49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2004
Hey Ho! Let's Go! Listen up, kids. Rock 'n' Roll High School may have been released way back in 1979 but it still kicks the ass of any of those square MTV movies. Forget about Britney Spears and Mandy Moore's brand of bubblegum pop music and their equally bland movies - they don't hold a candle to the unbridled power of those punk rockers from New York City, the Ramones!
From B-movie veterans like Paul (Eating Raoul) Bartel and Mary (Death Race 2000) Woronov to newcomers (at the time), P.J. (Halloween) Soles and Dey (Strange Invaders) Young, the entire cast has a lot of fun spouting the film's wonderfully inspired cornball dialogue ("If you don't like it, you can put it where the monkey puts the nuts."). The Ramones are good sports and mumble their way through the film and truly coming alive during the music sequences. The movie rightfully cements their reputation as legends.
Rock 'n' Roll High School embodies the essence of the punk rock music that made the Ramones famous. The film is bursting with youthful energy, a dose of good ol' fashion anarchy and is loads of fun to watch. These are also the ingredients that made Rock 'n' Roll High School a cult film. It was a commercial and critical failure upon its initial release but repeated midnight screenings, coupled with steady appearances on TV, have helped the film endure over the years.
New to this edition is a "Back to School: A Retrospective" that takes a look back at this cult film with new interviews with producer Roger Corman, Alan Arkush and cast members Clint Howard, Dey Young, Mary Woronov and Loren Lester and the surviving Ramone from that time, Marky. This is an affectionate, fun look at this movie with everyone reminiscing fondly about their experiences.
Producer Michael Finnell, screenwriter Richard Whitley and director Alan Arkush deliver an engaging and rather chatty audio commentary. The three men laugh and joke about working on Rock 'n' Roll High School. They clearly have fond memories of their experiences on the movie.
Another new addition is an audio commentary by Corman and Young. She admits that in reality she was more like Riff Randell than her character. There are several lulls but it is nice to hear these two reminisce about their experiences on the movie.
Also included is a dynamic theatrical trailer that gives away the ending! Definitely watch this last if you haven't seen the movie.
Gone is the Leonard Maltin interview with Roger Corman.
A real treat for fans of the Ramones are several audio outtakes during the filming of the concert sequence. These are the original audio tracks of the band in action.
While Rock 'n' Roll High School will appeal predominantly to fans of the Ramones (duh!), it is also one of those fun, goofy movies to invite friends over and watch with copious amounts of junk food on hand. Despite a lackluster transfer, the audio commentary and audio outtakes are worth the price of purchase for this fantastic cinematic oddity.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 1999
Loud,frantic, and very funny, I remember loving this movie intensely from the first time I saw it at the Calvin Theatre in Dearborn, MI where my dad only paid a buck for each of us to see it on a double bill with "Battle Beyond the Stars". I had never seen the Ramones before (I would go on to see them live 6 times after) and I recall, with a sense of pride, how my mom chose to walk out on the movie and wait in the car, whilst my dad (who bought the tickets) stayed and enjoyed the film with my sister and myself. I think it was either the exploding mice or just The Ramones themselves that did it for her. P.J. Soles never had a better vehicle for her talents than this film (notable appearances in "Stripes", "Halloween", and "Carrie" notwithstanding) and I'd extend the same to Ron Howard's brother and Dick Van Patten's son just the same. Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel established definatively here their "indie-cred", after a decade of consistently intriguing work, and it's a pity you kids don't know them better. Also nice, as always, to see Dick Miller (Don't bother, junior). The pace is frantic, it could have been a good bit more raunchy (rated PG go figure), but what ultimately comes thru is a rock 'n' roll CLASSIC. The total anarchy that accompanys the final title song will live with me forever. Gabba gabba hey!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 1999
