Rock 'n' Roll High School Movie Review

The film legacy of The Beatles was A Hard Day's Night, and I guess the film legacy of The Ramones is this, Rock 'n' Roll High School, the 1979 oddity about an oppressive high school (Vince Lombardi High, where "winning is better than losing") and its most exuberant student, Riff Randell (P.J. Soles), who only wants to share her love of The Ramones with her fellow students.

The film's hijinks largely follow your typical school's-out-for-summer comedy. There's hazing, there's rebellion, there's sex, there's quirky supporting characters (including Clint Howard, who has an "office" situated in a bathroom stall), and there's loud music. But everything's just a bit off with Rock 'n' Roll High School, starting with its star, Soles, who at 29 years old was playing what had to be the oldest senior on record. Soles, who would later become known best (arguably) for playing one of the military police officers in Stripes, is believable as a Ramones fan, though her haircut needs some attention if she wants to be a serious punk rocker.

The movie is at its best when the Ramones -- who drive around town in a car with the improbable license plate of "GABBA-GABBA-HEY" -- are on camera. It's not that they're good actors, or even passable ones. They're atrocious. They make Ringo Starr look like Alec Guinness. And that's where the film gets its charm, from Dee Dee Ramone oohing about pizza in the two lines he has, from their obvious displeasure at crossing guitar necks for Riff to walk through the threshold.

26 years later, the film has been reissued on DVD with two commentary tracks and a retrospective documentary that offers comments from virtually everyone involved in the production (Roger Corman wanted to make Disco High School, ) except for star Soles. Apparently she's too busy getting hacked up in bit parts of films like The Devil's Rejects to remember what is arguably her biggest -- and possibly only -- starring role.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Starring : P.J. Soles, Vincent Van Patten, , , , , , , , Dee Dee Ramone,


Comments

Rock 'n' Roll High School Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 1979

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