Friday, June 3, 2011

Second Age Reviews: Rock 'n Roll High School


Earlier when talking about this movie, I assumed it was a musical with songs of The Ramones in place of original music. I was apparently wrong, as upon watching it I've realized it's a comedy where the plot suddenly stops every so often to have a musical number to Ramones music. My bad.

I'd like to state upfront with this review that I'm not a fan of The Ramones. I've nothing exceptionally against them and it's not that I don't like punk (Elessar's obscure punk band recommendation of the day: Tijuana Sweetheart. Listen to them now, thank me later). But I tend to need more out of my music than 3 chords and 7 words repeated for 5 minutes. Ahem.

Of course this leads to my major problem with the movie, as it seems to consider The Ramones the height of musical genius. I wish I was exaggerating, but the movie's presentation of The Ramones and their fans makes Rattle and Hum or A Hard Day's Night look positively harsh in their treatment of their respective bands. The plot is mostly concerned with a Ramones' obsessed (and I do mean obsessed) fan in high school rebelling against her new Principal who has apparently never read the laws on what a Principal or Teacher is allowed to do. The movie it most resembles is Help! but it's riddled with problems that keep it from reaching even that dubious height.

First off, and this is the big one, the movie is a massive mess. It bounces around from simple rebellion comedy, to music based comedy to a pale third generation sex comedy near the middle. This problem with tone means that jokes are often out of place and awkward. The plot is stupid and simplistic, the characters broad and one dimensional and the comedy drawn out. And this is even aside from the random musical sections, which take entirely too long (a concert scene takes at least 20 minutes) and each of which stop the movie cold whenever they show up.

Of course the movie is overly fond of The Ramones (at one point one of their album's is considered better that Highway 61 Revisited, Who's Next and what I think was The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle) which would be acceptable if they were fawning over a great or unique band, but I'm sorry, all their songs sound the same and their lyrics are so absurdly simplistic that they make The Cars look like Bruce Springsteen (I might be revealing my biases here). Of course, since we were comparing it to Help! I might as well continue doing that. And while The Beatles weren't exactly at the height of their artistic ability during Help!, they still were more unique and artistic, musically and lyrically, than The Ramones were. Of course Help! had the benefit of having structure and plot. Oh and Help! was funny.

Which is the final, and most damning problem I'd like to talk about in depth. The movie is, to put it simply, not funny. Oh it has the odd laugh moment, but you know what they say about stopped clocks. But even the jokes that were funny initially get drawn out to the point where they stop being funny. For example, there's an early gag about mice turning into punk lovers and exploding when they listen to The Ramones. Haha, very funny and all that, but the joke gets brought up and repeated every 10 minutes for the rest of the movie, and by the final time it gets repeated I'm so sick of it I can't believe I ever thought it was funny.

So, all in all, this movie is not worth my, your or anyone's time. I'm not even sure it's on VHS much less DVD but unless you're an insanely huge fan of The Ramones (and I mean huge, like enough to make Dead Heads look normal) you won't find a lot to like here. Skip it.

Next on Second Age Reviews: Office Space

Elessar is a 21 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he looks forward to all the hatemail from The Ramones fans he's going to get.

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