I love The Ramones. I knew this movie existed. I watched it. I want to forget it forever.
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School begins as Vince Lombardi High School gets a new Vernon Wormer-like principal who is hell bent on getting the school under control. “Rock-n-Roller” and self proclaimed number one fan of The Ramones Riff Randall decides she isn’t going to take it lying down and rebels… by skipping school mostly. The Ramones are coming to town and Riff wants to write songs for them. The principal takes her ticket and a few scenes later she wins another one through a radio contest. She goes to the concert, meets The Ramones, and gives them her songs and they like them so much they show up at the high school the next day and turn it into a god damn war zone!
ROCK-N-ROLL MOTHER FUCKERS!
Between all The Ramones’ staples, Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes,” Devo’s “Come Back Jonee,” Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” a few Brian Eno tracks, MC5, Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, and The Velvet Underground, this is a pretty great soundtrack. It makes me happy… the movie doesn’t, but if you can hunt down the soundtrack, its probably worth owning… with one HUGE exception.
I wanna be sedated… right fucking now.
Things this film seems to find funny: molestation, voyeurism, statutory rape, massive property damage, obnoxious sound effects, random gimmicky editing techniques, and one really painful pun. The attempts at comedy hurt me and the “Scalper” joke almost broke me.
He’s a ticket scalper… get it???
I still can’t believe not only that this happened but that I now have to talk about it. Riff comes home after having her tickets to the big Ramones concert confiscated and decides to chill out, smokes some pot, and hallucinates that Joey Ramone is singing a song that isn’t on the album she put on. It appears Joey is seducing her while Johnny is there playing guitar… and then Marky is outside playing drums… the whole band is there watching this. And then in a jump cut, she’s got her clothes off. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS MOVIE???
I still can’t believe what I’m watching
When The Ramones do actually show up in reality, the movie’s terrible levels go up a notch. The Ramones are awkward and stiff. At no point in this film do any of them ever look comfortable being on screen. Also, their instruments are never in sync with the recording.
What begins as a middling attempt at a high school “comedy” devolves into a wild, fun rebellion in its final twenty minutes. However, it is a long and taxing journey getting there. There’s a lot of meandering bullshit that goes nowhere made no less tolerable by the characters’ obnoxiousness.
There are Ramones music videos with more story than this script
The film’s conclusion is a much sillier version of how “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” ends in the Pink Floyd – The Wall movie. The students finally rebel in the name of their beloved Rock N Roll after the school principal burns a collection of Ramones records in front of the school. The Ramones show up and chaos ensues. In reality, all of these people would go to jail for burning that school down. The kids, The Ramones, that one teacher who apparently is okay risking his career because “I have only one life to live for Rock n Roll.” Yeah, lock that asshole up please.
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is horrendous and a chore to sit through… but I kind of didn’t totally hate it. Some of it can be fun and I guess I can see certain appeals of it. The last twenty minutes was at least more fun than the rest of it and once it becomes non-stop Ramones performances, I guess I can sit back and enjoy some of their classics. It’s a high school rebellion fantasy… just an uber-cheesy, lame one that someone decided to drag The Ramones into. They bounced back though.
Now I wanna sniff some glue after seeing Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
The film is available for free, in full, on YouTube and netflix.
Take a Drink: whenever sexual activity is brought up
Take a Drink: for every different Ramones song used
Take a Drink: when someone says “Riff Randall”
Take a Drink: when The Ramones don’t quite sync up with the pre-recorded music
Take a Drink: when you ask “What is wrong with this movie”?
D0 a Shot: for Riff Randall’s performance of “Rock N Roll High School”
Do a Shot (or 5): for the “I Want You Around” performance from Beer Three.
Beat on the Brat: with a Baseball bat. OH YEAH!