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 Fast Times at Ridgemont High 

What grade would you give this film?
A 67%  67%  [ 10 ]
B 13%  13%  [ 2 ]
C 13%  13%  [ 2 ]
D 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 15

 Fast Times at Ridgemont High 
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College Boy Z

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Post Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film written by Cameron Crowe and adapted from his 1981 book of the same name. As a freelance writer for Rolling Stone magazine, Crowe went undercover at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California, and wrote about his experiences.

The film was directed by Amy Heckerling and chronicles a school year in the lives of freshmen Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Mark Ratner (Brian Backer), based on real-life Clairemont High school student Andy Rathbone, and their respective older friends Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates) aka "the bikini body", partly inspired by Crowe's friend Geraldine Edwards, who was a popular Clairemont High school student, and Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), both of whom believe themselves wiser in the ways of romance than their younger counterparts. The ensemble cast of characters form two subplots with Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), a perpetually stoned surfer, facing off against uptight history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), and Stacy's brother, Brad (Judge Reinhold), a senior who works at a series of entry-level jobs in order to pay off his car, and who is pondering easing out of his relationship with his girlfriend.

In addition to Penn, Reinhold, Cates and Leigh, this movie marks early appearances by several actors who also became stars, including Eric Stoltz, Nicolas Cage, then billing himself as Nicolas Coppola, Anthony Edwards and Forest Whitaker. Three of the actors who appeared in the film – Cage, Penn, and Whitaker – have since won the Academy Award for Best Actor, with Penn winning twice.

Crowe later became a celebrated Hollywood director and screenwriter, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his movie Almost Famous.


Sun May 07, 2006 10:34 am
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Classic high school comedy. A


Sun May 07, 2006 10:35 am
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OMG- I agree with Libs! Again!!! That's like twice now...


Sun May 07, 2006 12:28 pm
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B


Maybe it is just not a film of "my era", but I just can't understand why it gained such a cult status. It is a decent film, but I have seem countless similar ones that weren't worse. It is not a laugh-out-loud comedy. It actually has some dramatic elements mixed into it. The performances are adequate all-around, but the real stand-out is Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli. Great character and his face-off's with Mr. Hand are excellent and belong to the film's best parts. The only really good parts, to be exact. For the rest of the time, the movie is just chugging along nicely, but not more than that. So what is THAT great about it?

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Sun May 07, 2006 6:51 pm
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I have read many reviews in this forum by people that can only be young and uninformed, that claim that movies such as Drive Me Crazy, Here On Earth, 10 Things I Hate About You and such are the best films around that are about teenagers and highschool. That is not a stupid opinion, only an opinion of someone that has never bothered to rent those comedies from the section of the local video store that gathers dust. Films like the ones mentioned are squalid imitations produced and written by misguided souls that are doing their best to cash in on a genre that has been dead for years. And yet they succeed. And why is that? Because they know that a teen comedy will always have a market, no matter how poorly it is written because as long as you can write a basic plot and cast some recognizable faces in the lead role, your film is guaranteed to make back it's production cost times two. But if you want is to check out and admire the pioneers of the business, you have to go back to the Encyclopedia of the 80's and look for names like Hughes, Heckerling, Linson, Kouf, Boaz Davidson and so on. There you will find films with titles such as The Breakfast Club, Secret Admirer, The Wild Life, Mischief, Last American Virgin and Fasttimes At Ridgemont High. Disguising today's excuse for teen comedies as honest attempts to delve into the psyche of today's youth is nothing but chicanery and should be uncovered for what it really is. And that is a cheap ersatz for what 80's comedies were and for what they stood for. You may be able to fool some people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. To put Fasttimes and almost any number of todays teen based films in the same breath is almost blasphemous, but it has to be done here just to prove a point.

Fasttimes is the ultimate highschool comedy that features everything from subtle observations like kids sniffing freshly photocopied paper to more overt gestures like teens and young sex. The films was written by a young Cameron Crowe, who has gone on to be famous with films like Say Anything and Jerry Maguire. But back in the early 80's he returned to highschool in cognito to observe teens and their rituals and the result was his book based on his studies. Some of the students were so angered at his film because they said that his characters were to much like the ones he knew and hung out with. And if that is true, can you imagine what it was like to know a guy like Jeff Spicolli? Here is one of the all time funniest characters that has now been imitated to the point of banality. Here is a guy that wants nothing more than to have sex, smoke some weed, drink some beer and squeak by in his World History class. Oh yea, and surfing is his passion. I don't think we were prepared for a character like Spicolli because I have never seen an imitation of him done quite right. He is the perfect caricature of the 80's surfer dude. As one of his classmates says, " This guys been stoned since the third grade. "

If the Spicolli character is the comic genius of Fasttimes, the rest of the cast is the reality. There is a pallet of interesting characters played by young and energetic, soon to be famous stars that started their careers in this film. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Forrest Whitaker, Sean Penn and even lesser known faces like Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz and Nicolas Cage all started in this film. Look at where they are today.

Fasttimes is the archetype of any film that wants to capitalize on the teen market. There is well thought out comedy, painstaking relationships, the rah-rah bravado of highschool sports, the essential prom night, sex, drugs, rock and roll and of course the excitement of working at the coolest place in the mall. I had a friend in highschool that thought just like Brad Hamiltion did. He thought that to be prestigious at our school, you had to drive a car and work at the cool mall at a cool clothing store. Fasttimes covers all that.

This is one of the funniest yet most poignant films about highschool and growing up. If you think the Godfather is the Bible of all mafia movies, Halloween is the godfather of horror films and Raiders of the Lost Ark is the pioneer of action films, then you will understand that Fasttimes at Ridgemont High is THE original highschool flick. For those that think any film released in the late 90's or early 00's ( with the exception of American Pie ) is the best you can get, then please do yourself a favour, see this film. There is no contest. Every idea in todays films has been borrowed from the great ones from only a couple of decades ago. Look no further than this great movie. It is the one to watch.

10 out of 10

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Thu May 18, 2006 3:22 pm
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Dr. Lecter wrote:
B


Maybe it is just not a film of "my era", but I just can't understand why it gained such a cult status. It is a decent film, but I have seem countless similar ones that weren't worse. It is not a laugh-out-loud comedy. It actually has some dramatic elements mixed into it. The performances are adequate all-around, but the real stand-out is Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli. Great character and his face-off's with Mr. Hand are excellent and belong to the film's best parts. The only really good parts, to be exact. For the rest of the time, the movie is just chugging along nicely, but not more than that. So what is THAT great about it?


It gained "Cult Status" because it was a coming of age movie that made alot of stars out of it including a young Nicholas Cage and a now Oscar Winner in Sean Penn and plus, the 80's was simply a Partying Decade and it was quite appropriate for it's time.... I give this a movie an "A+".. Ahhhh, I was in High School when this movie came out and remember many of morning's falling out of the Van from morning bong hits.. :shades:


Fri May 19, 2006 10:11 am
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BKB_The_Man wrote:
Dr. Lecter wrote:
B


Maybe it is just not a film of "my era", but I just can't understand why it gained such a cult status. It is a decent film, but I have seem countless similar ones that weren't worse. It is not a laugh-out-loud comedy. It actually has some dramatic elements mixed into it. The performances are adequate all-around, but the real stand-out is Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli. Great character and his face-off's with Mr. Hand are excellent and belong to the film's best parts. The only really good parts, to be exact. For the rest of the time, the movie is just chugging along nicely, but not more than that. So what is THAT great about it?


It gained "Cult Status" because it was a coming of age movie that made alot of stars out of it including a young Nicholas Cage and a now Oscar Winner in Sean Penn and plus, the 80's was simply a Partying Decade and it was quite appropriate for it's time.... I give this a movie an "A+".. Ahhhh, I was in High School when this movie came out and remember many of morning's falling out of the Van from morning bong hits.. :shades:


Would you have given it an A+ if you saw it last week for the very first time?

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Fri May 19, 2006 7:43 pm
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Post 
Dr. Lecter wrote:
BKB_The_Man wrote:
Dr. Lecter wrote:
B


Maybe it is just not a film of "my era", but I just can't understand why it gained such a cult status. It is a decent film, but I have seem countless similar ones that weren't worse. It is not a laugh-out-loud comedy. It actually has some dramatic elements mixed into it. The performances are adequate all-around, but the real stand-out is Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli. Great character and his face-off's with Mr. Hand are excellent and belong to the film's best parts. The only really good parts, to be exact. For the rest of the time, the movie is just chugging along nicely, but not more than that. So what is THAT great about it?


It gained "Cult Status" because it was a coming of age movie that made alot of stars out of it including a young Nicholas Cage and a now Oscar Winner in Sean Penn and plus, the 80's was simply a Partying Decade and it was quite appropriate for it's time.... I give this a movie an "A+".. Ahhhh, I was in High School when this movie came out and remember many of morning's falling out of the Van from morning bong hits.. :shades:


Would you have given it an A+ if you saw it last week for the very first time?


If I were 17 again and all the way up to the Present, NOW and it was exactly the way I see it right now??? Fuc*ing right I would.. Sorry your generation didn't get IT, but the movie paved the way for whatever teen crap is put out today..


Fri May 19, 2006 10:10 pm
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One of the first great high school comedies.

"did you hear that......THAT WAS MY SKULL!!"

A+


Fri May 19, 2006 11:46 pm
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Saw this on TBS last night for the first time. I liked it a lot, around the same level as Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, and Forrest Whitaker gave memorable turns that were different from their later roles. Only beef was that they cut out the nudity scenes on tv. A.


Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:29 pm
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A/A-

Awesome.

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Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:43 pm
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I basically agree with Lecter... maybe it's an American thing? :-k

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Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:12 am
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It gained cult status because it was the first great highschool film. It came out 4 years after Animal House and touched on the same things and expanded on even more.

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Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:57 am
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Utterly hilarious. Up there with the best high school films. Sean Penn is terrific, and the entire cast is memorable. Some of the characters could have used some more development, but, overall, it's fairly solid for a film like this. So many classic moments.

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Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:14 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Heh, Sean Penn is hilarious.

A-


Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:01 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
A teen comedy classic.

A-


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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Okay...

That was mildly amusing, at best. Not once did I laugh out loud and I didn't really buy most of it. Yeah, there were a lot of "faces" in there but so what? Most didn't have anything much to do.

This seems like one of those movies that was awesome at the time for what it dealt with etc etc but now isn't that special.

C+/B-

Oh, and there were way too many "popular" songs in there. It felt like almost every scene was drowning in some 80's tune.


Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:56 am
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Saw it not too long ago for the first time. Pretty fantastic and the humor is actually very relevant today. Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, and Jennifer Jason Leigh were really awesome and Sean Penn was memorable. One of the few high school films that actually felt like high school, that wasn't by John Hughes. Solid A

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Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:39 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fast Times strikes me as a movie that was best enjoyed upon release and during the decade. Not to say I didn't enjoy it now, but like Animal House and other films of the era, I'm sure its groundbreaking subject matter felt fresh in 1982.

One of the most striking things about the whole film is how almost everyone looks like they're in the 30s. Judge Reinhold looks 40, although he looked 40 for most of his career. Except for Phoebe Cates. Man I wish I had grown up at the same time as Phoebe Cates in this movie.

Overall the story progresses as it intends, and does so at an enjoyable pace. It's definitely a good movie, and can't be ignored for being one of the best first high school movies. No high school story that came after it can say it doesn't owe something to Fast Times. In the end though, I can't claim it's a personal favorite. It's just a fun 90 minutes.

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Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:18 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Mister Ecks wrote:
Fast Times strikes me as a movie that was best enjoyed upon release and during the decade. Not to say I didn't enjoy it now, but like Animal House and other films of the era, I'm sure its groundbreaking subject matter felt fresh in 1982.

One of the most striking things about the whole film is how almost everyone looks like they're in the 30s. Judge Reinhold looks 40, although he looked 40 for most of his career. Except for Phoebe Cates. Man I wish I had grown up at the same time as Phoebe Cates in this movie.

Overall the story progresses as it intends, and does so at an enjoyable pace. It's definitely a good movie, and can't be ignored for being one of the best first high school movies. No high school story that came after it can say it doesn't owe something to Fast Times. In the end though, I can't claim it's a personal favorite. It's just a fun 90 minutes.


I don't think that's film specific. If I look at my dads high school picture, he looks 30.

(in contrast, there are current high schoolers who look 12)

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Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:10 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Chippy wrote:
Mister Ecks wrote:
Fast Times strikes me as a movie that was best enjoyed upon release and during the decade. Not to say I didn't enjoy it now, but like Animal House and other films of the era, I'm sure its groundbreaking subject matter felt fresh in 1982.

One of the most striking things about the whole film is how almost everyone looks like they're in the 30s. Judge Reinhold looks 40, although he looked 40 for most of his career. Except for Phoebe Cates. Man I wish I had grown up at the same time as Phoebe Cates in this movie.

Overall the story progresses as it intends, and does so at an enjoyable pace. It's definitely a good movie, and can't be ignored for being one of the best first high school movies. No high school story that came after it can say it doesn't owe something to Fast Times. In the end though, I can't claim it's a personal favorite. It's just a fun 90 minutes.


I don't think that's film specific. If I look at my dads high school picture, he looks 30.

(in contrast, there are current high schoolers who look 12)


Oh definitely. I didn't mean to make that only a Fast Times thing. It always amazed me how, when All in the Family began, Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton were both in their 40s. Christ, Marisa Tomei was older when portraying Edith on the All in the Family live special in May than Jean Stapleton was for half of her run on All in the Family.

But then again, not many can compare to Marisa Tomei.

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Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:33 pm
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Post Re: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Mister Ecks wrote:
Chippy wrote:
Mister Ecks wrote:
Fast Times strikes me as a movie that was best enjoyed upon release and during the decade. Not to say I didn't enjoy it now, but like Animal House and other films of the era, I'm sure its groundbreaking subject matter felt fresh in 1982.

One of the most striking things about the whole film is how almost everyone looks like they're in the 30s. Judge Reinhold looks 40, although he looked 40 for most of his career. Except for Phoebe Cates. Man I wish I had grown up at the same time as Phoebe Cates in this movie.

Overall the story progresses as it intends, and does so at an enjoyable pace. It's definitely a good movie, and can't be ignored for being one of the best first high school movies. No high school story that came after it can say it doesn't owe something to Fast Times. In the end though, I can't claim it's a personal favorite. It's just a fun 90 minutes.


I don't think that's film specific. If I look at my dads high school picture, he looks 30.

(in contrast, there are current high schoolers who look 12)


Oh definitely. I didn't mean to make that only a Fast Times thing. It always amazed me how, when All in the Family began, Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton were both in their 40s. Christ, Marisa Tomei was older when portraying Edith on the All in the Family live special in May than Jean Stapleton was for half of her run on All in the Family.

But then again, not many can compare to Marisa Tomei.


Good points. Even Meathead Rob Reiner looked older than his character.

And don't get me started on Adrienne Barbeu in Maude...

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Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:32 am
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