Fast Times At Ridgemont High Reviews
"This is US History, I see the globe right there"
Cute retro teen film though, if a bit painful.
One main difference between this film and the others mentioned is that this film covers an entire school year while Dazed and Confused and American Graffiti deal with the events in a town over the course of one day. The time flies by in this film as the editing uses hard cuts to transition to scenes which occur weeks or months later.
Comedy comes from all types of characters in this film, making it a great deal of fun. One of the funniest moments in the film is a famous one which I had no idea was a fantasy scene - Brad Hamilton imagines his sister's friend taking off her top and walking towards him. She catches him in the act, and it makes for a very awkward situation.
Even the serious characters, like Mr. Hand, bring life to the story. His interactions with Sean Penn's character are like separate quirky battles between the two of them.
I don't really get why Sean Penn is billed first in the credits - the main characters, at least in my eyes, are Stacy Hamilton and "Rat." However, I do have to admit parts with Sean Penn are some of the funniest in the movie, though Penn seems to overdo the stoner voice. The ending of the film was one of the best Sean Penn parts of the movie, which I will not reveal since it is a great moment which becomes a big payoff for a particular character.
Overall, the film is funny, light-hearted, and while there are many elements to the movie it goes by in a flash, just like the title states; it truly is the perfect title for the film.
This could be seen as an accurate depiction of teen life.
John Hughes made better teen movies than this.
This movie didn't have as many friend group-based crossovers as Dazed and Confused; it was more content to follow several different characters' isolated journeys. Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli seems to be the character that everyone remembers from this movie, and with good reason; he's a stoner reminiscent of the Californians SNL sketch, getting into all sorts of weird hijinks like ordering a pizza in class (a scene my dad constantly references). I really liked pretty much every scene/line with Spicoli, even though his character isn't exactly feel original anymore watching this in 2015. Sean Penn makes it his own thing, though, and there's something so good-natured about him that makes you like him despite his idiocy. I won't say the dynamic between him and Mr. Hand is MOVING, per se, but it had a bit more of an arc than I expected, and those final scenes between the two were unexpectedly...nice.
As usual, my least favorite conflicts were the ones that involved romantic relationships. Mike was being such a good friend to Mark throughout the movie (I particularly liked him returning Mark's wallet but purposely letting it slip to his date that he'd forgotten it) that it really bothered me once he slept with Stacy. There was too much time between Mark and Stacy's first date and their eventual reconciliation at the end of the movie, so I was a little disappointed by that conflict. That said, points for including a nice scene where Stacy makes the definitive decision to get an abortion and is gently comforted by her older brother afterwards.
My least favorite part of the movie was probably the third quarter, or maybe most of the second third - whenever all that friend betrayal was going on. The rest of that time was taken up by Brad Hamilton's shenanigans, which I also didn't love. The pirate getup was amusing, but the bit with his crush walking in on him jacking off to a fantasy of her was a little over-the-top and obvious. This is only a quibble because the whole time it was pretty entertaining, but I just didn't love it.
And it's fine because the first and third acts are pretty strong. I really like how Mark and Stacy are each introduced individually and developed nicely so that neither is some outlandish crush. I really liked Mike's kind of coaching Mark to be charming, and there was something strangely adorable about the scene in the cafeteria with Linda teaching the naive Stacy how to give a blowjob. When all the guys at the next table over start clapping and Stacy realizes they saw her pantomiming a blowjob on a carrot, Jennifer Jason Leigh shrinks away with this sort of embarrassed laugh, and there's something enormously endearing about it.
Also enormously endearing: Mark and Stacy's romance overall. Like I said, the film falters a little once it tries to actually introduce serious conflict. I didn't like Mike 'stealing' Stacy from Mark, and I didn't love Mark sort of blowing her off just because he was scared of sex, or whatever that was. That said, all of their scenes were still cute, and I was really rooting for the two of them, which made their last scene together really cute.
Overall, this was a movie that was strongest in its moments of levity and lazy drifting, the unfocused scenes of high school hijinks and teenagers having relatable conversations about sex and life. It faltered when it tried too hard to force a conflict. Movies like Dazed and Confused prove that a movie can still be profound and entertaining with little to no ongoing conflict, so maybe more movies should adopt this loose and comedic style.