Rock ‘N’ Roll High School
Directed by Allan Arkush
Starring The Ramones, P.J. Soles, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel
If ever there was a perfect marriage between a band and an idea, Rock ‘N’ Roll High School was it. Produced by B-movie genius Roger Corman, this 1979 film has long been out of print. While the picture itself is rather typical high school hijinks – kids hate school, kids are horny, kids destroy school – the presence of The Ramones elevates the movie to classic status. The Ramones were at heart a fun band – bubblegum punk, if you will – and while the idea of Joey as heartthrob might be stretching it a bit, somehow the images of the band rampaging down the halls of Vince Lombardi High make perfect sense. Warhol alum Mary Woronov is great as the principal/tyrant Miss Togar, and Paul Bartel’s transformation from droll music teacher to punk rocker is a highpoint.
The DVD returns this snapshot of 1979 America back to the fans, and Ramones followers in particular will enjoy the extras of the package. An interview with Johnny Ramone is included, as well as audio outtakes of the concert used in the film, at the Roxy in Los Angeles. All in all, this is a great disc, and is packaged as a tribute to Joey – the first of many, one hopes – and while nobody is going to confuse this film with The Godfather, the sight of Dee Dee in the shower or Marky’s permanently confused scowl have been too rare a treat for too long. So don’t be a pinhead no more – buy the damn thing.