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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Fast Times at Ridgemont High [Blu-ray]

 

(Amy Heckerling, 1982)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Refugee Films

Video: Universal Studios

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:29:38.373

Disc Size: 28,568,380,886 bytes

Feature Size: 25,307,516,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.66 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 9th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2748 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2748 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
* DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe

• Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High (38:24 in 480i)

• The Music of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (identifies artist as film runs)

• Theatrical Trailer (1:36 in 480i)

• My Scenes

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Academy AwardŽ winner Sean Penn stars as the unforgettable Jeff Spicoli in the film that defined the outrageous and bold teen comedy genre Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Follow a group of Southern California high school students as they explore their most important subjects: sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and written by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) this hilarious portrait of 1980s American teen life features film debuts of future stars Nicolas Cage and Forest Whitaker plus decade-defining music from The Go-Go’s Oingo Boingo and The Cars. Starring: Sean Penn Jennifer Jason Leigh Judge Reinhold Phoebe Cates Ray Walston Brian Backer Robert Romanus Scott Thomson Vincent Schiavelli Forest Whitaker Eric Stoltz Nicolas Cage Anthony Edwards Lana Clarkson Directed by: Amy Heckerling.

 

 

The Film:

Amy Heckerling's adaptation of Cameron Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High is often considered one of the finest films... of a disreputable genre (the teen sex comedy), and kick-started the careers of many future stars. The center of this ensemble film is Jennifer Jason Leigh as Stacy Hamilton. She is a young, innocent high-school student who, as the film opens, is asking for advice from her friend, the sexually outspoken Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates). Stacy takes a liking to nebbish Mark Ratner (Brian Backer), but he is too afraid to make a move even after Stacy all but throws herself at him. She eventually hooks up with Mark's more confident best friend, Mike Damone (Robert Romanus). When not concerning itself with these four characters, the film spends time with stoned surfer dude Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) and his ongoing feud with history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston). The film includes brief appearances by such future stars as Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz, and Forest Whitaker.

~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide.

As a genre, the teen sex comedy doesn't get a lot of respect. Still, many films of this set have earned a permanent spot on the pop culture landscape - like Porky's (1982), Risky Business (1983) and American Pie (1999). And leading the pack is 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a film that not only amused a generation and set the pace for the teen movies that followed, but a film that has, over the intervening two decades, evolved into a cult classic. Fast Times also launched the careers of practically everyone involved - from its up-and-coming stars (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates) to director Amy Heckerling and most especially its talented young screenwriter Cameron Crowe.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Mr. Spicoli and the gang look pretty good on Blu-ray especially if you are a fan of grain. This is one of the last Universal HD-DVD editions that have finally made it to Blu-ray. In fact the transfer is VC-1 and under the capacity of the, now defunct, format which would indicate it is the exact same 1080P rendering.  Aside from the heavy textures colors are bright and detail is improved from previous SD.  Unfortunately thee is still some noise but I didn't find it distracting - I put it down to the less-effectual 80's stock used. Frankly, overall I was surprised at how strong the image quality was with impressive contrast and occasional showcasing of some depth. The dual-layered transfer has a high bitrate and I'll wager that it won't be looking better than this any time soon.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Solid DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2748 kbps notably exports the film's mega pop-rock music including Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks, Sammy Hagar, The Go-Gos, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin and others.. There isn't much range inherent in the track but there is some apparent depth with the rhythmic music infiltrating between most scenes. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Extras duplicate the previous digital editions with the informative commentary by Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe which covers quite a lot of data and how seriously the project was taken despite the perceived minimalization regarding the genre. Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High runs almost 40-minutes and is from 1999 with interviews involving Heckerling, producer Art Linson, the casting director Don Phillips, and a slew of the actors including Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Eric Stoltz etc. It is revealing in the aspect of discussing the attempted pigeon-holing as a run-in-the-mill teen-sex-comedy by the studio. You can also choose a 'Music of Fast Times at Ridgemont High' which identifies the musical artist in a pop-up screen as film runs. There is also a theatrical trailer (in 480i as are all video extras) and the disc as the 'My Scenes' ability.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
While I a not of the camp that proclaims Fast Times... as an iconic classic - I do enjoy it for what it is - a superior social comedy separating itself somewhat from its breed of the early 80's. It is also quite memorable. I wasn't very long out of high school when this hit the theaters and we all knew people like the characters Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), stoner Spicoli, and the jocks and wannabees that pepper Crowe's amusingly honest screenplay. The Blu-ray transfer is very grainy but shouldn't deter those who aren't fans of the textures. I enjoyed revisiting Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the hi-def format. It offers many reasons to pick it up but the stalwart fans are the ones who will get the most out owning this edition. 

Gary Tooze

August 2nd, 2011

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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