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‘School of Rock’ 2004/02/29

Posted by Dave in Movies, nights out, Reviews.

Ruth and I went to see The School of Rock at Parkhead Forge cinema last night. It was quite entertaining, and while it's ostensibly crass, I reckon it may be a somewhat subliminal (or at least indirect) way to approach some important issues.

I am of the same generation as the main character, and I therefore caught all the musical and cultural references without skipping a beat. This engenders memories of my teens and early 20s, playing in bands, and trying to 'stick it to the man' (as they kept saying in this film).

However, I was not in the USA; for us here it was all much more serious; on TV we were told what to do when (not if) the nuclear war between the USSR and the USA starts. People built Nissan huts and stockpiled food. We also had an energy crisis — if the bomb didn't get you, then we would run out of food and fuel.

We were the 'No Future' generation — the employment rate was at record levels, there was nothing to look forward to — so we escaped into Rock, fantasy, art and anarchy — the peace-loving hippies were ineffective, so Punk was born. We had nothing to lose, we could finally rebel (what could 'the man' do to us if we dressed a certain way or shaved our heads?).

The School of Rock is about that mood — that youthful anger and energy — the passion for something that had nothing to do with 'the real world' or about 'adult, responsible attitudes'.

Today, though hardly anyone bothers to vote, politics seems to have converged on the middle ground, and there's little brand loyalty in a climate where we are told to switch banks, jobs and everything else to optimise and maximise returns. We have so much consumer choice that we are fully occupied in decision making to get passionate about a cause — beit Rock or the government. This is apathy.

No wonder — look at the present situation with Blair and our invasion of Iraq. This shows how redundant and ineffective we really are — it was done in the wrong way, and the voters were ignored… and life goes on.

The School of Rock brings back memories of those days when it was just possible to have a say, start a trend, be passionate. Days of a richer, more energetic and involved outlook, where culture and identity took precedence over status and power.

  • Maybe this film will rekindle some of that in my generation, and as there were small children (the future generation) in the film, maybe, just maybe, when they see this film they will 'get into' music and 'stick it to the man'… get a 'voice' and stir things up.

Or maybe I'm clutching at straws or imagining things (the film remains a light comedy at the end of the day, and I do not see it becoming a classic and serious work), but I have asked myself if such a film would have worked at any other time or in another decade — and I don't think so; it sort-of had to be now; it's so today!


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