"Fast Times At Ridgemont High" (1982)

Rating: 15
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Teen
Directed By: Amy Heckerling
Written By: Cameron Crowe
Released: August 13th, 1982
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures

Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend, Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates), Stacy gets trapped in a love triangle with nice guy Mark Ratner (Brian Backer) and his more assured buddy Mike Damone (Robert Romanus). Meanwhile, Stacy's classmate Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), who lives for surfing and being stoned, faces off against Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), a strict teacher who has no time for the slacker's antics.

I’m at a loss for words when it comes to this film. On one hand it’s very good – it’s a conglomeration of 80s teen-movie madness. Who doesn’t enjoy that? On the other hand…Even though this is one of the first 80s teen movies that would come to mind if asked for one, I personally wouldn’t consider it as good as many of the other 80s teen movies out there. 

The film has a great cast and is full of fun. Sean Penn is something of a wonder in what is possibly one of his most memorable roles. Actually, he’s probably the most memorable aspect of this film. Phoebe Cates, Janet Jason Leigh, Nicholas Cage…For sure, a recognisable and talented bunch. But without Sean Penn’s drug-infused character the film would be fairly forgettable. All the characters are pretty one-dimensional. The majority of them have a one-track mind and/or are pretty shallow. Their worries don’t go much deeper than first-world teen woes. What you see is what you get! 

I think this film gets more hype than it deserves. I was expecting something far more engaging. It had the potential to be something bigger but it just…lacks something. It falls flat against the likes of any John Hughes classic.