Few ’80s teen sexploitation films can say they are loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” OK, so pretty much all movies that have ‘teen’ in the description are Montague and Capulet-inspired, but one stands above the rest…Valley Girl. Released in 1983, this romantic comedy featured newcomer, and former Maybelline model (Shine Free AND Kissing Potion lip gloss ladies! You remember the ads.), Deborah Foreman as Julie Richman (ha ha! I get it, cuz she’s rich and all!) the popular and pretty valley girl who crosses paths with super-cool punk rocker Randy (no last name given) played by a young Nicolas Cage.
Blah, blah, blah…Julie is the prom queen dating the cool guy, Tommy (Michael Bowen), her friends pressure her not to fall for Randy, but ya know, he’s cool and from Hollywood and listens to the Plimsouls! What girl could resist? Not Julie and she struggles with her need to buy bright pink mini skirts and fingerless gloves at Wet Seal with her friends at the mall or hang out in dark dive bars with Randy and his sexy flippy tri-colored hair. In the end, true love endures and they fall in love…they don’t end up dead like in “Romeo and Juliet.”
Some quick movie facts: the film had a budget of $325,000 and producers were told by the studio that it must earn an R-rating with a minimum of four pairs of bare breasts shown in an effort to attract more male viewers. It was actually a financial success, having earned more than $17 million in domestic earnings. What really set this movie apart from the others of its time and genre are the main players, some of whom went on to illustrious careers in the entertainment industry.
We all know where Cage ended up, but Valley Girl was the first time he used the name Nicolas Cage and not Nicolas Coppola, his real name. Not sure why he felt having the family name would hurt his chances in the movie industry (uncle is Francis and cousin is Sofia), but whatever. It is said that he wanted to avoid the appearance of nepotism, even though his uncle was instrumental in getting Nicolas roles. But I digress…. Funny Valley Girl fact: Nicolas is a hairy guy, so director Martha Coolidge asked him to trim his chest hair a bit, so he basically cut the Superman design (minus the S) into his chest. Check out the beach scene for confirmation.
The role of Julie was originally going to be played by Michelle Pfeiffer, but went to Foreman instead. Having modelled as a teen, Foreman got her first acting break in a McDonald’s commercial that ran only in England.
Julie had a gaggle of close friends at her school, one of which was played by E.G. Daily, one of the most accomplished castmates to come out of the film. As the adorable and slutty Loryn, Daily went on to have an acting, singing and voiceover career. Her credits include (brace yourself): the role of bike repair extraordinaire Dottie in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, appeared as a singer at the prom in the classic Better Off Dead, played a runaway teen in Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” video, and played Candy in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, to name just a few. She had songs that have appeared in the films The Breakfast Club, Summer School and Scarface.
But, it’s her voiceover work that has been her moneymaker: She sings the part of young Jake Harper in the opening theme to One and A Half Men, she was the voice of Babe in all of the films, and Tommy Pickles in Rugrats and All Growed Up. Her newest work is playing the voice of Mumbles in the Happy Feet films. Memorable TV appearance include an episode of Friends (The One with Phoebe’s Ex-Partner) and as musical guest for Saturday Night Live in 1986. By the way, Daily was one of the bare breasts that helped the film garner an R rating.
Another friend of Julie was Suzi Brent played by Michelle Meyrink who some of you may remember as female nerd Judy in Revenge of the Nerds and hyper-nerd smartie Jordan Cochran in Real Genius. She also played Marcia, Cherry Valance’s friend, in the film The Outsiders and was cast as Mallory’s best friend in the TV show Family Ties. She eventually dropped off the Hollywood map, studied Zen Buddhism and moved back to her hometown of Vancouver. Today, she is married with three kids and was featured on a Canadian TV series called Quiet Mind in 2004 focused on people who practice Zen Buddhism.
Julie’s jock boyfriend was played by Michael Bowen whom imdb credits 111 roles between the years 1982 and 2012. He is the half-brother of Robert and Keith Carradine, and uncle to Martha Plimpton. He appeared in Less Than Zero, Jackie Brown, Magnolia, Kill Bill and has Slumber Party Slaughter slated for a 2012 release. 🙂 He also appeared in Lost as Danny Pickett.
Actress Joyce Hyser had a small supporting role in Valley Girl as Joyce, but more importantly, she went on to star in Just One of the Guys in 1985. The coolness of that film cannot be discussed here, so be prepared for a full blog entry on that one. She was in This Is Spinal Tap, and numerous TV shows, but she is also known for having a five-year relationship with Bruce Springsteen. In the ’80s she was in a Dan Hartman video for his song “I Can Dream About You.”
One notable role is that of Randy’s ex-girlfriend Samantha that he meets in a club (after he is rejected by Julie) and has a pretty hot make out scene with in the bathroom. The actress is Tina Theberge. Warning: Appearance number two of required boobs.
What’s really odd is the movie poster for Valley Girl features Cage with a girl, meant to be Foreman, but is actually Theberge with blonde hair. They look nothing alike and it makes no sense. Very strange.
Music-wise, an official soundtrack wasn’t released until years later due to clearance problems, but The Plimsouls appear in two scenes at a punk club and Josie Cotton (and the Party Crashers) sing her infamous song, “Johnny Are You Queer?” at the Valley prom.
Julie’s hippie, health store-owning parents were played by Colleen Camp and Frederick Forrest who also appeared together in Apocalypse Now.
Camp was a mere nine years older than Foreman during the filming of Valley Girl.
Producers of the film wanted to get Frank Zappa on board as his song “Valley Girl,” sung by his daughter Moon Unit Zappa was in the charts at the time. Frank refused and sued the producers. He eventually lost the case.