April 11, 2004

School of Rock

Blockbuster sent me a coupon in the email this week, offering a short term special: through Sunday, one rental for 99¢. I wouldn't miss using that, and such discounts are a good excuse to a) take a chance on something you never heard of, b) find something 10 years old that you missed, or c) go for something really light and fun, which you would be reluctant to pay the full price to see.

We decided on "c" and rented School of Rock. We really enjoyed it. I freaked out when, near the beginning, Jack Black is awakened by disgruntled roommates and is laying in matching bedsheets and pillowcases that are just like a set that my Mom put on my bed when I was a kid and that I used for years. They're made with a cool orange and brown abstract sun and vaper trails design, pictured at right.

Sometimes when we get a movie we like to get up the next morning, make coffee, and watch it in our jammies. This is fun, and works well with a comedy like School of Rock. Starting a weekend day with some laughs is kind of nice.

This movie exceeded my expectations, not because of Jack, but because of the kids in his band. Truthfully though, the credit goes back to Jack because he played his part with the kids so well. Ask any actor, doing scenes with kids is difficult. In the documentary material on the DVD, Jack quotes WC Fields where he said to never do scenes with kids or animals, because they are so cute nobody notices what you do. Jack explains that he is basically a kid himself, and an animal, so working with either isn't a problem. And he proves this if you see the movie.

Before bringing this disk home I had no idea that it was directed by Richard Linklater. I will always remember Slacker and Dazed and Confused. I haven't seen what he's done since, but seems to be going more mainstream now.

They recruited kids for the cast who are actual musicians, so there isn't any synching. They all really play and really sing, and do both great. Jack even plays lead guitar for real, and kicks some butt.

Believe me, this isn't just a dumb comedy. Seeing Jack and the kids bringing a rock band together and pulling off a successful show is quite uplifting in its way. The kids manage to truly Stick It To The Man, just like Jack teaches them to do during his fraudulent term as a substitute teacher. The hidden gem of a performance here though is Joan Cusack as the principal. She does great as the frustrated-and-repressed-nut-as-stuffy-conservative. The scene with her and Jack having a beer is charming.

There is much good extra material on this DVD, including a challenging rock trivia quiz in the computer stuff (PC DVD reader req. for that). In the extras they exploit the kids further by documenting them at the Toronto Film Festival, and they are really sweet experiencing the spotlight for the first time.

Posted by Wayne at April 11, 2004 09:44 PM

My brother used to have those same sheets when he was young. Do you remember where your mom got them? Or does she remember? I would really like to get them again, but I can't seem to find anyone who remembers where they were from. If you could help, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!


Posted by: Lisa at January 3, 2005 09:35 PM
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