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"The best school I've ever teached at"
on July 23, 2010
If only this were a true story! This movie should be compulsory viewing for all parents who want their kids to kick their Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus habits. Jack Black, in this family-friendly rocker, turns on a group of school kids to the greatest sound known to man: Classic rock.
Down-and-out rocker Dewey Finn, has been kicked out of his metal band and replaced by a shirtless guitar player named Spider. Desperate to pay his share of the rent to his substitute teacher roomate Ned Schneebly (Mike White), Dewey steals a teaching gig at a private school. He pretends to be "Mr. Schneebly", but is barely literate himself. Of course, Dewey's a bit of a burnout, but he has never let go of his dream. He believes that the world can be made a better place by performing the public service of rocking out. He believes that he has what it takes to rock out. However he needs the money first, before he can form a new band.
Starting at the school, he is under the watchful eye of the principal, wonderfully played by Black's High Fidelity castmate Joan Cusack. When Dewey hears the kids play classical music at the school, he realizes he's found his band. He just needs to teach them a little bit about rocking.
Black is infinitely quotable in this movie, and the music is top notch. The original songs are all stellar, particularly "Way Hard Core". The classic rock songs are some of the best ever assembled: Metallica, rare Kiss, The Ramones, and even Zeppelin who gave special permission to use "The Immigrant Song" which is used to full effect. The performances by the entire cast are fantastic. Sarah Silverman, Kyle Gass, and lots of very talented young people all appear. And these kids all play their own instruments, too.
Bonus features are generous, and include Black and the kids begging Zeppelin to use "The Immigrant Song". Insightful behind-the-scenes features concentrate on the kids, and they seem so happy to be taking part in this film and the music.
This film is fun for the entire family, perhaps the only Black film that is appropriate for that. Most importantly, it will give kids an appreciation for the greatest music in the world: rock and roll. And a healthy dose of stickin' it to the man!