SCHOOL OF ROCK

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Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: October 03, 2003

Starring: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan
Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Kevin
Alexander Clark, and Miranda
Cosgrove

Genre: Comedy

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Lisa A. Rice SCHOOL OF ROCK
stars Jack Black as down and
out rock star Dewey Finn, who
gets fired from his own band
and now faces a mountain of
debts and depression. To make
matters worse, his unassertive
roommate, Ned (played by Mike
White), a substitute teacher
to whom he owes thousands of
dollars, has a controlling
girlfriend who keeps insisting
that the deadbeat Dewey find
another home. One afternoon
Dewey takes a phone call for
Ned from a posh preparatory
school that needs a substitute
teacher for a few weeks. Dewey
accepts the job and poses as
Ned as he begins an adventure
as a fifth grade substitute
teacher. Hoping to do a lot of
sleeping and loafing, he
quickly finds that he's at an
uptight private school run by
a hyper uptight headmistress
(played by Joan Cusak) who is
very concerned about rules and
decorum, of which Dewey has
neither. After a couple days
of giving his students mostly
P.E. all day and little work,
Dewey peeks in on his class
while they're practicing their
instruments in orchestra. His
eyes light up as he formulates
a plan. Hoping to win the
prize money in a local "Battle
of the Bands" contest, he
forms a rock band with the
students in the class. And the
youth are, indeed, talented,
as he quickly finds. Zach is a
guitar prodigy, Freddy beats a
mean drum, Katie sizzles on
bass, and Lawrence tickles the
ivories on piano. The others
are assigned band manager,
back-up singers, set and
costume designers, lighting
technicians, and roadies.
Dewey must train his new rock
band in secret so that the
principal, staff and parents
know nothing of his plan. He
smuggles in electric guitars,
drums, and keyboards and
teaches the children rock
history, rock appreciation and
rock technique. Instead of
Math, History, and Language
Arts assignments, which they
should be learning to cope in
life, he sends them home at
night with CDs of rock bands
like Led Zepplin, Yes, AC/DC,
Metallica, and the like. He
performs his own rock songs
for the children, complete
with hilarious gyrations and
screechy rock screams. He
tells them that rock music is
simply expressing oneself by
venting pent-up anger toward
"the man." When the students
ask who "the man" is, he tells
them that "the man" is the
people who hurt the ozone and
kill endangered whales and do
all the bad, mean things in
this world. The children agree
that certainly "the man" is
worthy of being railed
against. After a week or so,
Dewey's attitude and hijinx
start having a powerful effect
on the uptight students as
they start loosening up and
trying his outrageous rock
moves. Many of them start
coming out of their shells and
expressing talent and
individuality they didn't know
they had. One of them tells
the principal, "You da man!"
She thanks the student,
oblivious to the
insult. Dewey's plan seems to
be working pretty well until
some unforeseen wrenches are
thrown into the mix. The
contest organizers refuse to
put the child band on the
roster, the principal and
several parents are closing in
on the truth, and Ned and his
angry girlfriend have just
found Dewey's first check from
the school, made out to Ned,
of course. If Dewey can't keep
up the ruse for another week,
all hopes of rockin' and
winnin' will be lost. It will
take more than one washed up
rocker to make it all work
out, but he doubts whether
he'll really find himself with
a team at the crucial
moment. SCHOOL OF ROCK is a
fun movie that leaves
audiences smiling. Much of
rock music is birthed in
rebellion, but the tone of
this story is light, silly,
and often tongue-in-cheek. The
movie's preparatory school is
truly the perfect portrait of
an uptight, confining,
legalistic, intimidating,
elitist, "rules over
relationship" environment.
Audiences are just willing the
silly new teacher to win in
his antics. It also helps that
the teacher has no meanness to
his rock n' roll rebellion. As
a matter of fact, he is
sensitive and kind to the
students, drawing them each
into life and focusing on
their talents and speaking a
future to them. Regrettably,
he doesn't seem to understand
that they are going to need
math, history and literature
when they grow up more than
following their hormones and
learning about rock There are
about 14 mild to moderate
obscenities and about four
light profanities. Also, some
very skuzzy bands of
yesteryear are lauded by the
protagonist, but he does
change in the end. Whereas he
begins his adventure based on
a grand deception, he ends by
saying, "It is not cool to
lie." He also prays with the
children before their
performance, layering hands as
in a football huddle, but he
says, "Oh, God of rock, give
us the power. . . ." In the
end, he demonstrates his
commitment to the parents, the
school, and especially the
children he's truly come to
adore and influence. Jack
Black is a fun actor with his
own band in real life, and
he's truly got some talent and
energy. Joan Cusack comes
close to stealing the show,
however, as she plays the
uptight, rules-oriented
principal with quivering
insecurities underneath it
all. Jack actually takes her
on a date or two, and, thanks
to his influence, she learns a
few things about lightening up
and stopping the people
pleasing. The children in the
movie are adorable and
talented and do a fine job in
SCHOOL OF ROCK. Overall, the
movie gets a guarded "really
cute." Because of the language
elements and the fact that
many of the roots of rock n'
roll were birthed in
rebellion, however, it would
be worth a discussion of such
matters with middle- and high
schoolers before making SCHOOL
OF ROCK a family outing. The
movie would not be interesting
or acceptable for younger
children. Please address your
comments to: Sherry Lansing,
Chairman Motion Picture
Group Paramount Pictures A
Paramount Communications
Company 5555 Melrose
Avenue Los Angeles, CA
90038-3197 Phone: (323)
956-5000 Website:
www.paramount.com

