Monday, December 5, 2011

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Director: Amy Heckerling

Starring: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates, Ray Walston, Scott Thomson, Vincent Schiavelli, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz

More info: IMDb

Tagline: At Ridgemont High Only the Rules get Busted!

Plot: Follows a group of high school students growing up in southern California, based on the real-life adventures chronicled by Cameron Crowe. Stacy Hamilton and Mark Ratner are looking for a love interest, and are helped along by their older classmates, Linda Barrett and Mike Damone, respectively. The center of the film is held by Jeff Spicoli, a perpetually stoned surfer dude who faces off with the resolute Mr. Hand, who is convinced that everyone is on dope.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah.

I've loved this movie ever since my underage ass saw it in the theaters nearly 30 years ago. It's hilarious. The writing, direction, GREAT songs, the works. Sean Penn always gets singled out (and rightfully so) but it's the entire cast that makes the whole thing work. Everyone with a speaking role gets to shine in just about every scene they're in which is unusual for films with this many people. Thank the writer and director for that. There are tons of great dialogue, some great nudity and every character is likable (yes, even Mike Damone, despite his douchebaggery). Anyone who hasn't seen this needs to make it a priority. There aren't too many really good high school comedies out there and this is one that has withstood the test of time. I'd like to think you wouldn't have to have lived through that time to love it (I would start high school the following year) but then this was an important film in my adolescence so I can't be impartial. Ray Walston rules!

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