L to R: 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' the book and the movie

Would you want your children to know you were the real-life inspiration for a famous tale of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll? Fast Times at Ridgemont High holds up as a heady brew of authentic teen life in the late 70s / early 80s, mixed with a fine sense of the absurd and served up by an amazing cast. It's definitely a teen sex comedy that DOESN'T suck. The movie's 25th anniversary two years ago inspired plenty of "Where Are They Now" recollections; our own Erik Davis offered his observations on an eye-opening gallery of "then and now" images for the cast.

Before the movie, however, there was the book, and before the book, there were the real-life students of Clairemont High School in San Diego, California. Cameron Crowe, then 22, went undercover at the school in 1979 to research a book on teen life. He'd graduated from another area school in 1972 -- at the age of 15! -- and was busy writing for Rolling Stone (as documented in Almost Famous), so he took a refresher course by soaking in the atmosphere at the school. Recently the class held its 30-year reunion and it turns out that some of those students have become very protective parents, according to a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

One graduate won't let his 15-year-old son watch the movie: "We are not going to show it to him until he's in college." The former class president says she finally allowed her daughter, a senior at the school, to read Crowe's book but isn't ready yet to allow her to see the flick, though she admits that it accurately portrayed the sex and drug activity among teens at the time.


Robin Weaver, now a science writer, served as the inspiration for the character of Linda Barrett, played by Phoebe Cates. After consulting with a psychiatrist, Weaver watched the movie with her son, who "thinks it's pretty embarrassing his mom was in the movie." Eew! That would kind of kill the enjoyment of watching the fantasy scene where Cates so memorably emerges from the swimming pool and begins to undress. For her part, Weaver says she "looked at the movie and I realized we were young and stupid. There was no way around it ... It was the essence of adolescence."

Commenting on why some of the original inspirations are now reluctant to let their children watch the movie, one graduate said: "We don't want our children to know everything we did in high school."

Gee, I can't imagine why.

categories Cinematical