You know I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time the song “Moving In Stereo” is mentioned in rock circles, at least half a dozen people (guys, usually) will enthusiastically reference Phoebe Cates and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And even though I grew up right in the heart of the 80s, I never saw the film. I was only 12 when it came out and though I’d heard people doing their Spicoli impressions all up into college, I just never had the desire to see it.
Now of course, I’ve been familiar with the scene where Cates comes up out of the pool and gives her little treat to Brad, and yes, I understand the iconic imagery paired with such a badass rock riff as The Cars deliver, but because I loved the song long before I was aware of that connection with the film, I knew “Moving In Stereo” could, and should stand on its own. Yeah, I got pretty snooty about it.
And so every time someone would say to me, “Oh my gosh, you’ve NEVER seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High???” (read that in a boorish man voice but know that I’m really referring to my podcast partner) I became more and more determined never to jump down from my pompous perch and watch it.
But then… Lately I’ve been gathering video clips of the television shows and movies where The Cars make some kind of mark, and adding them in a playlist on YouTube. As a completist, avoiding Fast Times wasn’t an option, so I figured it was about time to just get it done. I checked out the DVD from my library and asked my 19yo daughter to join me; I figured if nothing else, the movie would be super dated and she and I could just enjoy making fun of it.
Um, yeah. That didn’t really happen…
I’m not going to beat around the bush: this movie is terrible. TERRIBLE.
- There is no discernible, interesting storyline to follow…
- … and certainly no depth of character to attach to.
- Spicoli is funny but completely underutilized, and his ‘revelation’ is forced (though I give him some bonus points for his checkerboard (aka Panorama) Vans).
Boring… floundering… heinous, even.
- And the greater crimes? Underage nudity.
- Shocking apathy for the subjects of teen pregnancy, teen abortion, and statutory rape.
- A shameful casualness with regard to losing one’s virginity, multiple sexual partners, and the tenants of healthy relationships.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
Now be clear: I’m not shunning this film strictly for moral reasons. I watch lots of movies with a spectrum of questionable behavior and I have no problem enjoying it in the context of a great plot and charismatic acting. But that was not this… This was a bunch of 20-year-olds pretending to be vapid high school kids with a few boob scenes thrown in for cheap thrills, and nothing intelligent holding it together. It’s just embarrassing.
Am I a prude? Too old-fashioned? Is it because I’m a woman? Or maybe I’m just… old? Perhaps. Yes, I might have felt differently watching it as a single, ‘frozen fire’ 17-year-old, as opposed to a mother of four kids pushing 50, but somehow I don’t think so. My daughter, too, was bored stiff and frustrated with the banality of the whole thing.
So, just so you know? Whenever the pairing of MIS and Fast Times is put to me for comment, my answer will continue to be an emphatic (and now educated) ‘ugh’ and an eye roll.
Hang on… Sarah is demanding the keyboard…
Okay, this is the aforementioned daughter speaking. I volunteered to write a review, but quickly realized I remembered almost nothing about the film itself. In fact, the only thing that stood out in my mind was Spicoli’s pizza disaster towards the end there… and yes, I had to ask Mom to remember the character’s name. The whole experience was a bit of a blur. There was one consistent thought revolving in my otherwise uninterested brain: “I have to work tomorrow. I don’t have time for this! Wait, what’s going on now?” (Spoiler: nothing.)
All in all, my final thoughts are these- this movie rates a triple-A in my book, meaning:
- Absolutely forgettable
- An Absolute nightmare.
Can’t even remember the name of the train wreck. Excuse me- ‘movie’.
Well, there you have it.
What say you, Fanorama? Are we way off base on this or is it a slam dunk? Find me on Facebook or share in the comments!