Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

"Fast Cars, Fast Girls, Fast Carrots... Fast Carrots?"

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a cult classic of the 80's written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling, and starring Sean Penn as the infamous Jeff Spicoli. This well-known teenage film is a coming of age story about the high school lives of Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates), Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), Mark Ratner (Brian Backer), Jeff Spicoli, and what it means to be a teenager - namely sex, drugs, crappy jobs, and drama.

The story starts out introducing Stacy Hamilton and Linda Barrett at their job at a pizzeria in the mall. Compared to Linda, Stacy is a sexually inexperienced freshman who has a lot of questions, and Linda is ready and willing to divulge her. When a home stereo salesman in his twenties asks Stacy for her number at the pizzeria, she eagerly gives it to him, and he ends up taking her virginity in a dugout of a baseball field, and unsurprisingly never calls her again.

Later, Stacy is asked out by Mark Ratner, a nerd in her biology class who also works at the mall. However, she seems to want to go farther than he does on their date, and he gets freaked out and leaves, prematurely ending that relationship. So, instead, Stacy randomly hooks up with Mark's best friend Mike Damone, and consequently becomes pregnant.

Meanwhile, Jeff Spicoli is getting stoned and getting in trouble with his teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) at Ridgemont high, and Stacy's brother Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) is working a plethora of dead-end jobs at All-American Burger, a fish restaurant where he is forced to dress like a pirate, and later at a mini-mart. When Stacy realizes she is pregnant, she asks her brother to drop her off at a bowling alley, and when he sees that she has actually gone into an abortion clinic, he waits around for her to take her home.

The film ends with Mark and Stacy getting together, and Mark and Damone reconciling after they got into a huge fight about Damone fooling around with Stacy. Also, Spicolli almost doesn't pass Mr. Hand's class, but manages to squeak by after Mr. Hand comes to his house and forces him to sit down and have a study session with him before the end of the year dance. Lastly, Brad finally gets promoted to manager after he thwarts a criminals attempts at robbing the mini-mart where he works.

This film remains a timeless classic because it touches on all the issues teenagers are familiar with and always will be familiar with. So, if you haven't seen Fast Times at Rigemont High I suggest you take the time to watch it. You won't be disappointed, and I guarantee you'll be able to relate in some way as well.

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