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“Fast Times at Ridgemont High & Dazed and Confused Ultimate Party Edition”
Reviewed by: Wayne A. Klein
Genre: Comedy
Video: 1.85:1:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Languages English
Subtitles English
Length 253minutes
Rating NR
Release Date 10/26/04
Studio Universal Home Video
Commentary: Amy Heckerling, Cameron Crowe (on “Fast Times”)
Documentaries: “Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High”
Featurettes: “The Blunt Truth: Side Splitting Institutional Filmstrip on the Dangers of Partying”
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: Trailers
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: Deleted scenes (“Dazed & Confused” only)
Music Video: None
Other: “Ridgemont High: A Video Map”, “Music Highlights”, “Retro Public Service Announcement”
Cast and Crew: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Lee, Phoebe Cates, Brian Backer, Robert Romanus, Judge Reinhold, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker and Ray Walston/ Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Rory Cochrane, Wiley Wiggins, Sasha Jenson, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser
Written By: Cameron Crowe based on his book/ Richard Linklater
Produced By: Art Linson and Irving Azoff/ James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Richard Linklater
Directed By: Amy Heckerling/ Richard Linklater
Music: Joe Walsh, Don Henley, The Go-Go’s, The Cars, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers/ Aerosmith, Joan Jett, ZZ Top, Steve Miller, Ozzy Osborne --
The Review:

High School. You either want to get the chance to relive those days or you want to totally forget it. How can you go wrong with a very funny script, sharp direction and a cast full of future Oscar and Emmy winners. Separeted by a little more than a decade, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”(the 80’s) and “Dazed & Confused” (and the 70’s) each represents their respective generations. Surprisingly, they haven’t changed all that much. There really isn’t a plot as such at the heart of these two films it’s an accumulation of the rites-of-passage that all teenagers go through. Each film receives a deluxe transfer on DVD with some minor differences. It’s a pity Universal didn’t package this with “American Graffiti” as all three compliment each other.

Image and Sound: Both films receive a deluxe anamorphic widescreen transfer for the first time. There’s few to none of the typical analog artifacts and the digital artifacts are kept to a minimum. Universal has done a nice job with both of these films. Both have nice 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround mixes for the first time. Since neither film was designed with that format in mind, it’s not a surprise that the format isn’t used as effectively as it could be but both films sound quite good.
The Extras:

“Fast Times” comes with the best extras. We get a retrospective documentary on the making of the film which includes the participation of all the major stars that emerged from this film (the only exceptions are Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh). There’s a number of insightful observations including some from Sean Penn and the late Ray Walston about the characters they played and how their conflict (because of their different approaches to acting) spilled over to their personal lives. There’s a lightweight digital map that highlights where most of the film takes place and/or was shot. It consists primarily of narration and footage from the film. The “awesome” 80’s music highlights don’t consist of music videos (which is what I would have assumed) the segments of the film that have the various musical artists playing over the scenes. ***

“Dazed & Confused” primarily consists of deleted scenes, a lame retrospective public service announcement denouncing drugs and a series of hokey parody of the types of films showed to a lot of high school students about drugs. A commercial for Vans shoes is also included as well as production notes. Why not retrospective documentary? Because evidently there was a tiff between Universal’s marketing department and director Richard Linklater. He asked for the time to produce a retrospective documentary and they hurriedly rushed the video to market denying him that opportunity but asking him to do a commentary track. That’s why you won’t hear Linklater discussing his movie. ---


“Fast Times” director Amy Heckerling and writer Cameron Crowe appear on a marvelous commentary track discussing the making of the movie. They cover everything from the music they actually wanted but couldn’t get to how much the studio tried to bury the film (unsuccessfully) by dropping 400 theaters at the last minute on the east coast because they had no faith in the picture. ***

As previously mentioned Linklater was asked to do a commentary track but declined because of a difference of opinion between himself and Universal. He felt that his film wasn’t given its due because Universal wouldn’t pony up the money or time to do a retrospective documentary that Linklater wanted done. Linklater does hope at one point to do a commentary track on a Criterion Edition later down the line that is if Criterion gets the chance to license the film.

Final Words: Two very funny, very different movies about the rite-of-passage teens experience in high school from very different perspectives. Both are very funny snapshots about the stupidity and joy of youth. “Fast Times” has the best extras and commentary track but both movies look and sound marvelous.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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