Friday, September 16, 2016


The students of Vince Lombardi High School love rock music and (for whatever illogical movie logic reason) this love of rocking out keeps driving their principals insane.  Like literally.  So before the last principal can even be shipped off to the nuthouse, the school board brings in the new principal: Miss Togar.  Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) hates rock music, so it's only natural that on her first day as principal she butts heads with "Number 1 Ramones fan" Riff Randell (P.J. Soles).  And to make matters even worse: Riff has to miss three days of school in order to wait in line to buy everybody at school tickets to the upcoming Ramones concert.

That's about as deep as the story gets, but it fits the playful mood of the movie perfectly.  I've watched ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL dozens times since I was a teenager and watching it again just a few minutes ago I still got lost in the energy of the movie.  It's entertaining as hell right from the opening scene but then when the Ramones show up in person about halfway through...the excitement level goes right off the charts!  I loved the Ramones concert scenes so much that I watched them like four or five times.

Without even having a way to know it, the filmmakers captured the Ramones at the height of their post-Tommy Ramone power and because of that alone ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL is a one-of-a-kind treasure of American culture.  They couldn't act for shit, but goddamn their screen presence was amazing.

Human-sized rats, great cast (a few of them probably giving the best performances of their careers), the fakest-looking TV camera in movie history, The Real Don Steele, off-screen birds chirping out "" when the New World Picture copyright shows up in the opening credits, lightening-fast pace that never lets up for a moment, the promise to give Mr. McGlup a visit, a van with a badass paint job, somebody looking for Carbona, awesome 70's hairstyles on the girls, uncredited Joe Dante direction when director Allan Arkush was hospitalized for exhaustion, tons of great quotable lines, Dee Dee smiling.

ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL is mandatory viewing for all lovers of stuff that was awesome in the late 1970's. Double-feature with A HARD DAY'S NIGHT.

If you need me, I'll be in my room tossing slices of pizza at my Mick Jagger poster.