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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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A pure Classic

Author: killers54 from USA
18 November 2004

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The story is true to life, the characters are like people you went to school with, and the laughs keep on coming. Its got drama, romance, comedy, its great. They couldn't have provided a better cast. Jeff Spicoli is definitely my fave character in the film. Without Sean Penn this film would have been faltered but he is the saving grace. Providing most of the comic relief even in some not so funny situations. Great soundtrack, acting everything, this movie is a straight up classic and if you haven't seen it i think there may be something wrong with you. Get out and buy it its worth it to have it in your movie collection. Killers54

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Best Movie Ever

10/10
Author: finalwarningwb14 from Alliance, Ohio
26 April 2004

I think that Fast Times at Ridgemont High is the best 80's coming of age movie ever made. Every school needs a student like Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn) and every school needs a fifteen-year-old wanting to explore into the young world of sex. Every girl wants to, they just won't admit it because they think they'll be called a slut. And there is always a dork who likes some girl and doesn't have the balls to ever tell her. Basically it couldn't get any better. It's got the best actors, music, and story plot. Plus, what school isn't fit without the biggest dick teacher, Mr. Hand. The guy gets off on ruining peoples lives. Everybody has a teacher like that. So like I said, it couldn't get any better.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Any Comparison To "American Pie" Gives Pause

10/10
Author: Niro from Farmington Hills, MI, USA
19 January 2000

I've been listening to an inordinate number of people attempting to favorably compare the God-awful, juvenile "American Pie" to "Fast Times" for awhile now.

Which is of course, an insult to the seminal latter [no pun intended].

I just watched "Fast Times" again yesterday, for probably the 20th or so time, and it still soars above anything even John Hughes did while he was semi-hip.

And if a single actor from "Pie" EVER achieves the success of Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards or even Phoebe Cates, feel free to mail-bomb me.

Wow ~ and nary a toilet joke!

This one's the masterpiece of the genre.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Any Comparison To "American Pie" Gives Pause

10/10
Author: Niro from Farmington Hills, MI, USA
19 January 2000

I've been listening to an inordinate number of people attempting to favorably compare the God-awful, juvenile "American Pie" to "Fast Times" for awhile now.

Which is of course, an insult to the seminal latter [no pun intended].

I just watched "Fast Times" again yesterday, for probably the 20th or so time, and it still soars above anything even John Hughes did while he was semi-hip.

And if a single actor from "Pie" EVER achieves the success of Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards or even Phoebe Cates, feel free to mail-bomb me.

Wow ~ and nary a toilet joke!

This one's the masterpiece of the genre.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

About the embarrassments of being a teenager

6/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
15 March 2003

What began life as a undercover writing assignment for infant terrible Cameron Crowe (a baby-faced 20-something who went back to high school impersonating a student) becomes a surprisingly serious-minded comedy about the embarrassments of being a teenager. Opening scenes at the Southern California shopping mall, scanning the rear-ends of the video playing kids in their designer jeans, shows an almost-documentary feel for teen life. Director Amy Heckerling relishes these little throw-away moments, excelling with her attentive eyes and ears, but eventually the 'plot' kicks in...and the movie's satiric juice leaks out. The characters, while not clichés or actual stereotypes, are well-portrayed by a talented cast (and their dialogue is often funny), but once we begin to follow them around--experiencing their foibles, mostly sexual--Heckerling loses the early promise. I much preferred the realistic working lives of these kids over their dull love lives. Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh create a relaxed, lived-in friendship that seems to go back a ways, and of course Sean Penn rarely hits a false note as an overly tanned, perpetually-high surfer dude. **1/2 from ****

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

9/10
Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
16 June 1999

Solid comedy that will stand the test of time. Fine script by future director Crowe and stand out performances from Penn, Leigh, Cates and Walston make this a non stop laugh riot. Walston also starred in the short lived television series based on the film.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Don't expect anything very interesting about Fast Times

3/10
Author: thebrighteyes from United States
20 September 2007

Fast Times At Ridgemont High doesn't have very much going for it except a handful of really good actors when they were only somewhat good actors.

