We follow the escapades of a group of high school students over the course of a year, including romance, jobs, studies and general teenagery-ness.
Fast Times is a bit of a cult classic, lesser known than some of the other 1980s high school student flicks, but feels like one of the more authentic or realistic ones. Indeed, the story is based on the experiences of film-maker Cameron Crowe, who spent a year undercover as a high school student and wrote a book on his experiences. The events feel a lot more like stuff that would actually happen to regular teenagers, rather than far-fetched hijinks, and I think it definitely adds to the enjoyability of the film if you can look back and reminisce on some of your own high school experiences.
Not all the stories are totally connected and the links between the characters or individual plots can be a bit tenuous, so from a standard film-viewing perspective it might seem a little unstructured or random. However, this also adds to the realism, so we can mostly forgive that. I would also warn that not all the scenes would probably get past a film classification board today, so might be a little odd for modern audiences (mainly the underage sex). It’s not one I’d watch with my parents…
This is definitely a must-see for 80s fans, especially as it’s up there in the genre of “golden-age” classics such as The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s certainly not appropriate for younger audiences (I think it’s rated 18 here in the UK), but is a good dose of nostalgia for adults.