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School of Rock is back! On Netflix, that is. This is excellent news. If we can ignore the fact that Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn does some seriously illegal, borderline sociopathic stuff in the film’s story, while also tanking an entire school year for a classroom full of precocious kids, Richard Linklater and Mike White’s family film absolutely rocks our socks off. It’s a modern classic that has spawned a Broadway show, TV adaptation, and countless click-baity “What are the kids from School of Rock doing now?” articles.
Of course the chief reason why this movie goes so hard is its star Jack Black. Not since the 2000 film High Fidelity had a project so perfectly utilized Black’s unique comedic and musical talents, and really, no movie has quite done so since. Anyone that had a stoner friend with access to HBO in the early 2000s has likely heard “Yo, but like, Jack Black can actually sing” while being forced to watch or listen to Black’s comedy rock duo Tenacious D. And we’re here to confirm that, yes, he can.
Black discovered he could sing while auditioning for his school’s production of Pippin, and while his voice could probably be described as “someone who can sing doing an impression of someone who thinks they can sing,” he can effortlessly switch between a gravelly lower baritone and screeching high-falsetto. In other words, he’s got pipes. Couple that with his natural gift for physical comedy, and you’ve got a dynamic performer that can dance and jive across a stage, hit his mark, and blow doors down.
So the fact that so few of Black’s film roles have utilized his musical chops is a travesty, especially considering the actor has kicked around the idea of retiring soon. That means we could be deprived of a final, School of Rock-style showcase for Black. That’s a damn shame considering now is the perfect time for a musical movie project starring Black!
The success of recent films like The Greatest Showman, the pre-shot stage version of Hamilton, and In the Heights has led to a bevy of movie musicals coming to theaters. Dear Evan Hansen, tick, tick…BOOM!, and West Side Story are all debuting before the year is over. If you stare long enough, you could be convinced we’re amid a movie musical renaissance—although that’s been almost true for the last 20 years since Moulin Rouge!
Additionally, while several of Black’s contemporaries in “the Frat Pack,” as they were dubbed in the mid-2000s by USA Today, have worked steadily and maintained a level of popularity, the esteem for Black has only grown since School of Rock. That’s partially due to his family-friendly output—lending his voice to films like the Kung Fu Panda franchise and starring in the new live-action Jumanji movies—that endeared him to a generation, and it’s also due to his savvy adoption of social content sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
Black has 12.3 million followers on TikTok and some of his more popular clips have been viewed more than 38 million times. He also shares popular gaming content on his YouTube channel, showing a willingness to meet younger content consumers on their level and with videos that speak to their interests. Black’s fanbase continues to grow with every half-naked cosplay clip, as well as viral musical sensations, such as when Black assembled an all-star team to sing “Time Warp” from the cult classic musical, Rocky Horror Picture Show, last October.
That makes 2021 the perfect time for a movie musical starring Jack Black. The audience is clearly there for it, and it would once again allow Black to showcase his many talents in a medium that feels custom built to allow him to shine on-screen. While we can all watch School of Rock on Netflix in the meantime, Ted Sarandos and company should be breaking out the checkbook to bankroll the next Jack Black movie musical classic.