What to Watch: ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ provides viewers with nostalgia


"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" provide viewers with laughter (Courtesy of www.facebook.com/FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh/photos/).

Tyler Lopez

High school. A time of immense annoyance, stressful classes, pretentious groups, and obnoxious trends. High school. The most annoying and confusing days of our lives that we will never forget, for the better or the worse is unknown.

When we think of high school, we think of the groups and stereotypes. We have the popular ones, the dorks, the goth ones, the stoners, and the losers. And well, that pretty much sums up life. We categorize each other. It’s almost like a defense mechanism.

The classic and unbelievably notable and quotable film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” perfectly exemplifies the above listed stereotypes and definition that is high school.

From beer blasts, to jobs and sexual encounters, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is the perfect film for all high school students, regardless of your classification.

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” released in the summer of 1982, focuses on the adventures, or misadventures, of several high school students who are Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) and his sister Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Mike Damone (Robert Romanus), Mark “Rat” Ratner (Brian Backer)  and slacker/surfer/stoner/cool dude Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn).

With a cast of unforgettable characters and beyond quotable moments, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” proves to be an unforgettable classic of the 1980s film genre.

It goes without saying that “Fast Times” is one of the best teen films made with its relatable plot and memorable setting. “Fast Times” is grade-A classic.

The film opens at Ridgemont Mall in the fictional town of Ridgemont, California. Popular senior Brad Hamilton works at All-American Burger where his girlfriend, Lisa, and a friend also work. As you can imagine, work as a high school student is never really dull as friends may always come to where you work.

This is the exact case for Brad when friend, and habitual marijuana smoker, Jeff Spicoli enters without a shirt. As per the restaurant’s policy, he his denied because he is “not wearing the appropriate amount of clothes.”

From the get go, it is clear “Fast Times” is a unique film amidst a sea of cardboard cut out films. What differs the film from others is its relatability. As mentioned above, just about anyone can relate to what is depicted in the film.

Many of the situations, if not all, center around school. School has an interesting spin on how people remember their lives. Within the halls and classes of school, their are dozens of people who, most likely, will share the exact same memory as you would.

In a way, school is isolated, but in ways that call back to our better days. In light of that, “Fast Times” does a superb job of making the plots and characters real.

Unlike most films, be they old or modern, they lack a connection with their viewers. This is something “Fast Times” excels at.

To put it, “Fast Times” is a fantastic film. Probably one of the best, and this is crystal clear from its gifted talent in portraying realistic characters and relatable issues.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" provide viewers with laughter (Courtesy of www.facebook.com/FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh/photos/).
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” provide viewers with laughter (Courtesy of www.facebook.com/FastTimesAtRidgemontHigh/photos/).

The film has no determined plot, so it progresses almost chronologically through the school year. This adds a unique touch as the adventures, or misadventures rather, flow together much more naturally than that of an action or love flick. The film paces itself greatly and does so with the greatest of ease.

However, “Fast Times” centers in on the jobs of Brad, the relations of Mark and Stacy and Mike and Spicoli’s war with his English teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston).

Jeff Spicoli, played immaculately by a young Sean Penn, is by far the most memorable character in the film, or possibly one of the most memorable in film history. The dude is the absolute definition of a slacker and stoner.

From long hard days of slacking off, smoking weed and dreaming of “catching some gnarly waves”, Jeff Spicoli supplies the film with the most laughs and greatest story line. I mean, if Hollywood is so into making reboots or lame prequels, why can’t they make and entire film about Spicoli?

Maybe they can’t because Sean Penn is old and crazy and nobody would seem to care if they did make the Spicoli-only movie, except me. It would probably suck anyway.

With that being said, “Fast Times” is the furthest thing from a sucky movie, which is what normally floods the silver screens of today.

If you don’t believe me, do yourself an immense favor and see “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. You will be reminiscing back to your high school days as soon as the film opens. I mean, just see it. Have some fun.