POP ART: Episode 44, Fast Times at Ridgemont Hight/The Last Picture Show

Howard Casner • October 7, 2021

SCHOOL DAZED: “Aloha, Mr. Hand.” It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. No, actually, it was just the worst of times. The most nightmarish and traumatic years of our lives. A quagmire of debilitating despair sucking the life and soul out of us all. Or as it is more commonly called, high school. Sounds like it’s time for Episode 44 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. This time, I am happy to welcome back previous guests, fellow podcasters Anna Keiser and Derek Dehanke, who have chosen the Amy Heckerling/Cameron Crowe 1980s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High and I have chosen the Peter Bogdanovich/Larry McMurty 1970s classic The Last Picture Show, both about teens navigating the difficult years of high school.

And in this episode, we answer such questions as: Who was originally asked to play Mr. Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High? What happened to Peter Bogdanovich’s career? What did Roger Ebert say about both films? Who was originally offered the Ben Johnson role in The Last Picture Show? What book did the person that was the basis for Mark “Rat” Ratner in Fast Times… write and what is his relation to pizza? Why is The Last Picture Show in b&w? What is Phil Spectre’s relation to Fast Times…? What two scenes did Fast Time… have to choose between to avoid an X rating?

Check out Anna and Derek’s podcast, ‘80s Movie Montage, at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/80s-movie-montage/id1498851364 and other streaming platforms.

Keep a look out for Anna’s short film She Had It Coming, now showing at film festivals.