Dewey Finn (Jack Black)
School of Rock turns the inspirational-teacher genre on its head by making its kids a group of overachieving private school students so well-behaved they’re practically catatonic; it’s up to underachieving rock singer Dewey Finn to shake these fourth-graders up and turn them into a roaring rock ensemble.
Fired from his own band, Dewey’s not even a real teacher (he’s just posing as his housemate, who is a real substitute teacher, for the money), and he’s prepared to slack off his assignment until he discovers that many of his kids have musical talent. His new mission: to shape them into a group that can win the local Battle of the Bands and shame his former bandmates, is entirely self-serving, and yet it really does teach the kids valuable lessons in teamwork, music theory, and rock music appreciation.
As Dewey, Jack Black (in the performance of his career) seems as surprised as anyone to discover that he, too, is motivated and inspired by this educational endeavor. As he tells the parents, in an unfortunate turn of phrase, “I have been touched by your kids, and I’m pretty sure I’ve touched them.”
Black even teaches what may seem like a radical notion: that rock is now venerable enough to have its own classic repertoire and instrumental techniques that are as worthwhile to teach kids as jazz and classical. Laugh if you must, but his passionate enthusiasm is the reason there are now real-life schools of rock all over the country.
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