It may not be fair to label someone a scene stealer when they've got the lead role in a film, but when they're up against The Ramones and manage to hold their own, they've earned it. P.J. Soles, playing high-school groupie/wanna-be songwriter Riff Randell in Rock 'n' Roll High School, is one of the reasons why people still remember and cherish this goofy Roger Corman-produced movie today. (Other reasons include The Ramones and Mary Woronov.) Soles manages to be perky without acting at all stupid, and her high level of energy helps keep the movie interesting. The above photo is from a memorable scene in an all-girls gym class where the scantily clad young women shake it to the movie's title song.

Rock 'n' Roll High School is one of Soles' few star turns -- she mostly appeared in supporting roles, usually as a "screamer" in horror films or as a bubbly girlfriend. One of her first memorable films was the 1976 movie Carrie, where she played one of the mean teen girls -- the one in the red baseball cap, which became a trademark look for her. Many people remember her as the chick whose every other word was "totally" in Halloween. She also has a small role as a sorority girl in the 1980 film Breaking Away. (I didn't realize until writing this article that Soles was married at that time to Dennis Quaid, who had a lead role in the film.) She was one of Goldie Hawn's fellow recruits in Private Benjamin, and then played Bill Murray's love interest in Stripes.
categories Features, Cinematical