The movie centers around various high school stereotypes of the early-1980s, the innocent girl, and the sexually experienced girl; the nerdy, but smart guys; the cool guys that help out the nerdy guys; and, of course, the stoner/burn out. The problem with all these characters is that they fail to become anything more than stereotypes, although, the writer & director obviously tried very hard to make them so.

The movie would have really worked a lot better as more of a drama with comedic elements, but instead tries to be a teen comedy with a couple of dramatic elements thrown in.

It's sad really, that these characters all seem like they could have a lot of depth if only the director and writer tried to explore them a little bit more. For example, there is the whole "guy getting his best friends girlfriend pregnant" subplot that is resolved very half-heartedly and without much thought.

There are a few funny moments, however, such as when one of the characters is on a date and realizes that he has forgotten his wallet at home, and he ends up biding his time until his friend is able to drop it off by continuously ordering Cokes. Unfortunately, these scenes end up getting lost in the fog of such a disorganized plot.

Forget this movie, and go see The Breakfast Club instead.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Oh to be an 80s kid.

8/10
Author: LessThanPaddy
9 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the kind of movie that makes me regret not growing up during the 1980s. Truly, it was a decade I wish I'd experienced. I love this movie, I can't really explain why, I just do. It gives me a sense of nostalgia, even though I wasn't born until the 1990s, so I don't quite know why, perhaps its nostalgia for a better era of 'coming of age' films or perhaps it's not nostalgia at all but rather a feeling that I can't explain.

I've heard some people say it's not acted well. Well, it may not be the highest calibre but that doesn't take very much away from the unique plot of so many stories running into one another. You learn to feel for the characters, sympathise with some while laughing at others (anyone who has watched this will know which characters I'm referring to here). No, it isn't a dramatic masterpiece, but it's not lazy. It's easy watching and is a great underrated ambassador for an interesting decade.

P.S. I had no idea that this is where 'Staceys Mom' comes from. Another aspect that links back to my nostalgic youth.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Exploring the Teenage Experience

8/10
Author: atlasmb from United States
24 December 2015

Three seminal films of the seventies and eighties explored the high school experience: "Grease (1978), "The Breakfast Club" (1985), and this film--"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982).

Each of these films dealt with the common themes of the high school experience and the issues that confront all teens. Such films are, of course, coming of age stories, with teens discovering where they fit in socially. And learning about sexuality and the awkwardness of first experiences.

"Fast Times" is packed with wonderful performances, but the central characters are a brother and sister--Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) and Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Both hold part-time jobs and are learning valuable lessons about the benefits and vagaries of employment. Brad has a regular girlfriend, but is beginning to feel he is too young to commit exclusively. Stacy feels she lacks the sexual experience of her peers, so she considers forcing the issue.

"Fast Times" defines the school cliques of its time, just like the other two films. Teens want to belong, to find acceptance, and director Amy Heckerling does a good job of exposing the vulnerability that results from their longing.

The film is also a comedy. Some of the funniest scenes revolve around Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), whose portrayal of the wasted surfer dude is pure genius. His foil is Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), the opinionated and strict American History teacher who makes it his job to stand up to the Spicoli's. He is to Spicoli what Mr. Rooney is to Ferris Bueller, but with more caring. He is not trying to force his students to follow the rules because he seeks power; he is hoping to teach them some things about life and responsibility.

