One great rock show can change the world
December 7, 2015 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Indie auteur Richard Linklater pleasantly surprised audiences with his charming 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which a struggling musician (High Fidelity co-star and Tenacious D frontman Jack Black) hijacks a 4th grade prep school class and inspires them to become a killer rock band. Buoyed by likeable characters, a great soundtrack, remarkably talented kid musicians, and Black's lengthy, irrepressible, almost improvisational classroom scenes, the film earned rave reviews and inspired scads of copycat programs around the world (as featured in the '05 documentary and reality series Rock School). But while the cast kicked ass at their ten-year reunion concert in 2013, plans for a sequel fell through. Everyone loves an encore, though. And so this weekend saw the Broadway debut of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical starring Alex Brightman, with a TV adaptation to air on Nickelodeon next year. Because there's no way you can stop... the School of Rock.

[Fun fact: the tune Black's strumming earlier in that last scene is actually the theme song for his surreal 2003 web series Computerman, co-starring Dan Harmon! It is 110% amazing.]

More from the Broadway musical:
"You're in the Band" 360 video - "Stick it to the Man"- The Battle of the Bands finale (played live!) - lots more here, plus a NYT review
Footage from the reunion concert:
The Legend of the Rent - Step Off! - Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song - Moonlight Sonata
Guitar solos - Vocal, keyboard, and drum solos
Cast interviews (part 2) - Behind the scenes - Back-to-school advice - Where are they now?
Key scenes from the film:
Opening credits / Kicked Out / "Mr. Schneebly" / Principal Mullins / Hangover / The Man / Our new class project / Lawrence / Assigning roles

The Pledge / Band Manager / Influences / The Legend of the Rent / Power Stance / Creating musical fusion / Tomika / Stick it to The Man / Step Off!

"Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" montage / What are you afraid of? / Stick-it-to-the-man-eosis / Math is a Wonderful Thing / Edge of 17 / Wound Too Tight

"I have been touched by your kids..." / The Battle of the Bands / It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)
A fun behind-the-scenes story:
Jack Black explains how they convinced the then-notoriously-stingy Led Zeppelin to license their music for the film.

Speaking of licensed tracks, What-Song.com has a complete soundtrack listing with the movie context, including incidental music and scripted references. Some of the more notable tracks:
♫♪ No Vacancy - "Fight" ♫♪ The Clash - "Stay Free" ♫♪ KISS - "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?" ♫♪
♫♪ Cream - "Sunshine of Your Love" ♫♪ Black Sabbath - "Iron Man" ♫♪ Deep Purple - "Smoke on the Water" ♫♪
♫♪ AC/DC - "Highway to Hell" ♫♪ The Doors - "Touch Me" ♫♪ AC/DC - "Back in Black" ♫♪
♫♪ The Who - "Substitute" ♫♪ Jack Black - "The Legend of the Rent" ♫♪ Aretha Franklin - "Chain of Fools" ♫♪
♫♪ Jonathan Richman - "Roadrunner" ♫♪ The Ramones - "My Brain is Hanging Upside Down" ♫♪ Metallica - "The Wait" ♫♪
♫♪ The Darkness - "Black Shuck" ♫♪ Led Zeppelin - "Immigrant Song" ♫♪ The Black Keys - "Set You Free" ♫♪
♫♪ Stevie Nicks - "Edge of Seventeen" ♫♪ "Good Times" Theme ♫♪ T-Rex - "Ballrooms of Mars" ♫♪
♫♪ David Bowie - "Moonage Daydream" ♫♪ Wylde Ratttz - T.V. Eye ♫♪ The Velvet Underground - "Ride Into the Sun" ♫♪
♫♪ No Vacancy - "Heal Me, I'm Heartsick" ♫♪ School of Rock - "Teacher's Pet" ♫♪ AC/DC - "It's a Long Way to the Top" ♫♪
Bonus: a transcription of the Black's chalkboard geneology of rock music
posted by Rhaomi (37 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
You call that movie "School of Rock". I call it "The Staten Island Revival Project."
posted by I-baLL at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If this is not The Greatest Post in the World, it's certainly a reasonable tribute.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:45 AM on December 7, 2015 [50 favorites]


I loved this movie when it first came out, we got to see it as part of one of those free movie early release shows they do for colleges.
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


A fun behind-the-scenes story:
Jack Black explains how they convinced the then-notoriously-stingy Led Zeppelin to license their music for the film.


