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The One-Line Summary: After Dewey Finn (Jack Black) gets kicked out of his rock band for his wild onstage tactics, he spends his days lazily loafing around the apartment in need of cash until he takes a call for his roommate from a school looking for a substitute teacher and concocts a scheme to secretly pretend to be his friend and get the job himself, instructing a class of talented musical kids whom he then decides should form their own band.
The Two-Line Blurb: Directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood), School of Rock is a family friendly inspiring little film that, if you’ll pardon the expression, hits all the right notes with a solid mix of comedy, romance, and music, with Black giving one of his best, most endearing performances. It never really strives for reality, instead, focusing, as it should, on the great cast of children who may fill in some broad stereotypes yet shine as they take on Finn’s seemingly ridiculous plans to help them break out of their structured lives and learn to rock out.
The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is about learning how rock can be more than just music and it starts after Mr. S, as the students call him, sees the kids in a music class perform exceedingly well and becoming inspired to actually educate the students rather than do the absolute minimum in order to get paid. He has a love of rock music that he desperately wants the younger generation to experience and sees the classroom as an opportunity to not only teach about the history and value of rock music but also to create a band with the talented kids and enter them in a rock & roll contest against his former band. But first he has to convince the students that rock music indeed does in fact . . . rock.
The Four-Line Moment: The children have been raised on classical music and are well trained in orchestra instruments, so Finn needs to show them what a real rocker is about, so he straps on an electric guitar and explains that rock & roll isn’t about doing things perfect, asking the class to tell him what they think it’s really about. They take some guesses, including scoring chicks and getting wasted, before he finally gets the answer he wants from Leonard (Cole Hawkins), who correctly answers that it’s about stickin’ to the man. Happy they understand, going on to say that playing rock means breaking rules and telling “the man” off, he urges the kids to direct some anger at him, as he, for the demonstration, will be “the man.” They comply and offer some sharp barbs, which he soaks up, pleased they are getting his point, except for Billy (Brian Falduto) who gets a little too personal and earns an after-class talking too. Black absolutely owns this role, and it’s moments like this, where he reaches out to the kids and they respond that makes this such a satisfying movie.
The Five-Word Review: Only Black could do this.