Lunchtime Movie Review

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Episode #78

Directed by: Amy Heckerling
Starring: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold

Fast Times at Ridgemont High Movie Summary

At age 22, Cameron Crowe, returned to high school pretending to be senior…and Fast Times at Ridgemont High was born…or as I like to call it “How I fell in Love with Jennifer Jason Leigh – Ron Johnson Beware.” The story follows a year in the life of 4 main characters: a Freshman named Stacy Hamilton, Her older brother Senior Brad Hamilton, the shy Mark “Rat” Ratner, and the lovable stoner Jeff Spicoli. While the movie is filled with sex and humor it is really a cautionary tale of teenage pitfalls on the road to adulthood.

Stacy Hamilton is an employee at the hottest food stand at Ridgemont Mall – Perry’s Pizza. Stacy is nervous about starting high school but luckily for her – Satan – yes Lucifer himself – has sent a demon to give her advice in the form of Phoebe Cates who plays Linda. Linda is a upperclassman but doesn’t waist her time on sexually inexperienced high school boys – she prefers mature men who can go 30 to 40 minutes at a time!

Linda teaches Stacy on the art of blowing carrots and encourages her to have sex with older men – like the pedo 26 year old stereo salesman Ron Johnson. Stacy decides to go out on a date with Ron. Ron being the die-hard romantic takes Stacy to a baseball dugout known as “the point” – Stacy immediately finds out why it’s called the point because that’s where Ron pokes her in the vagina with his penis. Stacy reports to Linda that the experience was not loving but rather painful. Linda, being the evil bitch she is, tells Stacy to keep doing it because it gets better. Stacy embarrasses Linda philosophy of using her body as a way to a guy’s heart.

Enter Mark “Rat” Ratner – the assistant to the assistant manager on the mall movie theater. Rat becomes infatuated with Stacy but doesn’t have the courage to ask her out. He turns to his friend Mike Damone. Damone is an upperclassman straddling to line between high school acceptance and being an outcast. Damone believes he has secret to success both in business by scalping concert tickets and romance with the ladies. He tries to school Rat in the ways of Demone. Demone tells Rat its about attitude – “The attitude dictates that you don’t care whether she comes, stays, lays, or prays. I mean whatever happens, your toes are still tappin’. Now when you got that, then you have the attitude.” After mustering up the courage, Rat and Stacy go put on a date.

The date is a disappointment for both. Rat forgets his wallet and has to call Demone to bail him out and Stacy’s physical advances scares Rat away. Rat attempts to rekindle his romance with Stacy but Stacy sets her sites on Demone who is all too willing to accept the attention and betray is friendship with Rat. Demone ends up sleeping with Stacy. Demone immediately rejects Stacy after having sex. Stacy’s rejection is made worse when becomes pregnant with Demone’s child. Stacy totally abandoned has to deal with terminating her pregnancy on her own. Word eventually gets out that Demone is not a stand-up guy and rumor has it that he has a small prick. Rat hears this and ends his friendship with Demone.

Meanwhile, Brad Hamilton at the beginning of the year almost has it all – he has good friends – like Nicholas Coppola before he went all Mortal Combat and took the name Nicholas Cage, he worked at All American Burger, has his own car, and has a girlfriend. The one thing he doesn’t have is a girlfriend that will go to the point. Brad sees his senior as the year where he gets it all. Unfortunately for Brad his path is not up but rather the start on the long road to the middle. Brad quickly loses his job, his friends, his girlfriend, and ends up working at a fast food seafood restaurant as a pirate server. And to make matters even worse Brad is caught by Linda rubbing his gremlin.

While Stacy, Brad, and Rat are busy experiencing the trials and tribulations of early adulthood, Jeff Spicoli is cruising through life in a cloud of Mary Jane with Rocky and a nerd named Gilbert. Spicoli has been high since the 6th grade and despite not having a job, girlfriend, or any academic accomplishments – he finds himself living a life without consequences – all Spicoli needs is “some tasty waves, a cool buzz,” and he’s fine. That is until Spicoli has to take U.S. History taught by Mr. Hand.

Mr. Hand is convinced that all teenagers are high and all the teachers at Ridgemont High, except for himself, are willing to look the other way at a student’s misguidedness. Spicoli learns that Mr. Hand is not going to let him coast by U.S History. Spicoli experiences Mr. Hand sending to the principal’s office, being made an example of, and watching his sausage pizza with extra-cheese being eaten by fellow students. Spicoli also learns that his actions have consequences outside of the class room when Mr. Hand shows up at his house to teach Spicoli U.S. History on Spiciloi’s time. Thanks to this Spicoli would just squeak by and pass Mr. Hand’s class.

Not all is lost with Stacy, Brad and Rat at the end of the movie. Stacy and Rat begin a real relationship based on an emotional connection rather than sex. Brad ends up working at a convenience store where he thwarts an armed robbery and is later hired by the Beverly Hills Police Department.


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