A moment which in turn inspired that guy in Italy to do the thousand-people-playing-a-Foo-Fighters-Song video from this summer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:05 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Featuring an incredibly nuanced, hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking performance by Joan Cusack.

Tell her I said so, John.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


"School of Rock" is one of those movies where I will stop to watch it until the end anytime I happen to come across it on TV (even though I'm pretty sure we own the DVD too). I can't think of a movie that encapsulates pure joy better than this film.
posted by The Gooch at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Funny, you can actually license this for school musicals already.
posted by smackfu at 12:25 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am incredibly alarmed at the phrase "the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical." Not only should the thing itself be illegal by now, but the concept and the very sequence of words should be banned for the good of humanity so that future generations are spared these horrors.
posted by delfin at 12:30 PM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is a great post, thanks. One quibble, the lead's name is Alex Brightman, not Alan. Full disclosure, he and I have a lot of friends in common and he's a really nice guy, plus a hard worker.
I love(d) this movie and am glad it's getting a revival on the stage. It's really well-suited for Broadway treatment.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 12:38 PM on December 7, 2015


An Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation of SCHOOL OF ROCK with a book by the creator of Downton Abbey.

Broadway is weird, man.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:49 PM on December 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I had to do my homework today...AND NOW I'M REALLY TICKED OFF
posted by mynameisluka at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


My 10 year old daughter was obsessed with this movie earlier this year. She'll love this post. I've never been to a Broadway musical before, maybe this will be the first?
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:04 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly surprised- I thought the film was cringey as hell and couldn't find any sympathy for Jack Black's character, to the point that I couldn't even finish it. Wouldn't have guessed it'd have such a following.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I first heard of this I was momentarily surprised that Webber would be involved and then I was surprised that I would be surprised.
posted by phearlez at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am incredibly alarmed at the phrase "the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical."

My best guess is that the legend of the rent was way, WAY hardcore.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


As a disclaimer I was in my teens when I saw this movie but man did it exceed my expectations by a lot.
posted by atoxyl at 1:27 PM on December 7, 2015


Lord Lloyd-Webber, who flew across the Atlantic to vote for benefit cuts for the UK's poor, is one of the heels of our age. He's not quite Martin Shkreli or Rupert Murdoch, but he's definitely a villain.
posted by acb at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just watched the credits video to see if it was as good as I remember and was pleased to find it better. That's three and a half minutes of absolute joyful goofiness and it's what convinced me that Jack Black wasn't just a psycho wise ass, but has a huge heart and is a funny funny person.

I haven't seen this flick since having kids, but we have a full band set up in the basement and I've been down there many times with the boys and their cousins and friends and I can tell you rocking out with children is as much fun as it looks in that credits sequence. We will need to arrange a screening soon.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Loved this movie. Had no idea there was a reunion!

Great post!
posted by persona au gratin at 2:11 PM on December 7, 2015


That video of JB begging Zeppelin is fantastic.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:16 PM on December 7, 2015


Those who are… unsettled… by Andrew Lloyd Webber getting his fingers all over School of Rock (long-time fan here—watch it with your kids, people) may find some solace in The Tall Guy, which features a magnificent send-up of the omnipresent impresario and all his works.
posted by No Robots at 2:25 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Fixed a typo and nixed the dubious full-movie link; rad post otherwise, carry on.]
posted by cortex at 2:26 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the DVD of this movie enough watch it again with commentary and seem to remember the vo track going quiet when Sarah Silverman appears and then Black introducing her as the "diabolical" Sarah Silverman.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:40 PM on December 7, 2015


Jack Black explains how they convinced the then-notoriously-stingy Led Zeppelin to license their music for the film.

