Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Director: Amy Heckerling
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Notable Actors: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, plus appearances by Forest Whitaker, Nick Cage
This reminded me of many John Hughes films, George Lucas' American Graffiti and obviously Heckerling's Clueless. Hopefully this comes across as high praise: this is the type of teen film that is not really made any more. Fast Times, though very funny, treats its characters' problems seriously and without judgement. Stacy, who spends the film thinking about what boys want, comes to realise that what she wants ('romance' and a 'relationship,') is just as legitmate (and might lead to better sex!). Her brother, Brad wants to feel important and respected; Mark sweetly wants Stacy; Mike's self-confidence gets rocked; Linda wants to be in a mature relationship; and Jeff just wants 'some tasty waves, a cool buzz' and he's fine.
Crowe's script is great, full of good lines; Heckerling's direction is impressive as a debut, managing to keep all the threads together. Teen films can run the risk of dating quickly; fortunately Fast Times has not, with many of the themes and 'issues' still ringing true for many of today's teenagers. It is a very well observed slice of teenage life, focusing on characters rather than cliches. It's totally awesome, man!