No 188 - The School of RockDirector - Richard Linklater
Thank you Freeview. You have served me well, providing films as I was trapped in a hotel in Sunderland. Today's film is an unusual entry from introspective indie darling Richard Linklater, a gleefully anarchistic comedy starring the gleefully anarchic Jack Black.
Somebody would have noticed. Early on.
If there is one role that Jack Black plays well it is the arrogant rock buffoon. You can argue that the majority of his roles have played to that side but this is the first film to truly embrace it. I saw Tenacious D when they performed their first gig in the UK and Dewey Finn is a slightly scaled down version of Rock Behemoth JB. I think this is a good thing, because for all his vulgar hilarity, Tenacious D might be slightly too much. Whereas Dewey feels like a real person. An idiot. But a real person.This is helped by the fact that School of Rock was written specifically for Jack Black and therefore celebrates his rock persona and his wild eyed delivery. This is easily Jack Black's best performance.
What is truly impressive is that despite this being Black's finest hour, he doesn't steal the show with excessive mugging. It is an impressive task to outshine Jack Black, doubly so when he is on such top form, and yet it is not done by just on person but by an entire class of them.
The class of the School of Rock themselves.
The film really celebrates the journey of the children. It follows them from the beginning where they are prim and proper and under the thumb of their parents and their headmistress, the fabulous Joan Cusack. Throughout this film she is played as the much misunderstood authoritarian of the piece, however throughout it all I could hear was Jessie. Which is the problem with voice casting.
Gradually though, Jack Black helps the children find their individuality, their confidence, their sense of fun.
The most important part of the film is the final gig. Here you can see how fabulously the children work and play together. Following their journey, the final scene is a real goose bump raising heart warming moment of pure joy. I like to think that each child designed their own outfits and helped to create the real sense of unity and strength which shines from the film.
You can watch it in isolation and it is still really fun.
But it isn't as fun as seeing it in context...