Interesting. I recall reading an interview with Linklater about the making of Dazed & Confused in which he bemoaned the fact that he wasn't able to use the Led Zeppelin song that inspired the movie's title (apparently he wanted to use it as the lead-in to the closing credits, but had to settle for—of all things—Foghat), as Robert Plant refused to grant his legal blessing. Ten years later, it must have felt like a bit of a vindication for him to finally be able to make use of their music (and great use of it, I might add).
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:52 PM on December 7, 2015


The Best Show with Tom Scharpling had a criminal lawyer reviewing fictional showbiz crimes and determining what punishment the offending character would receive. They pretty much established that Dewey Finn would be one of the worst offenders ever!
posted by brappi at 3:23 PM on December 7, 2015


This relevant to my interests. Jack Black is my spirit animal.
posted by maggieb at 3:48 PM on December 7, 2015


Mike White (aka Ned Schneebly) deserves some credit too for writing the thing in the first place. Awesome post, Rhaomi!
posted by thetortoise at 4:51 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the Where are they now? link:

Miranda Cosgrove... appears next in the sitcom 'Girlfriend in a Coma.'

The fuck?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:15 PM on December 7, 2015


It's really serious, Rock Steady.
posted by artychoke at 7:37 PM on December 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Those who are… unsettled… by Andrew Lloyd Webber getting his fingers all over School of Rock (long-time fan here—watch it with your kids, people) may find some solace in The Tall Guy, which features a magnificent send-up of the omnipresent impresario and all his works.

Somewhere In Heaven There's An Angel with Big Ears
posted by jonp72 at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly surprised- I thought the film was cringey as hell and couldn't find any sympathy for Jack Black's character, to the point that I couldn't even finish it. Wouldn't have guessed it'd have such a following.

weird, I'm getting nothing... I mean even a flatworm should give me a little--

*taps soul detector*

maybe it's broken, idk
posted by Sebmojo at 12:34 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


We (2 parents, 2 kids) saw the show in previews and it was exactly what we wanted it to be. The actor portraying Dewey was a little harsher/meaner to the kids reinforcing his dickishness while Jack Black's performance was tempered with a sweetness that made it more endearing.
The arching theme that all parents ignore their kids and Dewey was the only one who listened was pretty rude to the audience (ME) that was paying to be preached to, and they gave the principal a solo about her lost rocker youth that was maudlin and terrible.
Other than that, it was amazing that the kids on stage played their instruments live and the jokes you wanted to see from the movie were intact.
Not a perfect play, but a fun experience. There are far worse choices to make for NYC theater.
posted by exparrot at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


A fun movie, but I was kinda disenchanted by the final act. The protagonist encouraged the kids to reach for their full potential, but ultimately they were all just pawns in his narcissistic front-man delusions. I was expecting a trope in the end where he learns from the kids and transforms himself into a better person, but he just came across as a self-absorbed kooky psychopath who is rewarded for his manipulations.
posted by ovvl at 3:29 PM on December 8, 2015


It's really serious, Rock Steady.
posted by artychoke at 7:37 PM on December 7 [4 favorites +] [!]

I know, I know
posted by chavenet at 1:15 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was expecting a trope in the end where he learns from the kids and transforms himself into a better person, but he just came across as a self-absorbed kooky psychopath who is rewarded for his manipulations.

In other words he becomes successful in the music industry
posted by phearlez at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2015


I was expecting a trope in the end where he learns from the kids and transforms himself into a better person, but he just came across as a self-absorbed kooky psychopath who is rewarded for his manipulations.

But...they don't win the Battle of the Bands, and he becomes a music teacher. He learns that his dreams of being a rock god are less important than passing on his love of rock (and music in general) to kids (specifically kids trapped in an environment where academic performance/elite accomplishments are treated as superior to love of art).

I mean, granted, they give a rocking concert and the movie implies that they will do so again, maybe, but his original dreams do not come true. They change into better dreams. The trope you expected literally describes the end of the movie, so I'm confused.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


a fiendish thingy: "But...they don't win the Battle of the Bands"

I'd like to see Behind The Music: No Vacancy.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:39 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


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