Ten years after journalist Cameron Crowe peeked into the private lives of Clairemont High's Class of 1979, the class he satirized in his book and film is preparing for its first reunion. And while many still resent him for his depiction of their sex-obsessed and stoned classmates, members say the film was accurate in its portrayal of high school life.
Some of the film's characters, such as Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Brad (Judge Reinhold), and Mark "Rat" Ratner (Brian Backer), were based on actual people Crowe knew. Others, such as Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), were the creations of a group of students at Clairemont.
One of the most enduring and controversial characters was Spicoli, played by Sean Penn. But a large number of members of the class of 1979 claim that he was actually based on several students at Clairemont, including Mike Damone and Linda Barrett.
Another notable character was Mr. Hand, the history teacher who frequently was put on the spot by Spicoli's antics. Today, Hand might be surprised to learn that the class of 1979 is celebrating its 30-year-reunion and that most of the Chieftains are successful adults.
Other members of the class, such as Pat White and Sara Weaver, said they've watched the movie with their kids. Both said that their children found the film entertaining, though they also said some parts were a bit out of context.