Listen to our School of Rock episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
Here’s a thesis statement you probably won’t hear very often – Jack Black is hugely underrated. Sure, he’s a big star who still gets leading roles in major Box Office movies, but despite his obvious appeal, he never seems to get talked up as much as he should for his tremendous comic talents. Doubters need only revisit his 2003 performance in School of Rock – as we do in this week’s episode.
Sure, the film is essentially a fluffy and inconsequential popcorn comedy, but just try to imagine any other actor in his age range taking on that role. Black manages to totally sell the audience on both the ridiculousness of his character, but also his earnest love of Rock ‘n’ roll and desire to empower the class of prep school students he semi-accidentally winds up in charge of.
It’s a big, physical role that many actors would have taken as an opportunity to showboat, but as broad as his performance is, Black also brings out the best in his young co-stars, few of whom had much in the way of professional experience. If comic performances were recognised by the Oscars as often as they should be, he should have been a shoe-in.
We went into this week’s viewing fully prepared for School of Rock to have aged poorly, but give or take a couple of questionable lines – Black’s character repeatedly referring to things as ‘sissy’, and one character being nicknamed ‘Spazzy McGee’ – the film holds up remarkably well. A successful stage musical and a Nickelodeon TV series have already emerged, but we’d still welcome an official class reunion, particularly in light of the current Jack Black revival after his scene-stealing turn in the recent Jumanji movie.
That said, with the original school kids now approaching their thirties, how might that theoretical sequel look? We pitch some ideas in this week’s episode, including a comic take on the classic classroom weepie Mr Holland’s Opus, a Netflix revival that reunites the band while catching us up on their post-Graduation adventures and a sequel-in-spirit that channels Jack Black’s innate enthusiasm into teaching a new batch of youngsters how to appreciate some of his other passions, including food, theatre and, slightly improbably, ballroom dancing.
You can listen to this week’s edition of Beyond The Box Set on all good podcasting platforms using the links at the top of this blog post. If you enjoy the show please take the time to hit subscribe on your app of choice, as it really helps us to grow our listenership. You can also access a wide range of bonus content for as little as $2 a month by becoming a VIP supporter on Patreon, and we have some merchandise available over on Teepublic.com. If you have any feedback or suggestions, you can also reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Join us next week when we’ll be continuing our series on musically inclined actors with a look at a camp-tastic erotic thriller from one of Hollywood’s most enduring all-round entertainers – despite the fact that one of us claims to have never actually heard of her…