Monthly Archives: October 2011

Like Totally For Sure!


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.

Foreman also went on to appear in movies Real Genius, My Chauffeur and April Fool’s Day. Today, she owns and operates an online graphics company called DF Graphics.

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.


Five Things That Scared Me As A Kid


The other night, whilst flipping through the channels I stopped on an infomercial peddling some ridiculously huge CD set of bad ’80s music. Suddenly, an Air Supply video appeared on the screen and I had a flashback of being a 10-year old girl, paralyzed with fear at the sight of those two guys. They scared the crap out me! The tall, blonde one with the weird blank stare. The smarmy, short, dark-haired one with the spiral perm. Absolute horror! I always got the serial killer vibe from the two of them. It got me thinking about other things that used to scare me as a child and with Halloween just around the corner, what better time to blog about it.

While I am a big Talking Heads fan, the video for “Burning Down the House” used to give me the creeps. Maybe it was because I would have a recurring dream as a child that I would see a face in the sky, but David Byrne appearing on the side of the house would make me run to the TV to shut it off. The song, the first single off the band’s fifth album Speaking in Tongues, is great, yet still freaks me out. But, not to worry…Clear Channel has our backs. After the September 11 attacks, “Burning Down the House” was one of the songs deemed “possibly inappropriate” for radio play.
When I was a kid, my parents had the best record collection–the beatles, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, John Lennon, Wings, Cheech & Chong and Queen. They were cool! Long haired guys with guitars became my first crushes. But, one album stood out. News of the World, the 1977 album from Queen featured some of the most horrifying images to my 6-year old eyes. Featuring a giant robot holding the bloody bodies of people, the album spawned hits like “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and “Spread Your Wings.”

The artwork was a painting by American artist Frank Kelly Freas and his work was featured heavily on the covers of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. This particular image was on the October 1953 cover.

Queen drummer Roger Taylor was a fan of the magazine and contacted the artist. The band asked him to alter the image a bit–replacing the single victim with the four band members, all dead. The inner album cover image featured the robot reaching for a fleeing audience of screaming concertgoers. Fun! Total nightmare-inducing.

The New Zoo Revue was a children’s show that featured three main characters of adults in huge animal costumes. They’d sing, dance and roller skate. It would air in syndication, and I’d watch it on a New York City channel at 6 a.m. Just the mere sound of the theme song would freak me out. Granted it was a really old show that I would see in reruns, but it was just so bizarre and unnerving.

Originally aired from 1972 to 1977, the show ran for 196 episodes and was considered a musical comedy that was supposed to teach kids things like manners, patience and how to cope with a family move. Ummm, OK. The costumed, adult-sized characters were a tutu-wearing Henrietta Hippo, the whimsical Freddie the Frog and the scientist/inventor Charlie the Owl, all of  whom would interact with two actual humans, Doug and Emmy Jo. The humans were weird and nerdy and also married in real life. They’re still together and run a video production company in Las Vegas called Laguna Productions. Sounds about right. I’m pretty sure if you’re looking for a company to shoot your amateur porn for you, they’d take the job. But, I could be wrong. Of course, the cameo of Freddie the Frog will cost you extra. 🙂
Fun fact: Sometimes the New Zoo Revue gang was visited by some other adult-sized, costumed friends, one of which was elderly postman Mr. Dingle played by Chuck Woolery the suave host of Love Connection. Would you believe that crappy show ran from 1983 to 1994? Who knew… “We’ll be back in two and two.” 🙂

No list of child-terrifiers would be complete without a mention of the 1973 film, The Exorcist. I was drawn to it because it was about a young girl named Regan McNeil, who wore cool polyester plaid pant suits and was so rich that she had one of those vibrating beds that you didn’t even have to put any quarters in to run! Of course, the reality is that it’s one of the most chilling movies ever made. But, the real clincher for me was when they added the never-before-seen spiderwalk, back into the film in 1998 when Warner Bros. rereleased the digitally remastered DVD: The Exorcist: 25th Anniversary Special Edition.

This spiderwalk featured no blood spewing, but after some influence from fans and screenplay writer William Peter Blatty, CGI artists added blood and rereleased the film back into theaters in 2000.

I know this blog is extremely random. Sorry. 🙂 Happy Halloween!

Bizarre Commercials from Around the World


So, in China, the Irish are known for their Kentucky Fried Chicken? Good to know. Or is this just racist because they’re using stout on the chicken. 🙂 You decide. Plus, that supposed irish guy in the commercial would get his ass kicked on the streets of Dublin.

Here is another KFC commercial…and more confusion. Is that chicken or fish? Blech. And crushing the president with an enormous sandwich is just not nice.

In France, McDonald’s promotes gay equality…oh yes, that’s their new target audience. This is just weird. It’s got the heartfelt music, the sweet father/son conversation that is followed by the “Come As You Are” tagline. I love the idea…hate the messenger.

I’m pretty sure this Italian commercial for Coloreria Italiana laundry detergent is racist.

In Scotland, all babies are lured out of their mothers’ wombs with a can of Irn Bru. 🙂

And, one more from Scotland’s drink of choice, Irn Bru…because it’s great.

Sidenote: Irn Bru (Iron Brew) is a soda from Scotland, touted as ‘Scotland’s other national drink’ (the first, of course, being whiskey). It can be found in the U.S., but has a slightly different recipe, since some of the ingredients are actually deemed unfit for a beverage in the U.S. It tastes similar to that of melting down about 10 creamsicles and adding some seltzer. Definitely an acquired taste. Foxon Park, an East Haven, CT, company makes their version called Iron Brew that is described by the company as a cross between cola, cream soda and root beer.