"Valley Girl" gets a complete makeover
BLU-RAY REVIEW / FRAME SHOTS
“VALLEY GIRL: COLLECTOR’S EDITION”
Blu-ray, 1983, R for nudity, profanity, sensual scenes, drug use and smoking
Best extra: “Valley Girl in Conversation” with Director Martha Coolidge, and actors EG Daily (Loryn, listed as Elizabeth Daily on credits) and Heidi Holicker (Stacey)
SURE, John Hughes made quintessential teenage-angst flicks in the 1980’s – “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” – but the precursor to these coming-of-age tales was an allegory-of-sorts by the name of “Valley Girl.” Like, for sure, totally.
While the movie is securely entrenched in its R rating (four, count them, four, full-on-breast scenes) the bottom line remains this modern Romeo and Juliet story that became the cult-classic 1980’s blockbuster it is today. And it comes with the soundtrack to many adults’ lives 35 years ago.
In honor of this anniversary, Shout! Factory has put together one of its “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray compilation that includes a handful of new, bonus features, a digitally remastered 4K scan of the original negative (1.85:1 aspect ratio) and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround remix.
Despite the decades, the new remastered version is a joy. A lot of “Valley Girl” was shot at night, so standard-def versions on DVD left a lot to be desired. Now, viewers can enjoy clear faces of the actors, including Nicolas Cage (Randy), Deborah Foreman (Julie), Heidi Holicker (Stacey) and Cameron Dye (Fred) as they cruise the Hollywood hills and wind up at a Sunset Strip bar after hours. (That same bar, called “The Central” back then, was bought by Johnny Depp and renamed the “Viper Room.” In 1993.)
Because the budget was sparse and the production time truncated (the film was made in 22 days), Director Martha Coolidge invented ways to make the film work, like actors and film principals throwing their clothes in a pile for wardrobe purposes and scouring the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood for set locations. Those places, like Du-Par’s, live again in clarity on Blu-ray.
The soundtrack also gets a boost with the 5.1 Surround remix. Modern English’s “Melt with You” and the Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away” can take you back to the early 1980’s if you have the sufficient speaker power to blast it. Don’t hold back.
Shout! deserves a bit of a shout-out for the new bonus features. Coolridge, Holicker and EG Daily, who played Loryn (listed as Elizabeth Daily in IMDb.com and on the movie’s credits) discuss for 50 minutes about the casting of the film, the production and the 35-year after-story each one carries.
A few fascinating tidbits:
· Coolidge was told she had to have four scenes where breasts were exposed. Daily’s was the first, and most famous shot on a bed at a party, where she’s been #metoo-ed by Julie’s ex, Tommy (Michael Bowen). Daily’s manager told her she wouldn’t have to do the scene. To this day, Daily will get photos of her breasts in the mail from that scene with a request to sign the pic. Coolidge apologized for putting Daily through it, but Daily tells Coolidge any other director would not have handled the scene so tastefully and with such great impact to the overall theme of the movie.
· Holicker was a Valley Girl – born and raised in San Fernando. She was “acting” she says, but, not really. Daily says Holicker’s character, Stacey, annoyed her, which was the point. And a Romeo and Juliet story, Stacey played the friend who wants Julie to maintain the snobby status quo.
· Coolidge didn’t know Cage was a Coppola who changed his name to gain some anonymity in Hollywood as he blazed his own path. His photo was literally on a reject pile until Coolidge saw it and thought he had a sexy look that could work for Randy. Boy, did it.
· Daily and Cage went to high school together. They would sometime sneak away while filming and make out.
· When the film was finished and screened by movie executives for the first time, they cheered, “It’s a real movie,” in utter surprise at what a heart-telling tale Coolidge and cast put out. Coolidge said she knew all along the movie would change her life. How? She wasn’t sure, but she knew it would.
· “Gag me” was used in the film and not “gag me with a spoon” as heard in the lyrics of the Frank Zappa song, “Valley Girl,” which came out in 1982. Zappa’s daughter, Moon, was featured on the tune.
Another new extra features Holicker and Coolidge (taken from the same “Valley Girl in Conversation” interview) sharing mementos Holicker saved from the movie, including her original pink sweater and blue skirt, the “Valley Girl” soundtrack and a photo of Cage, Foreman, Dye and that was taken while filming.
Another bonus shows a storyboard-to-film comparison. Coolidge says storyboarding was necessary because of the short time the studio allotted to make the film. It allowed her to get in and get out of shots, often in one or two takes. Later, she and Cage, in another ported-over bonus, joke about continuity, or the lack thereof, in “Valley Girl” because of the time constraints.
Finally, “Greetings from the San Fernando Valley” is a great look at the history of area with an interview with Tommy Gelinas, curator and owner of “The Valley Relics Museum.” From a farming mecca to a suburb for Hollywood elite, like Clark Gable, the Valley isn’t quite the boring place people make it out to be.
If you have a few hours on hand, watch the other ported-over bonus features, many from the 20th anniversary special edition. They include a great conversation with Cage and Coolidge, a look at the music and how Coolidge secured such powerful songs, a talk with the writers/producers on how they came up with the script (and wrote it in a week) and a feature-length commentary Coolidge made in 1999.
While these new extras are great, sadly, Cage is missing, as well as other stars who made the film a success. While many came back in 2003 for a 20th anniversary stroll down memory lane, Foreman has yet to be on one of the discs. But you can read comments she’s made about the movie in the past several years. Maybe the 40th anniversary will be different.
Until then, enjoy this blast from the past. It’s totally tubular. For sure.
― Toni Guagenti
SHOUT! VIDEO CLIP