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76 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure on so many levels, April 10, 2004
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This review is from: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" Is a strong contender for the best teen movie from the eighties.
The case for the movie is easy to make: It is written by Cameron Crowe, who wrote Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, and Almost Famous. It is beautifully filmed and directed. (Director is Amy Heckerling, who apart from being awefully cute has made such wonderful movies as Clueless.) It is funny and real. And it has a magnificent cast of young actors who where unknowns then.
The surfer/stoner is famously played by Sean Penn in one of his first roles, and he is awesome. Jennifer Jason Leigh is perfect as the young innocent fifteen-year-old. (Amazingly she was about 20 when she played it, but you'd never know it.)
And Phoebe Cates... As Amy Heckerling says in a featurette: The boys just loves Phoebe... the rental cassettes always track a lot around the place where she takes off her top, they've been freeze-framed so much..." Which is as good a reason as any to get the DVD version, they slow-mo and freeze-frame a lot better... But seriously, Phoebe is a wonderful actress who has been woefully underused by Hollywood. And she is also just stunningly cute to boot. Even if this film had nothing else going for it, get it for her. (She is also excellent in the later film Princess Caraboo, and she is buck nude in the light "Paradise", which I hope they will put on DVD soon.)
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2011 7:57:36 PM PDT
Cal Liedtke says:
Ummm . . . Phoebe Cates is not naked IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. You are looking at her body double. This is why the camera never shows "her" face in the scene.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2011 2:17:56 AM PDT
Eolake says:
She clearly did the topless scene.
From Wikipedia;
"At the age of 17 she played a starring role and did several fully nude scenes in the movie, which had a plot very similar to The Blue Lagoon. Cates later regretted being in the movie, and said: "What I learned was never to do a movie like that again.""

Which is a pity, she has nothing to be ashamed of, and 60% of the top female stars in Hollywood have had nude scenes, so there's no need for thinking it may hurt your career either.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2011 10:06:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2011 10:40:31 AM PDT
Cal Liedtke says:
Ummm . . . WIKIPEDIA is not a credible source. Of the several reasons that the nude body that is shown in Paradise IS NOT PHOEBE CATES is that she was 17. Child pornography laws in the U.S. film industry prohibit this. Also, in the early 1990's a federal law was passed -- to much out cry from film producers -- prohibiting nudity of an actress (who may be over 18 years old) who is playing the role of a minor. Their position was that to even suggest that you are seeing a minor naked is considered child pornography. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was one film that was to be banned (or edited) because both Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh appear nude and their characters are both clearly under 18 years old. A movie goer may OR not agree what is legally deemed to be child porn OR pornography but the law is the law. Cates was 17 when she made Paradise. The nude images of her character (in the later scene in question) are not of her -- which is why her face is not shown. She does appear topless with her face in the frame in an earlier scene but her long hair covers her breasts -- because she is 17. The shots of her in the waterfall (early in the film) are of her but the camera is far away and we see her backside (for the most part). Still, at the time of the film's release in the U.S. market, this scene was of huge controversy as it is the display of a nude minor. Now the truth of the use of a body double becomes crystal clear. If you look at her body in the waterfall footage and compare her dimensions with the later nude shots there are dramatic differences. Why? Because Phoebe is not the woman you see in the later nude scene. I am not trying to rob people of their fantasy. Keep that in your mind if you wish. But this is the fact -- a body double was used for Phoebe Cates in the film's later nude scene.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 6:52:44 AM PST
Why are you talking about Paradise? Cates obviously did the topless scene is "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" because you can clearly see her face in the scene. Personally, though I think Cates is stunning I have always been much more attracted to Jennifer Jason Leigh.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2013 5:24:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2013 5:25:42 PM PDT
RC says:
Sorry, but your allegations are completely false about Phoebe having a body double in Fast Times. Have you not seen the film or the scene in question? If so then you'd never have made such a mistake. This debate has been over for decades and even she admits to have been nude on screen for the most iconic teen movie scene of the 80's. Besides, the child porno laws were not in effect back then as they are today. There are lots of underage girls and boys in American made movies that showed underage nudity from that era. In 1999 Thora Birch appeared topless in a scene during American Beauty when she was just 17. The child porno laws don't apply to topless scenes when no sex is involved. Many photographers still take topless photos of young women for art purposes. Not all nudity is porn except to prudes. Therefore, porn is in the eye of the beholder. And if you don't like it ... do what the bible says and pluck out your eyeballs rather than ungodly complaining!

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2013 5:35:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2013 6:08:32 PM PDT
RC says:
Clearly you do not know what you are talking about. Where did you get your info? Wiki has more credibility than ever if you disagree with their credibility. Clearly you've never seen the films in question or you would have no doubt that all of the nude scenes were with Phoebe and NOT body doubles. I checked the scenes you mentioned and you are incorrect on all points. The cinematechnology 3 decades ago was not up to replacing faces on bodies like it is today so why was Phoebe's face evident during every scene you mentioned? I have both films in question and there is absolutely no doubt that Phoebe was nude in both of them. She is clearly seen in several scenes (even under water and the waterfall scene) with full body nudity despite your comments. She is seen in darker scenes fully nude running into the water and she has several side boob scenes as well. Some scenes were modest and only partially nude or in a bikini. But, it is abundantly clear to anyone with good eyesight that Phoebe was the nude actress when you can see her face clear as day. Your take that it isn't so based upon child porn laws is completely without merit. The child porn laws that we have today are less than a decade old. The Internet is what brought them into play and not the mainstream movies of yesteryear. We all agree that child porn is a heinous crime but nudity alone is not considered child porn. It's the (sexual) context that makes it porn. Of course, the debate is ongoing and the laws are subject to change (even reversed when appealed by more logical minds). You say Phoebe couldn't have been nude since she was only 17 but that is completely false and cannot be backed up by facts. And Phoebe was nowhere near to being a child. She was for all practical purposes an adult woman. 16 is the legal age of consent in many states in the US. Commit murder at 17 and you may be tried as an adult as well. So, when it comes to what is or what is not considered legal is all up for debate.
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