Opinion | Bona Fide | “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”


Amy Heckerling’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” came out in 1982 but remains a classic.

WARNING: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is Rated R by the MPAA for crude sexual content including some graphic nudity, strong language and drug references.

Amy Heckerling’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982) is a must-see because of its ability to capture  humor so effortlessly and the 80s flare that takes its audience back to a simpler, lighter and happier time.

The film may not represent high school by today’s standards, but the hair, outfits, stereotypes and first-experiences are all captured perfectly in this time-capsule of a film.

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is from a simpler time. Comedy wasn’t slapstick and the world seemed still a friendly, optimistic place. The film came out before a shift in consciousness, before public fear was a strong thought.

Although nowhere near timely, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a wonderful step back in time and entertains 30-plus years after its initial release.

The “Animal House” of the 80s, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” follows a group of Southern California high school students and their experiences through wacky adventures of sex, drugs and rock-and=roll.

Although no directly-linear storyline, the characters of the film are the heart and soul. Each actor puts their stereotype to perfect use to create an environment that is more lively than most films.

The ultimate standout, Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli will live on forever. No matter what anyone says, his performance is one of the goofiest, half-baked characters to ever enlighten the minds of American filmgoers.

Brad Hamilton: “Why don’t you get a job Spicoli?”

Jeff Spicoli: “What for?”
Brad Hamilton: “You need money.”

Jeff Spicoli: All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.”

A decade-defining soundtrack, the album to the picture includes perfect 80s staples such as “Somebody’s Baby” by Jackson Browne, “American Girl” by Tom Petty and a forever-iconic scene containing “Moving in Stereo” by The Cars.

Although a time of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, the 80s are highly regarded as one of the greatest decades ever and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” waters its roots to capture a time like no other with no rules and ultimate freedom.

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” was never made to win awards or anything of that sort, but rather to have fun and let the good times roll. It is a comedy classic that never needed to be more than it so simply was.

Without laughter, the world is lifeless. Laughter makes the world go around and creates smiles that otherwise may never see the light of day. Although not a masterpiece or revolutionary, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” stands the test of time because of its unnerving ability to have fun and share experiences that will never be again.

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