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School of Rock
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
School of Rock order
Director:
Richard Linklater

Actors:
Jack Black
Joan Cusack
Mike White

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Unemployed wannabe rock star Dewey Finn (Black) fakes his way into a stint as a substitute teacher in order to make rent. Once there, he recruits his students into a new rock band and enters them in a contest to stick it to his old crew.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before watching this flick, I knew that I needed to make my mind up about Jack Black already. After SAVING SILVERMAN, I was ready to curse the ground he’d walked on, but then I saw ORANGE COUNTY and I thought to myself “Wait a minute, this guy’s actually pretty funny! What the hell’s goin’ on!?!” So when JoBlo gave me this assignment, along with my usual fee of a bottle of second-rate gin, I decided this film would make or break him as far as I was concerned. Well, here’s my verdict and you can hold me to these words: Jack Black is one funny dude! That’s also pretty much all you need to agree with if you’re planning on enjoying SCHOOL OF ROCK. Despite a pretty nifty supporting cast, this is and all-Black affair. He’s in almost every single frame of the movie and he’s in your face, so if you know you don’t like him...don’t even bother.

SCHOOL OF ROCK doesn’t stray too far away from the usual classroom flick, with a carefree rocker eventually falling for the kids and the kids learning a valuable lesson from the no-life loser (with laughs along the way). Aside from Jack Black, you’ll get a nice dose of the loveable Joan Cusack as the school’s stiff headmistress and Mike White (who also wrote the movie) as Dewey’s wimpy roommate. An added bonus is Sarah Silverman. I try not to miss anything she does because not only do I happen to find her pretty hot, I also find her to be one of the funnier and edgier comediennes out there. She usually gets pretty small roles in movies but always makes a big impact on them, usually as a whiny, pushy beeyatch. The cast also contains one of the better ensembles of kids you’ll find in this type of film, including fat kids, nerdy kids, goody-two-shoes kids and class jerks (most of whom are, in actuality, gifted musicians as well). SCHOOL OF ROCK falls well in that category of great date flicks or stuff you can watch with your kids. Black definitely steers this little barge in the right direction and best of all, you get some rocking old school tunes and none of that hip-hop junk that passes for music nowadays.
THE EXTRAS
Full Length Audio Commentary by Actor Jack Black and Director Richard Linklater: Black and Linklater, the man behind the horror that was WAKING LIFE, have a pretty constant conversation here, mostly making fun of stuff. It's a mighty entertaining commentary track if only because they both come off as funny guys. There's nary a gap to be found in the chatter so they do a good job of covering everything in a very light, casual way.

Full Length Audio Kids Kommentary: Seven of the kids from the film get together again and give their own two bits on the whole deal. Theirs is better than most regular commentaries and helped by the fact that the kid who plays a nerd in the film is an actual nerd who has some of the best lines on the track.

Lessons Learned in "School of Rock" (25 mins.): A decently entertaining description of what the filmmakers considered their "recipes for success" in the making of the movie. There's a lot of set footage, cast interviews and the like with a big focus on the child actors and their adaptation from musicians to actors.

Jack Black's Pitch to Led Zeppelin (3 mins.): This is pretty cool. In order to use Led Zeppelin's The Immigrant Song in the movie, Jack filmed a little clip of himself begging the band to let them use it. It's quick, but offbeat enough to be interesting. PS: It worked.

"School of Rock" Music Video (3 mins.): This is a clip for the song the kids' band plays in the flick. It contains some footage from the movie and is actually a damn good tune.

Kids' Video Diary: Toronto Film Festival (8 mins.): A day in the life of the kids at the Toronto Film Festival, including breakfast, interviews, make-up and a tutoring session with a hottie teacher. Cute, but not my bag (the diary, not the teacher!)

MTV's Diary of Jack Black (15 mins.): It's 15 minutes of following Black around as he eats, talks, eats, rehearses, mixes some music, eats and does some eating as well. Not really anything groundbreaking, but if you think Jack Black is funny, you'll get a kick out of this sucker.

The Theatrical Trailer and some DVD-ROM Features are also included.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is definitely a fun movie to watch but leans more towards the rental rather than purchase simply because most comedies rarely fare as well the second time around. It's a strong rental though, based on the film rather than the features. I'll never doubt Jack Black again!
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