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Fast Times at Ridgemont High
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Fast Times at Ridgemont High More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Spirit of the Eighties in One Movie

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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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Enduring Classic About Teen-age Life

Author: Desertman84 from United States
24 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cameron Crowe's screenplay that was based on his undercover expose about life at a public high school in Southern California became a great film and an enduring classic in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Sean Penn had a star-making performance in it that catapulted him to one of the best actor of his generation.Also,we get to see debuts of popular actors such as Anthony Edwards,Nicolas Cage and Eric Stolz.Also,we get to see memorable performances from Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Aside from the performances,the viewer is treated an expose of poignant and laughable episodes that features lives of high school students from inside the classroom,outside the school and the different perspectives they have as they prepare for life after high school.Overall,it was a great movie about an examination of teen-age life.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Delightfully High!

Author: nama chakravorty from India
14 July 2015

Written by Cameron Crowe & Adapted from his 1981 book of the same name, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' is an unbelievably engaging comedy-classic, that doesn't fail to amuse or entertain even after 3 decades since its release. Its great fun & is unabashedly High!

'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' Synopsis: A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' is about kids, who explore life as it comes. Its nostalgic, but at its heart, its a coming-of-age film, which bonuses from its hilarious narrative. The characters range from wild to wicked, but they are so well-written, that its not hard not to love them. I was captivated by their journey.

Crowe's Screenplay is pure genius, offering hilarious moments almost throughout. Amy Heckerling's Direction is perfect. Cinematography captures the craziness, competently. Editing is sharp.

Performance-Wise: Sean Penn is legendary here. Easily in his funniest role till date, the prolific actor pitches in a haywire act, that'a simply unforgettable. Jennifer Jason Leigh is fantastic. Phoebe Cates is excellent, in her most popular role to date. Judge Reinhold is first-rate. Robert Romanus excels. Brian Backer is good. The Late/Great Ray Walston stands out.

On the whole, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' works big time! Go, laugh out loud!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

It's a Fast Time Watching this Movie

Author: Rob Starzec from United States
27 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although I didn't LOVE the film, I honestly wanted more of it when it was over; Fast Times is a good coming of age movie with its own quirky tone that sets it aside from films like Dazed and Confused or American Graffiti.

One main difference between this film and the others mentioned is that this film covers an entire school year while Dazed and Confused and American Graffiti deal with the events in a town over the course of one day. The time flies by in this film as the editing uses hard cuts to transition to scenes which occur weeks or months later.

Comedy comes from all types of characters in this film, making it a great deal of fun. One of the funniest moments in the film is a famous one which I had no idea was a fantasy scene - Brad Hamilton imagines his sister's friend taking off her top and walking towards him. She catches him in the act, and it makes for a very awkward situation.

Even the serious characters, like Mr. Hand, bring life to the story. His interactions with Sean Penn's character are like separate quirky battles between the two of them.

I don't really get why Sean Penn is billed first in the credits - the main characters, at least in my eyes, are Stacy Hamilton and "Rat." However, I do have to admit parts with Sean Penn are some of the funniest in the movie, though Penn seems to overdo the stoner voice. The ending of the film was one of the best Sean Penn parts of the movie, which I will not reveal since it is a great moment which becomes a big payoff for a particular character.

Overall, the film is funny, light-hearted, and while there are many elements to the movie it goes by in a flash, just like the title states; it truly is the perfect title for the film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A really funny movie...

Author: Taylor Kingston from Australia
26 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really like this movie. I actually re-watched it again last night, just so it would be fresh in my mind for this review. It's a very funny movie, with a lot of sex and nudity, but in a fun way. It's not classy or tasteful, but it's not a perverted porn, either. This movie is definitely not kid-friendly. Every time someone opens their mouth their either talking about wanting to get laid, talking about practicing blow-jobs, and pregnancies and abortions, and then has very unsubtle references to pot. But then again, I don't think they were trying to be subtle.