Being a Ramones fan, this movie has a special place in my heart. The commentary by the director , screenwriter, and producer is a real treat to liten to; you can feel their passion for film making and rock and roll. Most humorous is how they convinced Roger Corman to change the film from DISCO HIGH to ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. Just a fun, fun movie. The DVD presentation is wonderful, though there are a few scratches from the transfer (What do you expect? It's Roger Corman!). And the audio outtakes are a must for Ramones fans. And with Clint Howard, Paul Bartel, and Dick Miller in the same movie, how can you go wrong?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2004
Rock `n' Roll high school is what a musical should be. The Ramones are one of the greatest bands of all time. No wonder this film is a classic, how can it not be a classic. It's got everything a classic needs. Dancing, great music, great story, and of course the Ramones. Riff Randle (P.J. Stoles) loves Rock `n' Roll and the Ramones. But as the schools new principle Ms. Togar tries to destroy Rock `n' Roll and make more strict rules, Riff has to save Rock `n' Roll and the school. The kids decide they have had enough. So they go to a Ramones concert and try to get them to make a song for the school called "Rock `n' Roll high school". Now in a all new remastered DVD with special features Rock `n' Roll High School is the ultimate musical to get. The commentary in this DVD was surprisingly not boring. Allan Arkush, Richard Whitley, and Michael Finnell discuss stories of the Ramones and the hard process of making this film. Lenard Maltin interviews Roger Corman (there's only 2 minutes of this) Roger discusses that if they didn't do Rock `n' Roll High School they would have done "Disco High". What I really loved was the outtake concert of the Ramones for the concert scene. They play two extra songs "I wanna be sedated" and Sheena is a Punk Rocker". If you love the Ramones, you got to see this film and you'll love them even more. In addition to this film you should also get Ramones Raw DVD.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2005
Fantastic late '70s B-movie, a true cult classic. The music is top-notch -- both the live Ramones material and the soundtrack artists. If the visual gags and silly jokes don't get you laughing, P.J. Soles' outfits will. You gotta admire P.J. for her acting skills. She actually makes us believe that her character has a crush on Joey Ramone, who definitely does *not* fit the stereotype of a good-looking teen idol.
This DVD edition is a bit disappointing. First, the audio mastering isn't up to snuff. There are several spots when the sound is clipped or distorted, usually when there is a loud and sudden noise. Those problems weren't in the VHS version that I saw. Second, you can sometimes see scratches on the image, which is really lame for a DVD. Third, for some strange reason, this version cuts the final line of Tom's early scene in the school corridor, where he says, "I need to get laid".
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2008
With exploding mice, body searching hall monitors, ear mail receiving music teachers seeking glue to sniff, parents that may not know that their own children are Ramones, and a high school principal who has no problem putting demerits into student records for life, "Rock 'N Roll High School" is the ultimate cheesy and campy movie ever made. The 1970's cheese is on par, if not even more stale, than its sister movie: "Death Race 2000". The jokes fall flat, horribly flat. One can easily accuse "Rock 'N Roll High School" as being the D.U.M.B.est movie ever produced.
I may older now, but I am not embarrassed to watch it. Why? Because the Ramonies (sic) give this movie its explosive chemistry that even nuclear physicist Kate Rambo can't produce in a beaker.
Historical sidenote: Cheap Trick was originally approached to be in the movie, but turned it down. Cheap Trick probably would have been better actors, but without the Ramones, the movie would not have had the same charm. In fact, some of the best moments in the film are when the Ramones attempt their single lines. Who can't laugh, and rewind, when Joey Ramone calls music teacher Mr. McGree, "Mr. McGlueber"?
Recently, a few friends and I were talking about this movie and I mentioned that I had it. Well, I don't know which makes me feel more mortal -- the fact that my VCR player no longer functions or the fact that Tommy Ramone is the only original surviving member of the Ramones. Tommy Ramone's hair has gone from black, to grey, to white.
Conclusion: Life is jokingly short, make the most out of it.
My ex cried when Joey Ramone died from cancer. I admit that my eyes started to steam up as well, but then I knew that Joey wouldn't want people crying. I took a beer out of the fridge and paid my respect. I feel most fortunate for the few times that I, and her, were able to see the Ramones in concert.
The Ramones believed in miracles. They believed in a better world, for me and you.
(These are lyrics, if you aren't familiar.)
