Soundtrack Saturday: “Valley Girl”
So, I know I normally write about films with soundtrack albums that are out of print or hard to find. I’ve avoided writing about Valley Girl (1983) because A) part of the soundtrack is in print, and B) I’ve always felt like it’s kind of an obvious choice, and I try not to be obvious. But I watched this movie again the other night and decided to break my self-imposed rules and give it a little love.
Directed by Martha Coolidge, Valley Girl, along with the Frank Zappa song that inspired it, created a legion of young girls across the country who wanted to look and talk like they were from the San Fernando Valley. I admit that I used to be a valley girl, even if the valley I grew up in was the Miami Valley of Ohio. The phrases “Gross me out,” “I’m so sure,” “Like, totally!” “Freak me out!” and, of course, “Like, oh my god!” were part of my vernacular in my formative years, much to my parents’ chagrin. The funny thing is, I started talking like that way before I ever saw Valley Girl, but my Val-speak only got worse after viewing it for the first time at a friend’s house. My family was thrilled.
Deborah Foreman plays Julie, a Val chick who, when she’s not working at her parents’ (Colleen Camp and Frederic Forrest) health-food store, spends most of her time hanging out with her friends Suzi (Michelle Meyrink), Loryn (Elizabeth Daily), and Stacey (Heidi Holicker), shopping and ogling hot dudes. Julie has a boyfriend, a badass Val dude named Tommy (Michael Bowen), but she’s, like, totally bored with him. So she decides to break up with him, which totally bums him out. But Tommy’s not worried, because, like, no other Val dude can touch him!
One day at the beach when she’s with her friends, Julie locks eyes with total hunk Randy (Nicolas Cage, in his first film under that moniker). What she doesn’t know is that Randy is not a Val dude — he’s from Hollywood! (Like, barf me out!) Later that night Randy and his buddy Fred (Cameron Dye) crash a party thrown by Suzi. Eventually, Randy convinces Julie to leave the party with him, agreeing to her condition that Stacey join them. They head to Randy’s favorite Hollywood bar, and sparks continue to fly.
After that night Randy and Julie are inseparable, which exasperates her friends because they can’t understand why she’d choose a Hollywood dude over a totally bitchin’ Val dude like Tommy. They finally get to her, and she becomes confused about whether she should go with her heart and continue to date Randy or cave into peer pressure and get back with Tommy. But, like, you’ll totally have to watch the movie to find out what she decides.
As Julie tries to sort out her love life, her friends are, like, freaking out about their own lives. Suzi is trying to get preppy Skip (David Ensor) to notice her, though he seems to have the hots for her mother; Loryn is dealing with a guilty conscience about an incident with Tommy at Suzi’s party; and Stacey is, well, trying to compete with the other three.
Because Hollywood can’t leave well enough alone, a remake is in the works, and get this — it’s a fucking musical. Like, gag me with a spoon! I like musicals, but the idea of someone fucking with Valley Girl and turning it into a dumb-ass High School Musical abomination makes me want to barf.
Now, about the soundtrack. It’s full of incredible early-’80s pop and new wave and is notable for containing tracks by L.A. acts like the Plimsouls, who perform several songs in the film at Randy’s favorite bar, and Josie Cotton, who performs at Julie’s prom.
In the mid-’90s Rhino released two volumes of songs from the movie. The first volume included selections from the 1983 soundtrack album — which, due to licensing difficulties, was a very short “mini-album” of six tracks, the A and B sides being identical (though the UK version of the soundtrack was different from the one released in the U.S.) — and added tracks that were in the film but didn’t make it onto the LP. The second volume included a few more songs that were in the film but not on the ’83 soundtrack, as well as some songs that weren’t in the film but would have fit nicely. Rhino’s first volume is still in print today, but the second one isn’t. I considered just posting the second volume, but I decided it’s only fair to post the whole thing.
Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo – Girls Like Me
Gary Myrick & the Figures – She Talks in Stereo
Sparks – Angst in My Pants
The Flirts – Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)
Felony – The Fanatic
Payola$ – Eyes of a Stranger
Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue
Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo – Shelly’s Boyfriend
The Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way
Pat Travers – I La La La Love You
The Plimsouls – Everywhere at Once
The Plimsouls – A Million Miles Away
Gary Myrick & the Figures – Time to Win
Modern English – I Melt With You
Sparks – Eaten by the Monster of Love
The Plimsouls – Oldest Story in the World
The Plimsouls – Zero Hour
Josie Cotton – School Is In
Josie Cotton – Johnny, Are You Queer?
Josie Cotton – He Could Be the One
Little Girls – The Earthquake Song
Men at Work – Who Can It Be Now?
Toni Basil – Mickey
Bananarama – He Was Really Saying Something
Thompson Twins – In the Name of Love
Culture Club – Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
Sparks and Jane Wiedlin – Cool Places
The Jam – Town Called Malice
Total Coelo – I Eat Cannibals
Rachel Sweet – Voo Doo
Valley Girls – Marina Men
Killer Pussy – Pocket Pool
There are a few songs that I can’t identify playing in the background of various scenes. First, there’s one during the scene where Randy sneaks into the bathroom at the party to wait for Julie; I’ve listened to every song on both volumes of the soundtrack and none of the lyrics match any of them. If anyone knows what it is, please share. Here’s a YouTube clip — the scene I’m talking about starts at about four minutes and 15 seconds in.
There’s also a song playing in the background in Skip’s bedroom when he calls Suzi, but I don’t know what it is. I tried to find a video clip but couldn’t. Gah!
And then there’s the background music in this scene, which may just be part of the score:
Li’l help? Much appreciated.