Review: The School Of Rock (2003)

What’s this, a Richard Linklater film where there are more than a few characters and they do more than just walk and talk for an hour and a half? I don’t believe you, get out of here!

Written By: Mike White
Directed By: Richard Linklater

If a person really wants to they could pick apart The School Of Rock in less time than it took me to write this sentence. But, to do so would be to miss what The School Of Rock wants to be- pure, unadulterated fun. The ludicrousness of what we see on screen doesn’t matter, nor should it really. Through sheer force of personality Jack Black makes the viewer forget about the ridiculousness of what we are watching. Instead he draws us into the fun, into his fun, into a world where all is black and white and there are only those who rock and those who do not. I am definitely of the rock clan, how about you?

In all seriousness, whether or not you like The School Of Rock depends on your opinion of Black. If his shtick tires you out then this film will feature far too much of him for your liking, I can guarantee you that much. But, if you find Black funny and like to see him really let loose with a character in a setting where all of his over the top and zany antics make perfect sense then you should love The School Of Rock. Dewey Finn is a role that Black pours himself into, every second of The School Of Rock is filled to the brim with his energy and enthusiasm. I for one loved to see Black let it all hang out without any worry of constraint, of course it did help that I loved the subject matter at hand.

Hey, I like rock, I mean I love music period. The School Of Rock takes its music very seriously, not skimping on the name dropping, the choice tunes and the good musical numbers within the film itself. You can feel the love for the subject matter throughout The School Of Rock, this isn’t a film willing to dumb itself down for the sake of easy jokes or making money. The music matters, the jokes matter, the characters matter, and The School Of Rock ends up a movie that very much matters.

I will admit that I was surprised when I found out The School Of Rock was directed by one of my favorite directors, Richard Linklater. My knee jerk reaction is to say that this is nothing like the rest of Linklater’s work and it doesn’t bear any of his traditional marks as a filmmaker. But then I remembered Dazed And Confused and how that film also showed a deep love of music as well as the personal nature of the subject matter. The School Of Rock isn’t anywhere near as deep, or even as fun, as Dazed And Confused, but it is made with the same self assured hand behind the wheel. This is a subject that is personal to Linklater, it is a project he is having a lot of fun with and the viewer definitely picks up on that very early on.

There honestly isn’t much more I can say about The School Of Rock, it’s either a movie you find fun or one that didn’t do much for you. I had fun with these characters, with Jack Black especially, with the music, the setting, with all of it. Yes, this is a movie that requires a lot of suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience, but it’s all in the name of a fun time so who cares? The School Of Rock is a big ball of fun, I know I like having fun and if you want to have some fun then by all means check out this rather different entry in Richard Linklater’s filmography.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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5 responses to “Review: The School Of Rock (2003)

  1. This is one of my favorite films by Linklater. In fact, it’s a film I can’t stop watching. I think this film represent Jack Black’s best performance. He really brings his wacky humor but also puts some maturity in a few scenes.

    I’m a rock fan myself and this film really connects with me not just as a rock fan but also from a very personal point of view. One night when I was watching it with my parents and my late sister. We had a hell of a time seeing. In fact, my sister loved that film because of the music.

    It’s one of the few family films that I recall that really appealed to everyone. From the die-hard rocker to the youngest child who wants to have fun. I would put this in my list of the best films of the decade. That’s how much I love it.

  2. This is one of those movies that I love to start watching from any point when I see it on cable (if just to watch the finale performance). Incredibly entertaining movie.

  3. Yea, this one is a blast and I think it’s because Jack Black brings his enthusiasm for music into the performance and sells the character, sentimentality and heart of the film.

    I like this one a lot. In fact, I think this is probably the best of the few Linklater films I’ve seen. Yea, that’s right, eat it Before Sunrise/Sunset.

  4. It’s a great movie for both music fans and those who love/tolerate them.

  5. Steven – Jack Black is great in this one, and I’m looking forward to checking him out reunited with Linklater in Bernie.

    Victor – If I watched movies on cable anymore I’m sure I would feel the same way.

    James – It’s a great film, but I’d still put it below some of Linklater’s other works.

    Mike – I don’t have many music fan friends who I have to tolerate, guess I’m lucky.,

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