Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

Synopsis: It’s like that episode of Saved By the Bell when Kelly gets an abortion...

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Fast Times At Ridgemont High, directed by Amy Amy Heckerling (Clueless) has become a cult classic. Twenty-four-year-old first-time screenwriter Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) went undercover as a high school student to give us an insider’s perspective on sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and trying to make it through another year at Ridgemont High.”

What Did I Learn?: There’s a five-point plan for dating chicks: 1) You never let on how much you like a girl. 2) You always call the shots. 3) Act like wherever you are, that's the place to be. 4) When ordering food, you find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. 5) When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV. [Oh, and hanging out at the mall all day is like, totally awesome!]

You Might Like This Movie If: You never once watched this TV series.

Really?: 1) Um….aren’t Judge Reinhold and Sean Penn a bit too old to be playing teenagers? 2) I had a bit of a hard time believing Mark Rattner and Damone would ever hang out together, and they have seem to reconcile quite easily near the end after the latter’s betrayal of his friend. 3) Mr. Hand has been teaching high school history for how long… and he still gives enough of a shit to visit Spicoli at home for an hours-long tutorial? Doesn’t Mr. Hand value his own time?

Rating: Much like The Breakfast Club, Fast times at Ridgemont High is such an iconic film from my childhood that it’s tough for me to evaluate it objectively; Sean Penn has played everyone from Mickey Cohen to Harvey Milk, but I’ll always think of him first and foremost as the loveable pothead Jeff Spicoli. Indeed, the scenes of Spicoli matching wits with grumpy old Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) are absolutely priceless. Thing is, the Spicoli/Hand interludes appear to come from a totally different movie than the much more serious Stacey/Linda/Mark/Damone (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Brian Backer, Robert Romanus) storyline, and the Judge Reinhold fast food sub-plot has its moments, but otherwise seems a bit pointless. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is an enjoyable piece of nostalgia - and you have to love its kick-ass soundtrack - but some of it works, and some of it doesn’t. 8/10 stars.



  1. Love this flick. I agree with an 8.

    You should review Rock N' Roll High School.


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