Archive for the ‘high school’ Tag

[50/50] Album #14: “The Cars”

Friday, March 28th, 2014

[50/50] Album #14: “The Cars” — The Cars (1978).

The_Cars_-_The_CarsEven when you try and leave the past behind, it has a way of chasing after you. For the last few weeks I’ve been followed around by 1978 and 1979 like a pair of imprinted geese, honking with joy at every rediscovery. Today is the 35th anniversary of Three Mile Island, for instance, and I’ve already seen a half-dozen posts about it from friends on facebook. I heard recently that the boy’s basketball team from my old high school went to the state finals, just like they did in March of ’79. No doubt the school took bus loads of students to see the championship game, just like they did for us 35 years ago, and there’s a good chance a kid like me met a cute girl on the ride out to arena, and got to make out with her on the way back. Considering the finals were held in Pittsburgh, four hours away, that makes it one of the Best. Roadtrips. Ever.

And a short time ago when I was back for a visit to central Pennsylvania, poking around in my parent’s attic looking for something for my brother, I stumbled upon the motherload, the grand prize, The Holy Grail: a box of Super8 movies that has been missing for decades. Most of the reels were animated shorts Brent and I made in 1978 and 1979, and haven’t seen since. I was so excited, I made a detour through Baltimore on my way home to North Carolina to drop off the box at his place, where he planned to inspect and digitalize the aging film.

When I walked in the house, he already had one of our old vinyl records on a restored turntable, and my trip to the past was complete:

While the Cars’ first album peaked on Billboard in March, 1979, it stayed on the charts for the next two years, and spawn numerous singles that are still, no doubt, in heavy rotation somewhere. (It also gets points for having the greatest sampled snippet in a movie soundtrack.)

Anyway, here’s the whole album. “The Cars” by  The Cars:

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[50/50] Comedy #12: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Comedy #12: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)

fast_times

“That was my skull!”

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” came out the summer I graduated high school. I went to see it with my good friend Lisa Calkin, who had shared most of the same classes as me since 6th grade. It was a week before the both of us left for different colleges. Coming out of the theater afterward, I was stunned. I said something like ‘you know, except for the sex and drugs, that WAS our high school experience.’

Okay, I may have wrecked my car a little differently.

30 years later and this is still one of the best depictions of high school life — albeit now a lovely time capsule of life in the early ’80s —  and still one of the best comedies out there, period: forget prefixes like “teen-” or “sex-” or even “teen-sex-” comedy. (Although, thanks to changing technology, some jokes need to be deconstructed to the youngin’s … like the time we watched it when Bettina was living with us, and we had to explain to her teenage son why it was funny when all the students sniffed the mimeographed tests … trust me kid, that killed in 1982!)

This movie is tight, too — not an ounce of fat on it, and yet it is full of relatable characters moments, cringe-inducing memories of awkward adolescence that are dead on, and an awesome soundtrack (most of which, alas, is not on the official soundtrack album.) It’s the kind of movie that, a quarter century later, compels someone to create this trailer mashup: