For the most part, my Falling For the First Time Series has tested pop culture classics I believed would be unassailable. I could see how the effects of GHOSTBUSTERS or GREMLINS might hold them back, but all of the others were movies I believed would transcend.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the eighth selection: I watched the film again.

So after championing the screenwriting debut of Cameron Crowe to the talented blogess behind Insight Into Entertainment, I started to think that I’d made a grave miscalculation…and that my MTV Generation ass was about to be handed to me. Do get a good seat and see how I make out as I discuss FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH with Jess Rogers.

RM: Alright dude – what did you think?

JR: It reminded me that 80s comedies were a lot raunchier than I remembered. It’s a funny movie to be sure but the “kids” in it seem more like 30 year olds than some of the other teen comedies from that era.

RM: I’d argue that a lot of the so-called “kids” in movies over the years are in fact too old. But the raunchiness you mention – is it at least merited? Or does it feel like it’s trying to play for SUPERBAD-esque shock points?

JR: It felt a lot like it was trying to talk and act like teens really do. For some characters they nearly get there and for others it’s really fake. So some of the raunchiness works well (the red bikini scene makes sense) but losing your virginity staring at grafitti didn’t work for me.

RM: Slight tangent – When Cameron Crowe set out to write the original book this was based on, he actually went undercover and spent a year in high school in his early twenties. He wrote about his experiences there, and later adapted his own book into the screenplay. Now that’s not to say that he didn’t shine things up a bit to play to an audience better, but a lot of it was based on real occurrences.

Change your opinion of the script at all?

JR: No. Still works in some places and charicatures the others.

 RM: Guess Crowe doesn’t carry the clout that he used to! Which characters work, and which felt forced?

JR: Linda (Phoebe Cates) as a character works and is like girls I knew. Stacy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) doesn’t work and I actually have trouble believing they’d be friends. Brad (Judge Reinhold) is a good brother but is wholly unbelievable as a high school stud based on what we’re shown. I’m actually starting to think a bit of my belief in characters that didn’t work are types that didn’t exist in my high school.

I loved Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) but it just seemed pretend that he’d get away with being that stoned at school. And a high school ticket scalper? Really?

 RM: Hey, there were drug dealers in my high school – at least scalping doesn’t involve illegal substances. Let’s get back to Stacy for a second, since it is by & large her story. What about her didn’t work for you? Further, what did you make of her sexual coming of age?

JR: I think Stacy stays so naive, yet gets sluttier as the movie goes on. Then she has the “epiphany” that sex isn’t love. And all if that in less than a year. It seemed really forced and contrived to get that journey in one person. Linda seemed more real if not particularly high school than Stacy.

 RM: Fair point – but think about life in high school…things can change dramatically over the course of a year, no?

JR: Life most definitely changes fast, but her sexual exploits seemed odd given her attitude about sex (naive but curious). I suppose it makes sense that she gets knocked up, but I just didn’t buy her journey. Plus she’s such a bitch for having sex with Damon when his best friend adores her. I didn’t feel bad when she got pregnant.

 RM: Wow – tough room! So on the whole, you weren’t sold on the tale of Stacy’s coming-of-age?

JR: I didn’t think so, no. I thought Chad’s story and even Rats’ story were more believable. Likewise, Linda’s “starting over” theme was all more relatable and touching than Stacy.

Her story feels more after school special against teen pregnancy and having sex without love than anything particularly genuine.

 RM: Hey now, knowing is half the battle!  I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask your thoughts on the iconic scene of Linda and her red bikini.

JR: It was actually as hot as I expected, and it totally made sense in the context of Brad’s fantasy. Specifically, she doesn’t actually take the top off – just undoes it.  That always bothered me, but now I get it. As iconic as it is, I was glad it wasn’t a main point of the story – I was hoping the movie wouldn’t revolve around it and it didn’t.

RM: Cool. I could probably predict the answer to this question, but I ask it every time: How dated did it feel?

JR: It wasn’t as dated as I expected it to be honestly. It felt a bit more like something from now that is trying to be dated like the Robin Sparkles videos from How I Met Your Mother. The soundtrack was really awesome though.

 RM: Really? We’re talking about a movie where someone unironically uses the term “fag”, and front row concert tickets can be had for $20

JR: Yeah but they seem oddly out of place like trying to place it in time rather than being of the time. but a lot of it felt like it doesn’t matter when it takes place. I know they were of that time…it just didn’t feel like it was authentic. It was more like everything was included to sure it felt “of the time”

 RM: Makes sense. Part of me wonders about the relativity of this film – which is a strange question I realize since we’re both handily removed from our high school days. Did you see any of your high school experiences in this film?

JR: Definitely the friend crying because her boyfriend dumped her. The nearest mall was 30 miles away when I was in high school, so those scenes not so much. I honestly couldn’t tell you if lots of kids did drugs. Given the number of pregnant girls in my class they were having sex for sure.

I think overall it did hindered my enjoyment that my high school was so rural compared to these kids.

 RM: That makes sense. On the whole, how does it compare to other like films of the era?

JR: It felt less genuine than FERRIS BEULLER’S DAY OFF (which outside of his exploits feels a lot like my high school). Overall, it felt much more raunchy than any John Hughes film period. There does seem to be a parallel with Kevin Smith’s movies for the nineties/aughties, but those are deliberately verbose and this isn’t.

 RM: Any other little bits stick out for you?

JR: I really liked when Chad picked Stacey up from the clinic -it just gave his character depth. Also the carrot scene was funny (and pretty shocking). Finally, when the Mr. Hand arrived to waste Spicoli’s time as payback – loved that and thought it was brilliant.

 RM: And so…on the hallowed scale of one to five?

JR: 2.5…I liked about half of it and disliked about half.

(Editor’s Note: The streak ends! Every movie in this series has landed a score of 3.5 out of 5. FAST TIMES becomes the first clear miss).