Rock 'N' Roll High School Allan Arkush

A cult favourite by definition, Rock 'N' Roll High School is easily one of the coolest films ever made. The acting may be b-movie level at best and the characterisations are wildly and satirically in your face, but what the film lacks in professionalism it makes up for in spirit, energy and cool. Vince Lombardi High is the setting for the newly appointed and crabby principal Ms. Togar to turn the fun-loving school into an oppressed regime, forcing the lively students to go above and beyond their partying duties and bring down her Nazi-like establishment with the help of music. Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) is the exuberant teenager with a love for rock and a heart devoted to the Ramones, who leads the way for the system smashing that ends in an uproarious celebration when the school explodes. Rock 'N' Roll High School doesn't rely on its paper-thin story to keep it afloat; instead, what Roger Corman and Arkush did was focus on finding a cast of fresh faces playing colourful characters and smothering the film with the music of the Ramones. The result is a movie that found unexpected success and took the Ramones' fame to a whole new level, despite the fact that it didn't make them superstars. "Back to School" is a fun retrospective that interviews the cast and crew while telling the story behind the film and how it came to be made, despite the fact that it nearly killed director Arkush when he pushed himself a little too hard. Unfortunately, as the last living Ramone, Marky is the only one to comment on the band's involvement, which is a sad thing to witness. Corman's commentary, along with Dey Young, is typically the sounds of dull producer talk and a failed actress trying to relive her glory. A second commentary by Arkush, producer Michael Finnell and screenwriter Richard Whitley offers a lot more insight into the film, with plenty of interesting memories, including how producers considered Todd Rundgren, Cheap Trick and Van Halen for the musical lead, and all the Ramones ever requested was a black and white television and some pizzas. Fans of the film will find this to be a rewarding edition of a classic film that gets better and better with time. (Buena Vista)