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VALLEY GIRL

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Nicholas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Elizabeth Daily, Cameron Dye, Michelle Meyrink
Director: Martha Coolidge
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format & 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Length: 99 Minutes
Release Date: August 5, 2003

“If they attack the car, save the radio!”

  Film ***

With way too much valley talk, and a cast made up of Hollywood unknowns, you’d expect Valley Girl to be nothing more than a “B” movie, without any class.  Instead when I popped this disc into my DVD player, I was totally blown away, man!

Julie is from the valley, where everything is like, totally tubular.  Everyone and everything outside the valley is grody, man, like gag me with a spoon.   Enter Randy, the Hollywood man who manages with much success to stir up the totally awesome little world Julie has been living in.

Their friends are against them because, like what could a rockin’ babe from the Valley and a totally gross sleezoid from Hollywood have in common, right?   Well, that little thang called love for starters!

Right off the bat, if you know movies and literature at all you will recognize the Romeo and Juliet storyline (okay, so I didn’t catch it the first time I watched it in the early 90s on TV, but that was before I was like, refined and stuff, okay). Despite the fact that Shakespeare’s baby has been remade in many forms, many times over, this treatment is refreshing, and fun without all the hype.  

Part of the reason behind this movies refreshing look was the shoestring budget director Martha Coolidge had to work with when making it.   It was also filmed in approximately twenty days so you didn’t have a lot of time or room to say hey, let’s rework that scene.  

I really enjoyed watching a young Nicholas Cage taking his first steps toward the awesome actor he’s become.  I think the first movie I ever saw him in was Raising Arizona and everyone who has seen it knows how crazy and out there that movie was.   He pulled it off though, just like he does time and time again.   It is still nice though to be able to go back and see actors before they were sucked into the realm of fortune and fame!

Deborah Foreman did a really great job with the part of Julie.   I really enjoyed watching her despite the grody language style she was using.  She had a youthful innocence about her that transferred very well into her character, Julie.  Deborah did a string of “B” movies throughout the 80s and into the early 90s and then just disappeared from Hollywood’s radar screen. You will also note her absence from the featurette and interviews on this disc.   It was great getting everyone else’s take on things twenty years later, but her input would have been really nice to see/hear.

Younger movie audiences might recognize Martha Coolidge’s name in conjunction with another teen cult classic she directed, Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone.   Coolidge is very open and candid in the features that are included on this disc.  She doesn’t pull punches when talking about the budget she had to work with, as well the actors.   She’s very smart and very talented, as demonstrated by her ability to take a low budget film full of unknowns like Valley Girl and help raise it to cult status!

With a fully loaded features section, and I mean totally loaded to the max man, this disc, is a definite must see.   Those who love the film will fall in love with all the extra features on the disc.  Anyone out there who’s never had the experience, jump on in and get retro, it’s like the coolest thing ever man, like totally!

Video ***

This disc is reversible with a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer on one side, and a 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen Transfer on the other.   Both were visually pleasing with a minimal amount of dirt and grain.  Some restoration was done to this print, although I can’t say that it helped much.   Some of the scenes were a bit too dark and lacked any detail at all.

There are a few visible problems when you turn on the extra features while watching this film, but a disc can only hold so much and when you compress everything down, so that more will fit you will obviously have lines that will bleed through and hazing around some of the edges.

Audio**

The audio tracks on this transfer were a little bit disappointing but the music contained on this disc had enough oomph to help it along a bit.  

This transfer contains a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that was hollow at times and unbalanced.  The barely-there background music and secondary sounds got lost in the mix somewhere.   There was a decent level of balance between each characters dialogue, however the looped in after audio was easy to pick out.

The soundtrack is cool as all 80’s movie soundtracks are.  You also, won’t be disappointed with the audio in the extra features sections when you play the Music Videos.

Features ****

MGM did a totally awesome job and pulled out all the stops for this movie’s debut on DVD.

There are two featurettes with commentary by director Martha Coolidge, and most of the original cast and crew.  These features were very well done; interview style with little stories, and memories from just about everyone involved with this film.

“In Conversation” is a very special little feature that has Martha Coolidge and Nicholas Cage talking about Valley Girl and movies in general.   They are both relaxed and it’s really enjoyable to watch.

There is an audio commentary track by the film’s director that runs concurrently with the film.  Also there is a Video Commentary track, Storyboard to Film Comparisons, and the Original Theatrical Trailer for the movie.

Original music videos from Modern English and The Plimsouls are included for your viewing pleasure, along with a Pop-Up-Video style 80’s movie Trivia Track.

English, French, & Spanish language subtitles are included, as well as interactive menus and easy to navigate features. 

WOW, all those features, it’s like oh ma gawd! 

Summary:

A solid package, and a totally tubular set of extra help this DVD to become more than any other 80s DVD I’ve seen out there on the market.  So head on out and don’t be lame dude, grab your copy today!