Ms. Heckerling's vision for the film was unflinching, including some "graphic" scenes that were cut to avoid an "X" rating. But the expurgated version still addresses tough teen issues head on. Older viewers will recognize the situations and identify with the characters' feelings.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Spirit of the Eighties in One Movie

9/10
Author: joshuafagan-64214 from United States
1 December 2015

There are a lot of budding stars all around this film. As this is a fairly slow-paced movie, I suggest you make a point of it to count all of them. Make sure not to miss a young Nick Cage, who is listed in the credits under his birth name, Nicolas Coppola (yes, he is related to that Coppola; he changed his name to avoid (justified?) charges of nepotism. He, of course, later won an Academy Award. So did Forrest Whittaker. Sean Penn won two.

Let's talk about Penn's character for a bit. He is a stoned California surfer dude that serves as the main comedy for this film. Is he funny on his own right? Yes; yes he is. He steals every scene he is in and shows the sort of charisma that you just cannot fake. The scenes he shares with the strict history teacher, Mr. Hands, are the some of the funniest I've seen in any eighties film, and that is saying something.

But it is far funnier considering that he is played by Mr. Dramatic Sean Penn. When I first watched this film, I had never seen him portray anything comedic or even close to it. And I have to say, it caught me off-guard. You wouldn't think a man who would be more fit for Shakespearean drama could make you laugh so hard at his dumb jokes. But it works. All hail Mr. Penn.

This film, like a lot of Mr. Crowe's work, does not rely on the typical three-act structure to keep you interested. It just takes you along, like the waves that Sean Penn's character surfs, and takes you into these people's lives. The atmosphere is not as palpable and moving as it is in Almost Famous, but it's there nonetheless. You feel for all these people's lives and ambitions as you ride with them through the year. The characters feel dramatified, but in a way that increases their humanity instead of obscuring it. The situations feel real: I look at this film and think, "Yeah; that's what it's like."

If I had to give this film a personal score, I'd probably give it full points. This is exactly what I want to see from a high school movie; and even more than that, I have developed a sort of personal connection with it. The first time I sat down for a viewing, I was a high school student myself, and I was spellbound. There is a certain authenticity that's lacking in many high school movies, even many good ones. For one of very few times in my life, I felt like I was watching a high school movie that was made by people who had actually been in high school. The tone hits the sweet spot between cool indifference and passionate shenanigans.

For the life of me, I will never understand those who think this movie to be overly graphic. Yes, there is some sex in it. So be it. If there weren't sex, people would be missing the point of the film. It got an R; leave it alone. Now, why a film specifically and accurately showing the day-to-day activities of teens could not be seen by a lone teen is a different matter altogether. But nonetheless, the moral outrage this film caused is quaint and frankly weird. Remember, Animal House came out four years earlier. I'd love to time travel back to this film's release date and laugh at all the critics, including one man I greatly respect, the late Roger Ebert, who gave this film a one-star-rating in one of this most questionable decisions ever.

But if this did break new ground, then applause to it. And I have to admit, I think it did, particularly for a film of this nature. Whereas most of its eighties contemporaries now seem old fashioned and slightly uncomfortable, this film still feels refreshing and relevant. I don't know whether that is more because this movie took more risks or because or society has not progressed as far as I would have liked, but it is worth noting nonetheless.

And a result, the reactions are sort of flipped nowadays, at least from I've seen. The movies that were judged racy but acceptable at the date of release are now looked down upon by some, while movies like this have steadily been gaining their reputation as classics.

As it just me, or should Crowe try television? The flow of his movies is more like a weekly series. I think he'd do well. It'd certainly be worth a shot after producing no great films in the last fifteen years. But likely, his lack of success has less to do with that and more to do with him not having personal experience, which seems to be a necessity for him. Those years at Rolling Stone made him director material. They also gave him an impressive library of music that he makes great use of in his films.

I love Crowe. But he's not a perfect scriptwriter. And nor is Amy Heckerling, who actually directed this, a perfect director. And if I have to be brutally honest, some of the non-Penn performances feel a little stale. But this is definitely a movie with a lot to say and depict. If you want to know what was popular in the eighties, check out Ferris Bueller of BTTF. But if you want to experience the eighties, go watch this film.

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