Valley Girl

1983, Martha Coolidge, USA

Director: Martha Coolidge
Producers: Wayne Crawford, Andrew Lane
Screenplay: Andrew Lane, Wayne Crawford
Cinematography: Frederick Elmes
Editor: Eva Gardos
Music: Marc Levinthal, Scott Wilk
Nicolas Cage (Randy)
Deborah Foreman (Julie)
Elizabeth Daily (Loryn)
Michael Bowen (Tommy)
Cameron Dye (Fred)
Heidi Holicker (Stacey)


Rating: M Runtime: 99 minutes

For lovers of 80’s L.A., this movie is a treat.  Although based on a Frank Zappa novelty song, Valley Girl is a sweet Romeo and Juliet tale about a cute girl from the boring San Fernando Valley (played by Deborah Forman) and a Punk-loving kid from Hollywood (Nicolas Cage in his star-making role.)

Zappa sued the film makers for using the title: his song was an indictment of Reagan-era consumerism – think the Kardashians or Real Housewives of Encino. But Martha Coolidge had a different idea.  One of the few female directors working in Hollywood at the time (along with Amy Heckerling who made Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Penelope Spheeris of Suburbia fame), Coolige was known as a documentarian. And she used this background to her advantage, presenting her characters without judgment, as they go through their daily lives at shopping malls, school, the beach, parties, the prom. Her style was acclaimed by influential critic Roger Ebert, whose review helped make the movie a surprise hit.

Its famous soundtrack features The Psychedelic Furs, the Plimsouls, and Josie Cotton, though the music licensing fees of $250,000 nearly doubled the film’s total $350,000 budget. Except for some nudity (there are a few brief frames of naked breasts that Coolidge was contractually obligated to include), and a Graduate-esque subplot in which a mom seduces a teenage boy, the film is surprisingly upbeat.  A charming window into another place and time.


Nov 11 2024


6:15 pm - 7:55 pm