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Fast Times at Ridgemont High
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Reviews & Ratings for
Fast Times at Ridgemont High More at IMDbPro »

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Index 223 reviews in total 

Masterful Comedy.

Author: yearspew from United States
24 June 2008

Fast Times At Ridgemont High is a very well-written comedy that goes way beyond Phoebe Cates's topless scene or Sean Penn's Spicoli. Not only it's a classic 80's movie that has influenced many other movies, it's a well-structured, inventive film with great quality to it.

The film has four story lines: of Stacy Hamilton, of Brad Hamilton, of Jeff Spicoli, and of Damone and Mark Ratner.

The story lines vary in tone, yet they maintain that harmony that allows the characters jump from one storyline to another and fit perfectly.

The characters are memorable, quotable and very well played. Spicoli is perhaps the most memorable character in the movie, the stoner, surfer dude played brilliantly by Sean Penn. Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) is the guy who wants to succeed yet finds himself stuck in the same jobs, Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is the girl that wants to grow up too soon, Damone (Robert Romanus) is a weasel, but a funny one, and Ratner (Brian Backer) is an innocent geek. And of course Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) who is a hilarious character trying to deal with Spicoli.

Fast Times is a fun movie, an enjoyable movie and a flashback to the 80's.

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Not Much Plot, But I Am Always Compelled to Watch It

Author: jbartelone from United States
21 April 2008

If you are looking for a great plot in Fast Times at Ridemount High, you will be disappointed because there is very little. It is more about the "Fast Times" (pun intended) of high schoolers who are interested in hanging out at the malls and having sex.

But what makes the film work very well is the ensemble of very talented young actors who do amazing work with the weak storyline. The character stereotypes are very strong and well played. But it are the stand out performances of Sean Penn as stoned surfer-dude Jeff Spicoli and the absolutely BRILLIANT performance of Ray Walston as strict history teacher, Mr. Hand, that make this film unforgettable.

Viewers are drawn to the performances of Jeff Spicoli and Mr. Hand so well, that incredibly, their scenes make the movie better than what otherwise would have been a typical teen, sex-obsessed exploitation flick.

There are some great one-liners throughout the film that die-hards know by heart. Critics have discussed the superficial role of some of the other characters. However, an important point is that many high school students are often immature, superficial, and sex-obsessed. Perhaps not to the extent that this film shows. But if the film DIDN'T show the extreme attitudes of the students, you would have a fairly ordinary movie. "Fast Times" is positively reflected in fun times and the exciting escapades of high school kids. This movie shows that it can be fun without a major plot or seriousness attached to it, and not many movies can say that.

The downside is that due to conflicts between the director and the scriptwriter, there will not be a full extended version of FTARH. The network TV print omits or dubs the bad language and removes all nudity. However, the TV version also has several scenes of added (and interesting) dialogs between the characters, that are not present in commercial home video versions, and probably never will be unless an agreement is reached between director Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe, which is very unlikely.

However, the performances of Sean Penn and Ray Walston push this film near the top. Focus on the fun and you won't be disappointed. This is a highly recommended film!

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No shoes no shirt No Dice

Author: FallenSoliderXX from United States
31 January 2008

wow what a great movie from the 80's. This is the kind of movie that you pop in your DVD and just laugh. Its a pretty simple movie about high school, the mall, and kick ass music. Sean Penn plays Jeff Spicoli and Jeff is quite the character the stoner kind of guy you see in every high school. With a great soundtrack so so acting and come on Phoebe Cates topless its a sure watch and my favorite high school movie. Its the type of movie that is just pure fun to watch and I've seen it quite a few dozen times and I always end up laughing still at the jokes. For anyone who wants to watch a great high school movie I would recommend this movie


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there *was* a sequel...

Author: davecampbell from San Francisco, CA
26 January 2008's called "Clueless" - Fast Times for the '90s. As a class of '82er myself, this movie really spoke to me (while Clueless *so* did not - but I enjoyed it anyway).