This movie takes place in Ridgemont, focusing on teenagers from Ridgemont High. It spans about a year throughout the movie, so Fast Times is right. We meet a group of teenagers, some guys, some girls. Some dorks, some average nice guys, and one really douchey pervert of a guy. We also have Spicoli, my personal favorite character. He's always stoned, but he's very friendly and very nice. Some of them are looking for love, some of them are looking for sex, some of them are just pigs and one of them just wants to party.

Overall, I give movie a 7 out of 10, which in my ratings book is: Great.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The overall movie

Author: Eduardo Kelly from United States
2 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fast Times is a perfect example of what good writing, directing, and acting can do. This film has moments of pure honesty that I've never seen before in a teen comedy. If you're a teenager, you'll love it, at least you should. I never met anyone who saw it and didn't like it. Also, little kids should not see it. It talks about things and shows things that they're not ready for yet. it has great parts for example when Spicoli orders pizza to the classroom and the teacher gets very mad. it just shows how high school was back then in California. which looked like a lot of fun. the film also, used a lot f the techniques that most movies do. for example, they would fade from scene to scene. but overall, this was a great movie and should be watched by teens all over.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
12 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

National Lampoon's Animal House was a fantastic sex obsessed teen comedy, Porky's wasn't, and American Pie years later revamped it, and this one came in between, from writer Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) and director Amy Heckerling (Clueless). Basically this film follows the students of a Southern Califonian high school, Ridgemont High, who go through all forms of insightful, sympathetic and of course funny growing up, or coming of age. So Stacy Hamilton (Road to Perdition's Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Mark 'Rat' Ratner (Brian Backer) are both looking for a love interest, Stacy has experienced friend Linda Barrett (Gremlins' Phoebe Cates) to help, and Rat has sleazy Mike Damone (Robert Romanus). Stacy's dorky senior student brother Brad Hamilton (Beverly Hills Cop's Judge Reinhold) is struggling to keep a job and also has deal with his girlfriend dumping him, but he picks himself up slowly. In the centre of all of this is constantly stoned surfer dude student Jeff Spicoli (young Sean Penn) is struggling to keep up with his studies, and has a little head on with history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), who thinks all students are on dope. The poignant moment in Stacy's story, besides practising giving a blow-job on a carrot, is when she and Mike have sex, and she ends up pregnant and needing money for an abortion, but Mike doesn't help at all. Rat of course finds out and gains to courage to stick up for himself, Linda is also very angry and punishes Mike with constant "Prick" abuse, don't worry, everything settles when it comes to the end of high school and the prom, oh, and Spicoli learns his lesson from Mr. Hand. In the end, Brad saves the day in his new job at the mini-mart, Mike is arrested for the flogging of tickets, odd teacher Mr. Vargas (Vincent Schiavelli) switches back to coffee, Linda attends college living with a doctor, Stacy and Rat are together having a love affair with no sex, Mr. Hand still thinks all students are on dope, and Spicoli saved Brooke Shields from drowning, but blew the reward money on getting Van Halen to play at his birthday party. Also starring Scott Thomson as Arnold, young Forest Whitaker as Charles Jefferson, Eric Stoltz as Stoner Bud, Anthony Edwards as Stoner Bud, and look out for young Nicolas Cage, then credited with the surname Coppola, being the nephew of Francis Ford, as Brad's Bud. At times is has the same style as American Pie with young people wanting to lose their virginity, but seeing the consequences of some of their decisions is much more dignified, and seeing all the then mostly unknowns doing it is really fun. The casting, especially Penn as the early Beavis and Butthead / Bill and Ted style incarnation, is fantastic, the situations presented are both there to make you laugh, and at times feel for the characters, so it is not just a typical teen comedy, it is certainly a must see. It was number 87 on 100 Years, 100 Laughs, and it was number 84 on The 100 Greatest Sexy Moments for Reinhold's daydream with Cates removing her red bikini bra coming out of the swimming pool. Very good!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Hey Bud, Let's Party

Author: savagerocks from United States
18 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like Office Space, Fast Times deserves a spot in a time capsule. Great comedy-drama sympathizes with it's characters plights. Great Characters especially Mr. Hand. Sean Penn will be most remembered for his role as Jeff Spicolli the forever stoned surfer dude. For the most part a great soundtrack. Early stop for future stars Forest Whitaker and Nicolas Cage. The edited television version makes no sense removing key scenes and replacing them with cutting room floor footage. A lame short lived TV series followed. Television couldn't be as edgy as this movie is. Nonetheless a great movie all around. Better than most of the teen movies of it's time or any other.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

>>>Blast times back in the day<<<

Author: Benjamin Wolfe from USA
25 August 2007

Now, ah let's see...that's it 1982, wow! What a time to be alive and bumpin' around. Ronald Reagan in office, everyone was scared of the 'Reds'! Heck we were just out of the seventies practically, things were totally different dude. "Faasst Times at Ridgemeont High..writing on the wall" as Sammy Hagar, the red rocker belted out, in regard to a bunch of heinous teens, with hormonal issues. They thought they knew it turns out they were just out of their heads!! Sean Penn from everything I heard about the making of this was actually living in 'Spicoli' he said. Who would have thought, crazy Sean would have been this good, back then!? Surfin' lazy, Van Halen wannabe rocker who just wants a cool brew and some good 'bud' to share with a bud. This group of misfits that rounded out this little comedic HIGH-school whip of a movie, were new, wet behind the ears, pimpled and well..into everything, and the perfect fit for Ridgemont High School. I have seen this many times from when the theater opened it back in 82'. Still, it has the same feel as it had then. It's like the stoner's movie about nothing and for the masses in the high school cast that's where most ended up. No worries though, everyone learned a little something about high school, recreational drugs, beer, lust and maybe if they were fortunate...'life'. The portrayal of the lives of these teenage growing 'pains' was along what I saw in school back then, since I entered high school a year later. It was a different time and way of life then. The eighties had it all! This movie has a fantastic line up of talent. Who could forget Ray Walston as the irreverent and ever-anal Mr. Hand, always irritated with Jeff's behavior, no matter how cool Jeff would be trying to play it off. Mr. Hand asks Jeff as he enters class after the tardy bell, Mr.HAND: "Mr. Spicoli, why are you continually late to my class?" SPICOLI: (thinks, puzzled) "I DUNNO."

Mr. HAND: "Well class I am going to write his words on the chalk board for all to see." Mr.HAND:- "Mr. Hand will I pass you class? (without hesitation) Gee Mr. Spicoli...I don't know?"

Spicoli: "Huh huh huh, cool."

There is of course a ton more great comedic 'short-shots' in this one... The new digitally remastered DVD is especially good with bonus features to view. If you haven't seen this in a while it is a treat to behold. Ahh, the days of naive ignorance and a whole lot of fun!! Recommended for ex-high schoolers and current schoolers too. The Spirit bunny- cheer leaders had mondo spirit, so give me an 'F' give me an 'A' give me an 'S' give me a 'T' well, okay you get the rest, so go already and pick this classic up again and sit down plug in blast back to 19 hundred 82 two, light-up, drop-out and most of all enjoy the fast 'times'. (****)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Look, Rashomon this isn't, but ...

Author: Ravenswing from Kelfour's Landing
10 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... Fast Times is certainly the quintessential teen comedy of its day, though I stop a bit short of making the common generational mistake of proclaiming its virtues paramount over every teen comedy made since; no doubt the teen comedies of each generation speak to that generation and are largely lost on the others.

What separates this from the others, IMHO, is its treatment of sexuality. The scene in which Jennifer Jason Leigh's character loses her virginity should be required viewing for teens, nudity or no, because teen sex can be *exactly* that awkward, abrupt and unfulfilling (and apparently JJL insisted on filming it exactly that way and exactly that explicitly for exactly those reasons); it's worth a hundred abstinence lectures from smarmy middle-aged moralists.

It's a funny movie, but it's also an honest and a true one.


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