Continuing his series of nostalgic retrospectives, Neal Damiano follows The Breakfast Club & Pretty In Pink with a look back at seminal 1980s cult classic Valley Girl…
Sincere, yet compelling, Valley Girl is the kind of romantic teen comedy that they just don’t make anymore. Nicolas Cage lands his first starring role as Randy, a punk rocker from Hollywood, to whom a valley girl named Julie, played by Deborah Foreman falls head over heels for. Valley Girl offered a genuine portrait of what was happening at the time in 1983. No other film represented the New Wave scene quite like Martha Coolidge’s film, from the fashion, music, and the way of speaking, it completely defined the era. But more importantly it told an interesting story of love and rebellion.
A mix of comedy and drama balanced together well, the film featured some very funny moments underlying a serious heart felt emotion of first love and heartbreak. What set the movie apart is the fact most films in the teen genre (outside of the John Hughes circle) had a manufactured idea of teenagers. Valley Girl wasn’t afraid to strip down to its bare emotions and show genuine heartache. Randy does lose the girl to peer pressure but ultimately gets her back in the end. The soundtrack is almost a character in itself and the songs fit absolutely perfectly with each scene.
Teen films were a dime-a-dozen in the 1980s with a central theme of parties and gratuitous sex. What makes Valley Girl special is the message it conveys, that of individuality, thinking for yourself, and doing what makes you happy. The ending scene when they are driving off in the limo particularly resonates with me: I still wonder what became of Randy and Julie.