Like, oh my god, there was once this faraway place where teenage girls like totally created their own bitchin’ subculture and language. All right, perhaps it wasn’t so far away – a stone’s throw from downtown Los Angeles actually, in the suburban San Fernando Valley. These trendy inhabitants came to be lovingly known as Valley Girls, thanks to a memorable 1981 Frank Zappa song, “Valley Girl” in which he and his daughter Moon Unit openly mocked their lifestyle and their “Valspeak.” Two years later, the romantic comedy Valley Girl was released, paying homage to this little slice of Southern California subculture. And the result was nothing short of gnarly…fer sure.
Julie Richman is the typical attractive valley teen, spending her days shopping at malls with friends, Stacey Suzi and Loryn, and the nights in the arms of her hunky yet arrogant boyfriend Tommy. That is, until she gets an eyeful of non-local bad boy Randy (Nicolas Cage) at the beach one day. She ends up breaking up with Tommy as a result, and soon crosses paths again with Randy at a local party. Tommy and friends don’t take too kindly to Randy’s arrival, forcefully kicking him out, but undeterred, he shows up again later and takes Julie out for a night on the town, where the two begin to fall in love.
Her new affections don’t sit well with her friends, who are aghast that she would consider giving her love to an outsider. Seeking advice from her father, he tells her to follow her heart, but peer pressure eventually wins out and she reluctantly goes back to Tommy. A dejected and depressed Randy isn’t ready to give up that easily, however, and plots a showdown at the upcoming high school prom, where Julie and Tommy are about to be crowned King and Queen. Julie’s loyalty is about to be put to the test, between the man she loves and the culture that embraces her as one of its own.
Valley Girl perfectly encapsulated the typical life of its namesake, capturing every detail of the lifestyle and every dialectal quirk. Filled with the new-wave sounds of such bands as The Plimsouls, Modern English, the Payolas and Josie Cotton, this classic “boy meets girl” story would further the legend of the illustrious Valley Girl that Zappa had so colorfully conveyed. And, it is a cultural phenomenon that has lived on, thanks to television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sweet Valley High and, of course, Valley Girls.
If you are a fan of this memorable 80s film, we welcome you to share your thoughts in our comments section. If you aren’t too busy being gagged with a spoon, that is.