Reviewed by: Rosemarie Ute Hoffman
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? We hear a lot today about how Johnny can’t read, how he can’t write, and the trouble he is having finding France on a map. It is also true that Johnny is having difficulty distinguishing right from wrong. Answer
How can I know what is right and what is wrong? Answer
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. …For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, …but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33).
What does God expect of me? Answer
In a world where we are continually let down, we can totally rely on, trust in, count on God’s promises. He will never, ever, let you down. Learn more
If God knows I am hurting, why doesn’t He help me? Answer
Starring: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Joey Gaydes | Directed by: Richard Linklater (THE NEWTON BOYS) | Produced by: Steve Nicolaides, Scott Rudin | Written by: Mike White (ORANGE COUNTY) | Distributor: Paramount Pictures
“The School of Rock” features Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a rock and roll legend in his own mind. He will do anything and con anyone into his web of deception as he masterfully attains the ultimate—competing in the “Battle of the Bands.”
Screenwriter Mike White along with the director Richard Linklater, successfully introduces a theme of youth rebellion—exploring generational morals. They take a mild-mannered brood of young well-educated and gifted prodigies, and transform them into cussing, passionate, driven children.
Dewey has been free loading off his friend Ned Schneebly (screenwriter Mike White) since the days of performing in their “garage band.” They room together with Ned’s overbearing girlfriend, Patty (Sarah Silverman), who incessantly degrades Dewey. Even so, he continues to chase his dream of being a rock star as the lead guitarist in a band he brought together. Conversely, Ned is a substitute teacher and lacks both backbone and wishbone. Unfortunately, Dewey’s days are numbered. His roommates demand back rent and the band votes him out. Despite the trials, Dewey is committed to falling with dignity—never selling out. He puts his failures behind and focuses on his dreams—they all will be funny little footnotes in the end.
While Dewey tries to sell his guitar over the telephone unsuccessfully, he answers a call for Ned from Principal Mullins (Jan Cusak) of Horace Green Preparatory. She is looking for a substitute to replace an absent, injured teacher. Without much thought, Dewey decides to impersonate Ned to quickly solve his financial woes. He accepts the offer to teach 4th grade at the uptight private school that adheres to a strict code of conduct.
Dewey soon finds out the students are conservative, fearful and caught up with Horace Green’s system of recognition and demerits. On the second day of the job, and at a student’s request to learn, Dewey tells them, “You should give up. Quit! Yes, you could try, but in the end you will just lose because of ‘the man’.” He further recounts who “the man” is—anyone in authority. Dewey concludes the lesson with, “You could once stick it to “the man” through rock and roll.”
While lurking in the hallway during a music class, Dewey discovers that his students study classical music. As usual, he manipulates someone else’s potential to his advantage—no matter the cost. Through deception, he convinces the children to cooperate in the school project “rock band.” He quickly determines each student’s prominent talent and assigns each one to a specific task. Though a handful were in the band, others were assigned as back-up singers, roadie crew, security and groupies—all are included.
As the project begins Dewey shares his convoluted theory with a student who is an outcast, telling him he is “cool” if he rocks in a band. He also instructs the groupies on their responsibilities, which includes worshiping the band, and then leads the class in a rendition of “Pledge of Allegiance to the Band.”
Later in a music exercise, Dewey tries to poke at their hidden resentments and passions by using anger as a tool; he asks them, “What makes you mad?” He further encourages them to break the rules and to get mad at “the man.”
Dewey’s schemes are not limited to the students, but include the principal as well. He invites her out for coffee, and they end up in a jukebox joint that only serves beer. Dewey needs to convince her to make an exception and authorize an educational field trip with his class. He uses a powerful mixture of alcohol and a Stevie Nicks tune to persuade her.
Before long, Dewey has the whole class participating in some unethical activities of lying and deceiving through lookouts using the Internet. Similarly, after being denied an audition for “Battle of the Bands,” a student makes up a cunning story deception—claiming that they are from a children’s hospital with a terminal disease. The stunt works, and they are included on the roster.
On Parent’s Night at Horace Green things turn for the worse. Dewey’s gig is up when they find out that he is an imposter. However, the children take matters into their own hands and collectively decide to go through with the audition. They even arrange for the bus driver to pick up Dewey where he lives. While still in bed, Dewey is confronted by a few children. He confesses that he is a loser, but the children insist. He apologizes for using them and says he has learned there is no “I” in team.
Before going on stage (with parents, principal and Ned in the audience), the band says a prayer to the “God of Rock” with a bare-chested-cross-tattooed, undulating man in the background. As they rock out, skull and cross bones appear in their video accompaniment. Though the audience preferred their act, the better-looking band is announced the winner.
Breaking the rules while following passion to pursue dreams can be destructive. Never use the end to justify the means. Problems or trials help us to endure, endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confidence in the expectation of dreams coming true.
Violence: None | Profanity: Moderate | Sex/Nudity: Minor