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Valley Girl is a 1983 American romantic comedy film, directed by Martha Coolidge, starring Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Michelle Meyrink, Elizabeth Daily, Cameron Dye and Michael Bowen.

PlotEdit

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Julie Richman (Deoborah Foreman) is a Valley girl who seems to have it all: good looks, popularity, and a handsome Valley dude boyfriend, Tommy (Michael Bowen), but she is having second thoughts about her relationship with the arrogant and selfish Tommy.

At the end of a shopping trip with her friends, Loryn (E.G. Daily), Stacey (Heidi Holicker), and Suzi (Michelle Meyrink), Julie runs into Tommy and breaks up with him. Later that day at the beach, Julie trades shy glances with a young man in the distance.

That night, at a party at Suzi's house, Julie locks eyes with Randy (Nicolas Cage), a Hollywood punk who has crashed the party with his friend, Fred (Cameron Dye). They hit it off well, especially after Julie learns that Randy was the young man at the beach earlier. Tommy is jealous, and tries to bed Loryn. He fails and gets his cronies to eject Randy and Fred from the party.

Undaunted, Randy sneaks back into the house, and hides in an upstairs bathroom shower. Randy waits in the shower for Julie to enter the bathroom as various partygoers come and go, talking about and trying to have sex, and doing drugs. When Julie eventually does enter, Randy convinces her to leave the party with him.

Julie brings a very reluctant Stacey along for the ride with Randy and Fred. While at Randy's favorite Hollywood nightclub, Julie and Randy rapidly grow closer as Stacey continually rebuffs Fred's advances.

Julie's friends, dismayed by her relationship with Randy, pressure her to drop him and get back together with Tommy. Julie asks her father (Frederic Forrest) for advice, and he kindly tells her that she should follow her heart. Despite this, Julie reconciles with Tommy and later dumps Randy.

A heartbroken Randy gets severely drunk, makes out with his ex-girlfriend (Tina Theberge), and nearly gets into a fight with a gang of low riders before Fred saves him. Fred chides Randy for moping over Julie, but tells him that he needs to fight if he truly wants her back. After Randy flits about the Valley for the next few days just so he can get a glimpse at Julie, Fred says that he has a plan that will both reunite Randy with Julie and get revenge against Tommy.

A subplot involves Suzi and her stepmother, Beth (Lee Purcell), vying for the attention of a boy named Skip (David Ensor). At her party, Suzi tells Beth, who is chaperoning, about Skip, who she likes and hopes will show up.

When Skip does arrive, Beth finds herself attracted to him. Skip is also attracted to Beth and goes out of his way to go to see her without Suzi finding out. One day, Skip enters Suzi's house, apparently looking for Beth. He goes upstairs and finds a woman in the shower in Beth's bedroom.

Skip and this woman (whose face is not shown) are then shown making love. Another woman arrives home and goes upstairs. The bedroom door opens, Beth enters, and only then it is shown that Suzi was in the shower and in bed with Skip. Skip and Suzi go to the prom together.

As the girls make prom decorations, Stacey and Loryn chat over their post-prom plans. Stacey reveals that Tommy made a reservation at the Valley Sheraton Hotel as an after-prom "surprise" for Julie.

Tommy and Julie ride to the prom in a rented stretch limousine; Randy and Fred arrive shortly after and sneak backstage. Randy becomes increasingly annoyed with just watching the Valley High kids dance, but Fred assures him that all is going according to plan. Julie and Tommy are escorted backstage, waiting to be introduced as king and queen of the prom. Randy confronts Tommy, and the two begin to brawl.

When the prom king and queen are announced, the curtain pulls back to reveal Randy beating up Tommy. Randy knocks Tommy out, then escorts a thrilled Julie from the stage through the crowd. Tommy recovers and storms through the crowd towards Randy and Julie, who start a food fight to slow Tommy down and facilitate their escape from the venue in Tommy's rented limousine.

As the happy couple ride into the night towards the Valley Sheraton, Julie removes Tommy's I.D. bracelet, which had been a sign of the relationship between the two during the entire film, and throws it out the window.

The scene (which echoes the final scene of the film The Graduate) pans to the overview of the Valley, while the limo turns past the Sherman Oaks Galleria glowing in the night.

CastEdit

  • Nicolas Cage as Randy
  • Deborah Foreman as Julie Richman
  • Elizabeth Daily as Loryn
  • Michael Bowen as Tommy
  • Cameron Dye as Fred Bailey
  • Heidi Holicker as Stacey
  • Michelle Meyrink as Suzi Brent
  • Tina Theberge as Samantha
  • Lee Purcell as Beth Brent
  • Richard Sanders as Driver's Ed Teacher
  • Colleen Camp as Sarah Richman
  • Frederic Forrest as Steve Richman
  • David Ensor as Skip
  • Tony Plana as Low Rider
  • Joyce Heiser as Joyce
  • Wayne Crawford as Lyle
  • Laura Jacoby as Peggy
  • The Plimsouls as Themselves
  • Peter Case as Himself
  • Joanne Baron as Miss Lieberman
  • Steven Bauer (uncredited) as Guy in Pink Shirt

ProductionEdit

The film was originally conceived as a teen exploitation film to capitalize on the valley girl fad inspired by Frank Zappa's song "Valley Girl." Zappa explored the possibility of making a "Valley Girl" film and got inquiries from several studios, but nothing materialized.

Zappa tried to sue to stop production on the film, claiming that it infringed on his trademark, but lost the case.

The movie was shot on a shoestring budget of $350,000, but it earned fifty times that amount. The director, Martha Coolidge received a token salary.

Most of the crew and some of the actors were friends of Martha from film school and worked for free. There were almost no retakes.

The executives gave the cast & crew only a small artistic budget which included wardrobe, so the cast & crew put all their own clothes on a table, and that became the wardrobe. The gowns and suits at the prom were promotions.

The actors went to high schools in the Valley to learn or reacquaint themselves with "Valley Speak." One of the early scenes used dialogue that was 100% dialect. The dialect was used only sparingly thereafter for the sake of clarity.

The executives regarded the project as an exploitative teenage film and required that there be four scenes containing bare breasts because they felt that it would make the movie more appealing to younger males. At the first screening, they were pleasantly surprised and said, "My God, this is a real movie!"

The teacher's King and Queen speech was delivered by Martha Coolidge's former acting instructor, Joanne Baron. She and Martha wrote it the night before.

Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman found it difficult to do the breakup scene at Julie's front door because it was shot late in the filming when they were dating. It took a lot of takes and some counseling by Martha Coolidge, who told Foreman to think of another guy she had broken up with.

ReceptionEdit

Box OfficeEdit

"Valley Girl" debuted at #4 at the box office, grossing $1,856,780 during its opening weekend, coming in behind films Flashdance, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Tootsie. Domestically, it made $17,343,596.

Critical ReceptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was given an 83% rating based on 24 reviews with an average rating of 6.7\10. It was given an audience score of 72% based on 13,536 user ratings with an average rating of 3.5\5.

The critics' consensus said, "With engaging performances from its two leads, Valley Girl is a goofy yet amiable film that both subverts and celebrates the cheerful superficiality of teen comedies".

Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars, calling the film "a funny, sexy, appealing story".

Janet Maslin from the New York Times said, "The characters and their jargon are occasionally amusing, but there's no action, no conflict, no overwhelming satire and nothing to jolt them out of their lethargy".

Theatrical TrailerEdit

Valley Girl (1983) - Trailer

Valley Girl (1983) - Trailer

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