Monday, August 28, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Choice Movie Sleazebag” (Sarah Silverman) at the Teen Choice Awards. She lost to Seann William Scott in American Wedding.

• Best Scene/Moment (tie): The scene where Jack Black is assigning the kids’ roles while forming the band and when School of Rock loses to a band called No Vacancy at the Battle of the Bands and one sole dude in the crowd cheers “Yeah! No Vacancy!”

• Best Song: “Touch Me” by The Doors.
• Best Merch: A “School of Rock Movie Promotional Jean Jacket…” for $115.00. It doesn’t seem very rock n’ roll to wear a School of Rock promotional jean jacket but it’ll keep you warm and you can’t rock with a cold, so I guess it serves a purpose.

• Director Check: School of Rock was directed by the prolific writer-producer-director Richard Linklater. Linklater’s first movie was the 1988 feature It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, which was shot on 8mm and featured little dialogue which is interesting considering Linklater’s movies are often talky. He broke out with his next movie Slacker, which has been cited as a starting point for independent cinema of the 1990s. Linklater directed multiple classics in the ‘90s, including the incredible one-two punch of Dazed and Confused in 1993 and Before Sunrise in 1995 which was later followed by two sequels (Before Sunset in 2004 and Before Midnight in 2013). Linklater has directed a lot of solid films over the years (some of my favorites include Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, and the very underrated Last Flag Flying) and a few misfires (Fast Food Nation and his 2005 Bad News Bears remake). School of Rock was a rare studio effort for Linklater and one of his biggest commercial successes while still maintaining his distinct sensibility. Linklater’s most significant recent career peak was 2014’s Boyhood which was expected to land him Oscars for either (or both) writing and directing but came up short of those prizes despite being almost unanimously praised critically. Linklater’s next movies include a Glen Powell action comedy called Hit Man which is playing the film festival circuit this Fall and Merrily We Roll Along which he began shooting in 2019 and (like Boyhood) will film over the span of many years.
• Double It with This 2003 Movie: Freaky Friday

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Bruce Almighty, The Cat in the Hat, Daddy Day Care

Draft Day or School of Rock? Draft Day

• Mall Movie? I’ll say no just because it’s a Paramount Pictures movie aimed at general audiences.

• Only in 2003: Jack Black forcing classic rock on children.

• Scene Stealer: Joan Cusack.

• I Miss: Being excited when I see Jack Black is in a movie.

• I Don’t Miss: Producer Scott Rudin. He’s produced a lot of great movies but also has been accused by many of abusive behavior.

• 2003 Crush: Joan Cusack.

• 2023 Crush: Joan Cusack.
• What I Thought in 2003: I enjoyed School of Rock enough to buy it on DVD after seeing it in theaters. I thought it was sweet & funny and a really good use of Jack Black’s on screen persona.

• What I Think in 2023: The movie holds up. I really like Mike White’s screenplay and the film has an infectious energy to it. My only gripe (and it’s a minor one) is School of Rock has become such a brand since the movie came out with its own stage show, television adaptation and music school (although, to be fair, I’m not sure if the school inspired the movie or the movie inspired the school) that the idea feels watered down/corny at this point.

1 comment:

  1. Fun write-up, Adam! Thought of this column watching a hometown Labor Day parade with a float branded to the local School of Rock. I too love Joan Cusak in this movie and 100 % agree it's a great vehicle for Jack Black. I also crack up every time I hear Billy say "You're tacky and I hate you."