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 118 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Director: Richard Linklater

Executive Producer:

Producer: Scott Rudin EXECUTIVE
PRODUCER: Steve Nicholaides

Writer: Mike White

Address Comments To:

Content:

(H, B, PC, E, LL, V, M) Light humanist worldview with love of rock n' roll and all its corresponding rebellious, skuzzy groups countered by some moral, biblical themes espousing relationship over rules, life over legalism and elitism, and rebuke of lying at end, but scattered moments of politically correct, environmentalist language; about 14 obscenities and four "Oh, my God's"; violence includes the smashing of guitars and falling off rock stages; and, miscellaneous immorality includes deception, which is rebuked at end.

GENRE: Comedy

H

B

PC

E

LL

M

V

Summary:

In SCHOOL OF ROCK, down and out rock star Dewey Finn decides to make some money by pretending to be a substitute teacher at an exclusive preparatory school, but he soon decides that the fourth "r" will be "rock band." Though marred by some obscenities and the whole theme of loving rock music, SCHOOL OF ROCK is portrayed with a light, fun tone extolling life over legalism.

Review:

SCHOOL OF ROCK stars Jack Black as down and out rock star Dewey Finn, who gets fired from his own band and now faces a mountain of debts and depression. To make matters worse, his unassertive roommate, Ned (played by Mike White), a substitute teacher to whom he owes thousands of dollars, has a controlling girlfriend who keeps insisting that the deadbeat Dewey find another home.

One afternoon Dewey takes a phone call for Ned from a posh preparatory school that needs a substitute teacher for a few weeks. Dewey accepts the job and poses as Ned as he begins an adventure as a fifth grade substitute teacher. Hoping to do a lot of sleeping and loafing, he quickly finds that he's at an uptight private school run by a hyper uptight headmistress (played by Joan Cusak) who is very concerned about rules and decorum, of which Dewey has neither.

After a couple days of giving his students mostly P.E. all day and little work, Dewey peeks in on his class while they're practicing their instruments in orchestra. His eyes light up as he formulates a plan. Hoping to win the prize money in a local "Battle of the Bands" contest, he forms a rock band with the students in the class. And the youth are, indeed, talented, as he quickly finds. Zach is a guitar prodigy, Freddy beats a mean drum, Katie sizzles on bass, and Lawrence tickles the ivories on piano. The others are assigned band manager, back-up singers, set and costume designers, lighting technicians, and roadies.

