Fast Times At Ridgemont High | 1982
Intended to be a movie of the times, Fast Times has become American Graffiti for the Eighties and, I suspect, much of its cult following is down to the nostalgia factor.
There’s an amazing array of soon-to-bes on display, with a script from Jerry Maguire director Cameron Crowe, Sean Penn as iconic stoner Spicoli, plus early appearances by Anthony Edwards, Nicolas Cage (as Nicolas Coppola), Forest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz and Martin Brest (who went on to direct Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run and – erm – Gigli).
It's filmed, of course, around Los Angeles. ‘Ridgemont High’ is a combination of two valley schools: Canoga Park High School, 6850 Topanga Canyon Boulevard at Vanowen Street, and Van Nuys High School, 6535 Cedros Avenue, which has included Robert Redford and Jane Russell among its pupils, and, for a short while, Marilyn Monroe.
The exterior of ‘Ridgemont Mall’ is Santa Monica Place, Broadway at Third Street, Santa Monica (used also in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), but the interior is the old Sherman Oaks Galleria, 15303 Ventura Boulevard. The famous galleria, Valley Girl central, seen also in Commando and Chopping Mall, was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and much has subsequently been remodelled as an open-air galleria.
Perry’s Pizza was real and Jennifer Jason Leigh, in true Method fashion, took a job here as preparation for her role.