the film, there is a stark difference between the teacher at the beginning
of the movie and the end of the movie.
The film begins with Dewey Finn, an aspiring rock star,
performing in an audition for a Battle of the Bands competition. When
he goes to practice with his band a few days later, he finds out that he
has been replaced. His day continues to get worse when he returns
home to the apartment he lives in with his friend Ned Schneebly (Mike
White) and Ned’s girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Sarah Silverman), and they
tell him he must contribute to the rent or move out. While arranging
stuff in his room, Finn answers a phone call, intended for Ned, from
Rosalie Mullins (Joan Cusack), the principal of Horace Green Prep
School. She is calling to ask Ned to fill in for a short-term substitute
teacher position. When Finn hears the compensation rate, he
impersonates Ned and is hired as a substitute teacher. He starts the job
the next day and immediately realizes that he doesn’t fit into the
standardized private school realm. Everyone looks put together, clean,
and sharp in their plaid uniforms with oxford shirts and blazers. Then
there’s Finn wearing cargo pants, a patterned shirt, and a non-matching
bowtie. This is one way in which School of Rock deviates from the
conventional representation of a teacher. Most Hollywood movies
depict heroic teachers who are forward-thinking, organized, and
depicted as a nerdy man or put-together woman, usually sporting some
spiffy looking outfits. In contrast, Finn is presented as a disheveled man
who is behind the times.
The contrast between Finn and his environment is reinforced
when he asks about the students’ taste in music. He is oblivious to the
contemporary pop stars the students acknowledge and asks the kids
what they know about any ‘80s rock stars. This simple difference in
musical taste shows that Finn does not fit in with the fancy culture at
Horace Green. The higher society seems to believe that classical music,
as opposed to rock music, is valued and expected. This is discovered
when the kids tell Finn that they only play classical music, and one boy
says his dad won’t let him play the electric guitar because it is a “waste
of time.” The second day of school, the “know-it-all” student, Summer
197
Previous Page Next Page