On the DVD commentary, Cameron Crowe talks about how the studio pressured them to change the music from what they had originally; I remember particularly the use of Jackson Browne in certain scenes where I always thought it was perversely inappropriate, and to find that the director originally had different, and much more appropriate, music in those scenes made me wish they'd do a Director's Cut with the originally-intended music inserted.

Then I saw the Director's Cut DVD of Donnie Darko, and in the commentary the director discusses how the theatrical release had some of the same music in a different order, and they moved everything back to where they originally wanted it in the DVD.

So why not do that with Fast Times?

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A load of fun.

Author: dead47548 from United States
8 January 2008

A teen cinema classic, and rightfully so. It's hilarious, realistic and very enjoyable. All of the performances are great and a joy to watch. It's a bit clichéd and cheesy, but you have to keep in mind that this is the film that created most of those clichés. I really love how it studies the different groups of teenagers from the pothead surfers to the fast-food workers to the regular Joe's. Even more so, I love how it studied the various pressures of High School and how these affect the teens involved. It subtly does a deep investigation on the pressures of drugs, sex, careers and school through very different, but very similar and relatable stories of youth. One of my favorites to sit back and relax, and it's a great joy to see so many phenomenal actors (Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker, etc.)

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Funny way to start the year

Author: RainDogJr from Mexico City
1 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is about a school year in the life of four teenagers and some of their friends. Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is trying to be with a boy for the first time and for that she will have the help of Linda Barret (Phoebe Cates). Mark Ratner (Brian Backer)is a boy that has an interest in Stacy so with the help of his best friend Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), he is trying to be with Stacy. The plot also involves Stacy's brother, Brad (Judge Reinhold) and Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) who is the kind of punk of the school, that has the best parts in the film and that is the best character.

The plot is very simple and is not the best thing in this film but it works because of the cool characters, specially Spicoli. And also because of the previous work of Cameron Crowe, who enter undercover in a High School to write his book and to be closer to the behavior of the students. So the best thing in this film are the dialogs and of course the characters. The are very funny personalities, like the one of Mike Damone, who is like the boy who knows everything about girls and about rock concerts or the one of Brad, that is like a senior and is a successful single. But the one that steals the film is Spicoli, just because he has the funniest scenes in the film and is the most charismatic in the school. With the personality that Sean Penn has right now he must be shame of this character, just watch the episode in "Two and a half men" where Sean appears.

Conclusion: this is a simple but funny film, excellent for start the year with a smile. That has a cast full of stars in their beginnings: Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage credited as Nicolas Coppola for the first and unique time, Forest Whitaker in a funny role as the best football player in the school and the older brother of Spicoli's friend,Jenifer Jason Leigh,Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards. 8 out of 10

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The Mall: A Place and an Experience

Author: lord woodburry ( from The Society NY
22 August 2007

The mall is not only a place but an experience. Yet while the mall is an experience, none have dared attempt to write the mall epic as say Hotel. did for the hotel industry. Malls have been used as a backdrop in two significant movies: Fast Times at Richmont High and Dawn of the Dead.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" defined the life of a teenager in the eighties. All the usual teenage problems are vividly satirized and detailed with honesty and realism: teenage pregnancy, sex, drugs, first love, teenage breakup, etc...The cast infused the characters seamlessly and with believability in the story of one school year in the life of several teens. This was nothing especially extraordinary it was just...High School and the mall.

The film transcended the typical teen movie, music, nerdy teachers, dope, nudity in a burst of the energy and fun of American teen commercialism. The movies' charm lies in its evocation of an environment, the very mall culture I speak off. While the film depicts the happiness, frustration, ugliness, and joy of being a teen during the 80's within a veneer of sophomoric humor, it portrays the ritual rite of passage in the assumption of adult responsibilities, owning cars, working, getting fired, trying to grow up too fast. This is not presented without sugar but in a rather stark, realistic way. The excitement of working at the coolest place in the mall is balanced against responsibility: getting fired and danger: getting robbed.

