Sean Penn is known for his powerful performances in serious roles such as gay rights activist Harvey Milk alongside James Franco but did you know he played a surfer dude with more than just a laid back attitude in his earlier acting days?
Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured the 22 year old Penn as stoner and surfer dude Jeff Spicoli who has nothing but the open seas, gnarly tubes and a beer buzz on his mind. His character in the movie plays a strong role in the portrayal of teen life during the 80s, especially around the coastal beach towns of Califronia. Strutting around the school hallway, Spicoli’s character popularized the checkered slip-on shoes favoured by the youth back in the day.
The movie was actually a screen adaptation for Cameron Crowe’s book of the same title wherein he went undercover as a student at Clairemont High School in San Diego. Talk about commitment.
Spicoli’s famous line “Hey bud, let’s party!” became a widely used expression during the film’s heyday. Still considered to be one of the most accurate notes on coming-of-age stories of teen back in the 80s, the movie still has that funny bone thing to it.