Blind Spot July: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Sean Penn as Spicoli

My Blind Spot movie kind of picked itself this month with the multiple mentions it got in Stranger Things I decided to finally sit down and watch Fast Times at Ridgemont high. It had it’s moments- mainly Sean Penn’s iconic turn as checked out drugged out Spicoli.

It feels very much like a movie of its time though.

Fast Times is directed by Amy Heckerling (who would go on and direct Clueless which was a movie for me) in 1982. It’s based on a book by Cameron Crowe about the goings on of the students he spent a year studying at a Southern California high school in the late seventies.

Funnily enough looking at reviews for the book on Goodreads it seems like there’s better character and background work in the book which is something I thought was lacking in the movie. Stuff always gets lost in film adaptations but beside that the film is like constant sex obsession.

Phoebe Cates in Fast Times
The other iconic Fast Times image.

I’d love to say Linda (Phoebe Cates) was an iconic character and not just the iconic image of the movie- but I really can’t. I mean she exists to rise from the pool, talk about having sex with older guys and cringe inducingly encourage her 15-year old girlfriend to have sex with the 26 year old cruising the mall.

Giving it a couple of days there were some moments in the film- Spicoli and the history teacher and Brad (Judge Reinhold’s) job troubles plus he actually turns out to be a pretty good brother that I did enjoy and appreciate. You can absolutely see the precursors that would be written all over American Pie, Clueless and any big teenage comedies.

Though I do find it interesting that years later Cher and Dionne would hold much different views on sex than the anything goes attitude of Linda and Stacey in this movie.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

So in the end mixed feelings about the film and I actually would be interested in reading the book. I feel like while some of the ideas are timeless the film execution is very much of its time which strangely works for and against it. I didn’t love it or even like it but I did find it interesting and worth the watch.

Even if only to revisit a time when Sean Penn had a sense of humor.

Recommend: Yes. 

11 thoughts on “Blind Spot July: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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  1. “If only to revisit a time when Sean Penn had a sense of humour” So true lol! As great an actor as he is, but yeah he is one heck of a strange dude at times.

  2. Fast Times was definitely a mixed bag… I love to love it, but I also just watched it recently and found it a little lacking. I do ABSOLUTELY LOVE Judge Reinhold though. He’s fabulous in everything. Ha ha! My teen movie will always be “Dazed and Confused” though. That’s the iconic flick that I grew up with. ❤️❤️🍻

  3. I agree – Spicoli and Brad were the best things about this movie. And as Nicole said, Dazed and Confused is definitely an iconic flick.

  4. I try to watch a lot of old movies but most are so behind the times that my experience ends up being excruciatingly cringy. For some reason, I don’t feel the same way when I read older books. They’re much easier to forgive in that aspect.
    Anyway, great post! 🙂

    1. I agree with you! I definitely find myself giving more excuses to the books than films even though mentally I may be telling myself things were different nearly 40 years ago 🙂

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