Rock ‘n roll never dies at Film Geek Central. In today’s Journal, we look at the cult classic ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, the documentary RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE and the science fiction film LOVE, which was produced by the band Angels & Airwaves.
DAY 28: MARCH 15, 2013
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979) – Riff Randell (P.J. Soles – CARRIE, HALLOWEEN, STRIPES) wants nothing more than to rock n roll to her favorite band, the Ramones. Unfortunately, the arrival of new principal Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) threatens any further rocking out or youthful shenanigans at Vince Lombardi High. Randell subverts authority every step of the way as she tries to give her song “Rock ‘n Roll High School” to her idol Joey Ramone and save her school from becoming lame.
Let’s face it, there is not a whole lot of punk rock going on in ROCK ‘N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL. You could throw virtually any other band in for the Ramones with only a few changes (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were an original choice for the film’s band and before that, the film was to be called DISCO HIGH). But the Ramones do fit into this film, even if the film itself is a little bit cleaner than their image. After all, this is pretty much an updating a rock n roll films of the early 1960s like A HARD DAY’S NIGHT and THE GHOST GOES GEAR. And yet, the film seems a little more out there than those films, thanks to some craziness from directors Joe Dante and Alan Arkush, back when they were working for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Hence, there is a bit of anarchy going on in that the film is funny, has tons of energy and is loopy enough that it could go in any conceivable direction, right up the explosive finale. ★★★½ (out of ★★★★)
RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE (2010) – This documentary chronicles the entire lifespan from legendary Canadian progressive rock band, Rush. The film follows the group from their origins playing church halls in Canada to their landmark early work all the way to today, where they routinely sell out massive stadiums in virtually every country in the world.
I saw this film less than two years ago and I’ve seen it at least three times since. I am a die-hard fan of progressive rock in general and Rush in particular. My love of this band goes back to my childhood. Then, after a period of many years during which I didn’t really think about them, I rediscovered their early catalog, fell in love all over again, album by album and was amazed that they are currently making some of the best music in their career.
This is about the most perfect documentary anyone could ever hope for with this band. It features in-depth interviews with all the principal people involved. No era gets overlooked in the four decades covered. Public triumphs and personal tragedies abound, but always with an inspirational message at the end. Also covered is the devoted following the band has continued to cultivate over the years, with old fans staying true to the band and new fans popping up everywhere they go. This is just a really great rock doc all the way through. ★★★½ (out of ★★★★)
LOVE (2011) – Okay, here’s a weird one for you. An astronaut (Gunner Wright) is the first and only person to live at the International Space Station in many years. While he’s up there, his superiors inform him that something has happened and they can’t bring him home. He loses contact with the Earth below. Over several years, he spends his days repairing the crumbling station, get the maximum amount out of his dwindling supplies and trying unsuccessfully to keep his sanity. Somewhere in the midst of all this, he finds the personal journal of a solider from the Civil War. He reads about the soldier’s musings and about the strange object that was observed. And then something happens.
I stumbled across this one by accident on Netflix streaming. I had no prior knowledge of the film’s existence. I did not know of the film’s origins, which include production and support from the band Angels and Airwaves, several years of shooting and a brilliant if obsessive independent vision from director William Eubank.
This is a brilliant and smart science fiction film in the same school as Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Trumball’s SILENT RUNNING and Tarkovskiy’s SOLARIS. Within its short running time, you are taken deep within the recesses of the astronaut’s mind. The result is a film that feels positively epic despite mostly taking place in one location. LOVE is an ingenious and original vision. ★★★½ (out of ★★★★)
THE LOST MEDALLION: THE ADVENTURES OF BILLY STONE (2013) – This faith-based film involves the son of an archeologist who uncovers a mysterious medallion that transports him back in time several hundred years. Once there, he has to retrieve the medallion from the evil Cobra while he and his friends learn about the strength that lies within them. I have a lot to say about this film, so READ MY FULL REVIEW HERE!
The following films were watched for review on an upcoming episode of FILM GEEK CENTRAL PRESENTS: THE FILMS OF 1985. This is our podcast in which we review every film released in American theaters during 1985, on its corresponding weekend in 2013. Check out the shows we’ve already done and look at some of the films yet to come, including:
CAVEGIRL (1985) – More time-traveling archeologists! A chubby, put-upon archeology nerd (Daniel Roebuck) slips through a time portal while investigating a cave with his class. He wakes up in prehistoric times where he quickly meets an incredibly cute cavebabe (Cynthia Ann Thompson). He is totally smitten with the girl, and not just because she’s the only woman around who bathes and still has her teeth. The nerd then has to prove his manhood among the cavepeople and try to get in the girl’s furry bikini bottom.
CODE OF SILENCE (1985) – Chuck Norris plays an honest cop among a Chicago police force that seems to stick up for their own shortcomings more than fighting crime. When a mob war starts thanks to a botched hit and the “blood for blood” mentality that follows, Norris is the only one who seems able to protect a young girl from being targeted. This is the first film from director Andrew Davis (THE FUGITIVE, UNDER SIEGE).
GOTCHA! (1985) – A young college student (Anthony Edwards) is hoping that a trip to Europe will broaden his horizons and improve his luck with women. He meets a seductive woman (Linda Fiorentino) who says she’s paying for her tuition by working as a courier. When her business takes her into East Germany he follows, not realizing that he will be leaving without the girl, with some incriminating evidence and with KGB agents hot on his trail.
JUST ONE OF THE GUYS (1985) – Terri has it all. She’s rich (or at least her parents are), good looking, her parents spend a lot of time out of town, has a hot boyfriend and has already decided on a career path. But when she realizes no one is taking her talent as a budding journalist, she enrolls in a neighboring school pretending to be a guy. This is a teen comedy that was inspired by William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT and later made as SHE’S THE MAN.
MOVERS & SHAKERS (1985) – Walter Matthau plays a washed-up Hollywood producer who makes a promise to his ailing mentor (Vincent Gardenia) to produce a film based on the sex manual “Love & Sex.” The studio buys the title but doesn’t want to make a sex picture. Instead, Matthau hires a screenwriter (Charles Grodin) and an off-kilter director (Bill Macy) to make an upbeat film that celebrates love. Grodin wrote the script for this film, which is based around the debacle that ensued when Paramount bought the rights to the sex manual “Joy of Sex” and spent the next seven years trying to make it into a film.
PRIVATE RESORT (1985) – Two young people vacation at a posh resort in order to get laid, because that’s apparently the only reason why anyone vacationed during the 1980s. A lot of screwball antics ensue, revolving around their quest for poon and a shady character trying to steal a diamond. This film stars a young Johnny Depp and Rob Morrow, along with an eclectic supporting cast that includes Dody Goodman, Hector Elizondo, Andrew Dice Clay, Leslie Easterbrook and Michael Bowen to name a few.
TOKYO-GA (1985) – Wim Wenders travels to Tokyo on a quest to discover the disappearing land he fell in love with in the films of Yahujiro Ozu (TOKYO STORY). Wenders trains his camera on the fading traditions of old Japan and the increasing modernization and Westernization of the city during the 1980s. Wenders also interviews a couple of the people involved in making films with the late Ozu.
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 114