The Classic 80’s Comedy “Fast Times At Ridgmont High” Was REAL? The Book Behind The Film!

film-fast_times_at_ridgemont_high-1982-jeff_spicoli-sean_penn-tshirts-colt_45_tshirt

“Hey, Bud, let’s party!”

One of cinema’s greatest one-liners captured perfectly an age when growing up meant hanging out in a suburban shopping mall, trying desperately to impress a girl – or at least get high and cruise through life:

best-lines-of-jeff-spicoli

It was a time when getting high led to only one thing – in this case, Spicoli saying to his friend:

“Dude! That was my skull!”

Time to celebrate one of the greatest movies ever made about growing up in America in the early 80’s – and it was all true!

fast-times-at-ridgmont-high

“Fast Times At Ridgemont High”!

This 1982 film launched the movie careers of many of its young stars, and is one of the best comedies about the angst of growing up in America there has ever been!

“Fast Times At Ridgemont High” was directed by Amy Heckerling, who went on to make the classic teen comedy “Clueless” – she really knew how to capture the humor, warmth, angst and confusion of these “Times” in our lives…because it all happened!

fasttimespaperbackfrontnosticker

The Movie Is Based On A True Story!

Writer/Director Cameron Crowe wrote the original non-fiction book in 1981, when – as a 21 year old – he went back to school for a year in order write the real story of students at a high school in Southern California.

The resulting movie is an 80’s classic, introducing us to one of cinema’s most hilarious stoners – first, check out the trailer:

fast-times

“Hey, Bud, let’s party!”

Sean Penn has never been better as Jeff Spicoli, who is always stoned and hilariously funny! The cast also includes Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates and a very young Forest Whitaker…

forest-whitaker-in-fast-times-at-ridgmont-high

It was also Nicolas Cage’s first film appearance…but it is perhaps Phoebe Cates who made film history thanks to one iconic dream sequence:

phoebe-cates-jennifer-jason-leigh-fast-times-ridgemont-high

The pool scene forever cemented Cates in movie history, but as this book was written about a year in the life of real high school students, the film deals with real issues about growing up in America. Jennifer Jason Leigh is terrific in the film, as a young woman who feels compelled to lose her virginity to keep up with her more beautiful friend played by Phoebe.

This subplot is very serious, and the film doesn’t shy away from any of it.

That said, it’s also one of the funniest films ever, thanks to this guy!

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Meet Jeff Spicoli!

Without a doubt, the most legendary character in the film is Jeff Spicoli!

As IMDB says:

“during shooting of the film, Sean Penn got so into character that he only answered as Spicoli. In fact, the door on his dressing room was labeled “Spicoli” instead of ‘Sean Penn’!”

sean-penn-fast-times-at-ridgmont-high

Spicoli meets his match in Mr. Hand, plays beautifully by Ray Walston, who had a long career in movies and TV. Here is how they meet:

Jeff Spicoli: Hey, you’re ripping my card.
Mr. Hand: Yes.
Jeff Spicoli: Hey bud, what’s your problem?
Mr. Hand: No problem at all. I think you know where the front office is.
Jeff Spicoli: [stunned] You dick!

fast-times-at-ridgmont-high-funniest-scenes

Here’s more from IMDB:

Ray Walston was at the time, best known for his role as Uncle Martin on My Favorite Martian (1963). Unfortunately Walston, like many actors of that era, was typecast in the role and couldn’t book serious roles until the decade ended. Walston said that after the release of this film, he’d be walking down the street and young people would see him and shout “Mr. Hand!”. Walston was grateful for that, as it finally meant that he had torn away from being only associated with playing Uncle Martin.

5-things-you-might-not-know-about-fast-times-at-ridgemont-high

Even their relationship ends on a warm high note…”Fast Times At Ridgmont High” is one of the greatest “growing up” movies ever…

Cameron Crowe

Crowe would go on to direct his own films, including “Jerry Maguire” and the autobiographical film about his own life, “Almost Famous.”

ALMOST-FAMOUS

“Almost Famous” is one of the best films about the impact that music has on young people – and captures a great time in music history as well – because Crowe wrote for Rolling Stone as a teenager! See more here:

There were some classic comedies int eh 80’s, including this “female empowerment” comedy – starring a man!

Yes, Dustin Hoffman’s performance as a man pretending to be a woman just to get an acting job is incredible…see more about this film by clicking on my story here:

The 80’s also gave us one of the greatest “buddy movies” of all time:

Well, except Charles Grodin and Robert DeNiro were anything but friends!

The classic “Midnight Run” is hilarious, action-packed, and has one of the most beautiful endings ever…see it all here:

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https://johnrieber.com

Thanks so much for reading – let me know which of these films you’ve seen – and if you enjoy the story, please share on social media!

Let me know your favorite moments from “Fast Times!”

fast-times


Categories: Art, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Great Films, Hollywood, Memoirs, Movies, Pop Culture

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. I have never seen this movie (shame on me.)
    I’m glad you included Tootsie- one of the best!

    Like

  2. Not a great movie but a ton of memorable characters. (Spicoli, Mr. Hand) I was part of the Phoebe Cates fan club (with about 5 million other hormonal boys.)🤣

    On the other hand, Tootsie was an excellent film. Dustin Hoffman was brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never seen ‘Fast Times’, John. Looks like I will have to record it the next time it is on TV here.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

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