Rainn Wilson (TV’s “The Office An American Workplace”) takes centre stage in this wildly irreverent comedy about living your dreams – and embarrassing your family – at any cost. Twenty years after being kicked out of his nearly famous ‘80s rock group, Robert “Fish” Fishman (Wilson) gets a hilarious second chance at stardom when he joins his nephew’s high school garage band. Without missing a beat, Fish vows to reclaim the rock-god throne he always thought he deserved… while taking his much younger band-mates along for the rides of their lives!
2008 – Certificate: 12 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex references and infrequent muffled strong language
Today is a special day. From the mid-late 80s until the mid-late 90s, I didn’t really go to see many gigs; in fact off the top of my head I can only remember one. Then I went to see China Drum at ULU (University of London Union) and everything changed. It was the band that singlehandedly reintroduced me to live music. Then after three albums, China Drum split up and the world became a slightly more crappy place. It’s been at the top of my “wish they would reform” list for years. Now, twelve years on, China Drum is playing a gig in February in London. To say I’m a bit excited is like suggesting the sun is a bit warm. This movie is about something a little similar.
I’m a bit of a sucker for films about music and bands and I really like Rainn Wilson, so it’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed this one. There’s nothing especially groundbreaking about it, but it’s fun and at times really very funny; it has some great lines in it. It just about manages to stay on the right side of becoming a parody à la “Spinal Tap” and Fish remains a likable character. It seems to get compared to “School of Rock” a lot, but I think this is the better of the two films as it feels (okay slightly) more grounded. It has a number of clever little references in it to other films and ‘pop culture’ and there’s even a small cameo from Peter Best, The Beatles’ original drummer. The DVD has loads of extras too. Highly recommended.
Recommended for people who used to be into music and then ‘grew out of it’, but secretly wishes they hadn’t.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The ending is terribly clichéd, but who doesn’t want to get one over on someone who got one over on them years ago? There’s nothing like holding a lifelong grudge; even I have one or two. It’s not the most grown-up way to get rid of the latter, but beating a long-standing nemesis is most certainly badass. Rock on!
The Rocker at IMDB (6.2/10)
I went to two really great gigs this weekend, the New Town Kings at the London Camden Barfly and Random Hand at the London Hackney Trashbar. Each had really good support bands too. The Barfly is in an upstairs room over a pub and the Trashbar in three adjoined cellars below an organic food store. The Barfly is a well established venue, whilst the Trashbar only opened in March. It took me six trains to get to and from home to the Barfly and four trains and two busses to get to the Trashbar and back; only London can manage to have a traffic jam for busses to get caught up in at midnight! The Barfly sort of has some sort of air conditioning so it was only hot, the Trashbar has zero anything and a really low ceiling, so it was about 1000 degrees in it; in fact the ceiling is so low that two of the bands’ singers had to stand on the floor in front of the little stage, as they were too tall to stand upright on it. Well anyway, both gigs were great and I was suitably knackered at the end of them. I felt sick on the way back from the NTK one on the Tube (too dehydrated) and (a first for me) felt sick on the way to the Random Hand one, (before realising I’d hardly eaten or drunk anything all day so was again dehydrated and probably suffering some sort of energy crisis as well). Talking of gigs and music (and it makes a change to actually be able to draw a sensible link between the crap I’ve written in this paragraph and that in the next)….
2003 – Certificate: PG – USA
Rating Details: Mild language and sex references
I can’t decide if I want to really really like this movie or really really (which makes it a lot more realistic), the kids in it are generally pretty cool and okay it’s quite funny in places too. Against it are the facts that the music featured in it is shit, (well, mostly anyway, except the Clash and Ramones songs, and I guess Immigrant Song is okay too if you really have to like that sort of thing), the school is also shit and has zero child protection in place, the end is way too “Hollywood” and Jack Black’s character is at times just a little bit too creepy. I really want to like Jack Black, simply because he doesn’t look like George Clooney or Johnny Depp, but he makes it so, so difficult in his films at times. (It’s the eyebrows I think, he moves then about way too much for me; they certainly take me outside my comfort zone.) In the end I’ve decided it’s an okay movie.
Recommended for people who like the sort of rock music that punk should really have finished off when it had the chance; you will either like hearing it, or get annoyed at hearing your favourite songs mangled by a load of kids and associated grown-ups; a good thing too if you take it that seriously.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? It has to be Jack Black’s “touch the kids” line. It’s so way out of the park compared with the rest of the very safe script that you end up thinking, “wtf, did he really just say that”? The delayed reaction of all the parents present in the scene (who are obviously busy thinking over what he’d just said too) makes it the best badass line in the film.
School of Rock at IMDB (7.1)