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Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

By Patrick Samuel • October 2nd, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (Blu-ray)
Universal Pictures

Release date: July 25th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 18
Running time: 86 minutes
Year of production: 1982

Director: Amy Heckerling
Writer: Cameron Crowe

Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Robert Romanus, Judge Reinhold, Amanda Wyss, Sean Penn, Ray Walston, Eric Stoltz, Forest Whitaker

1982 was quite an eventful year for those that were around at the time and can remember it. It was a year defined many events.

It was the year E.T. The Extraterrestrial landed, Michael Jackson released Thriller and Madonna entered the charts for the first time, but it was also the year that Fast Times At Ridgemont High came out.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

The 80’s was just getting started and it was an era that was about to defined by big hair, shoulder pads, acid wash jeans, power ballads and the rubix cube. Written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling, Fast Times captures something of the mood and energy of the time before all of that really took off.

Its story mainly focuses on freshman Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who’s ready to get serious with boys, like her best friend Linda (Phoebe Cates). While inexperienced Mark (Brian Backer) is really keen on her, she overlooks him in favour of his smooth talking best friend Mike (Robert Romanus) who turns out to be, not only a flash in the pan, but something of a cheap sleazebag who doesn’t help her pay for an abortion.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Stacy’s brother, in contrast, Brad (Judge Reinhold), a senior, seems to have it all. He’s got a job, a car and a girlfriend, Lisa (Amanda Wyss). The only problem is his machismo pride.

Other students at Ridgemont High include Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), the constantly stoned surfer who just can’t make it to class on time or be bothered to study for his finals, much to the frustration of his teacher, Mr. Hand (Ray Walston). There’s also Ridgemont’s star football player Charles Jefferson (Forrest Whitaker) who gets his car accidentally thrashed by Spicoli.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

There doesn’t seem to be one unifying thread or constant plot which ties Fast Times together, it’s more like watching a group of teenagers do their best, and worst at trying to survive school and their relationships with each other, not really realising their own short comings. This is especially true of Stacy who comes to realise that she doesn’t want sex, she wants a relationship, and then finally notices Mark, who hasn’t given up on her.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High (39:13)

In contrast to some other great American high school classics like American Graffiti (1973) or Animal House (1978) before it and The Breakfast Club (1985), Fast Times drops the ball. The characters here are nice enough, but there isn’t one who really stands out on their own, save for Penn’s Spicoli who seems like he would fit in with Bluto at Faber College.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Yet for its thin plot, it does have some funny and cringe-worthy moments – like the moment when Linda walks in on Brad having a one handed session.

Fast Times’ soundtrack is a prominent feature in the film, featuring music by The Go-Gos, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, you get a real sense of where in time this story takes place, but I can’t help feeling it just lacks drive and depth.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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