Valley Girl review by Mike LongWhile we know Nicolas Cage for many things today, his whacky roles, his whacky marriages, it's fun to go back and view his first leading role in 1983's Valley Girl, which recently made its DVD debut. In the film, Cage plays Randy, a punk from Hollywood who meets the titular "valley girl", Julie (the bewitching Deborah Foreman) at a party, and is instantly taken with her. Julie doesn't know how to take this no-nonsense guy, when she's so accustomed to the posh surrounding and malls of the Valley. But, she eventually falls in love with her as well. However, her friends and her ex-boyfriend don't approve of this romance, and Julie is soon ostracized from her own clique. Will she choose the popularity of her friends or true-love with Randy.
If one were to take a cynical view, it would be very easy to call Valley Girl a rip-off of Fast Times at Ridgemont High or an attempt to cash-in on the popularity of the Frank and Moon Unit Zappa song of the same name. Or, you could point out that Valley Girl is simply a modern re-telling of "Romeo & Juliet". And, while all of those things are probably true, Valley Girl still manages to create an energy all its own and is a memorable and interesting little movie. Most of this is due to the performances by Cage and Foreman (it's truly a shame that she left acting!). They both bring a certain legitimacy to their characters, making the film more believable than the average teenage fluff which was hitting movie screens in the 80s. To that end, Valley Girl (like Fast Times at Ridgemont High) has a serious tone which also helps to separate it from its peers. If the movie has a downfall, it's that it can't ever decide what it wants to be. While there is a definite romance at the film's core, the comedy falls flat and the subplots aren't that interesting. Still, Valley Girl is a slice of 80's nostalgia, that like totally still works in most regards.
Valley Girl surfs onto DVD from MGM Home Entertainment. Like many of MGM's recent releases, this DVD features both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film. (For this review, only the widescreen version was viewed.) The widescreen side of the disc features an anamorphic transfer, where the film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1. The transfer is clean and free from any major defects, but there is a noticeable amount of grain in the daytime shots, especially the beach scene. But, the colors look fine and there are only trace amounts of artifacting. The discs Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track does justice to the film's memorable soundtrack and delivers clear dialogue, but there is little in the way of surround sound, save for the musical numbers and the occasional crowd noise.
As this DVD is labeled as a "Special Edition", it contains several extras. Director Martha Coolidge provides a nice audio commentary in which she shares many details from the film's production. But, the one thing that you're going to remember from these extras is THAT GREEN JACKET. Yes, in both "Valley Girl: 20 Totally Tubular Years Later" (23-minutes) and "In Conversation: Martha Coolidge and Nicolas Cage" (20-minutes), Cage wears this God-awful neon-green snakeskin jacket. That man is whacky! Anywho, these two segments offer even more info on the making of the film, and "20 Totally Tubular Years Later" has interviews with most of the film's main cast and crew, but the absence of Deborah Foreman leaves a hole here. There is also a featurette on the film's soundtrack, featuring interviews with the musicians who contributed songs to the movie, plus there are two music videos. Finally, we have storyboard-to-film comparisons.
7 out of 10 Jackasses