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On the DVD: Like the movie, the DVD extras are smarter and a lot more entertaining than your average flick. The making-of feature ("Lessons Learned") has the usual behind-the-scenes banter but Jack Black is in fine form--that is, something special--interviewing as much as being interviewed about the making of the film. His unique pitch to Led Zeppelin to use their song is alone worth the price of the DVD. Black is more his maniacal self and a bit more grating in MTV's Diary segment, but his commentary track with director Richard Linklater is as insightful as it is funny. Ok, it's a lot more funny, but entertaining throughout. The commentary track featuring just the kid actors is less so, but any preteen would love listening to it. To top it off, the DVD-ROM has Dewey Finn's instantly famous blackboard history of rock. You can drill down to the bands mentioned and get a brief history of each. --Doug Thomas
For those about to watch...I salute you...
Dewey Finn (Jack Black), a manic rock-and-roll wannabe who has lost his job, intercepts a phone call to his roommate, Ned Schneebly (Mike White), about a substitute teaching job at an elite urban prep school and, desperately needing cash, takes the job teaching uptight fifth graders with highly motivated parents. Pretending to be Ned and ostensibly teaching the fifth grade core curriculum, he quickly discovers the musical talents of his students, most of whom have been studying serious classical music. Believing they need to be loosened up, he abandons the curriculum and turns his class into a school of rock, hiding his efforts from the principal (neurotically played by Joan Cusack).
Black is off-the-wall with his manic energy, his mugging, and his free-wheeling heavy-metal style, and his good intentions are so obvious from the outset, that even adult viewers, firmly grounded in reality, get caught up in the fun. The kids are terrific as they break out of the molds into which they have been forced by their parents and school and, of course, they become better human beings in the process. Black is so outrageous--and so completely himself--that even the youngest viewer will see him as larger than life.Read more ›