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DVD Reviews: Rock N Roll High School

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 21 April 2003
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 84 Minutes

I was a fan of the Ramones and was delighted to review this film now on DVD. It was funny as I did expect a somewhat cringeworthy experience and yes in some parts I got it, however for the most part what I got to see was an over the top high school adventure featuring a bevy of actors all too old to be in high school as is so often the case in these movies.

The story is basic as is the entire film but I think that is what adds to the fact that it was so easy to watch and enjoy on a very basic level. Vince Lombardi High School (AKA Rock N Roll High School) is in a frenzy with the impending concert by The Ramones in their home town and Riff Randall is their biggest fan. Not only that but she believes that she has written a number of songs that the group could use on their next album so must see them at all costs.

The whole movie feels like a big commercial for The Ramones and god bless them, it's a good thing. The title is dated however it's the B grade acting ability of both the cast and storyline that make this such a great movie. If you get this film and don't expect much you will have an absolute blast with it.

The movie has suffered a bit when it was transferred over to DVD and it does show quite a bit when watching. Personally it didn't get in the way of me enjoying the feature, however if you were a DVD purist you might get annoyed by the low level noise and in particular the constant hiss that makes it's way through the movie's audio. It's not too loud, however it certainly is present and makes itself known to viewers, especially when the Ramones are playing. It's a mono soundtrack and it doesn't seem to fully handle the music at a loud volume.

The extras on this disc are really cool and I especially liked the audio outtakes of The Ramones when playing live. There is a full length commentary with director Allan Arkush, producer Michael Finnell and screen writer Richard Whitley that is priceless. If you were looking for the technical details of the movie however forget about it. What you are going to get it heaps of amusing anecdotes and general complaints about having to operate under the budgetary pressure that they did.

I loved this disc and I think that everyone else will too as long as you enter into the viewing experience looking for something a bit fun and simple. It doesn't sound or look the best, but if you are forgiving of the fact that there was a very good chance that no one lovingly archived the masters, it's a fun flick to watch.

Rock N Roll High School Features

  • Interview with Roger Corman by Leonard Maltin
  • Feature Length Audio Commentary by director Allan Arkush, Producer Michael Finnell and Screenwriter Richard Whitley
  • Original Audio Out-takes from The Ramone's Concert Sequences at the Roxy
  • Cast & Crew Biographies
  • Radio Spots
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Umbrella Propaganda
  • Scene Index


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