Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

High school jobs *suck*

High school jobs *suck*

Q  brings obscure Spanish art house to the table, and what’s my response? Fast Times at Ridgemont High, of course. It doesn’t get more mainstream than this. For reasons we won’t go into here, my friend Q has a very strong aversion to John Hughes. Suffice it to say Hughes likes the popular kids better than the nerds. I suppose it’s easy to mentally package all 80’s high school movies together, and despite the fact this isn’t a John Hughes movie I’ve had to convince Q to give it a chance. I’ve  insisted for a long time that Q would find something worthy in Fast Times and so I finally forced it upon him. And I was right.

This movie is probably most well-known for three things: Sean Penn’s pot smoking and Phoebe Cates’s boobs. There is, believe it or not, more to it than these three important elements (and I’m not even counting the fact Fast Times is both Nicolas Cage’s and Eric Stoltz’s big-screen debuts). Yes, this movie does have a lot of stoner jokes, as well as ample boob-shots, but it tackles the problems of high school in a more well-rounded, interesting way than most of the biggest 80’s high

"Will I pass your class Mr. hand?" "Gee, Mr. Spicoli, I don't know!"

“Will I pass your class Mr. hand?” “Gee, Mr. Spicoli, I don’t know!”

school movies out there.

One thing I like so much about this movie is everyone actually seems to get along fairly well at this high school; there’s no jocks vs. nerds mentality central to the plot here – and that’s one of the most tiresome aspects of these 80’s high school movies. Another thing I like? Everyone wins in their own way: all the characters learn something about themselves and change in positive ways – evolution isn’t reserved just for the popular kid, or the ugly kid who becomes beautiful. Also, there’s a conversation between Mike Damone and a cardboard cut-out of Debbie Harry!


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