It probably isn't the best of the Capra movies of the era, but it's one of my favorites, because of it's chaotic household of freethinkers. One sister cavorts around on point in a tutu, they're cooking up fireworks in the basement, and mother is writing plays because someone shipped her a typewriter by mistake.
Like 'Deeds' and 'Doe' the movie pivots on a 'chat cute' scene -- everything grinds to a halt for an extended 2 shot of the romantic leads sitting on a park bench, talking. These are really effective way to give the audience a break from the action and lets them get to know the principles. I wonder too if Capra knew that his audience probably enjoyed the chance to get an extended closeup look at the stars, and see them chatting in a low key way.
The movie drags once things go awry, but pick up towards the end. The DVD restoration is first rate though; the sound is excellent, and the picture quality is great.
School of Rock I saw this at a genuine small town movie house in West Liberty, IA (picture below) with great popcorn, a good print, and great sound, for $3.
As has been amply described, this is a decent, entertaining movie with its heart in the right place. Jack Black I found to be a bit much most of the time, but Joan Cusack was, as she always is, incredibly good. The way they take the piss out of RAWK while at the same time celebrating it is dead on; where I grew up that's something many people take very seriously. The whole culture of 'Zeppelin' 'Skynyrd' [rawk-heads seem to be on a last-name basis with their favorites], AC/DC, etc is alive and well.
I think Joan Cusack has made a good living out of movies, but I don't think she's been well served by the roles she's offered; she's always cast as someone a bit geeky and ridiculous, and called up to pull all sorts of rubber-faced grimaces. She is actually beautiful in a classic Hollywood way, but only gets character roles. I think she could be wicked as a romantic lead, or in a dramatic role.