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Awesome: 22.58%
Worth A Look64.52%
Just Average: 6.45%
Pretty Crappy: 3.23%
Sucks: 3.23%

3 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Rock School
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by Erik Childress

"Raise Your Goblet Of Rock To Paul Green. Then Hit Him With It."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: Do you remember a teacher that you absolutely hated, yet they turned out to maybe be the best you ever had. A few years of perspective can do that to a person; taking into account how hard you were pushed and how much time you spent perfecting your work just to get that screw off your back. Lord knows Daniel LaRusso had no idea he was learning karate by painting houses. Say what you will about Simon Cowell, but he’s way more honest and helpful to those Idol contestants than Randy “Feel Ya Dog” Jackson and Paula “Hit A Car And Vomit” Abdul. Personally, I don’t know if I’d ever let my child or, frankly, any child I know spend time with Paul Green. He may be able to turn a one-armed ten-year old with no sense of music history into a rock God, but he’s also a bonafide asshole. And that’s part of what makes him and this film so great.

Paul Green is the founder of the aptly titled Paul Green School of Rock Music in Philadelphia. Kids from ages 9-to-17 with the desire to learn more than they ever would in band class flock to him in hopes of becoming the next...well, choose somebody, cause most of these kids weren’t even born when the greats walked the Earth. I don’t know how many royalty checks Richard Linklater forwards over to Green, but Jack Black and his School of Rock couldn’t have existed without Green.

If Black was a force of nature, preaching the word and berating the students for their music tastes, then Green is Zeus. Charging through the halls of the narrow building where music protrudes from every pore, Green is determined to make these kids the best they can be. His “by any means necessary” approach is more influenced by his personality and love of rock then that of a parent who just wants to see their child do well. He wants to mold them into the guitar riffs that he loves and if that includes everything just outside the boundary of smacking them, Green will do it.

It’s hardly the most constructive environment and amazing that it can still exist in some corner of the country not prone to suing or having him shut down. How many teachers can get away with “F-bombing” their students on an hourly basis? Would you want a mentor telling your child they are worthless or asking them if they love Satan? Green isn’t instituting animal sacrifice, but wants to bring them up to the level of Rock Gods which constitutes even the metaphorical underpinnings of sex, drugs and the underworld. Watching Green work is cringe-inducing, utterly hilarious and will inspire either a passion to succeed or a total mental collapse.

The surroundings are hardly what Quaker Madi Diaz is used to and her battle of wills with Paul most resembles what most of us watching it feels. Still, she’s a talented singer/guitarist who is the first to admit how embarrassed she feels coming to the school with little more than a knowledge of Sheryl Crow’s music. Asa and Tucker Collins are nine-year old twins whose mom never bats an eye transforming them into little Ozzys. Poor Will O’Connor is the film’s black sheep. Misdiagnosed as retarded and born with a giant head that would keep Mike Myers’ Scottish father from So I Married an Axe Murderer talking for weeks, Will is not much of a talent. But he’s precisely the sort of student that schools like Paul are meant for; escapes from an average world and into something extraordinary that could keep his mind off of killing himself (which is a favorite introduction of his.)

The star student is CJ Tywoniak who we know from his first strum is destined to wow the clothes off anyone who loves a great solo and willing to share comparison with names like Clapton, Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. When the kids reach their destination of Zappanale, an East German Frank Zappa festival, even original Zappa member, Napoleon Murphy Brock, bows in salute.

It’s a rousing salute to how hard these kids have worked and how much abuse they have suffered at the hands of Paul Green. Double features of Linklater’s film and, now, Don Argott’s are destined to pop up across the country and hosted by music and film lovers alike. Love him or hate him, Paul Green is one of the best characters you will see in any film. As Hitchcock once said (Alfred, not Robyn), audiences will love anyone as long as they are good at their job and this is certainly one teacher you are not likely to forget.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10171&reviewer=198
originally posted: 04/06/05 12:22:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/02/07 ubishii the kids had so much more power over green, and didn't even know it. wish they did! 4 stars
11/23/06 David Pollastrini great music 5 stars
12/25/05 Ben Knapton That CJ Tywoniak kid is absolutely amazing. 5 stars
10/01/05 Adriano Abatt Did you watch the movie? 1 stars
9/01/05 kaitlyn morris this movie is so cool,its the coolest movie ever 5 stars
6/05/05 Joann Creasy A must see 5 stars
5/31/05 Suz "barbizon school of rock" exploits kids for mommy&daddy's money,Green plays it up for same 2 stars
5/20/05 Drew Troubling, hopeful & incredible all at once. CJ is awesome! 5 stars
4/16/05 David Siegel A touching and funny version of the "only good teacher in town" genre. 4 stars
2/14/05 Dian fun 3 stars
2/08/05 Andrea It was very funny and sweet. And most of all it really did rock. 5 stars
2/04/05 Ron Best/Most fun movie I saw at Sundance. See this one. 5 stars
1/31/05 Kris As a documentary it works: it's hard to watch the children get screamed at 3 stars
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  03-Jun-2005 (R)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2005



Directed by
  Don Argott

Written by

  Paul Green
  CJ Tywoniak
  Madi Diaz
  Will O’Connor
  Napoleon Murphy Brock

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