Rock'n'Roll High School Allan Arkush

Rock'n'Roll High School Allan Arkush
Hands down, this is a great DVD package of a classic rock movie. True, this isn't the first release of this 1979 cult flick starring the Ramones, but it's the most satisfying. There are now four audio commentaries. Two of them are new: director Arkush and stars P.J. Soles and Clint Howard have a good time recounting how they made this Roger Corman production on a shoestring budget, while screenwriters Richard Whitley and Russ Dvonch take a more scholarly approach by scattering cheeky filmmaking and screenwriting instructionals throughout their audio track. Drier and plainer is Corman's commentary with star Dey Young, which is recycled from the 2005 Buena Vista DVD, as is a much more exciting commentary by Arkush, producer Mike Finnell and writer Whitley. Altogether, there is a staggering six hours of talk on this disc. Other highlights include the recycled "Back To School" retrospective, which interviews the filmmakers, plus surviving Ramone Marky, and the new "Staying After Class," where stars Soles, Young and Vincent Van Patten recall the good times making this landmark movie. The filmmakers and actors are greyer, but their memories remain vivid. Both featurettes are pure fun. Overall, you get the feeling that the Ramones were a lucky fluke to appear in this movie and that rock'n'roll nerd Arkush was the perfect man to direct them. Extensive photo galleries of behind-the-scenes photos, the Ramones on stage, pages from deleted scenes and posters are a sweet touch. On top of that there are TV and radio spots, plus the original trailer. And, yes, audio-only outtakes from the Ramones gig. The movie itself is a Roger Corman quickie; it's camp and corny, but doesn't take itself seriously. Therein lies its midnight charm ― that and the Ramones, who couldn't act to save their lives, but whose charm perfectly matched the pure campiness of this film, especially in their electrifying concert set filmed at the Roxy in L.A. Play loud. (Shout! Factory)