School of Rock

School of Rock

Infobox Film
name = School of Rock

caption = "School of Rock" official movie poster
director = Richard Linklater
producer = Scott Aversano
Steve Nicolaides
Scott Rudin
writer = Mike White
starring = Jack Black
Joan Cusack
Mike White
Sarah Silverman
music = Craig Wedren
cinematography = Rogier Stoffers
editing = Sandra Adair
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = October 3, 2003
runtime = 108 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $35,000,000
($USD, estimated) [ Box Office Mojo] . Retrieved on June 26, 2007. ]
gross = $131,282,949 (worldwide)
followed_by = "School of Rock 2: America Rocks"
website =
amg_id = 1:281055
imdb_id = 0332379

"School of Rock" is a 2003 American comedy film from Paramount Pictures, starring Jack Black. The film was written specifically for Black by Mike White and directed by Richard Linklater. The film was well-received by critics, gaining a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-08-04] and was number 98 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies". [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-05-24]


Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a flamboyant and hyperactive hard rock singer and guitarist, is unanimously voted out of his band "No Vacancy" by the rest of the members for his arrogance and frequent stage antics of stage dives and 20-minute guitar solos, which had just caused them to be fired from the club they were performing at the previous night. His nerdy roommate Ned Schneebly (Mike White), a former rock musician who had left his past behind and became a substitute teacher, threatens Dewey with eviction under heavy pressure from Ned's overbearing girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) unless Dewey "gets a real job" and pays off his growing rent debt of $2,200. Ned suggests selling one of his guitars instead, but Dewey is disdainful of this idea ("Would you tell Picasso to sell one of his guitars?"). Dewey feels forced to give up his passion until he intercepts a phone call to Ned from the principal, Rosalie Mullins, (Joan Cusack) of Horace Green Elementary, a highly prestigious prep school, asking Ned to fill in for a teacher who had been in an accident and would be out for several weeks. Desperate for cash to avoid getting evicted, Dewey gets the idea to impersonate Ned and take the job as a substitute teacher for the fifth-grade class.

Dewey's only goal as a teacher is to expend as little effort as possible. However, one day he overhears the kids playing in music class and realizes that some of the kids in the class have musical talent. He decides to turn his temporary job into what he tells them is a special class project, but is actually a personal one: to turn a classroom full of kids into a rock band and crew, complete with a ten-year-old manager, a girl called Summer (Miranda Cosgrove) which will serve as a vehicle to stardom, ultimately to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands, where he is out to avenge his eviction from his old band.

After realizing that most of the kids are into pop and contemporary music, Dewey turns the school days into lessons of rock history and music playing, exposing his students to those artists he regards as rock legends. Five rock stars are featured with classic footage in the movie: Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Angus Young, Keith Moon and Kurt Cobain. In addition, during a montage, the drummer, Freddy, is seen watching footage of the famous drum battle between Buddy Rich and Ed Shaughnessy.

Dewey watches as his students begin to discover the power of rock music. When the principal meets with him to check on their progress, Dewey attempts to revive any old love for rock he finds in her, by finding out she likes Stevie Nicks and playing her song "Edge of Seventeen" on a jukebox. Finally, the kids audition for the Battle of the Bands, which Dewey told them was their "school project." They are turned back because they show up too late. With Summer's help prior, Dewey persuades the Battle's managers by lying that the students are all terminally ill with "stick-it-to-da-man-niosis", a fictional rare blood disease, and out of compassion, they allow the students to perform in the Battle of the Bands. However, during a parent-teacher night in which he meets the students' parents, Ned appears and confronts Dewey (due almost entirely to his girlfriend's persuasion of coaxing it out of him). His real identity is revealed, and he is fired from the school, though he runs first due to misconstrued words. Considering himself a failure, he falls into a funk, and pulls himself out only when the students, on their way to the contest via schoolbus, plead with him to join them for the Battle of the Bands.

The movie culminates in the musical playoff, where, instead of playing Dewey's "Legend of the Rent" they play "School of Rock", a song written by young band member Zack Mooneyham, the lead guitarist. The class loses the contest to Dewey's old band. But the students can accept their defeat because Dewey's "School of Rock" has increased their self-esteem, and given them an understanding that rock transcends traditional notions of success and failure, pointing out that the Sex Pistols have never won any major awards. The crowd becomes angered by No Vacancy's victory and call for the School of Rock to come back onstage. The band comes back onstage again and plays "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" by AC/DC, with some of the lyrics altered. This scene fades to the credits, which play over the next scene.

The last scene features Dewey and Ned's apartment being turned into a temporary 'School of Rock' after school activity, where Ned revives his rock passion in the form of a guitar tutoring program. The footage featuring Dewey and the kids playing "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" in the apartment was almost entirely improvised, and breaks the fourth wall as Marta (one of the vocalists) sings that "the movie is over, but we're still on screen" during her solo, and Dewey tells the audience that "it's time to go now... the people gotta come in for the next show! The movie people gotta come in to clean the sticky stuff off the floor!" and at one point points to a name scrolling down and says "I do not know that guy!" (despite that credits scroll "up" not "down", after movies finish).


