The script for Fast Times at Ridgemont High is based on filmmaker Cameron (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) Crowe's time as a reporter for Rolling Stone. He was so youthful looking that he was able to go undercover for a year at a California high school and write a book about it. The film launched the careers of several young actors, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and, above all, Sean Penn. The story line is episodic, dealing with the lives of iconic teen types: one of the school's cool kids, a nerd, a teen queen and, most enjoyably, the... class stoner (Penn), who finds himself at odds with a strict history teacher (a wonderfully spiky Ray Walston). This is not a great film but very entertaining and, for a certain age group, a seminal film experience.--Marshall Fine, Amazon.com On the DVD: Amy (Clueless) Heckerling and Cameron Crowe's commentary is revealing and indicative of a time where nudity on celluloid was shocking rather than the norm as they talk about the issues which contributed to the film's original X-rating, as well as all the actors who originally auditioned for the roles. The transfer quality is high with little grain, and although the soundtrack is in mono rather than Dolby 5.1 it is not detrimental to the film. There's a retrospective documentary called "Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High" featuring new interviews with most of the cast and crew, plus a highly original feature about the locations used in the film, how they looked in 1982 and how they look now. For fact buffs there's the usual mix of biographies, theatrical trailer and production notes.--Kristen Bowditch [show more]
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Cult 1980s comedy directed by Amy Heckerling and starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Judge Reinhold. Based on the real events recounted in Cameron Crowe's novel, the film follows a group of high school students in southern California who are looking for love and fun in their teenage years. 15-year-old Stacy Hamilton (Leigh) is desperate for boys to see her as a woman but when she lies about her age to date an older man, she is left feeling hurt and used when she learns he is only after one thing. When Mark (Brian Backer), a friend of Stacy's friend Mike (Robert Romanus), declares his love for sweet, innocent Stacy, Mike agrees to school him in the science of women.