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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 3 people found the following review useful:

About the embarrassments of being a teenager

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 5 people found the following review useful:

Don't expect anything very interesting about Fast Times

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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A Faithful Portrait of a Generaton

Author: Pedro Mayall from Brazil
20 May 2014

When the dust of 60's and 70's social changes settled, the first of many generation of teenagers came of age in a new world, one that still exists today.

They had much more freedom, but much less guidance than all previous generations have had. There was no mothers at home managing the house and the children anymore, they now had to work nine to five like the fathers. Or there were no fathers around at all, due to growing divorce rates. No relatives, no churches, nothing, just the teenagers. The almost complete absence of adults in the movie shows this new reality quite well. Only the school professor represents the extinct social order, well intentioned but ineffective like an obsolete machine of a bygone era.

Adolescents do whatever they want and there's nobody to seek advice from except their own friends. Despite its comedy intention, the movie shows a somewhat sad and lonely world in a very raw and crude realistic way. Sex, abortion and other crucial issues and decisions are taken in a light, irresponsible way.

Was it really like that? Yes, it was. As a portrait of a generation, the film is very accurate. I lived through it, for I was a teenager myself in the early 80's. It was pretty much like that. No father and no mother around to supervise much, all calls up to me for better or for worse.

It may not be an artistic master piece like American Graffiti, but it is a good movie and an invaluable document of an age.

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One Of The Greatest Teen Films Of All-Time. An Excellent And Hilarious Classic.

Author: jcbutthead86 from United States
11 May 2014

Fast Times At Ridgemont High is one of the greatest Teen films of all-time,an excellent and hilarious classic. Filled with fine direction,a great ensemble cast,a wonderful script and a fantastic soundtrack Fast Times At Ridgemont High is Teen films and Coming Of Age movies at their best.

Based on Cameron Crowe's book of the same name and Set in Southern California,Fast Times At Ridgemont High tells the story about a year in a High School semester with several students including Jeff Spicoli(Sean Penn),a stoned out surfer who has to deal with stern but fair History teacher Mr. Hand(Ray Walston),Stacey Hamilton(Jennifer Jason Leigh),a 15-year old sophomore who's trying to figure out how to date guys and Brad Hamilton(Judge Reinhold),Stacey's older brother who's a senior in his last year of High School. Jeff,Stacey and Brad and their friends have to deal with growing up as well sex,drugs,Rock N'Roll and the mall.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High is a brilliant,hilarious and unforgettable film that is an instant classic the first time you watch it. It's a movie that is not only a landmark film in the Teen movie genre but it also a film that introduced actors who would become famous later on such as Sean Penn,Jennifer Jason Leigh,Judge Reinhold,Phoebe Cates,Forrest Whitaker,Nicolas Cage,Eric Stolz and Anthony Edwards while giving viewers one of the most realistic and accurate movies about High School and Teenage life ever caught on film. Right from the opening credits Fast Times is a movie keeps you glued to the screen giving viewers a movie that is funny and outrageous as well as honest and real showing the strings,arrows and awkwardness of being a Teenager showing the ups,downs,ins and outs of American High School. One of the reasons Fast Times works so well and is a classic is because while the film is set in the early 1980s the film is timeless in the way it deals with Teens because Teenagers no matter what decade or era think about the same things:sex,drugs and Rock N'Roll and that will never change. The episodic nature is wonderful because in Teenage life things are all over the place and Teens go from one day to the next. The Comedy and laughs in Fast Times is truly great,funny and hilarious because the humor has a balance of being wild and over the top while being subtle and smart with some moments and dialog in the movie that are memorable and will have you roaring with laughter. While the movie is funny and hilarious Fast Times can also be dramatic in the way it deals with sex and relationships but it's not always glamorous or romantic but powerful. When Fast Times was released in 1982 some critics called the movie a Sex Comedy because it came out the same year as Porky's but the film is not a Sex Comedy. Yes there is sex and Comedy but Fast Times is more of a Coming Of Age tale about growing up than about a bunch of Teenagers trying to get laid. The teenage characters Fast Times are amazing and memorable because they are not really stereotypes you see in most Teen films but are real people you see in real life and when you see some of the characters whether it's Spicoli,Stacy or Brad you will relate to them because you will feel like you knew characters like that in High School and the main characters have tons of depth and power that adds to the movie's legacy and is one of the many things that make this film the classic that it is. The screenplay by Cameron Crowe is terrific and classic because while some of the dialog is funny some of the dialog feels authentic and accurate almost like a documentary on High School life. With Crowe's dialog you are inside the mind and it's almost you are standing next to the characters and hearing some of the conversations that go on in the film and you feel like none of the dialog is fake. The ending of Fast Times At Ridgemont High is fantastic and iconic giving viewers a funny epilogue on what happens to the some of characters after the movie ends. A wonderful conclusion.

