.5 STARS 5 stars
11/15/04 random* warning: may cause uncontrollable grinning 5 stars
11/14/04 willie vergara excellent and entertaining 5 stars
11/12/04 Andrea I actually surprised myself by truely enjoying this one. Jack Black is a delight! 4 stars
11/10/04 Misti Jack Black is brillant. The music in this movie is pretty good. 4 stars
11/08/04 kpxpaintballer it rocked the guitar and drum solos and all 5 stars
10/25/04 DM Very funny and surprisingly sweet 5 stars
10/20/04 ralph by far best comedy of 2003.arguebly best of movie of the year 5 stars
9/16/04 joyce its really a graet movie... 5 stars
9/14/04 Marionne Rivero Kevin Clark is soooooo cute!!!! 5 stars
8/26/04 jmsynth Better then most "family" films, but overated and rarely funny 3 stars
8/21/04 ME Kevin Clark is F2F, he is sOoOoOoOoO LUSH, seen film 341 times in counting, it's gr8!!!!!! 5 stars
8/13/04 *Riaan* Kevin Clark is so cute and the movie was great!!! 5 stars
8/08/04 maryann paul dsouza awesome 5 stars
8/02/04 ian it was the best movie I SAW ALL YEAR 5 stars
7/30/04 THIS MOVIE WTFPWNT EVERYONE w00t! THIS MOVIE WTFPWNT EVERYONE w00t! 5 stars
7/25/04 Katie This i smy favorite movie! Kevin Clark is SO HOT!!!!!!!! : ) 5 stars
7/25/04 heather kevin clark is so hott 5 stars
7/16/04 monica hedway it's a brill film and ive seen it 24 times 5 stars
7/13/04 Mia I THINK IT ROCKED TOTALLY!!!! 5 stars
7/12/04 Monster W. Kung Hardly a masterpiece, but still a funny and entertaining light-hearted flick. 4 stars
7/11/04 rachel kevin clark is lush hes my husband (i wish) the film was brilliant 5 stars
7/09/04 christina vitello It was awsome move, 5 stars
7/08/04 Chelsey This is my favorite movie 5 stars
7/08/04 Summer the movie was rocken + Kevin Clark was hoooott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/01/04 Lisa johnson i think it was and AWSOME move 5 stars
6/30/04 Jim Wasn't bad, but didn't hold my interest. He woulda been busted the first day. 3 stars
6/29/04 Amy i loved the movie it was the best Kevin Clark is hott 5 stars
6/28/04 Marissa Wolff Cool movie 5 stars
6/26/04 Paige This movie was a riot! It was so hardcore and awesome. Plus, Kevin Clark was in it so how c 5 stars
6/25/04 Kelsey this movie is awsome! kecin is so hot! 5 stars
6/25/04 Renee The movie rocked out loud! plus Kevin Clark is ab hottie. Luv u kevin! 5 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva very funny 5 stars
6/18/04 Kelso THIS MOVIE ROCKED! ThE MUSIC WAS GREAT AND KEVIN CLARK IS THE SUPER FINE! 5 stars
6/15/04 Shelby I loved the movie! what made it better was Kevin hes so HOTT!! 5 stars
6/11/04 Alexia I love Kevin annd the Movie! HE is HOT!!!!! 5 stars
6/08/04 Ron Miller Not for the older crowd, I'd have to agree, Black is a future huge star and will regretthis 3 stars
6/08/04 James Kustes Richard Linklater, Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, and Mike White. How could it not be good? 5 stars
6/07/04 Amanda This is the best movie ever and i know angelo massagli (frankie) hes soo cool 5 stars
6/06/04 Tessa I think it's a kick butt movie!!!! 5 stars
5/27/04 Courtney I love Kevin Clark he is so HOT!!! 5 stars
5/22/04 matt Kevin Alexander is sooooooooooo hot 5 stars
5/19/04 Diane Kevin Clark is hot! And the movie rocks! and he's mine! 5 stars
5/16/04 Katie This is the best movie ever! I LOVE KEVIN CLARK! 5 stars
4/29/04 jessica kevin clark you are so HOT 5 stars
4/16/04 John I love this movie the best move I've seen all year 5 stars
4/16/04 Soulis Sorry Jack, I admire your abilities but this movie is for grade school kids 2 stars
4/15/04 sera .c Kevin Clark is soooooo H.O.T. 5 stars
4/07/04 April Marie One of the most fun movies in a long time. Jack Black is the cat's pajamas for sure. 5 stars
3/31/04 Jess I wanna bone Jack Black, he's so fine! 5 stars
3/29/04 Amelia awesome!! i loved it Kevin Clark is so hott!!!! 5 stars
3/26/04 Kevin Radchenko This movie rocks! I love to watch this movie. 5 stars
