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USA 1982
Directed by
Amy Heckerling
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High, one of the better teen movies of the 1980s is dominated by sex, sex and sex but written as by Cameron “Almost Famous” Crowe and based on his own book and directed by Amy “Clueless” Heckerling, it is a surprisingly touching, sometime funny, portrait of teen growing up in suburban America, as it was back then.  

The cast is escellent with early roles for some who went onto bigger and better things - Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Forest Whitaker and Eric Stoltz, not to mention a barely seen Nicolas Cage who was then calling himself Nicolas Coppola. Like American Graffiti (1973), although with a considerable shift in values, including remarkable candour about things like blow jobs, premature ejaculation, and abortion, it follows the adventures of a group of fumbling friends as they grope their way to adulthood, all to the accompaniment of a back-to-back pop soundtrack. Penn is a hoot as Jeff Spicoli, a surfer stoner, whilst Judge Reinhold gets to work in a fast food joint that presages Krusty Krabb’s diner.  Ray Walston, of the My Favorite Martian TV series appears as Mr Hand.

FYI: Phoebe Cates who plays Leigh's best friend, Linda, and who, along with Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places (1983), featured in one of the most famous topless scenes of the 80s, went on to marry Kevin Kline.




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