#36 Fast Times at Ridgemont High

#36 Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Year: 1982
Director: Amy Heckerling
MPAA Rating:
Epic Co-stars: Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold
Running Time: 90 mins
Cage Time: 60 seconds
Cage Kills: 0 
Cage Flip-outs: 0
James' Review:
Ah, nostalgia for the days when smoking in movie theaters was permitted, "upstairs to the left." The IMDB summary of Fast Times pretty much says it all: "A story of a group of California teenagers who enjoy the mall, sex and rock n' roll."  Really it's just a perfect storm for lots of boobs, 80's butts and teenagers in precarious situations.  The only thing missing was a lot more action from a hot young Nicolas Cage.  

I could go into the specific plot happenings of this movie, but since none of it involves Nicolas Cage it would be worthless for me to waste my precious time typing it, and for you to read it.  The critical error for this film was actually committed before shooting ever even started.  Nicolas Cage was originally considered for the role of Brad Hamilton (one of the "lead roles" in the film), but after his audition the studio thought his performance was too dark, and the role went instead to Judge Reinhold.  In addition, Cage was 17 at the time and could not work as many hours as the actors over 18.  It seems as though in 1982 the world (or at least Amy Heckerling) wasn't ready for the art of Nouveau Shamanic acting.  This is unfortunate because the part of Brad Hamilton turned out to be the most dull character in the film (and I would have loved to see Nic Cage get caught masturbating by a hot girl in a bikini.)  

Even without words Cage can convey the angst and misery of a typical high school guy working a crappy fast food job.  Congratulations, you've now see about 50% of the Cage footage in this film.

Alas, it seems that this film was Cage's proverbial burger flipping job in the acting world (and literally on the screen).  It was needed for him to put in his time as little more than a glorified extra while watching assholes like Sean Penn rake in tons of money and fame for little more than doing a mediocre Keanu Reeves impression (yes, I know this was before Keanu had reached his full terrible potential.)  "Wait, leave Sean Penn out of this!" you might say.  "What did Sean Penn do to Nicolas Cage or anybody else?"  I'll tell you what he did...  He had a couple of mildly entertaining movies in the first two decades of his career and then finally went "full retard" in 2001's I am Sam.  This lead him to believe that his shit don't stink and he could go around saying things like "Nic Cage is no longer an actor" and "He could be again, but now he's more like a... performer."  Fuck you Sean Penn.  And while we're at it, Nic Nolte and Stephen Baldwin can piss off too (see the link above for why).  

The three least classy actors of all time.

As actors these people should understand that art can't be defined by rules given to you in a class somewhere.  You need to put every bit of your heart and soul into every character you play while choosing a wide variety of roles to constantly test and expand your acting range.  These are things that Nic Cage does every day while other "actors" phone it in and collect a paycheck.

Movie quotability:
  • "No shirt, no shoes, no dice. Learn it, love it, live it."
  • "Everybody's listening to Tom Petty; that's fucking cool."-James
  • "Nice. Butts." -James
  • "This is US History, I see the globe right there."
  • "Look at you- Honor Roll, Assistant to the Assistant Manager of the movie theater..."
  • "You are a wuss. Part wimp, and part pussy."
  • "When a guy has an orgasm, how much comes out?" "A quart or so."
  • "Mister, if you don't shut up, I'm gonna kick 100% of your ass!"
  • "I'm sorry someone broke in and stole your tape deck." 
  • "Make up your mind, dude. Is he going to shit, or is he going to kill us?"

Plot Holes:
  • There is a live MONKEY in their biology class. What kind of public school is this?
  • Bunch of 12-year-olds dropping (what I assume is) lots of money (for the 80s) on rock concert tickets.
  • Fieldtrip to the morgue to look at a corpse's insides.
  • Burgers caught on fire (Skyler says this is a plot hole).  Meat on a griddle doesn't suddenly catch file.

!Stayed in the CAGE!


Steve M said...

As yes, back when all teenagers had jobs and the mall was a cool and thriving place to hang out and meet people. Mr. Hand was my favorite, though I think he was a little too lenient at times. Did you catch that first appearance of Nicolas Coppola? It was near the beginning when everyone is going back to school, he tags a guy with a sign that says "I'm a homo".

Unknown said...

We don't think he even appeared for 60 seconds - more like 5 seconds. Consensus: needs more Cage.

KaBluie said...

#48 Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) Starz Encore On Demand. I've seen this movie a bunch of times. Classic! Another quote: Hey I found your wallet the other day, want it back? / Other Epic Co-stars: Phoebe Cates!, Kelli Maroney, Pamela Springsteen. Most of the bit parts in this movie went on to become famous. Amanda Wyss, Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Taylor Negron & James Russo.

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