Friday, June 29, 2012

Kids Movies That Are Actually Good For Your Kids #1: School of Rock

School of Rock is one of the best Jack Black movies I have ever seen. In it Black's character, Dewy, makes a rock band out of the private school class he is substitute teaching. He uses their natural musical talents to get them into the Battle of the Bands. It's a cute movie and, unlike most of today's comedies, the jokes are funny instead of just stupid-funny. All of that is great for a movie in general and a kid's movie in particular, but what really makes School of Rock stand out is the evolution of Jack Black's character, Dewy.

Dewy starts off as a desperate guy trying to make his rock dreams come true, and it only gets worse for him when his band kicks him out. He pretends to be his roommate in order to pick up a substitute teaching job to raise money while he tries to get a new band together. He can't get anyone to play with him, but he realizes that the kids in his class can play classical music so he teaches them about rock and convinces them to be his band. This clearly starts out as a revenge fantasy for Dewy:  he is trying to get back at the band who kicked him out. But as he spends more time helping the kids find their individual roles in the band and shows each one how his or her role is important, he begins to focus on what is best for them, and less on using them as a vehicle for his own self-aggrandizing scheme. By making the band more about them and less about himself, Dewy becomes a better person.

I'm not going to give away the ending, but this movie clearly shows what's best about working as a team and why you don't have to win the big prize to be successful. Watch this movie with your kids, and then talk to them about it to make sure they understand why it is a more uplifting movie than it seems at first blush.

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