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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


School of Rock

Chris Campbell

I'm a teacher of Screen Arts which is filmmaking, and that's part of the entertainment industry, which is related to music. One of the great things about my job is that I get to teach cool, rock-star-like people who are creative and don't always realize the abilities that they have. That's why I identified with Jack Black's character in The School of Rock. The film is directed by Richard Linklater who first burst (or wandered) onto the scene with the rambling, but compelling film Slacker. Slacker is similar to his later film Waking Life and while Waking Life is amazing to look at, it rambles a bit too much and seems more like an essay than a film and lacks the feeling of Slacker. I haven't obsessively followed Linklater's films, but I really liked Before Sunrise and I was thinking that maybe I just didn't like Linklater's writing or the more heavily philosophical parts of it.

Seeing the trailer for The School of Rock and finding out that Linklater was directing made me think that it could be interesting. The film is built around Jack Black who has been stealing scenes in films such as High Fidelity, Enemy of the State and The Cable Guy. But I first really noticed Mr. Black as part of the cast of Mr. Show where he played a number of characters in the first and second season. Black has great comic timing and was good (but a bit too restrained) in Shallow Hal. In Orange County he played the stoner brother and Mike White, the writer of Orange County wrote The School of Rock for Black. The film allows Black to strike the right balance and he's funny and solid too. Kind of like Robin Williams when he strikes the balance right in a film.

One of the rules in filmmaking is not to work with kids or animals, but they assemble a great supporting cast with the kids and there is a genuine chemistry with Black. It's a goofy mistaken-identity film where everyone all learns a valuable lesson and it manages to be funny and sweet without being sappy. I thought that it would be funny and I was surprised by how much I liked it.