~Meniscus Archives~
Spring 2005
Issue #7
The Mojo Issue

Issue #7 Home


Hall's Groove Project
Jon Heinrich
As Addison Groove Project moves on with the encapsulated life of John Hall in front of them, they are driven by the memories of his relentless positivity and unceasing commitment to doing what he loved.

DVD Review:
The Ultimate Party Collection
Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused
Chrystie Hopkins
If 1976 was about pot and muscle cars, then 1982 was all about attitude and getting laid. Now available as a set, Dazed and Confused and Fast Times as Ridgemont High make up the ultimate party DVD set.

CD Reviews:
Sound Tribe Sector 9Artifact
Color and TaleaProject Mayhem
Oshe—The Good Book


DVD Review:


The Ultimate
Party Collection
Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused

Chrystie Hopkins
Published 3/31/05

Aerosmith, muscle cars, and beer busts; the year is 1976, and everything is “alright, alright, alright”. This is the unforgettable setting for Dazed and Confused the stoner movie turned cult classic, and one of the 90s most memorable movies.

This film, originally released in 1993, has just resurfaced as part of the Ultimate Party Collection DVD box set. With unforgettable characters; Pink, Slater, Dawson, Benny, O’Bannion, Mitch, Hirshfelder, Tony, Mike, Cynthia, Simone, Jodi, Shevonne, Michelle, Pickford, Darla, Wooderson, this loveable cast, brilliantly funny script, and use of smart dialogue and humor, brings the last day of school 1976 right to your living room.

“Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes.”— Ms. Ginny Stroud

Writer and director Richard Linklater brilliantly tells the story of teen life in suburban Texas. The simple script comes to life with the direction of Linklater and the talent of this young ensemble cast. Dazed and Confused was an early work for Linklater, who has gone on to direct such memorable films as, Before Sunrise (1995), and its follow-up, Before Sunset (2004), The Newton Boys (1998), Waking Life (2001), and The School of Rock (2003).

The beauty of Linklater is that he can bring together relatively unknown actors, and with a witty story, and character development, elevate the movie to cult status. The entire cast of Dazed and Confused is exceptional. Many of the actors used this film as a career launching pad, while others have yet to surpass the status of Dazed. Ben Affleck, in one of his best, most believable roles, plays the asshole O’Bannion. Matthew McConaughey plays one of the best characters in the movie. As the muscle car driving, woman loving, freethinking character, Wooderson, McConaughey rattles off lines of enlightenment and inspiration.

“Man, it's the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain't that piece of paper, there's some other choice they're gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.” — Wooderson

The DVD offers some interesting additions. The 5.1 Surround Sound adds to the experience. You can crank up your system and blast your neighbors with the rocking soundtrack, which includes classics from Aerosmith, KISS, Black Sabbath, and Alice Cooper.

There are also 9 deleted scenes, the best one being a drunken conversation between Simone and Darla.

Also included in the extras is an education film entitled “The Blunt Truth”. This historic educational short outlines the dangers of smoking grass warning young people that marijuana, refer, ganja, grass, will cause great harm and cause permanent insanity. After all, you don’t want to become one of those “burned out Bohemians” who has taken a liking to sitar music, do you?

There are also two “Retro Public Service Announcements”. My personal favorite is titled “VD is for Everyone”. A nice little jingle and some wholesome looking stiffs, teach us that everyone, even the butcher, can have an STD and keep on smiling. The only trouble is that I can’t stop singing, “Veee Deee is for everyone, Veee Deee is for everyone…”

If 1976 was about pot and muscle cars, then 1982 was all about attitude and getting laid. That is if Fast Times at Ridgemont High were to serve as the time capsule for that year.

Mike Damone: I mean don’t just walk in. You move across the room. And you don’t talk to her. You use your face. You use your body. You use everything. That’s what I do. I mean I just send out this vibe and I have personally found that women do respond. I mean, something happens.

Mark Ratner: Well, naturally something happens. I mean, you put the vibe out to 30 million chicks, something is gonna happen.

Mike Damone: That’s the idea, Rat. That’s the attitude.

Mark Ratner: The attitude?

Mike Damone: Yeah! The attitude dictates that you don’t care whether she comes, stays, lays or prays. I mean whatever happens, your toes are still tappin’. Now when you got that, then you have the attitude.

As part of the Ultimate Party Collection DVD set, a new generation is introduced to Jeff Spicoli, Mr. Hand, Mike Damone, Mark Ratner, Brad Hamilton, Stacy Hamilton, Linda Barrett and Charles Jefferson.

It is no wonder that everything 80s is making a comeback because Fast Times at Ridgemont High makes it all seem so cool. The mall, big hair, and Pat Benatar have never been so hot.

It’s odd to think of an Oscar-winning actor, Sean Penn, having a stoner conversation with My Favorite Martian, Ray Walston, but Fast Times at Ridgemont High proves that everyone has a past and it did happen.

Mr. Hand: Mr. Spicoli, what’s your excuse for your truancy?

Jeff Spicoli: I just couldn’t make it on time.

Mr. Hand: You couldn’t or wouldn’t come to class?

Jeff Spicoli: Well, there was a long line in the cafeteria and I was having a hit of the munchies…

Mr. Hand: Food will be eaten on your time, Mr. Spicoli. Mr. Spicoli, why are you continually late for this class? Why are you continually wasting my time and the classes with this tirade every day?

Jeff Spicoli: Uh, uh…I don’t know.

From now famous screenplay writer Cameron Crowe and director Amy Heckerling, Fast Times at Ridgemont High introduces us to 1982 through the eyes of 7 teens on their first day of school. The dialogue in this film is really at the heart of the story. The plot remains dynamic through the evolution of all the characters. There are no exciting action sequences, or major climaxes, just simple change achieved through simple actions and basic conversations of everyday teens.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is less of a comedy than a study on teenage angst. And let’s face it; the dramas of a 16-year-old are just funny because everything is catastrophic. De-virgination, getting fired from a fast food restaurant, anxiety about the future, flunking out. Being a teen sucks- in such a hilarious, awkward way!

“So what Jefferson was saying was ‘Hey! You know, we left this England place because it was bogus. So if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves, pronto, we’ll just be bogus too,’ Yeah?”
- Jeff Spicoli

In the bonus section of the DVD, there is an extended interview with Director Amy Heckerling, the producers, and cast, reliving the filming of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It is interesting to hear about the casting choices, and the history of the movie. So many actors in Fast Times have gone on to have very successful careers; Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, Forest Whitaker and Nicolas Cage to name a few.

The Ultimate Party Collection is a must for your DVD collection. These movies never get old, and continuously reveal something that you might have missed before. Even if you have them memorized, you will laugh with each and every showing. Visually they bring back the 70s and 80s with stunning realism. Each film is a true testament to the decade it represents and the culture that it captures.

Party on!

Chrystie Hopkins


Meniscus Magazine © 2005. All material is property of respective artists.