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You know I often wonder why people refer to high school as the best years of their lives. Do these people actually remember what is was like back then, or do they get those years confused with a “Saved by the Bell” episode? This adolescent socialist prison system had to be some sort of evil physiological test confined to a rat maze of smelly lockers. Perhaps it was created by an ancient race of aliens in order to understand human behavior. If you’ve seen some of the school board members, you’d believe it, too. High school was divided into social cliques in their own 70’s street-gang style. There were the nerds, the geeks, bandzies, spazes, jocks, ice queens, druggies, snobs, and other lesser-known sub-categories like “fans of David Hasselhoff” or “kids that can play Casio keyboards.” And yes, I belonged to that last group ( I can still play Van Halen’s “Jump.”). It’s amazing lunch time didn’t erupt into a turf war. My money would be on the nerds…they had skills like MacGyver and could rig-up some explosives with a napkin, a couple of wires, and some day-old burritos. Watch out for the ice queens, though; they were like brain Ninjas…they’d leap from the rafters and attack your self-esteem and poor fashion sense. It’s strange looking back and wondering why we ever cared about who likes who; will I be able to learn to play Axel-F on my keyboard; will I ever pass Algebra? Guess what? Algebra…you’ll never use it again. That’s why they build calculators into shopping cart handles now. Gym class? I haven’t had the need to climb a rope since then, and don’t plan to, unless I’m involved in a prison break someday. Chemistry class…I seem to remember something about a periodic table, but I get that confused with the term “occasional furniture.” Just remember, kids: these are not the best years of your life; those are coming later and it’s called “college”…and possibly “retirement” for others. But do count your blessings. No paying taxes, no house payments, no responsibilities, and an unlimited amount of time to play Halo 3 on your Xbox. Curse you, Snipermaster07 and your unlimited training time. I will defeat you someday.
Speaking of high school kids with too much time on their hands, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” is a 70’s musical featuring the Ramones and a wide assortment of teenagers who are most likely to break out and dance at any moment. Gym class turns into Jazzercise; freshmen get stuffed into lockers; and hallways become punk rocking mosh pits. PJ Stolls of “Halloween” fame plays Riff Randal, the always-perky rock ‘n’ roll rebel whose obsession in life is to write a song for the Ramones and have them serenade her in her bathroom. Kate Rambeau (not the Vietnam vigilante) is her nerdy friend who has a crush on the football captain, Tom, played by Vincent Van Patten. Tom just happens to be even geekier than Kate with his name proudly embroidered across his jersey, as well as his lame pickup lines about the weather and driving around in his Dungeons and Dragons Warlock van. Hey haven’t I seen this van somewhere else?
Johnny and Kate are trained in dating techniques by none other than the gigolo of cool, Clint Howard. He’s Ron Howard’s more handsome brother. He plays Eaglebauer, the school’s one-man, one-named Mafia, who runs a very profitable business from within the boys’ bathroom stalls, complete with his own secretary and voice-over announcer. I see a future corporate CEO position for this guy. Embezzlement and corruption sure…but the man’s got moxy, and already has a receding hairline as a teenager.
A new principal is brought to clean up the school, Miss Togar the Ogre (Mary Woronov). She is a tall Nazi-like warden, whose hair buns are wound tighter than Princess Leia’s. She also enjoys blowing up mice with blaring rock music. Hey, all this lady needs is a date and a day at the spa. Her plans is to rule Vince Lombardi High School with an iron fist, along with her Boy Scout hall monitors Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Riff fights back by camping out to buy tickets for the town’s big Ramones concert. The band shows up in a big pink Cadillac with the phrase “Gabba Gabba Hey” blazoned across their license Plate, while eating chicken and playing guitar. Yet Riff still wants to buy the ticket and doesn’t run away screaming. Nothing against the Ramones, their music defined punk rock, but they sure were a homely group of rockers, and Joey, their lead singer, was the definition of eccentric. The man lived off wheat germ and riboflavin, and would cower in the shadows to avoid the deadly rays of the sun. Also an honorable mention to Paul Bartel, who plays the wacky music professor and recently converted Ramon-ite. He shows up to the concert in a French-Leprechaun outfit, complete with beret, rocking out with a giant white Rat, and an Indian Chief. Now there’s something you won’t see in “Grease.” The Ramones show up later at the school for yet another concert (Why did the students even have to buy tickets to begin with for the town concert?), and after a good old-fashioned album burning by the parents, they end up blowing up the school with some homemade dynamite, mixed by Kate Rambo…Yes, she finally lives up to her namesake. The TV announcer signs-off by reminding us “if your principal gives you trouble and you want the same to happen at your school, then give Screamin’ Steve a call.” Screamin’ Steve is now on a terrorist watch list, and the students are serving time in Guantanimo.
If you liked cheesy musicals like “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Grease”, or “Hairspray”, I think you’ll rock out to this cult classic and lasting film tribute to the Ramones. It was originally titled “Disco High School”, and they thankfully changed the title out of fear that nobody would see it, except Travolta fanboys. And you can only handle so much on-screen Bee-Gees. Retroman Steve says, “Gabba Gabba grab a copy and check it out.”
-Boy Scout hall monitors
-blow-up doll sexual assaults
-freshman locker stuffing
-remote-controlled airplane flying
-rock ‘n’ roll gym class
-music instructors in berets
-Ramones bathroom attendants
-extreme hall monitoring
-lunch lady firing squads
-shag carpeted vans
rated 8.6 out of 10 for the movie
most memorable quote: “If you don’t like it, you can put it where the monkey puts the nuts.”
Check out the trailer for Rock ‘N’ Roll High School