Welcome to the School of Rock

The spirit of rock and roll is not dead yet. In fact, Jack Black makes this quite clear in his latest box office hit, School of Rock. Black plays Dewey Finn, a failing rock musician waiting for his big break. After being kicked out of his own band, Finn must resort to extreme measures to make ends meet before he is forced to move out of his home.

When his best friend and roommate, Ned (Mike White) threatens to throw Dewey out of their shared apartment, he is ready to try anything. So, it is no accident when he intercepts a call from Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack), offering Ned a fifth grade substitute teaching position at a very respectable prep school, that he gladly accepts pretending to be Ned. This is when things get a little out of control.

Dewey’s ideas of being a substitute teacher are indeed different from true substitutes. He thinks he will get by on snoozing through classes while he gives the kids all day recess. Of course these children are more disciplined than this and are truly appalled by this type of anarchy in the classroom. Knowing that his recess method is not going to ‘make the grade,’ he devises a plan in which he can continue to rock while pretending to be a real substitute teacher; a class project.

In a few short weeks, Dewey is able to turn these posh prep school kids into an entire rock band complete with lead guitar, bass, keyboards, backup singers, roadies, security, and even groupies. He begins teaching the history of rock, a bit about music, and assigns rock CD’s for listening homework. The classroom is converted into a rehearsal studio as the band prepares for its debut concert.

Black truly does an amazing job with this role. With his background in music (Tenacious D), he is able to bring life to this extraordinary rockin’ character. The cast of kids is ingenious ranging from the nerdy keyboardist to the rebel drummer. These kids are fabulous entertainers with a promising future in the movie business.

Parents should be aware of some strong language, use of alcohol, and references to drugs. However, some questions for families to focus on are: How does rock and roll help Dewey and the children express themselves? Why is it so important to Dewey? What is the most important thing that Dewey learns from the kids, and what did the kids learn from him?