Fast Times at Ridgemont High

“When asked what he did to prepare for his stoner role in Pineapple Express, James Franco cleverly responded that he “”made out with Spicoli””. He was of course referring to his Milk costar Sean Penn, who played ultimate stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. For me, I didn’t grow up with this film. Only recently saw it for the first time. I grew up knowing Sean Penn as a respected and revered actor of our generation. I watched him give acceptance speeches when he won both his Oscars. So my mind was totally blown when I saw him here as Spicoli (a character who I had been previously unfamiliar with). He steals the whole film with a charisma that is completely opposite from the tough guy serious roles he usually does today. Maybe there is something to starting your career in a stoner comedy. It worked for Penn. This year, it worked for Dazed and Confused alum Matthew Mcconaughey. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to spell his name without using Google. Oh hey look, another future Academy Award winner, Forrest Whitaker is here too! Although he’s the jock, not a stoner.

Something I find interesting is that this era defining high school comedy of the 80s was directed by Amy Heckerling. She went on to direct another era defining high school comedy during the 90s. A little film called Clueless. Screenplay for this one, Cameron Crowe. Whose later credits include Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous.

This may not be my generation’s comedy, but I can certainly appreciate it. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to though. Nowadays, most teen comedies are just thrown together for a quick buck. Not likely to have the longevity of Fast Times.”

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