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The Movie Like Fast Times At Ridgemont High Comedy Fans Need To See

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) is a quintessentially '80s film. With its worship of mall culture, nods to burgeoning fashion trends, and previewing of the teen comedies that would come to influence a generation of VHS-watching, cable TV-addicted teenagers, it really captures the era. Featuring several future Oscar nominees, the flick manages to walk the fine line between comedy and drama in a way that few other movies would be able to do.

In addition to vans filled with marijuana smoke and gnarly-funny trips to a morgue, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" also addresses abortion with a sense of purpose and pointed commentary about adult obliviousness. The movie deals with the disappointments and pressures of teenage life, giving them equal weight to the joys and thrills of same.

There's one film that serves as a perfect companion to the adventures of those '80s California teens. It's set in the '70s and was filmed in the '90s, but it has the same level of pointed observational humor that should appeal to any fan of the 1982 film.

You won't be confused by this film though you may be dazed by it

"Dazed and Confused" (1993) is very much a '70s version of the "Fast Times at Ridgemont High” ensemble youth picture, but it's shot through a '90s cinema lens. Though the film focuses more sharply on drug culture than "Ridgemont" does, it's still a sprawling character piece with moments of drama and humor. And while "Fast Times" takes place over the span of a single school year, "Dazed" takes place over a single day, following a group of high school seniors (as well as high school seniors–to-be and, in one case, a former high school senior) around one Texas town.

It's May 28, 1976, in Huntsville, and it's the final day of high school. For some this means graduation; for others, a continuance of the school's traditions; and for some unlucky freshmen, a paddling. The general aim of everyone is to have a good time as day turns to night. The movie's narrative centers itself around Randall "Pink" Floyd (Jason London), the school's star quarterback, who is being pressured by the school into signing a sobriety pledge that will ensure next year's football season goes off without a hitch even though he objects to it on the grounds that it impugns his individuality. There are many other characters — David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), who continues to hang out with high school kids even though he's in his twenties among them — who all collide at a keg party held on the school's football field by the end of the movie.

If none of this convinces you to see the movie, take this into consideration: it's the origin of a very famous Matthew McConaughey catchphrase. Sound "alright, alright, alright" to you?