The cast is great in their roles. Sean Penn is excellent,hilarious and at his best in his star making role as Jeff Spicoli,with Penn being funny,iconic and unforgettable. Jennifer Jason Leigh is terrific and sweet as Stacy Hamilton,a young sophomore. Judge Reinhold is wonderful as Brad Hamilton,a senior who's Stacy's older brother. Richard Romanus is delightful and smooth as Mike Damone,a ticket scalper. Brian Backer is fantastic as Mark 'Rat' Ratner,Damone's friend who has a crush on Stacy. Phoebe Cates is outstanding and sexy as Linda,Stacy's older best friend that gives her advice about boys. Ray Walston is sensational and hilarious as Mr. Hand,a History teacher and has great scenes with Penn. Vincent Schiavelli is amazing and funny as Mr. Vargas,a Science teacher. Scott Thomson(Arnold),Amanda Wyss(Lisa)and D.W Brown(Ron Johnson)give good performances as well. Also,lookout for early roles from Forrest Whitaker(Charles Jefferson),Nicolas Cage(Brad's Bud),Eric Stolz(Stoner Bud),Anthony Edwards(Stoner Bud),Taylor Negron(Pizza Guy)and James Russo(Robber).

The direction by Amy Heckerling is fine,with Heckerling bringing a simple but effective style to the film and using a hand-held documentary feel to the movie. Good direction,Heckerling.

The soundtrack is amazing with songs by The Go-Go's(We Got The Beat,Speeding),Led Zeppelin(Kashmir),Tom Petty(American Girl),Stevie Nicks(Sleeping Angel),Jackson Browne(Somebody's Baby),Rayvns(Raised On The Radio),Onigo Boingo(Goodbye,Goodbye),Jimmy Buffett(I Don't Know),Don Henley(Love Rules),Sammy Hagar(Fast Times At Ridgemont High),Reeves Nevo & The Clinch(Wooly Bully,Life In The Fast Lane),Billy Squier(Fast Times,Best Years of Our Lives)Timothy B. Schmit(So Much In Love)and more. An outstanding soundtrack.

In final word,if you love Teen Movies,Coming Of Age Films or films in general,I highly suggest you see Fast Times At Ridgemont High,an excellent,hilarious classic that you can watch again and again. Highly Recommended. 10/10.

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Good teen comedy

Author: Maziun from Poland
2 October 2013

I usually don't watch teen comedies . Mostly for the reason that they aren't too bright or funny . They mostly have toilet humor and unsympathetic characters . So , I wasn't thrilled when I've read the summary for this movie . I decided to give a try , since people were praising it very much and because I have soft spot for anything 80's related.

"Fast times at Ridgemont high" isn't a deep or even too bright movie . It's a story about American teenagers who wants to party , have sex and go shopping . I don't know how accurate is this portrayal of American youth . The characters are mostly clichés , yet the actors do a good job of making them likable.

The best performance of movie belongs to Sean Penn (Yes , THIS Sean Penn) . Before he became a serious actor (and a serious asshole) he created one of the funniest characters ever – Jeff Spicoli . A surfer who isn't too smart . He likes to get stoned , good party , everything that is awesome and doesn't worry about anything . He's incredibly cool . I mean how could you not like a guy who orders pizza on his history lesson ? I was pleasantly surprised to see Judge Reinhold (Roosewood from "Beverly Hills cop") as good hearted Brad Hamilton , Forest Whitaker ("Ghost dog") as aggressive football player Charles Jefferson and even Anthony Edwards ("Top gun") as stoner bud .

Other good performances come from Jennifer Jason Leigh (the delicate Stacy) , Brian Bacler ( the shy Mark) , Robert Romanus ( womanizer Mike) , Phoebe Cates (arrogant Linda) and Ray Waltson ( grim teacher Mr. Hand).

The movies most memorable scene is the Brad's dream sequence with half naked Linda . I think that is a really sexy scene , but not the sexiest scene ever . There is also some nudity and lot of talks about sex here , so people who don't like this kind of stuff shouldn't watch the movie.

The jokes aren't especially sophisticated , but they are funny and with good taste . "Fast times" is very 80's in style (music , hairstyles , ending credits) and for me it's a good thing. There are some nice songs here : Jackson Browne „Somebody's baby" , The Go Go's „We got the beat" , Oingo Boingo "Goodbye goodbye" , Jimmy Buffett "I don't know (Spicolli's theme)" , Led Zeppelin "Kashmir" and Reeves Nevo and The Cinch "Wooly bully".

The movie mostly wants to entertain the audience , but thankfully there is some message here. Sex is fun , but love is more important . Also sex means responsibility. The relationship between Stacy and Mark proves that.

It's a good fun . I give it 7/10.

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Still a Classic

Author: s.savage from USA
20 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I always have to put a disclaimer in front of a review because there is always some joker out there who likes to argue taste which I find annoying.Fast Times probably one of the most underrated movies of it's kind. It is intelligently written and executed.Considerably better than many films in it's Genre. A springboard for actors Sean Penn and Forest Whitaker among others. It is a brutally honest depiction of what being a teen goes through in high school and in life. It has rightfully earned cult status in pop culture. It deals with real problems and real issues that teens go through.This film ranks in my top 25 films of all time.

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Realistic Teen Comedy.

Author: AaronCapenBanner from North America
3 September 2013

Amy Heckerling directs this Cameron Crowe story of the various students at Ridgemont High School, played by Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Forest Whitaker, and of course Ray Walston as Mr. Hand, the old-time history teacher who can't believe the kind of students he has to teach.

Both funny and dramatic, often simultaneously, film has characters that one can either identify with personally, or someone they used to know. It's surprisingly(for the most part) cliché free, and feels fresh even 30+ years later. You may find yourself wondering how these people's lives turned out, even with the epilogue!

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The First Great High School Movie?

Author: gavin6942 from United States
14 July 2013

A story of a group of California teenagers who enjoy malls, sex and rock n' roll.

I watched this film many times when I was younger, never realizing how ground-breaking or risqué it was... we had taped it off the television and all the dirty bits were removed. Even when I eventually did see it in a fuller version, the abortion scenes (but not the nudity) were cut... wow.

Is this an important film for the topics it covers? Yes. Is it important for the debut (or early) roles of many of its stars? Absolutely. But all around, it is just a brilliant look at teenage life in that time period, which probably has not changed all that much.

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Background for this Movie

Author: Andi from Australia
12 February 2013

This movie is based on fact.

Cameron Crowe, in his 1981 book Fast Times at Ridgemont Hight (Simon and Schuster publishers) explains the following.

Whilst writing articles for a youth culture magazine, not a day went by when the term 'the kids' wasn't used. Everything was done in mind as appealing to the 'kids' market, whether that be music, movies, everything and this began to fascinate Crowe.

As a 22 year old in 1979, Crowe discussed the idea of the book with his publisher who advised him to return to school and find out what was really going on with these kids. In 1972 Crowe had attended Ridgemont Snr High for Summer School and had been enthralled with the place because his regular school was a strict Catholic one. To him Ridgemont seemed sublime and forbidden.

In 1979 principal William Gray at Ridgemont was mooted the plan by Crowe, to be a Snr for a full year. This would result in enough material for Crowe to write his book about contemporary high school.Principal Gray, initially skeptical about this venture was won over when Crowe began to list the celebrities he had been writing about and thus the project was underway. Gina George an English teacher was let into the secret and became Crowe's homeroom teacher and Crowe began his undercover project as a High School Snr.

Crowe was totally ignored at Ridgemont during his first month there and met Linda Barrett after school one day in a journalism class. She befriended Crowe and because of her job at the local ice cream shop, Linda was a notable person on campus. She introduced Crowe to many people and he became part of her group of friends.

Following his year at Ridgemont where Crowe became so accepted as part of the crowd, that even the Principal mistook him for a Snr at the Prom, he came clean on the project and interviewed many of his characters extensively and corroborated their stories and his notes from the previous year. Crowe's assertion in the books Preface of February 1981 is that all the incidents are true, only superficial identifying characteristics have been changed.

If you can get hold of a copy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High it is well worth the read. The movie does not really do the story justice. In my opinion it would do well from a remake with a fresh look at the book resulting in a much more cohesive and detailed movie.

Enjoy :)

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Second Coming of Phoebe Cates

Author: ebiros2 from United States
17 September 2012

A quintessential teen movie of the '80s. If you think of high school drama from that period, you'd think of this one.

To me, I only saw the movie for Phoebe Cates. She's trimmed up since her first movie "Paradise", and that bikini scene was the "Piece de Resistance" of the movie.

I didn't care how the other characters did, or what the movie was about, my eyes were glued to Cates.

But actually the movie was pretty good. It was a new kind of a movie then. Its list of stars looks like who's who of the teenage movie stars of that period. The movie blazed the trail for many more movies of the kind that was made until well into the '90s.

So I love this movie. It's one of those movies that you can't forget about, and I think it will remain that way for a long time.

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