After watching the clip of Fast Times at Ridgemont High in class, I decided that I’d have to give this 80s movie a go. It looked like fun—and for the most part it was. I had just finished watching the tumultuous 1st episode of the new season of Teen Mom 2, so I was in the mood for some high school drama.
The Ridgemont mall, central to the movie (the opening shot is repeated at the end of the film as a framing device), is a refreshing venue outside of the school scene. The film spends quite a bit of time in this commercialistic zoo of teenaged horn-dogs for good reason. The mall mirrors the constructed organization of school groups: a lonely movie-ticket clerk who yearns to work on the other “cooler” side of the mall, young flirty pizza girls, a lay-low ticket scalper with bad advice, and a stereo salesman stud.
Just wondering…in the 80s, was it common to play videogames shirtless in the mall? My dad said he didn’t remember…dubious.
I love the rampant misconceptions and insecurity in the film:
Stacy has concerns about being good in bed.
Linda’s response–“What? You either do it or you don’t”
Rat has concerns approaching a girl.
Damone’s response–“Move across the room. Don’t talk. Just use your face”
Want to learn more? Here’s Damone’s “5-point plan”
I love our “single, successful guy” Brad, who, on both occasions of uttering this line, is doing a task most would consider undignified—flipping burgers and cleaning profane graffiti off of the bathroom mirror.
Speaking of graffiti, it’s a popular mise-en scène element in film’s setting. In particular, “wasted youth,” appears in the background of Stacy’s first date, the night she looses her virginity. This term could be interpreted in multiple ways. Is it akin to Carpe Diem, a plea to savor your youth while you can? Or is it a disapproving judgment of wild, “fast” teenagers.
After Damone comes inside Stacy and then abruptly leaves her, I couldn’t help but love the next shot—the pizza girls aggressively hacking up a giant log of salami. Delicious.
Good lord, Mr. Hand reads grades out loud as he returns them to his students. How terrible! It does remind me though of my traumatic 8th grade algebra class where we were arranged by class average.
I HAD NO IDEA THAT WUS=WIMP+PUSSY. If that’s true, then thanks Fast Times for the important information.