School of Rock (2003) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 8

directing 9

effects 9

editing 8

writing 9

SW SCORE: 43

4.5 out of 5 🐙

++

School of Rock is a story about Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a lead guitarist that gets jettisoned by his band after too many twenty minute solos and prima donna stage dives. Faced with a rent payment, Dewey has to take a job as a substitute teacher at a snobby private elementary school. Initially content with letting the kids have all day recess, he finds out they can play music. With his students’ help, Dewey sets out to prove his ex-bandmates made a terrible mistake. The result made me laugh so hard I peed a little.

If you’re going to this flick, you may have seen High Fidelity, the film which brought Jack Black’s comic stylings to the indie movie fan multitudes. Just imagine the energy and mayhem of his small role there expanded to almost every scene in a movie!

No one can rant like JB about classic rock and the debacle that MTV has visited on modern music. This is Black’s second leading role (the first was in the ass boil of a movie called Shallow Hal). But this time the filmmakers let Jack go wild. The cofounder of Tenacious D, the self-appointed greatest band in the world, was born for rock comedy.

You say that may be too much Jack for you? Don’t worry. The kids were fantastic counterparts. They played the perfect “straight men” to Black’s hysteria. And they provided the requisite “aww” moments and life lessons in this comedy without being disgustingly sweet.

A minute does not go by in this film that does not produce a from the gut laugh. Don’t cut class.

Hold on. One second. 

All that said, “School of Rock” doesn’t get off completely scot-free. My only nit to pick with this movie is: do we really need to perpetuate more stereotypes? A fat black girl who is told to sing like Aretha Franklin? A gay kid who is into fashion? A meek Asian kid who plays piano? The stereotypes, while played for easy laughs, could have been avoided. Instead of the fat black girl being the Aretha clone, why not let the male Asian boy try it on for size? With so many characters it’s hard to give three dimensions to every player, but an already terrific movie would have been even better if the creative team painted some of the two-dimensional roles with fresher colors.

My dear friend, The Blushing Whale, contributed to this review. He’s a fantastic human being, a slick photographer, a skilled musician, a professional editor and writer, and a filmmaker! 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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