- 12:58 PM, Nov 18
Rocks Stars. Guitar Gods. Kids. At some point in most everyone's life, we dream of becoming a rock star: feeling the roar of the crowd; basking in the adoration of legions of fans; experiencing the adventures of life on the road. Now imagine fulfilling that fantasy as a child. Welcome to "Rock School".
First time feature documentary filmmaker Don Argott traces the ups-and-downs of the Paul Green School of Rock Music, a unique institution founded in Philadelphia in 1999, dedicated to teaching children ages nine through 17 the ins-and-outs of rock and roll.
That's rock and roll, kids. Not hip-hop. Not Britney. Not Limp Bizkit. But a thunderous roll call of musical greats: Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. Black Sabbath. Carlos Santana. Frank Zappa.
"Rock School" follows an entire season of classes, in the process establishing school founder, director, and self-proclaimed "überlord" Paul Green as one of the most complex, contradictory, and unforgettable characters in recent films. A whirling dervish of manic, pinball-machine energy, Green is at once sensitive and verbally abusive; generous-spirited and mercilessly critical. As tornado-like as his tantrum-filled teaching style can be, however, Paul's commitment to his student's goal of achieving musical greatness is never in doubt.
Paul's thorny relationship with his students is the true subject of "Rock School". For while the sight of nine-year-olds performing Black Sabbath songs outfitted in full heavy metal regalia is charming, "Rock School" goes deeper: posing tough questions about the nature of prodigal talent and flamed-out youth. Is Paul ---a failed guitar God himself--- fostering his students' gifts or inhibiting them? Is he living vicariously through his students? Or using the school to fulfill the rock and roll dream of suspended adolescence?
Filmed cinéma vérité to provide an intimate portrait of this one-of-a-kind instructor and his eagerly aspiring students, "Rock School" reaches its climax in Bad Doberon, Germany, where the School of Rock Music honor roll is invited to perform the music of Frank Zappa. This special festival dedicated to the prog-rocker's oeuvre features Zappa legends such as Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy-Brock... and the kids prove they can rock with the very best of them.
A meditation on talent and teaching, "Rock School" is a celebration of youthful promise and steadfast dreams. It is also a kick-ass music movie that should be played loud!