3/18/04 Toothdoc Awesome movie...my kids air-guitared for the whole movie 5 stars
3/17/04 The Dude Jack Black is a fucking funny bastard. 5 stars
3/15/04 elaina hennig loved it great movie! 5 stars
3/08/04 Lindsay Kevin lives near me and I saw him at the mall! 5 stars
3/05/04 Ingo Nice and dull. 3 stars
2/18/04 The Big See Forced to watch this on a flight -- laughed my ass off! Great stuff. 5 stars
2/18/04 alisha jenkins it's mence 5 stars
2/17/04 Thomas Woolsgrove All the rock you know and some you don't, couppled with a classic Hollywood teatchers plot 4 stars
2/13/04 Littlepurch Blimey it went on FOREVER!!! Fantastic music and some funny moments but not great. 3 stars
2/11/04 garyrjb great film entertainment didnt need sfx or huge budget. just great fun 4 stars
2/05/04 Wendy Carpenter Almost as fun as it is preposterous. 4 stars
12/30/03 amanda it is the best movie ever 5 stars
12/27/03 Alien assasin Offers plenty of laughs. 4 stars
12/13/03 freddy lover HE WAS SO HOT IN THE MOVIE (we mean the drum player,freddy) 5 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands Great soundtrack, Black's the new Carrey, & the script is AWESOME. 5 stars
11/22/03 lucille roberts Terrific, entertaining and funny! Loved it!! 5 stars
11/15/03 School of Rock Fan One of my all time favorites 5 stars
11/12/03 Mike i tire of jack black 1 stars
11/07/03 Cameron Slick Like Dead Poets Society, except good. 4 stars
11/06/03 Dombomb27 It was a movie aimed at teenagers 5 stars
10/24/03 Mike H Great 5 stars
10/20/03 Stephanie Hardest I've laughed in a long time!! 5 stars
10/20/03 Elizaveta super cute - jack black acts with 200% energy! 4 stars
10/18/03 yahoo reel fun 4 stars
10/15/03 Meegz I think I laughed twice.. 2 stars
10/14/03 charmaine: it was awsome i am speechless! 5 stars
10/14/03 Colleen I saw it twice..first with a friend, then with my family! Everyone loved it! 5 stars
10/13/03 Bailey wicked awesome, as Jack Black always is and uh...Jack Black rocks my world. 5 stars
10/13/03 Justin Weiler Worst movie EVER... The hype is a complete mystery 1 stars
10/11/03 Mezz The kids are fuckin' geniuses, little bastards, and that Jack Black, fuckin' crack-up! 5 stars
10/10/03 Valerie I Love this movie!!! 5 stars
10/10/03 Michael OConor The first laugh-out-loud comedy in a long time that doesn't bombard you with grossout humor 5 stars
10/09/03 Lewis A highly enjoyable, fun movie!!!! 5 stars
10/09/03 srburns Suprisingly funny 4 stars
10/09/03 Josh Groth Jack Black is hilarious!! The music is incredible, and it is all put together very well. 5 stars
10/09/03 nick2k there was some cheese-factor....but it all came together in the end...even without katie. 4 stars
10/08/03 Greyjack If you liked JackBlack in "High Fidelity", you'll like this. If you didn't, you won't. 4 stars
10/07/03 Erik Van Sant A comedy that consistently reminds you of why Jack Black is a God. This movie is awesome. 5 stars
10/07/03 your worst goddamn nightmare this was such a funny flick... Tenacious D kicks soooo much ass!! 5 stars
10/06/03 alexandra this movie was the bees knees! hmmm...i wonder how old that one kid was, he was hot!. 5 stars
10/06/03 J.P. Acco I loved this movie, But no solo for Katie made me sad 5 stars
10/05/03 Kaitlin This movie rocks and kicks ass at the same time 5 stars
10/05/03 Elizaveta simply great fun 4 stars
10/05/03 TheRealNapster This movie was awesome! I laughed for the beginning till after the credits were over! 5 stars
10/04/03 Kitty B. luv jack black 5 stars
10/04/03 Superdave very funny and entertaining 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Oct-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Nov-2003


Directed by
  Richard Linklater

Written by
  Mike White

Cast
  Jack Black
  Joan Cusack
  Sarah Silverman
  Mike White
  Joey Gaydos
  Maryam Hassan



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