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a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates.


©Universal Pictures

Per IMDb: : “A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.”

Brad Hamilton (Reinhold) is looking to get out of high school on top. He’s popular and a senior. But, he’s not really enjoying his time with his girlfriend and a dipstick customer costs him his job at the local All-American Burger. He gets another job at Captain Hook Fish & Chips but, after realizing it was humiliating as all get out to deliver food in that costume, he quits that. So, why not go home and relax instead? He’s on top of the world right?

Brad’s sister, Stacy (Leigh) is also popular and works at the mall in a pizza parlor. She gets dates with older guys by lying about her age. She’s pushed by her seemingly promiscuous friend Linda (Phoebe Cates) to be more bold. Stacy tries and isn’t really thrilled about it. There’s a nerdy dude named Mark Ratner (Brian Backer) who is interested in Stacy but is too shy to ask her out. His buddy, the concert-ticket-scalping-pseudo-suave-dilettante , Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) talks him into taking Stacy out to a local German restaurant. While there, Mark realizes he has forgotten his wallet and calls Damone to bring it to him. Stacy tries to seduce Mark but his shyness gets the best of him and he leaves, rendering Stacy a bit frustrated. Eventually, Damone moves in gets a little time with Stacy.

Jeff Spicoli (Penn in a role unlike anything else he ever did) is a stoner slacker who dreams of nothing but surfing the gnarly waves. He is also the prime nemesis of the dry and no-nonsense history teacher, Mr. Hand (Ray Walston). Spicoli breaks rules and is just a nuisance, but, I don’t think he means to be. I think he’s just a free spirit. This film is a culmination of their lives and more. What happens with them? You’ll have to watch to find out.

I defy any male aged 40-55 to hear the first few bars of “Moving in Stereo” by The Cars and not have fond memories. When I see The BCPF get into our bed, it reminds me of that and I hear that song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you have to watch the film. The cameos in this film of folk that either were just on their way into acting or perhaps not necessarily known to the general public in 1982, were all fantastic. Names like Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Nick Cage were all up-and-comers. Actors Taylor Negron and Vincent Schiavelli have both passed on but you’d recognize them in the film from other things. Another quick cameo is from Nancy Wilson of he band Heart. She’s the blonde in the car that flirts then laughs at Brad in his pirate costume. She’s in the film because her husband, Cameron Crowe wrote the book and the screenplay. She’s made a lot of cameos in his films over the years.

The acting in this film was typical early 80s. Good, but you could tell the folks were just getting going. It’s cheesy early 80s cinema at its best. The soundtrack is chock full of greatness, as well. Then again, it is a Cameron Crowe film. This one was directed by Amy Heckerling (European Vacation, Clueless, Look Who’s Talking, Johnny Dangerously and so on).

Rotten Tomatoes has it at 78% Fresh with an Audience Score of 80%. IMDb has it at 7.2 stars out of 10. It is only available via Netflix‘s DVD.com or renting or buying on DVD or digital on Amazon. I have it on DVD and we watched it with 3B. The swimming pool scene, he really enjoyed. I rate the film 4.25 out of 5. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review?

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” – Jeff Spicoli