The world needs to believe in them. If we have the guts and will to survive, we need to pass the Ramones down to the next generation to keep rock 'n roll music alive.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2006
"Rock N' Roll High School" has everything you could possibly ask from a movie: horrendously cheesey dialogue, massive explosions, the Ramones, and giant mutant white mice. Did I mention the Ramones are in it? Aside from delivering a mind-blowingly excellent concert sequence, the boys show off their acting chops (Johnny's complete inability to emote is as hilarious as anything that was actually written into the script, while Dee Dee merely wanders through the film in a bemused, drugged-out haze) in their first and only major onscreen roles. It's a joy to watch even for non-fans- behind all the hype about the band, there's a B-grade high school comedy that's far, far more entertaining than it has any right to be, and it's here that the real fun starts.
Centering around the exploits of teenage punkette Riff Randell (that would be P.J. Soles.) & her war against the school administration (Mary Woronov and a disturbing pair of false eyebrows), R&RHS is the kind of goofy good time that you just don't find at the movies nowadays. You will laugh till fluids come out of your nose. I guarantee it. Plus there's the added bonus of seeing the high school get bombed into oblivion at the end (who hasn't dreamed of that?).
But I fear I'm losing my train of thought. So, I'll leave you with a vehement and heartfelt:
GO BUY IT.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2001
It's hard to admit, but the recent death of Joey Ramone took a lot of the wind out of my sails, bringing with it a feeling of vulnerability, mortality and, yes, approaching middle age. Having said that, it's a treat that this part of his legacy is finally available again for all to treasure. Sort of a twisted mix of low-budget 1950's juvenile delinquent movies and 1960's beach comedies, "Rock 'N' Roll High School" has aged surprising well, thanks in most part I guess to the timeless appeal of the "brothers" Ramone. Highlights, besides the hopped up concert footage (filmed in front of an enthusiastic audience), include the Ramones pulling up to a concert venue in an old Cadillac singing "I Just Want To Have Something To Do," a fantasy sequence in which self-proclaimed #1 Ramones fan Riff Randall (P.J. Soles) imagines the band serenading her in her bedroom, complete with Dee Dee and his bass under a running shower, and the final scene in which The Ramones play the title track while the high school explodes behind them in a piece of perfectly staged incendiary directing by Allan Arkush. Timeless, mindless, exuberantly staged entertainment...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 1999
For fans of The Ramones and anyone interested in witty B-grade movies, "Rock 'N' Roll High School" is a must. This movie quickly became a cult classic with a following more culturally diverse than one might expect. While it is a silly movie, you can't help but like the characters and its stars, The Ramones. This movie shows Joey Ramone in his true character, seemingly barely conscious except while on stage. This is what The Ramones were like in concert, an experience I will never forget. Few bands have maintained their style of music over the years, but The Ramones are certainly one of the few. Rent it and you'll become addicted!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This definitely falls under the category of "they don't make movies like this anymore". Rock and Roll High School is a fun romp about P.J. Soles and her obsession with going to see her favorite band, The Ramones, and getting them to record a song she wrote especially for them. Standing in her way is Corman favorite Mary Woronov, as a dictator-like principal who hates rock and roll...especially The Ramones. Kinda like a Corman version of Footloose if you will. On our journey to the night of the show, we're treated to a bunch of high school shenanigans, romances and a few musical numbers. Once at the show we get a good amount of Ramones time. Then, The Ramones end up at the high school and all hell breaks loose!
It's a very fun and lighthearted film. Definitely not on a Porky's level of raunchiness or anything, it's relatively safe for everyone(a great way to introduce small children to REAL rock and roll....what a concept!). You don't have to be a Ramones fan, but it does help as they get a bunch of screen time in the latter half. Hell, it may even make you a fan.
Shout Factory has done a good job with extras, so you can scrap that DVD copy from the late 90s now. There's a good restrospective documentary that includes most of those involved, along with Marky Ramone. There's also another segment with that goofball, Leonard Maltin(who's always seemed clueless when it comes to cult films) interviewing Roger Corman. There's a few other goodies that escape my memory at the moment as well.
Another victory for Shout Factory!
Rock and Roll High School-Watch it, Learn it, Live it!