I get it: The School of Rock is not the sort of undersung vintage gem that you’re depending on me to unearth. The 2003 Richard Linklater-directed favorite—starring Jack Black as an accidental substitute teacher who transforms his prep-school class into the rock band of his dreams—premiered at the top of the box office as the rare family movie that was also a critical darling.
Instead, think of this Weekly Watch not as an introduction, but a reminder—this is one of those movies worth revisiting every three or so years once the kids hit first or second grade. And if you watch it now, the grownups in your house can chase it with School of Rock screenwriter/costar (and unlikely Amazing Race player) Mike White’s latest project, the definitely-not-family-friendly White Lotus on HBO, which I’m digging so far. TBP is very much in the tank for White, who created my very favorite television series, Enlightened, which didn’t get enough love when it ran from 2011-2013 on the Home Box Office network. Please watch all 18 precious episodes and I bet you’ll agree.
School of Rock, currently streaming on Paramount+, showcases a Jack Black so charming you’ll remember why Hollywood subsequently tried him as a leading man (Nancy Meyers’s rare misstep, The Holiday; Peter Jackson’s King Kong), alongside a pitch-perfect Joan Cusack as Principal Roz Mullins and White as Black’s educator-roommate. For y’all somehow not lured in when the platform launched with The Real World Homecoming this spring, Paramount+ offers a generous weeklong free trial; if you’re looking to really milk the test-run, the streamer also hosts a School of Rock television series that superfans might get a kick out of—not to mention A Quiet Place II, all of Frasier, and SNICK favorites from Clarissa Explains It All to All That to Are You Afraid of the Dark?1
For School of Rock enthusiasts, part of the fun is the where-are-they-now of it all. Turns out, many of the Horace Greene kids went on to live relatively normal lives, or at least seem to have emerged seemingly unscathed after their brush with child stardom. While Frankie (Angelo Massagli), who played band security in the movie, later played Bobby in the Sopranos, he then went on to law school…and got engaged to backup singer Marta (Caitlin Hale)! Tomika’s Maryam Hassan is a musician who performs as Mayhrenate. Summer is the grandest exception; she was played by Miranda Cosgrove, who became ’00s darling iCarly and now has a revival of that show in the works.
As for Mike White, well, we’ve already covered the highlights of his after-School oeuvre. Join me in thanking the man for a screenplay that gave us a memorable handshake (“Let’s rock, let’s rock—today.”), favorite morning pledge (“I pledge allegiance, to the band”), and my go-to wedding toast (“Now raise your goblet of rock…”). And with the help of The Mooney Suzuki, for delivering a soundtrack crawling with earworms, too.
If none of the previous few paragraphs mean anything to you, you’ve got some homework to do.
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You want deep cuts? I’ve got deep cuts! Hey Dude, also from Nickelodeon though not technically SNICK, is also on Paramount+. If anyone out there knows where I can find Welcome Freshman, Roundhouse, or Fifteen, please holler. And if anybody so much as remembers Nick at Nite’s original 1991 meta-sitcom Hi Honey, I’m Home, please reach out—I’m lonely!