Sunday, May 2, 2010

RockíníRoll High School

By David Luhrssen
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RockíníRoll High School was going to be the turning point for the Ramones, their breakthrough to a mass audience. So some fans of the punk rock pioneers fervently hoped at the time of the movieís 1979 release. It wasnít meant to be, yet the issue of RockíníRoll High School as part of the Roger Corman Classics DVD series is a reminder that the movie was an amusing, well-executed B pictureóan often laugh-out-loud spoof of high school, the rock scene and sometimes society as a whole.

The basic plot is as old as the swing era: a peppy young girl (P.J. Soles) in a repressive school pulls every trick in order to meet her favorite band (the Ramones) and present them with the songs she wrote for them. Funny business aside, the movie includes a short Ramones concert kicked off by a pogo-jumping ďBlitzkrieg BopĒ and several cool scenes involving the band, including their arrival at the concert hall in a convertible with the top down, playing ďI Just Want to Have Something to Do.Ē

Some scenes will be nostalgic to rock fans of a certain age: camping in front of the theater for the best seats was the thing to do in the age before online sales. And there is something bittersweet in seeing Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, looking trim and ready to conquer the world. All three are dead.

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