Throughout the course of the 2000s, no movie reigned supreme, or had so much of a creative influence on kids, as School Of Rock. I put it to you that the 2003 Jack Black film was the best film of the 00s, and still stands strong today, some 18 years later.
It was a film that came out when I was 12, and I strongly remember the ripple effect it had on everyone wanting to get into playing instruments and making music. My brother ended up forming a band with some mates, music elective at school went bonkers, I tried to learn the bass with little success. Hell, even literal schools of rock (read: after-school music lessons) popped up all over the joint. That was the effect this wholesome as fuck film had on a whole generation of kids.
And now, as a fully-fledged adult, I can appreciate the other side of it – the resourcefulness of Dewey Finn trying to make ends meet in a time of desperation. He’s jobless, band-less, and suddenly homeless, and decides to nick his mate’s substitute teacher gig. Look, sure that’s something highly not-on and would probably result in you being put on some sort of list if you attempted to do it in real life, but in this instance it gave us some of the best kid-led comedy to date.
me at 11: school of rock is prolly the best movie i ever saw
me at 17: I’m very interested in film. Right now I’m super into Lynch and Jodorowsky and Altman. I want to be shocked, seduced, *challenged*
me at 22: school of rock is prolly the best movie i ever saw
— christy monteiro tekken 4 (@thepeoplesskank) July 23, 2018
It’s been nearly 20 years since the film dropped, and yet I still find myself singing The Legend Of The Rent to myself on the red. “You’re not hardcore, unless you live hardcore” was not only a deeply catchy rallying cry in the film, but it’s almost become a life mantra for a whole generation. And as we’ve grown and moved out of home, we to have learned that the Legend of the Rent is, indeed, way hardcore.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “you’re tacky and I hate you” in playful arguments with friends. Or how many times I’ve sung about “magic numbers” while warbling “get off your ath, let’s do some math”. It’s just scene after scene of pure gold, and I’m entirely not surprised Jack Black was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.
It’s one of those movies that has remained hilarious as I’ve gotten older, too. Sure, when I was the age of the classroom kids in the film I laughed at Jack Black’s physical comedy, his passion for sticking it to “The Man” (even though I didn’t know who that was yet), and the group dynamics between the kids who normally wouldn’t talk to each other at lunch.
But growing up, jokes about Picasso selling his guitars, the raw sexual energy of Spider (and him hitting on Joan Cusack as Principal Mullins), and teaching kids about how hangovers work just hit different.
Watching it through older eyes also made me realise that Jack Black’s character may have initially stolen the teaching gig for self-serving purposes, but you watch his character arc develop as he realises the importance of supporting and championing a bunch of misfit kids to understand and engage with their creative potential. King shit. True king shit.
School Of Rock is endlessly funny and charming, and that’s what makes it a god-tier film. Fuck it, I’m going to make time this weekend to watch it again.