Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Monday, December 03, 2007


(L to R: Johnny, Markie, P.J. Soles, Joey, Dee Dee.)

Usually my birthdays come and go, but I'm feeling extra feisty and go-gett-y with this one. I didn't expect to get so freaked out at the thought of being 39, but a little freaked out I got. Even though I was excited about it - it still took me by surprise. So instead of getting more and more 'upset', I tackled a bit of cleaning last night (in preparation of my Goodfellas watching today) and popped in the Roger Corman classic Rock 'N' Roll High School which I hadn't seen in a long time.

P.J. Soles plays self-described Rock N' Roller Riff Randall who is The Ramones' Number One Fan and a budding songwriter. She writes a sure hit: "Rock 'N' Roll High School" and wants to get it into the hands of The Ramones during an upcoming concert. She camps out for three days waiting for tickets and then buys 100 to pass out at school, spreading the gospel of Johnny, Joey, Dee-Dee and Markie.

Along Riff's plan to writing hit songs and marrying Joey Ramone, she becomes the nemesis of new school principal Miss Togar (ex-Warhol darling Mary Woronov), a sexy pencil skirted disciplinarian who hates The Ramones. It's right now that I have to point out how much I LOVE how corny this movie is. Half of it doesn't really make sense, but it just have to accept that this is a cartoon. So, you have a high school principal who thinks that The Ramones - and only them - are the Cause of All Evil, and so her Wyle E. Coyote type plans to "get" them and Riff are all the more ridiculous...making this a very fun time.

Another storyline focuses of Riff's best friend Kate, (the school science nerd who is only "ugly" because she wears glasses) and her giant crush on Tom Robinson (Vince Van Patten) the football captain who is also shy (and who has a crush on Riff). Together they enlist the help of Clint Howard as a dating, sex, make-out, fake ID, get-booze, get-drugs, get-anything you need expert. Again, this is a cartoon.

When the Ramones finally make it into the movie, you can't help but smile. The awkward acting by all (you need sub-titles for Joey) is minimal, but then they take to the stage and play three full-length songs and you can see why they are one of the best rock and roll bands of all time. They plant themselves, holding their instruments like they're clinging to life, strumming and drumming at a hummingbird's pace. The excitement captured in the crowd is genuine and during filming, they sang an additional ten or more songs for the extras just for the hell of it.

After the concert sequence, stories get solved and the whole thing flies by. Rock 'N' Roll High School isn't a movie where you really have to be in the mood or 'make plans' to watch. It's a pop-in, but it helps if you're a Ramones fan (which I am big time.)

As I sat there this morning at 12:10am in Rock 'N' Roll High School glee, cozy with our dog Typhoon and a big storm whipping around outside, I felt so lucky to herald in my 39th year with the Ramones, knowing that later on today I'd follow this up doing the same thing with the Mafia.

A new birthday tradition: midnight Rock 'N' Roll High School followed by midday Goodfellas.



At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Dan Crane said...

Happy Birthday Jordi! YOU are my favorite Ramone.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Jason said...

happy day of being born Jordi. i wish for you a day of kind Jessica's. Every jessica you come in contact with will give you joy.

At 3:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want more PONY! Seriously, it's been over a month! Hop to!


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