Rock School: The Real School of Rock

The film School of Rock came out roughly two years ago and was a medium sized hit. People were drawn to Jack Black’s zany teacher who taught the kids the finer points of hard core rock and roll.

What I and many other people didn’t know was Jack Black’s character seems to be inspired by Paul Green – who teaches students aged 9 to 17 learn how to play rock music.

Don Argott’s documentary Rock School takes us inside the Paul Green School of Rock in some absolutely hilarious ways.

Paul Green is one of the most memorable “characters” of recent cinema. Green, a former rocker himself, decided to teach kids to play when his own career didn’t take off.

He has a bit of a Peter Pan complex as he’s really a big dumb kid. One that doesn’t mind yelling and screaming expletives at his pupils. His tantrums at times are so over the top they border on lunacy and the kids seem to understand this for the most part.

We follow beginning students as they try to master Black Sabbath songs and then move to the advanced classes where they learn the complex music that Frank Zappa produced. All the students get to play in a con cert depending on their ability levels. The master class traveled to Germany for a Zappa festival in the year the documentary was produced.

Throughout the course of the picture we focus on various students but the two that stood out the most were Will and CJ. Will is a depressed kid who tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion before joining the program. He isn’t a good musician but the school seems to offer him a second chance at life. As for CJ . . . the kid is the next Jimmy Hendrix. He’s better at twelve than the majority of guitar players in current bands, and I’m not exaggerating. The film is worth seeing him for him alone.

So the final verdict? Rock School is really fun time at the theater. Not one of the best of the recent docs but still well worth a viewing.

3 Out of 4 stars

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