School of Rock

★★

There are, obviously, classic lines in cinema. From “We’re gonna need a bigger boat to “Houston, we have a problem”. And now, I hazard to say “You’re tacky and I hate you” is a modern classic in film quotes. I first saw School of Rock atleast eight years ago, when I was painfully young and full of all that child stuff that generates this constant and unwavering flow of happiness. And this film came along, more than once I’m sure, and made me laugh and, worryingly for those in the vicinity of my tone deaf notes, sing. I bet it even made me want to ignite a career in rock for a day or two (until I realised that I would actually have to be able to compose music…)

So a decade post the film’s release and nothing has changed. It was never my childhood mind or enthusiasm that made this film an inspirational delight, but the film itself. I’m sure anyone thrown into its slipstream can laugh and smile – at least subconsciously – at the sight of Dewey, ahem, Mr S. and his honorary bunch of conveniently talented mini-rock-legends.

Dewey Finn is a struggling rocker, kicked out of his own group in the build up to the Battle of the Bands competition. His flatmate, Ned, is a substitute teacher, and, seizing the day in an unemployed light-bulb moment, Dewey plays ‘sub’ in a private elementary school. After discovering his class’ hidden musical talent, Dewey transforms the group into the ‘School of Rock’, educating them all with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie. He inspires something in them, from drummer to guitarist and even band manager, while concealing the secret of his identity.

Jack Black was made for the role of Dewey Finn. Maybe that’s because he is Dewey Finn, or at least it feels that way. He is the Led to his Zeppelin, the Black to his Sabbath, the AC to his DC. I’m struggling to pinpoint another actor, alive or dead, that could have fulfilled such a role. Classmate Zach’s original track  has an other-worldly catchiness. You’ll not only be humming the melody but singing the chorus with full screaming rock vocals (that you may or may not possess) just like Mr Schneebly taught you. The time has come where I may,with trembling hands, have to succumb to downloading a Tenacious D album…

Mid viewing, I remember wondering who could have written such a film? What kind of person could have created these characters and dropped them in this setting with these intentions? Well, the answer was right in front of me in the form of Ned Schneebly a.k.a Mike White. Who’d have known a crazy writing talent could be hidden within the pushover demeanor of Ned?

By the end, you might want to cry (like me) for overwhelming happiness, or fist pump the air with the knowledge that director Richard Linklater really is one of a kind. “Read between the lines, Theo. Read between the lines!”

Letterboxd

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