September 12, 2010

Do Your Parents Know You're Ramones?

Last night, I wanted to do something that commemorated the spirit of America in light of 9/11...but also wanted to watch something that would help me get in a more community-minded frame of mind in preparation for Chicago COUNTS. So I put on a move that I think speaks to a smart, community minded spirit.

That movie, dear readers, is Rock 'N' Roll High School

Yes, I'm serious, why do you ask?

Admittedly, my love for the Ramones is almost as deep and unrelenting as Mike Sterling's love of Swamp Thing. There's something about the simplicity (both musically and lyrically) of songs that hits me in a pleasurable place - it's not rational nor totally emotionally, but somehow, it seems to fit.

Yes, the movie takes its cue from old 1950's/1960's era teen movies, that warned of the danger of rock and roll and how it was corrupting innocent teenagers. Yes, this is a movie with a definite late 70s/early 80s vibe, but there's something about the conflict - a more conservative principal taking on a rebellious young student who basks in her love of rock'n'roll - that resonates with me, especially in these times.

(No, I'm not comparing Mary Woronov to Sarah Palin. Nor am I suggesting that Roger Corman was making a sophisticated piece of political satire. Just that this movie seems to hit a much more rebellious nerve, especially considering the last fifteen minutes of the film. And I honestly believe that this movie contains the greatest performances that both Clint Howard and Timothy Van Pattern ever gave on film).

But there's also a nice vibe that goes against the traditional "high-school-as-variety-of-cliques" idea - that somehow, jocks, nerds, punk rockers, and other students could be united against a restrictive authority, an authority that doesn't listen, and that in the end...sometimes, in order to create something anew, you have to let go of something old.

Plus, this movie also contains a guy in a large mouse suit. And the Ramones.

So my suggestion for next year - the 10th anniversary of 9/11 - we have a national showing of Rock 'N' Roll High School. I think it can bring our country together.

Hey, ho, let's go, indeed.

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