Old School Americana & Nostalgia


This Iconic 80s Teen Comedy Was Nearly A David Lynch Film

This Iconic 80s Teen Comedy Was Nearly A David Lynch Film

David Lynch’s name is synonymous with dark, disturbing TV and film projects, yet he almost found himself tied to an 80s teen comedy. Oh, how much different would Jeff Spicoli have looked or spoken? Possibly a lot more different than in surfer lingo. Lynch did have a meeting back in the 1980s about directing Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

This 80s teen comedy movie was replete with sexual energy and wonder. Teenagers were waking up to newfound fun in their lives. Sean Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh started their careers in this movie, as Nicolas Cage. For the most part, director Amy Heckerling filled the screen with bright colors and sunshine.

One wonders if the light spirit of Fast Times at Ridgemont High would have been reflected in a Lynch-directed movie. Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe bent back into his own high school experiences in writing the book, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Crowe also remembered having a meeting with Lynch ahead of the movie’s production.

“He was very, very sweet about it, but slightly perplexed we thought of him,” Crowe said of Lynch, according to Variety. “He said this was a really nice story but ‘it’s not really the kind of thing that I do, but good luck.’” By this time, Lynch had received praise for his work as a director in Eraserhead and The Elephant Man.

David Lynch Put Teenage Angst In ‘Twin Peaks’

While Fast Times focused on awakening teenagers, Twin Peaks used darker imagery to talk about its youth. This TV series, which Lynch was behind, totally reflects Lynch’s style. Characters and storylines took viewers behind the surface-level life these citizens lived. Love affairs and trysts took place in the shadows, below committed relationships and law-abiding people.

Some of these lustful moments involved the youth of the program. They were able to express their desires in the Lynch world. While this activity enhanced Lynch’s directorial prowess, it set a precedent for the type of inner turmoil his characters wallowed in a lot.

Could Lynch have directed the 80s teen comedy? Maybe if he’d receive a substantial financial offer, then it’s possible. Yet taken from his comments earlier, Lynch knew the Fast Times project didn’t fit his own style. Several people have developed the name “Lynchian” when it comes to a type of environment presented on film.

There was a tender awkwardness shown in Heckerling’s movie, according to Collider. Teenagers just peaking in puberty, seeing changes in their bodies take place, and have a desire to experiment. Whether it was sexuality or drugs, they wanted to “feel” something meaningful. Fast Times at Ridgemont High did this with a wink in its eye. The cast brought all of this to life so well.

‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ Was Almost Different

Twin Peaks delivered Lynch’s view on high school angst about a decade after Heckerling’s film. There was enough space for Lynch to bring his “high school” twist to society. One can see a definite difference between the Fast Times movie and Twin Peaks.

Still, imagine if Phoebe Cates’ pool scene with Judge Reinhold had the Lynch spin on it. That 80s teen comedy would have been a different scene. And you can think of one or two of them yourself that would have changed. Not so much the dialogue in the scene, but its look.

Fans of Twin Peaks and Fast Times at Ridgemont High can rejoice, though. They got the directors their projects needed. That’s a win-win situation, indeed.