Wasted Youth in Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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.

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”

After watching two sob fest films I decided to choose a much lighter film to view tonight.  I’ve always wanted to watch Moonstruck (1987) with Cher and tonight I finally did.  What a hilarious romantic comedy!  In her Oscar winning role, Cher plays Loretta Castorini, a thirty-seven year old Italian American widow living with her hilarious, traditional Italian parents in New York.  Her father, played by Vincent Gardenia, and her mother, played by Olympia Dukakis in her Oscar winning role, are as dramatic as ever.  The film focuses on Loretta (whose first husband was hit by a bus) who believes she has bad luck in life.  She becomes engaged to her boyfriend Johnny Cammareri but while he is in Sicily taking care of his sick mother, she falls in love with his younger brother, Ronny, played by Nicolas Cage, and a variety of crazy and hilarious scenes ensue.  I really enjoyed this film and found it very entertaining-it’s basically a fun, witty, dramatic, over-the-top Italian soap opera.  My only issue with this film was the casting of Nicolas Cage.  He is eighteen years younger than Cher and, in my opinion, not a very attractive male lead.  Oddly enough, I must admit I was surprised to see that him and Cher did have some chemistry because they’re both so uniquely weird. I still would not have cast him to play opposite of Cher who owned her role. Cher’s performance was excellent-her portrayal of a middle-aged Italian woman in New York City was so genuine and believable.  Her accent was consistent and she really embodied her character.  Olympia Dukakis is fantastic as well in this film.  I just saw her in Steel Magnolias-in which she acted with a Southern accent- so it was crazy to see how well she acted with an Italian/New York accent.  Both actresses deserved all of the accolades they won due to their work in this film.  The film is distinctly 80s as seen by the costumes, hair, and setting (Notice Cher’s hair in the picture below!).  As a whole, I wouldn’t say this is a ground breaking film from this decade, but I do highly recommend seeing it.  It is a hilarious and very cute romantic comedy.  I’ve attached the scene in which Cher and Nicolas Cage’s characters first meet-it’s hilarious seeing Nicolas Cage freak out!

In Honor of Nicolas Cage

 

Today Stolen opens in theatres nationwide, featuring Nicolas Cage as a father whose daughter has been kidnapped.

It is only fitting then that we look back to when he started as an actor with his lead role in the film Valley Girl.  Check out this clip of him back from 1983.

Nic has come a long way.  Too bad he didn’t feature that hair do in National Treasure.