In School of Rock, Jack Black plays every Jack Black character ever. This time he's Dewey, a struggling musician who impersonates his substitute teacher roommate to make some extra cash. Struck by one of his Jack Black trademark crazy schemes, he assembles a bunch of fifth graders into a rock group that he can use to win a band competition.
Also it stars Jack Black.
Of course, the newly formed kid band enters the contest and wins. As the credits roll, the film implies that Jack Black's rock music program becomes a permanent feature at the school.
But After the Movie's Over ...
Either Dewey had one hell of a lawyer, or word of what he did hadn't reached the parents yet.
"How many years in prison? Just for kidnapping a few kids? This country is going straight to hell."
In the course of his wacky adventure, Dewey has unwittingly committed so many crimes that the Supreme Court will probably be naming new laws after him. To understand the shit that's about to come down on his head, try impersonating a teacher in order to kidnap a busload of children and see how well that goes. And that's after he's committed identity theft, which is a Class A misdemeanor. And we're not even going to get into the scene where he sexually harasses three students by assigning them the band role of "groupies," which we're pretty sure they told their parents about because those particular students never appear in the movie again.
"Make sure you know where the drugs are, and always accept the invites to the party bus."
But Dewey also manages to hijack a class of students for an entire semester, teaching them nothing and managing to take them away from the school grounds under false pretenses. If he'd had more nefarious motives, it'd be less a scandal and more a tragedy. Given society's obsession with protecting the children, it's likely going to be a long time before Dewey sees the sun again. But then again, prison doesn't charge rent, so it really would solve his problem in a sense.
"Wheeee! This is the last time I'll ever touch a woman!"
Max Cady (Robert De Niro) is paroled from prison after 14 years and seeks revenge on his former lawyer, Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), who buried evidence that could have exonerated him. Acting reasonably, Cady begins raping and murdering everyone in Sam's life and framing him for the crimes, finally confronting the family on a houseboat ...
... at which point Sam manages to handcuff Cady to the boat while it sinks. Problem solved!
"I bet if I spout off a cool one-liner, this will seem less like murder."
But After the Movie's Over ...
You might be asking, why didn't Sam just call the cops instead of letting this psychopath stalk him? Well, that's the problem. De Niro's character was something of an evil genius, and he meticulously figured out how to ruin Sam's life without ever getting caught. As far as the world knows, Cady is completely innocent right up until he drowns.
"Innocent" is not the same as "mentally stable."
In other words, it looks like Cady is just the last victim in Sam's murder spree. Yes, even Cady's murders may end up getting pinned on Sam, because he was present at -- and dumb enough to put his hands all over -- the crime scenes. One piece of evidence that could be used against Cady -- his gun -- also ends up at the bottom of the river. We're not reading too much into the plot here, either -- Sam's cop friend pointedly tells him that he fled a crime scene and he is a suspect in these murders.
And remember, the whole reason Cady was after Sam was that Sam had suppressed evidence in Cady's original case. He even admitted it. So, from an outside perspective, it sure looks like Sam Bowden had some sort of vendetta against Cady, instead of vice versa.
"Yeah, turns out that I am a really terrible lawyer."
At the film's climax, Sam is already under investigation after he was recorded threatening Cady and confessing to hiring men to attack him outside his apartment. Meanwhile, they just can't pin anything on Max Cady, and given the suppressed evidence, nobody can even be sure he's ever committed a crime in his life.
If you're a reasonable detective, it sure looks like Sam and his family framed an innocent man, took him out onto their houseboat and murdered the shit out of him.
"Missing? No, I swear I didn't set him on fire, handcuff him to my boat and leave him to drown."
Will Ferrell, in a heroic attempt at serious acting, discovers that he is actually a fictional character in a novel that someone else is writing. Or maybe he's a real person who, due to some black magic, is living out a life a particular author has written for him. Either way, he finds himself in a race against time to find the author before she can kill him off at the end of the book.
"If only she'd killed me off before Bewitched."
Ferrell eventually tracks down the author because it turns out they live in the same universe somehow. He pleads his sentence down from a tragic death to a mere brutal injury (even though Ferrell admits the book is better if he dies). The author changes the book, and Ferrell lives happily ever after.
"Also, hookers. Stick some hookers in there."
But After the Movie's Over ...
Well, except for that whole "I'm living a fictional life created by a stranger" thing. So now that the novel is over, what's next? Does he have free will, or is he just acting out what the writer wants? The best case scenario is that the rest of his life is going to be meaningless. The worst case is that he may simply cease to exist. Even though he's scored Maggie Gyllenhaal, he's going to face the mother of all existential crises one way or the other.
"And then suddenly she stopped shouting and had sex with him. This made Harold happy."
But more than that, the central conflict of the author's character is that killing off Ferrell is necessary for her novel to make sense. By sparing his life, she's settling for a shitty book in exchange for assuaging her guilt about killing a guy who is caught in some reality/fiction limbo. What happens when her editor rightly informs her that she should reconsider her ending?
"You're going to have to play The Sims like every other reclusive control freak."
Let's not forget that she wasn't exactly keen on letting him live, even after she met him. Then again, we're never really sure if she still has the power to edit his life after the book is done, or whether Ferrell's character is even real. Now that we think about it, it's kind of a silly movie.
For more questionable writing from Hollywood bigwigs, check out 6 Obnoxious Assumptions Hollywood Makes About Women and 5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do.
And stop by LinkSTORM because no one works on Monday anyway.
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