Rock ‘n Roll High School

Ultra-canny low-budget producer Roger Corman originally wanted to make “Disco High School.” Thank the rock gods hipper heads prevailed. Directed by Allan Arkush with assists from Jerry Zucker and Joe Dante, 1979’s “Rock ‘n Roll High School” is the cartoonish tale of the literally explosive results of the arrival of original punk rockers The Ramones at Vince Lombardi High. Free spirited hipster Riff Randle (P.J. Soles) and her straight-arrow best pal Kate Rambeau (Dey Young) must evade fun-hating Principal Togar (Mary Woronov) if they are to party down with two-chord musical geniuses Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky Ramone. Meanwhile, besotted but romantically inept football player Tom Roberts (Vincent Van Patten) enlists the aid of strangely suave ultra-dork entrepreneur Eaglebauer (Clint Howard) to woo Riff, unaware that the bespectacled but equally adorable Kate is the one carrying a torch for him.

It’s even sillier and messier than it sounds, but it all comes together, more or less, because of the likable chaos fostered by Arkush, a dominating performance by actress/performance artist Woronov who gets the film’s best lines — “Does your mother know you’re Ramones?” — a generally amazing cast, and, most of all, the music and presence of the aforementioned Ramones, three of its four members now sadly deceased. Featuring lots of performance footage — alas, in very low-fi monophonic sound — this is a big, sloppy kiss to the rock and roll spirit. It may not be the funniest comedy ever made, but it’s close enough for punk.

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“Heroes” directors talk “Fugitives,” fans, and (Bryan) Fuller

The return of “Heroes” from its mid-season vacation is coming up fast…the show returns with its latest saga, “Fugitives,” on Monday, February 2…and the folks working behind the scenes are excited about it, even if some of the fans are less than thrilled with the way the show has been progressing in its third season.

“Part of the fun of being a fan is the grousing,” acknowledged Allan Arkush, who not only serves as one of the show’s directors but also as an executive producer. “That’s certainly one of the biggest functions of the internet: to be a place where you can get pissed off and show it. But I thought Tina Fey was pretty funny about it on the Golden Globes. I mean, I didn’t disagree with her point of view on it! It’s fine, but I’ve been reading a lot of reviews of the Season 2 DVDs, and people have been saying, ‘Well, when you look at them in a row, it’s a completely different experience, and now I see how the whole thing is threaded together!’”

Arkush doesn’t tend to read the negative press in that much detail, but he did take particular issue with Entertainment Weekly’s recent smackdown of the “Villains” episode.

“I thought it was way off mark,” he said. “They said something about how it was one of the worst episodes of the year of any show, and I thought, ‘That’s not true at all! This is actually a really good episode!’ It was the one where we went back and showed how Sylar met Elle and showed what Arthur Petrelli had done, and I thought it was fun to kind of go back and see how all of that happened and see parts of their lives that we hadn’t seen, but they said, ‘Oh, it’s a very contrived concept.’ I liked it. It was one of my favorite episodes of the year!”

It’s fair to say, however, that just about everyone – not just fans, but, indeed, Arkush as well – is excited about the return of Bryan Fuller to the “Heroes” family. (Granted, they’re probably not that thrilled that it took the cancellation of “Pushing Daisies” to get him back, but you take the good with the bad.)

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