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George At 

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Even funnier, smarter and more melancholy than I remembered, 1982's FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH holds up beautifully.

During a fast 90 minutes, we meet all the stereotypical high school types, elevated into real people by the terrific writing of Cameron Crowe, who would go on to write and direct "Almost Famous", "Jerry Maguire" and "Vanilla Sky".

Sean Penn is ripped stoner Jeff Spicoli, constantly tumbling out of smoke filled vans and into the classroom, where he battles Ray Walston's classic teacher Mr. Hand. Their verbal battles are now classic movie moments.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) is shy and innocent Stacy, her best friend Linda is played by Phoebe Cates in all her red bikini poolside glory. The Cars "Moving in Stereo" will never be heard in quite the same way after accompanying Phoebe in her slow motion emergence from the water.

Judge Reinhold is hilarious as Stacy's Fast Food worker brother, Brian Backer is every shy high school guy in America and Richard Romanus is Mike, a cocky, womanizing ticket scalper.

Of course, none of these characters are exactly who them seem to be, with the exception of Spicoli and Mr. Hand, who are already true to themselves and drive the narrative with a ton of laughs. Their final meeting in the film is unexpectedly powerful, a credit to Crowe's writing.

It's jammed with classic 80's music and set in a suburban mall that will bring back powerful nostalgia for all of us that grew up spending a lot of time in similar spots.

Some classic dialogue:

"All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine."

" Aloha. My name is Mr. Hand."

"People on 'ludes should not drive!"

"No. I don't have any Blue Oyster Cult. I had 34 pairs last around. Where were you?"

Just a couple years after "Porky's", FAST TIMES continued the sexually frank dialogue and nudity of that film, but elevated it with smarter writing and a world class cast.

Look for four young actors we'd get to know much better in the years ahead: Eric Stoltz, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Edwards and Nicolas Cage.

FAST TIMES is a near perfect mix of great dialogue, physical comedy, coming of age hilarity and serious moments of teenage angst.

Jammed with laughs, it gets an A. As the poster says, "It's Awesome, Totally Awesome!" Remember those days? Crowe does.

Do you remember that this became a short lived TV series in 1986? Yeah, me neither.....

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