Band themed movies, or “Movies that Rock” are about the fans. Rock and Roll High School is a movie screen played by Joseph McBride, Russ Dvonch, and Richard Whitley, featuring the Ramones. Although the movie’s dialogue circles around the Ramones, and plays The Ramones’ music, it’s mainly about a girl named Riff Randell, who is their biggest fan and her best friend Kate, who is a geeky girl trying to find enough confidence to get a date with her high school crush. The movie does a great job of embodying two things: the magic life of being a devoted fan girl who believes in “her band” and what it’s like to be a kid in high school in the seventies with no other worries than “will my crush ever notice me?” Riff Randell, the hardest rockin’ roller, student at Vince Lombardi High School, is played by the beautiful PJ Soles. She finds out that her favorite band, The Ramones, is coming to her town and she decides to brush up her songwriting skills so that she can get them to play her music. She comes up with an instant hit she calls “Rock and Roll High School”. The only problem? Her dictator of a Principal is trying to get rid of rock and roll activity on campus and in the personal lives of students completely. Riff Randell has to try to find a loop hole with the help of her trusty best friend Kate to make it to the Ramones concert, so that she can give them her song! Meanwhile, Kate, her best friend who is totally beautiful, but painfully shy, has this debilitating crush on “Tom Roberts” (the clueless quarterback of Vince Lombardi High, who is kind of a nerd too).
That’s enough plot talk though; I don’t believe in spoiler alerts! I will say this, in order to fall in love with music, or specifically a band, there has to be something that exists previously in the individual that is being spoken to in order for that admiration to exist. The things one admires says a lot about who they are as a person. This is why Riff Randell is so magic! Her love for the Ramones shows in the way she likes to dress, the way she writes her songs, and the way she carries herself. But it’s her love for individuality and freedom of expression that drew her to the Ramones in the first place. She doesn’t seem to be looking for a relationship as a high school girl; she just wants to rock! She doesn’t seem to care about her grades at school; she just wants to rock! She doesn’t want to dress like anyone else, SHE JUST WANTS TO ROCK! It’s who she is. The evidence is in how she introduces herself:
Principal Togar: “Who are you?”
Kate: “Kate Rambo.”
Principal Togar: “AND WHO ARE YOU?”
Riff Randell: “I’m Riff Randell, Rockin’ Roller.” *sticks out hand for a sarcastic shake*