Rock 'n' Roll High School

1979 high school musical

Rating: 13/20

Plot: Thanks to rock 'n' roll, the students at Vince Lombardi High School have no interest in obeying the rules or getting an education. After yet another principal has a nervous breakdown, the school board hires Ms. Togar to clean things up and make the school a place of learning. Her agenda conflicts with student Riff Randell, a big fan of punk rockers The Ramones.

This punksploitative teenage comedy's got less laughs than Fast Times at Ridgemont's High, but at least it's got Clint Howard and The Ramones. The Ramones, by the way, display some terrific acting chops. Dee Dee Ramone was so bad that his lines were reduced to "Alright! The pizza's here!" but I can't imagine he's much worse than Joey Ramone who mumbles unintelligibly during his scenes. They get their chance to perform a ton of songs though, so if you're a fan, this is worth checking out. A couple of the songs work like music videos, especially during their first appearance when they show up in their "tour bus," a convertible in which they sit like only punk rockers could. There's also quite a bit of concert footage, and you've got to love a band with a lead singer who needs subtitles for the lyrics. Despite the solid analogy comparing punk rock haters to Nazis with the calling of Principal Togar's plan the "Final Solution," this is really like cartoon punk, almost like Disney decided to make a punk rock movie. Other than The Ramones, the characters aren't especially memorable, and the humor falls completely flat in this low-budget flick. Roger Corman produced.

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