I know plenty of people have at one time or another had a dream of being in a band. It is one of the American Dreams that people strive for. The downside though is that the music business is a tough world to break into and not that many people are actually able to make their dreams come true. For those who don’t make it, it can be hard to get over the disappointment and they have to either keep living in denial, or try to do something different. Today’s movie is pretty much that very story and I though I am not the biggest Jack Black fan, I thought it was hilarious. So let’s all get our groove on as I watch today’s movie, School Of Rock.
The plot: At a nightclub, a band called No Vacancy is performing but the performance comes to an end when their guitarist, Dewey Finn, attempts a stage dive and knocks himself out. The next morning, Dewey is woken up by Ned Schneebly, his best friend whose apartment he has been crashing at, and Ned’s girlfriend Patty. Ned asks Dewey for his share of the rent and when Dewey says that he doesn’t have it, Patti tells him to sell some of his guitars to get it. After she goes to work, Dewey tries to convince Ned he should dump Patti but Ned refuses and tells Dewey he has till the end of the week to get the money or he is being kicked out of the apartment. When Dewey goes to band practice, he learns that they have voted him out of the band and replaced him with a guitarist named Spider. Dewey gets mad, as he put the band together, and says that he will form his own band and beat them at the upcoming Battle of the Bands competition. Dewey returns home and tries to sell one of his guitars to get Ned’s money when he answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of Horace Green Prep School. Rosalie is trying to find out if Ned is available for a job as a substitute teacher starting immediately and Dewey pretends he is Ned and takes the job. When Dewey arrives at the school, Rosalie shows him to his class and introduces him and asks that he write his name on the board for the kids but Dewey can’t spell Schneebly and tells them to just call him Mr. S. When Rosalie leaves, Dewey ends up telling the class to just go to recess, as he has a hangover, and when school lets out, he quickly heads home. Dewey starts putting up fliers to find a new band but he hears people talking bad about him when they don’t know he is listening. The next day, he hears the kids at their music class and quickly grabs several instruments from his van and when the kids return to class, he starts assigning several of them to various instruments. After having them play some basics, he assigns some other kids to various positions, saying it is a class project but they have to keep it secret so that they don’t get disqualified. The next day, Dewey is met by one of the students, Summer, as he pulls up and she says she is upset about being made a groupie and he tells her she is the band manager, which makes her happy. When they get to class, Dewey asks them about what their musical influences are and then decides to start a rock schedule. At lunch, several students approach Dewey about ideas for the band but he tells them they will talk later, as he is trying to keep it a secret from Rosalie. As time goes on, Dewey starts caring about the kids and helping them out, giving Tamika confidence in singing as well as Zack trying to stand up to his father. When auditions are being held for the Battle of the Bands, Dewey sneaks the students in the band out of school to audition, leaving the other students to help pretend that he is there in case Rosalie checks on them. When they get there, Tamika is nervous about singing, worried that people will laugh at her for being fat but Dewey helps her gain confidence. He then has to go find Freddy, who had wandered off to hang out with another band. When they get inside, the learn that the slots have all been filled and Dewey gets upset but Summer tells him she has an idea. Dewey approaches the man in charge and convinces him that the kids were terminally ill and wanted to perform at the Battle of the Bands and he allows them to perform. The next day, Rosalie shows up at the class and sits in, forcing Dewey to actually teach their normal lessons. After school, Dewey invites Rosalie for coffee but ends up taking her to a bar to get her drunk. While she is drunk, Dewey asks her about bending the rules for a class field trip, so he can take the kids to the competition, and she says she will think about it. The next day, the groupies show Dewey their idea for the bands name, The School Of Rock, and he loves it. He then overhears Zack playing a song he wrote and asks Zack to sing it. Loving how it sounds, he has the other band members learn it as well. Later, Dewey approaches Rosalie about the field trip but she has forgotten about it and is unsure if it will be ok. She then asks Dewey to accompany her to the Parent’s Night and he tries to get out of it at first but then agrees. As Dewey is getting ready, Ned is opening the mail and sees a check from the school and Dewey confesses to what he did and asks that Ned keep it a secret for one more day and then dewy will come clean. After picking up Rosalie and arriving at the school, Dewey tries to tell her that he is a fake but she thinks that he is just nervous and convinces him to go in there. As Dewey is talking to the parents, he sees the cops show up with Ned and Patti and he is forced to come clean about not being a real teacher. At the apartment, Ned talks with Dewey about the situation and suggests he move out. The next day, all of the parents are meeting at Rosalie’s office to complain about what happened. Meanwhile, the kids decide that they worked too hard to give up on this and decide to go to the competition. They get on the bus for the field trip, then head to Dewey’s apartment, where Freddy and Lawrence go wake Dewey up and show him that they are all there. At the school, the students are discovered to be missing and Rosalie and the parents head to the competition to find them. Dewey and the kids get on stage and proceed to amaze the audience, as well as the kids parents by how well they perform. Dewey’s old band ends up winning the competition, which upsets Dewey, but the parents and audience start chanting for School of Rock, and so Dewey and the kids go back on stage and perform an encore to the delight of the crowd. Dewey ends up teaching an after school program called School of Rock, where he is able to keep performing with his students, while Ned teaches beginning rock to younger kids.
School Of Rock met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Black’s exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time.” All of the kids performed their own instruments and sang the vocals in the movie, as did Jack Black, though he didn’t perform the guitar solos. The movie was a box office hit, earning $131.3 million off of a $35 million budget and became a cult hit, inspiring a Broadway musical and a television series.
For those about to rock, you really should watch this movie. This is a great comedy and a really good “feel good” movie. Jack Black (Dewey) was his usually energetic, spastic self, and Joan Cusack was also good as the somewhat uptight Rosalie. The kids were all great in their performance and I loved the interaction between them and JAck Black throughout the film. The story was great, essentially a man trying to live out his dream at any cost. I did love how Dewey’s relationship with the students changed and he started caring more about helping them than himself as the movie went on. As a rock fan, the music for this was a lot of fun and I liked how Dewey was giving the kids specific CD’s and telling them songs to pay attention too in order to help the individual band members improve their skills. A fantastic movie that is definitely something that should be watched.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5