Vince Lombardi High School keeps losing principals to nervous breakdowns because of the students' love of rock 'n' roll and their disregard of education. The putative leader of the students is Riff Randell, who loves the music of the Ramones. A new principal, the rock-music-hating Miss Evelyn Togar, is brought in and promises to put an end to the music craze. When Miss Togar and a group of parents attempt to burn a pile of rock records, the students take over the high school, joined by the Ramones, who are made honorary students. When the police are summoned and demand that the students evacuate the building, they do so, which leads to an explosive finale. Written by
Rick Gregory <email@example.com>
The marijuana that Riff smokes was actually a mix of rosemary and other herbs. See more »
During filming of the concert scenes, the camera focused on P.J. Soles and Dey Young ran at the wrong speed, giving the footage a very speeded-up look. The filmmakers added the scenes into the picture anyway. See more »
Well, I have finally caught up with "Rock 'N' Roll High School," almost 30 years after it first became a midnight movie sensation in 1979. (Latecomer that I am, I will probably first see this summer's new documentary "Patti Smith: Dream of Life" sometime around 2040!) And no, the film doesn't feel dated one bit, and yes, it was worth the wait. This is a very high-energy comedy that features loads of great music and some surprising moments. It tells the story of Riff Randell, adorably played by P.J. Soles, and the battle that she and her fellow students at Vince Lombardi High wage against their new repressive principal, Miss Togar. (Danny Peary, in his book "Cult Movies," quite accurately describes Mary Woronov's performance as an "evil Eve Arden.") A typical teens vs. Establishment story line is beefed up here with some absurdist humor (those exploding mice, that giant mouse, the Hansel and Gretel hall monitors) and some truly rousing tunes. Riff is, of course, the #1 fan of that original punk band The Ramones, and that band dishes out a baker's dozen of its greatest songs during the course of the film, including five at a concert that is a total blast. Indeed, the sight of Riff furiously dancing to "Teenage Lobotomy" at this blowout may be the picture's funniest moment. And the initial appearance of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky in their Ramonesmobile, and later slinking down a street singing "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do," is quite exhilarating. The film ends with an explosive confrontation that is, I would imagine, every high school kid's wet dream. Fun stuff indeed. On a side note, The Ramones were one of the loudest bands that I have ever seen in concert, so I was very amused to note that the DVD for this film comes with optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired. How many aging punks out there found these subtitles necessary, I wonder....
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