Dewey must train his new rock band in secret so that the principal, staff and parents know nothing of his plan. He smuggles in electric guitars, drums, and keyboards and teaches the children rock history, rock appreciation and rock technique. Instead of Math, History, and Language Arts assignments, which they should be learning to cope in life, he sends them home at night with CDs of rock bands like Led Zepplin, Yes, AC/DC, Metallica, and the like. He performs his own rock songs for the children, complete with hilarious gyrations and screechy rock screams. He tells them that rock music is simply expressing oneself by venting pent-up anger toward "the man." When the students ask who "the man" is, he tells them that "the man" is the people who hurt the ozone and kill endangered whales and do all the bad, mean things in this world. The children agree that certainly "the man" is worthy of being railed against.

After a week or so, Dewey's attitude and hijinx start having a powerful effect on the uptight students as they start loosening up and trying his outrageous rock moves. Many of them start coming out of their shells and expressing talent and individuality they didn't know they had. One of them tells the principal, "You da man!" She thanks the student, oblivious to the insult.

Dewey's plan seems to be working pretty well until some unforeseen wrenches are thrown into the mix. The contest organizers refuse to put the child band on the roster, the principal and several parents are closing in on the truth, and Ned and his angry girlfriend have just found Dewey's first check from the school, made out to Ned, of course. If Dewey can't keep up the ruse for another week, all hopes of rockin' and winnin' will be lost. It will take more than one washed up rocker to make it all work out, but he doubts whether he'll really find himself with a team at the crucial moment.

SCHOOL OF ROCK is a fun movie that leaves audiences smiling. Much of rock music is birthed in rebellion, but the tone of this story is light, silly, and often tongue-in-cheek. The movie's preparatory school is truly the perfect portrait of an uptight, confining, legalistic, intimidating, elitist, "rules over relationship" environment. Audiences are just willing the silly new teacher to win in his antics. It also helps that the teacher has no meanness to his rock n' roll rebellion. As a matter of fact, he is sensitive and kind to the students, drawing them each into life and focusing on their talents and speaking a future to them. Regrettably, he doesn't seem to understand that they are going to need math, history and literature when they grow up more than following their hormones and learning about rock

There are about 14 mild to moderate obscenities and about four light profanities. Also, some very skuzzy bands of yesteryear are lauded by the protagonist, but he does change in the end. Whereas he begins his adventure based on a grand deception, he ends by saying, "It is not cool to lie." He also prays with the children before their performance, layering hands as in a football huddle, but he says, "Oh, God of rock, give us the power. . . ." In the end, he demonstrates his commitment to the parents, the school, and especially the children he's truly come to adore and influence.

Jack Black is a fun actor with his own band in real life, and he's truly got some talent and energy. Joan Cusack comes close to stealing the show, however, as she plays the uptight, rules-oriented principal with quivering insecurities underneath it all. Jack actually takes her on a date or two, and, thanks to his influence, she learns a few things about lightening up and stopping the people pleasing. The children in the movie are adorable and talented and do a fine job in SCHOOL OF ROCK.

Overall, the movie gets a guarded "really cute." Because of the language elements and the fact that many of the roots of rock n' roll were birthed in rebellion, however, it would be worth a discussion of such matters with middle- and high schoolers before making SCHOOL OF ROCK a family outing. The movie would not be interesting or acceptable for younger children.

Please address your comments to:

Sherry Lansing, Chairman

Motion Picture Group

Paramount Pictures

A Paramount Communications Company

5555 Melrose Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197

Phone: (323) 956-5000

Website: www.paramount.com

SUMMARY: In SCHOOL OF ROCK, down and out rock star Dewey Finn decides to make some money by pretending to be a substitute teacher at an exclusive preparatory school, but he soon decides that the fourth "r" will be "rock band." Though marred by some obscenities and the whole theme of loving rock music, SCHOOL OF ROCK is portrayed with a light, fun tone extolling life over legalism.

In Brief: