Fast Times At Ridgemont High

BBB

(out of 5)


Cameron Crowe went back to high school incognito and wrote a book based on his observations, eventually adapting it to the big screen for this film that also provided the directorial breakthrough for Amy Heckerling. It’s a formless journey through the lives of a number of students who are all dealing with drama (sex, relationships, college) while doing their best not to let anyone around them see their ache. Jennifer Jason Leigh is a standout as a young woman for whom learning the difference between what she thinks she should want versus what she actually desires is a hard lesson, while Sean Penn is unforgettably hilarious as the now iconic Jeff Spicoli, a surfer dude whose devotion to not achieving much in school makes him a legend (it’s also the last time Penn was the least bit lighthearted until Milk more than two decades later). The lack of a strong throughline is not a problem as Heckerling keeps it moving quickly enough, and all the actors (many of whom had much bigger careers after this movie’s release) are appealing, but in trying to blend harsh realism (like an abortion subplot) with exploitative escapism (like the many shots of breasts) it ends up feeling like an uncomfortable blend of the two, providing more intelligent elements of the former than memorable examples of the latter.


Universal Pictures, Refugee Films

USA, 1982

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on his book

Cinematography by

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

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