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21. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

23 Jan

Roger’s Rating :

Should be :

Roger thought this movie was vulgar and distasteful. He said in his review :
In addition to Leigh’s work, however, there are some other good performances. Sean Penn is perfect as the pot-smoking space cadet who has been stoned since the third grade. Phoebe Cates is breathtaking as the more experienced girl who gives Leigh those distasteful lessons in love. Judge Reinhold has fun as a perennial fast-food cook who rebels against the silly uniforms he’s supposed to wear. Ray Walston is suitably hateful as the dictatorial history teacher, Mr. Hand. But this movie could have been a lot more fun if it hadn’t chosen to confuse embarrassment with humor. The unnecessary detail about sexual functions isn’t funny, it’s distasteful.
Leigh looks so young, fresh, cheerful, and innocent that we don’t laugh when she gets into unhappy scenes with men — we wince. The whole movie is a failure of taste, tone, and nerve — the waste of a good cast on erratic, offensive material that hasn’t been thought through, or maybe even thought about.
I agree with Roger that the movie was vulgar but I liked it much more than he did. In the days of Superbad, Knocked Up, American Pie, Wedding Crashers, Old School, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Hangover, Bruno and Borat; Fast Times not only fits in, it stands out.
It is raunchy, but it has a plot. It shows the characters making mistakes and learning lessons. It shows them growing as people. The movie also has a tremendous soundtrack and it has Jeff Spicoli, played by Sean Penn, who is really something of an iconic figure as a surfer dude. Some Spicoli quotes :

What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves – pronto – we’ll just be bogus too! Get it?”
“Learning about Cuba, and having some food.”
“Well Stu I’ll tell you, surfing’s not a sport, it’s a way of life, you know, a hobby. It’s a way of looking at that wave and saying, “Hey bud, let’s party!”

Not my favorite genre, not my favorite movie, but much, much better than the one star Roger gave it. It has a 7.2 rating on IMDB and a 79% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Ebert's worst reviews

 

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