A chick from the valley and a punk from the city.
Released in April 1983, and shot in just 21 days on a shoestring budget that went mostly to cover the soundtrack and where the cast had to provide their own clothes for their characters’ wardrobes, Valley Girl may just be the penultimate story of star-crossed lovers.
Inspired from Frank Zappa’s song of the same name, the producers had hoped to make a quick buck and gave the director, Martha Coolidge, total creative freedom as long as she promised to include partial nudity.
Total boob count by the way? Seven.
One does not simply make a cult classic, but key elements can certainly help.
First, sign Nicolas Cage to his first starring role, Randy.
Second, cast Deborah Foreman as Julie, who instantly falls for Cage.
The chemistry between the two is nearly palpable. You witness two people genuinely fall for one another captured on celluloid, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to have loved at first sight, you’ll get swept up in this wild ride through the streets of L.A. and Hollywood.
Third, I blame this film for my obsessive love for New Wave music. If you can hear Eddy Grant, The Psychedelic Furs, and The Payolas without becoming an instant fan, you are dead to me.
Fourth, Julie’s hippie parents are endearing, and we get some interesting side-plots with Randy and Julies’ friends.
If you are catching Fast Times at Ridgemont High vibes from the opening montage, good eye. It was filmed at the same mall. Incidentally, that was Cage’s debut, flipping burgers in the background.
We are then greeted with food-court banter that will thin out the ill-prepared of us.
“Like, he’s got the bod, but his brains are bad news.”
How this script didn’t win an Oscar is beyond me.
Julie is at a crossroads. While she’s going with the most popular guy at school, Tommy, the relationship has grown stale. She’s got her eyes on something new, so Julie devises Operation Get Brad for Suzi’s party being thrown that night.
Enter Randy and Fred.
While standing in line at the concession at the beach, Fred eavesdrops and scores the Suzi’s address. He convinces a reluctant Randy to drive to the valley.
Fast forward and Julie isn’t making much progress with Brad, while the duo crash the party. Julie immediately connects with Randy and is surprised to learn that he was the dude she was checking out at the beach.
After making Julie’s now ex Tommy mad, the pair are thrown out. Randy sneaks back in and convinces Julie to leave the party. She drags her friend Stacey along, much to Fred’s delight, and to Stacey’s horror.
The group drives down Mullholland Drive, and end up at a club where the Plimsouls are playing.
The group stays out until dawn, ending with Randy and Julie agreeing to meet up again. Alarming her friends and ex, Julie is totally smitten. We are treated with a montage of the two hitting all the hotspots and being inseparable, all while being serenaded by Modern English.
Unfortunately, it’s not long before reality hits, and Julie has to make a decision. Will she choose her budding romance, or her friends and popularity?
She reluctantly pushes Randy away. Devastated and drunk, Randy briefly reconnects with his ex, which feels honest and hits hard.
He then goes on a mission to get Julie back, and it all culminates at the prom, where Josie Cotton is headlining.
This film’s like tripendicular, ya’ know?
Tim Bynum is a Jones County native who lives in Laurel with his wife, Lauren. An avid film fan since 1985, keep up with him at thefilmsnob.reviews and on Instagram and Facebook: @the_filmsnob.