*Dewey Finn (Jack Black) - Nicknamed "Mr. S" after persuading the class that he is the real Ned Schneebly (he was unable to spell the surname), Dewey is a down-on-his-luck, energetic, 30-year old, wannabe rock superstar who is fired from his band No Vacancy due to his antics and is replaced with a guitarist named Spider. When Ned's girlfriend demands he pay up his share of the rent or get out, he pretends to be Ned as a substitute at the high-brow Horace Green Elementary. His main objective in the movie is to create a rock band from the Horace Green fifth grade class, after previous attempts to pull together a band failed, and take revenge on his doubting former band members and win the Battle of the Bands.
*Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack) - The very uptight principal of Horace Green Elementary. It is revealed that she was "not always wound this tight", but the pressure of the parents wanting everything to be perfect has made her into someone she never wanted to be; "a bitch". She is always strictly dressed. At one point she is seen wearing a blouse and necktie with a tightly buttoned blazer. She also is often seen wearing a turtleneck sweater, sometimes under a blazer.
*Ned Schneebly (Mike White) - Ned is Dewey's roommate and best friend. He is described as a pushover by his girlfriend, Patty, because he gives Dewey many chances to pay the rent and lets him stay on account of the fact that he does not like confrontation and because Dewey is his best friend. Both used to be in a cross-dressing rock band called Maggot-Death together, but Ned gave up those dreams for what he and Patty consider to be something more sensible.
*Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman) - Patty works for the mayor and is Ned's girlfriend. She makes no secret of her hatred for Dewey, constantly berating him for his lack of a proper job and inability to pay rent. Dewey brings out the worst in her, and Ned walks out on her daily tirade in the end.
*Summer Hathaway (Miranda Cosgrove) - (Nicknamed "Tinkerbell") The class factotum (whom Dewey ignorantly calls 'factotor'), Summer is determined to please and succeed, even if it means using somewhat unethical means. She is designated by Dewey as the band manager due to her threatening to tell her mother, a room parent, that he was being unfair to her by deeming her a groupie (which she discovers the true nature of that position via Internet), and during the latter half of the movie, Dewey says, "Summer is going to be the first woman president of the United States." At the end of the movie, she has taken on a full managerial tone and responsibility for the musical direction of the band.
*Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos Jr.) - (Nicknamed "The Zack Attack") The talented but shy lead guitarist of the "School of Rock". His overbearing father has a large and domineering influence on him and his hobbies and education. Dewey is quoted saying "He's the next Hendrix" about Zack during the later half of the movie.
*Freddy Jones (Kevin Clark) - (Nicknamed "Spazzy Magee") The "rebel without a cause" and somewhat of a troublemaker drummer of the "School of Rock". He likes to burn stuff for a pastime and went out to hang in a van with some rockers competing in the Battle of the Bands. It is this that provides the vehicle for Dewey to prove that he cares for the kids.
*Katie (Rebecca Brown) - (Nicknamed "Posh Spice") Originally a cellist, Katie takes up the bass guitar. Despite being a core member, her character does not really have many lines because she's portrayed as a quiet girl, but eagerly takes interest in rock music, citing Sheila E and Meg White as "good chick drummers".
*Lawrence (Robert Tsai) - (Nicknamed "Mr. Cool") A quiet, awkward "boffin" who becomes the keyboardist for the band and undergoes a transformation to become a rockin' keyboardist. Dewey teaches him the handshake, partially consisting of "slap it; shoot it; caboot it!"
*Tomika (Maryam Hassan) - (Nicknamed "Turkey Sub") Unconfident about her physique, later becomes "Songbird" after Dewey discovers her amazing singing talent when she admits to him in private that she does not want to be security detail, nor a roadie. She ends up being a backup singer for the band.
*Marta (Caitlin Hale) - (Nicknamed "Blondie") Marta is another back-up singer, seemingly more lively than other classmates, showing off her voice with "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie.
*Alicia (Aleisha Allen) - (Nicknamed "Braceface") Alicia volunteers her singing voice to become a back-up singer, "auditioning" with Amazing Grace. She considers Dewey a "stupid-head."
*Billy (Brian Falduto) - (Nicknamed "Fancy Pants") Originally assigned security, the camp, effeminate Billy requests he be band stylist instead and, being that he needed to keep the kids happy, Dewey agrees. Billy designs the uniforms for the show and is shown to work hard at the design. He vehemently voices his hatred for Dewey, but still works with the band. At the end of the film, he seems to have garnered a neutrality toward Dewey.
*Gordon (Zachary Infante) - (Nicknamed "Road Runner") Gordon is a roadie and is noted for his exceptional computer skills. He made the light show during the Battle of the Bands performance. He tends to get stressed easily when his plans don't work out, but Dewey inspires confidence in him.
*Marco (James Hosey) - (Nicknamed "Carrot Top") Also a roadie with Gordon. He works the smoke machine during the Battle of the Bands performance.
*Frankie (Angelo Massagli) - (Nicknamed "Tough Guy") At the beginning of the film, it appears he is good friends with Freddy, and the one who interacts/jokes with him the most. He works on security. In the beginning of the film, he is under the assumption that rock was about scoring with chicks.
*Leonard (Cole Hawkins) - (Nicknamed "Short Stop") He works on security along with Frankie.
*Eleni and Michelle (Veronica Afflerbach and Jordan-Claire Green respectively) - Designated the groupies by Dewey, they are given the task of naming the band, which they are more than happy to do. They disclose the final name to Dewey by unrolling a T-shirt with a "School of Rock" emblem on it.
*Theo (Adam Pascal) - Theo is the leader of Dewey's old band "No Vacancy", though Dewey says he brought the band together, and he is the first one who suggested getting rid of Dewey. During the end of the movie, before learning they win the contest, Theo and his band members are very impressed with the performance which the children (of Dewey's band School of Rock) had put up and they personally congratulate/admire them.


Featured in the film

*"Fight" by No Vacancy *
*"Stay Free" by The Clash
*"Touch Me" by The Doors
*"Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" by Ramones
*"Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream *
*"Back in Black" by AC/DC
*"Substitute" by The Who *
*"Roadrunner" by The Modern Lovers
*"My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg)" by Ramones *
*"The Wait" (Killing Joke cover) by Metallica
*"Sad Wings" by Brand New Sin
*"Mouthful of Love" by Young Heart Attack
*"Black Shuck" by The Darkness
*"Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin *
*"Set You Free" by The Black Keys *
*"Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks *
*"Ballrooms of Mars" by T. Rex *
*"Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie
*"T.V. Eye" by Wylde Rattz *
*"Ride Into the Sun" by The Velvet Underground
*"Heal Me, I'm Heartsick" by No Vacancy *
*"School of Rock" by School of Rock *
*"It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" (AC/DC cover) by School of Rock *
*"Math is a Wonderful thing" by Jack Black..

* Featured on the Soundtrack album


A soundtrack album of the same name was released on September 30, 2003. The film's director Richard Linklater scouted the country for talented 13-year-old musicians to play the rock-and-roll music that features on the soundtrack and in the film.

One noteworthy feature of the soundtrack is the inclusion of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song. Led Zeppelin has a history of not allowing their songs to be used for commercial purposes, and rarely give permission for anyone to use their songs. In order to get permission, Richard Linklater came up with the idea to shoot a video on the stage used at the end of the film with Jack Black begging the band for permission and the crowd cheering and chanting behind him. The video was sent directly to Led Zeppelin, and permission was granted for the song. The video can be seen on the DVD extras as well as on Youtube.

Movie title

Although a few references, including Internet Movie Database, give this film's name as "The School of Rock", its posters, video cover, official website and most other references refer to it as "School of Rock". A making-of documentary included in the film's DVD mentions that in the script, everything was always referred to as "The School of Rock", but as the movie got into production, there was a memo to change it officially to "School of Rock". There was a short-lived debate about having the red title display in the movie's opening credits modified, because despite already permanently submitted to calling it "School of Rock", it already had the "The" in the film's trailers. Linklater decided in the end to just leave it, marking the whole thing "silly."

A satirical reference to the movie's title was made in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", a scene in which Steve Carell had received a "big box of porn" from his friend Andy to "loosen him up". While rummaging through the box, a film titled "School of Cock" is discovered. [cite web |url= | |accessdate=2007-05-24]

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from film critics. It received a "Certified Fresh" rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 186 reviews with an average rating of 7.7/10, and it fared even better with their selected top critics; out of 36 reviews, all but one were positive, which left the film with a rating of 97% with an average rating of 8.2/10. On Metacritic, the film has a rating of 82 out of 100 which indicates "universal acclaim".

Box office performance

The movie was a financial success. It grossed $131,282,949 internationally.

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor - Comedy or Musical, and won Black an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.


On May 23, 2008, Jack Black revealed a sequel was in the works: "I'd really like to do it, the last one was great. We are seriously thinking about it, there's already a script. In a few weeks we have to decide if we go through with the project or not." [cite web|url=$1231533.htm|title=Jack Black to return to class for School of Rock sequel |date=July 14, 2008|publisher=Adfero|accessdate=2008-07-15]

"Variety" reported on July 13, 2008 that Richard Linklater is attached to direct again, and Scott Rudin is returning as producer. [cite web|url=|title=Paramount goes back to 'School'|last=Siegel|first=Tatiana|publisher="Variety"|accessdate=2008-07-15] Mike White, who penned the first, is writing the screenplay, titled "School of Rock 2: America Rocks," which picks up with Finn leading a group of summer school students on a cross-country field trip that delves into the history of rock 'n' roll and explores the roots of blues, rap, country and other genres. [cite web|url=|title=Jack Black Set For School Of Rock 2|last=Tyler|first=Josh|date=July 14, 2008|publisher=Cinemablend|accessdate=2008-07-15]


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ "School of Rock"] at Rotten Tomatoes

Box Office Leaders USA
before = The Rundown
date = October 6
year = 2003
after = Kill Bill

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