Point to ponder: Is Fast Times at Ridgemont High the best teen movie of all time? Personally I think it is, and it’s also one of the best comedies of the 1980s…if not all time. Adapted from Cameron Crowe’s book (which is long out of print and nearly impossible to find at a reasonable price), this funny and at times poignant film provides a glimpse into Southern California teen life from high school to the mall as seen through the eyes of several very different students. Highlighted by Sean Penn’s performance as stoned surfer dude Jeff Spicoli, the cast also includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, and Ray Walston; look for Nicolas Cage, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, and Forest Whitaker in early roles; directed by Amy Heckerling.
On May 11th, the film is getting a new Criterion Collection release on Blu-ray and DVD that includes the following special features:
- New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Amy Heckerling, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary from 1999 featuring Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe
- Television version of the film from the eighties, featuring deleted and alternate scenes
- New conversation with Heckerling and Crowe, moderated by filmmaker Olivia Wilde
- Reliving Our “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” a 1999 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
- Audio discussion from 1982 with Heckerling at the American Film Institute
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: An essay by film critic Dana Stevens and, for the Blu-ray edition, a new introduction by CroweNew cover by F. Ron Miller
From the press notes for the film:
The wild world of adolescence has rarely been captured with as sharp an observational eye as in this refreshingly smart, frank spin on the teen comedy by director Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe—for each of whom it kicked off a hugely successful film career. Based on Crowe’s experiences going undercover as a student at a Southern California high school, Fast Times at Ridgemont High blends hormone-fueled hilarity with an almost sociological examination of the 1980s teenage experience: the shopping mall hangouts, fast-food jobs, buzzkill teachers, awkward dates, and first experiences of love and sex. This pop-culture touchstone launched to stardom practically an entire cast of unknowns—including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, and Sean Penn as stoner icon Jeff Spicoli—and broke new ground in its raw yet sensitive depiction of the realities of coming of age.
If you’ve somehow never seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High, rectify that immediately with this new release of the film that illustrates why it is spoken about with such admiration. Pizza not included.