School of Rock Review (Coming of Age Week): Miranda Cosgrove Year One

Up until the other night, I had never before seen School of rock. As soon as I started watching it, I realized that I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life by not yet seeing it. Since I am a huge fan of classic rock and metal, it seemed like this movie was made specifically for me. School of Rock was funny, charming, full of heart, contained lots of homages and references to a lot of my favorite bands and I haven’t had that much pure enjoyment from a movie in a very long time.

The casting in this movie was perfection and everyone did an amazing job. Hiring child actors can be kind of difficult as in some instances they can be the worst part of the movie (EG Terminator 2). However, all of the kids excelled in their performances and none of them gave an “Oh god, not them again” vibe at all. Joan Cusack also excelled as the “product of her environment” principle who is actually a fun person, but can’t let that out due to keeping her image intact. However, the real standout is Jack Black, who was the absolute perfect choice as Dewey Finn. Jack Black is already the lead singer and lead guitarist in a rock band (Tenacious D), so he already knows what it takes and how to do everything he teaches the kids. Being a fan of classic rock & metal, Jack Black is also a good choice to be the lead role because he is already passionate about the material the movie is based on.

Jack Black as Dewey Finn

The character development in this movie is also excellent, as this is very sneakily one of the greatest comings of age stories ever put on screen. While Jack Black is a grown adult in the movie, he is about as responsible as a teenager, and struggles with paying rent is a snob and is always getting drunk. Over the course of teaching his students how to become a rock band and making a few mistakes in the process, he learns more about himself and completes his story arc in the best possible way. Watching Jack Black’s transformation from being an incompetent lazy ass to somebody who has his shit together is hilarious and actually, somewhat inspirational all things considered.

As with any good comedy, the humor plays an equally important part as the characters and story, and this movie is chock full of hilarious situations. Jack Black teaching a bunch of middle schoolers how to rock and roll is absolutely hysterical just thinking about it. Watching it actually practiced in the film is even more so. Hiding said rock and roll antics from the strict principle is even more hilarious, as Jack Black puts his improvisational skills on display for the world to laugh at. The character dynamics in the classroom also provide some hilarious situations as well and everyone works well with each other.

The soundtrack is the other element in this movie that puts it over the edge. Out of all of the musical genres, classic rock and heavy metal are the two most neglected when picking songs for a film soundtrack. Part of the reason is because almost all heavy metal and classic songs are not radio friendly, and thus not appealing to a wide variety of people. The fact that the School of Rock soundtrack contained plenty of both genres and skillfully used them made me very happy. The standout use of the soundtrack was Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen. Not only does that song fit the coming of age motif in the movie, but it also plays a crucial part in the character arc of Principal Mullins, as it allows the audience to see a glimpse of her fun side making her more complex than the one-dimensional strict authority figure.

 

For what it does, School of Rock is a perfect film. It is funny, charming, full of heart, and has very well written characters. The movie never overstays its welcome and never ceases to be entertaining. I give this movie a 9/10 and would recommend to anyone who likes classic rock and metal.

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