If you’re considering a double feature, this is a perfect companion piece to Precious. Adapted from Cameron Crowe’s 1981 book written during the time he spent, faking it, imbedded in a high school. In reality, he was a Rolling Stone correspondent gathering information on the lives of teenagers. Crowe went on to become an accomplished director.
His coming-of-age story centers around a group of California teenagers and their social and sexual escapades. Main character Stacey Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a high school sophomore, is urged by her older and more experienced best friend Linda (Phoebe Cates) to hurry up and lose her virginity. Stacey gets brazen and goes on her quest, which introduces her to a rocky path to sexual satisfaction. Innocent Mark Ratner (Brian Backer) takes a liking to Stacey but when he gets scared off, his best friend Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) makes his move. Meanwhile, her brother, Brad (Judge Reinhold), star employee at a hamburger joint, has a crush on Linda. He’s considering breaking up with his long-term girlfriend when he gets blindsided on two frontiers. Nicolas Cage (billed as Nicolas Coppola) makes a quick cameo as a burger flipper. Forest Whitaker is a football star with a reputation for kicking ass. The standout character is Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn in his second acting role), surfer, stoner, slacker. His history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston) has it out for him as Spicoli pursues his dream--making it as a professional surfer. I regret these two don’t have more scenes together. Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards have minor roles as Spicoli’s pals. Not only is it fun to see so many big brand names in acting sharing the screen, but, nearly 30 years later, this movie is still as entertaining as it is relevant.
Director: Amy Heckerling
Run time: 90 minutes