A TV version briefly aired with some of the cast, but the movie's popularity was not strong enough to draw an audience to it.

The Galleria which served as the backdrop for the film regrettably is no more. The film was shot in the Sherman Oaks Galleria Mall in Van Nuys California. The mall failed to survive the 1980s and has been demolished.

Yet in High Times, the mall itself is not the story; it is the stage, the setting the prop. The people not the backdrop are the story The Mall Genre Could there be such a thing as a mall movie, one like hotel principally about the place? I have concluded the mall could only be a stage not a story in itself.

The mall never assumed as with the old first class hotels or department store a personality of its own. The mall swayed with the times and the demands of the market. Thus there never was an internal conflict such as alluded to in A Christmas Carol of a business operation bucking the times to preserve an ideal manner of doing business.

The old five star hotels and the family owned department stores which struggled to preserve quality service against the tides of changing, competitive times might be capable of telling such a story as the book and movie Hotel eloquently depicts.

The mall as much as I love the excitement of it never grew such firm roots that it itself could be the center of controversy over direction. The mall's sight never transcended nor passed the very next sale.

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Setting the foreground for teenagers of the 80's.

Author: imbluzclooby from United States
4 February 2007

I was had just started my freshman year in high school when Fast Times came out. It was the beginning of the 80's when America was in a very strange transition that was affected heavily by pop culture. I believe. In lieu of all the teenager high school comedies ever made I would give Fast Times credit for starting it all, or at least breaking the mold for that genre. Very few movies of this kind were made and they usually didn't explore risqué and taboo themes quite as boldly. What thus followed in the 80's were exploitative romp films about teenagers getting into trouble. There are many to add to the list like "Private School", "Last American Virgin", "Revenge of the Nerds", every John Hughes film and more... Fast Times is definitely a cheesy film and knows it's target audience and shamelessly panders to it with all the sexual, drug and adolescent themes. Whether it served a purpose valuable purpose to kids or not is not its motive, but rather a means to drawing a young audience. The situations and the characters are interesting and from a thematic standpoint it uncovers teenage insecurity and awkwardness very well. And it's funny, both painfully and sardonically. Fast Times was a precursor to my high school years and set the mode for the way myself and many teenagers viewed life.

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The Best of the Genre

Author: dannaturman from United States
8 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is the mother of all teen films. We may never see its like again. I think what gives the film a special resonance is that none of the characters are particularly "cool" or popular. They are all oddballs. And none were rich either. There is not a mercedes or bmw in sight. These characters have a realness and a vulnerability you do not find in other movies of the genre. You have the Jennifer Jason Leigh character. A pretty girl but not the stereotypical sorority-type idiot. And she ends up falling for a dork like "Rat." As for the character of Damone , he has never been equaled in any high school movie. A teenager who says things like, "is that your brother, he's a good looking kid." Need one say more? And how about this. The teachers are almost as likable as the students. There's a reason this film is still a favorite 25 years after its release.

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One Of The Best Teen Comedies Ever!

Author: gangstahippie from Canada(Montreal, Quebec)
24 August 2006

Rated R for Sexual Content,Nudity,Language and Drug Use. Quebec Rating:18+(should be 13+) Canadian Home Video Rating:R(should be 18A)

I have seen Fast Times At Ridgemont High 3 times already and I must say this film is great!Along with Dazed and Confused and American Pie Fast Times at ridgemont high ranks as one of my favorite teen comedies.Teen comedies need to be more like this film!Sean Penn has done plenty of serious roles its funny to see him as a funny stoner in this film.There is no real plot to the movie and the acting isn't all that great but it accurately shows teenagers and the film is really funny.That's what makes a great teen comedy.The film just shows the lives of a couple of California teenagers and the misadventures they encounter.Fast Times At Ridgemont High is a hilarious teen comedy.One of the best ones out there!



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