Valley Girl – Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Valley Girl
Release Date: 1983
Runtime: 99 minutes
Region Coding: Region A
Studio: Shout Select (Shout! Factory)
Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 5.1 & 2.0
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Formats Available: Blu-ray
Versions Available: Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Release Date: 10/30/18
Director: Martha Coolidge
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Elizabeth Daily, Michael Bowen, Cameron Dye, Heidi Holicker, Michelle Meyrink, Lee Purcell, Richard Sanders, Colleen Camp, Frederic Forrest
“Valley Girl” from 1983 was a romantic comedy directed by Martha Coolidge, most known for later directing the film “Real Genius” (1985). The film is a tale of two teenagers from slightly different Southern Californian cultures, the Valley and Hollywood, coming together despite their friends telling them it’s just not cool. That’s how silly teenagers were in the eighties, and still are to this day.
The film’s protagonist (“Valley Girl”) here is an attractive teenage blonde girl named “Julie” (Deborah Foreman), that lives in the San Fernando Valley. Julie is your typical Valley girl who enjoys spending her time shopping and hanging out at the beach with her friends. Julie’s three closest friends include “Loryn” (Elizabeth Daily), “Stacey” (Heidi Holicker), and “Suzi” (Michelle Meyrink).
As we are first being introduced to Julie and her friends, they are shopping at the mall and run into Julie’s boyfriend “Tommy” (Michael Bowen). The encounter doesn’t go too well, as she’d been discussing dumping him already. Julie decides to tell Tommy it’s over, and that’s not something the arrogant guy can handle. Eventually Julie and her friends end up hanging out at the beach. While at the beach Julie notices a guy, that she and her friends agree is very attractive. That guy, despite their knowing, is “Randy” (Nicolas Cage) who happens to be a punk from the Hollywood area. Randy eventually is joined by his best friend, and not even aware that he’s being checked out by a cute group of Valley girls. If these girls knew where Randy was from, they’d never even think of giving him a glance. Never say never though, as their paths will cross again, very soon.
Randy’s best friend “Fred” (Cameron Dye) ends up hearing about a party that the two end up deciding to attend (crash). They end up at the party and are not fitting in, nor are they having much fun, until they come across a girl that makes eye contact with Randy. That girl is none other than Julie, who seems to be remembering seeing him at the beach as the two are obviously stuck in a moment. It’s only a matter of time before they strike up a conversation and seem to really hit it off, despite being from what they believe to be opposite places.
Julie and Randy end up together in a relationship, even with the cool montage and all, but the disapproval from Julie’s friends will eventually cause some problems along the way. It’s a really good film for this decade and the genres, which says a lot considering the fierce competition back then for the ultimate teenage romance flick. “Valley Girl” is now celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and still continues to be one of the more memorable of the eighties romantic comedies.
Movie Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
According to the technical specifications listed on IMDb this was shot on 35MM film using the Arriflex 35 BL cameras. This transfer comes from a new 4K scan of the original film negative.
It is definitely worth noting up front that the aerial shots during the opening credits sequence do look a tad bit rougher than the rest of the film, as they were shot in a helicopter. Once that sequence is over, it holds a consistent amount of visible film grain that eighties films were known for having an abundance of. Speaking of which, as with most films from that decade, it can appear soft visually at times, but it comes with a very nice amount of detail – especially in the close-ups. That was just the visual style back then.
There is definitely a bright and vibrant color palette here, with the color pink definitely standing out. There’s not only a strong emphasis on pink, but other colors like reds, purples, and light blues all seem to pop as well. Color is tastefully done and helps pay attention to the aspects that defined the genre’s visual style. This transfer comes with a solid black level, and the color timing helps deliver accurate representation of fleshtones.
This new 4K scan has resulted in a Blu-ray that looks great visually for a 1983 film. I love that they’ve actually left in some very tiny visual imperfections. It gives you that just slightly gritty feel, but comes with a lot of newfound detail. They’ve really done a great job here for the subject matter, and to be from source material 35 years in age now. All of that being said, this high definition presentation looks great and does the film justice, especially in its debut to Blu-ray.
Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Audio here is presented in both DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio Stereo. According to IMDb technical specifications during its theatrical run this film received just a stereo mix, so it’s understandable we get one as an option here, especially for purists. NOTE: for some reason the packaging doesn’t mention that there’s a 2.0 (Stereo) mix available, so I hope I can offer some clarity to that via this review.
Being a romantic comedy from the early eighties, you wouldn’t really expect this to need a 5.1 mix, but it still got one anyway. The 5.1 mix isn’t the most intense you’ll ever hear, that much is for certain, but it has its moments that it makes use of the surround speakers for mostly music. The rear channels also get used to help build a bit of emphasis on the surroundings through the rear channel speakers with sound effects such as waves and echoes.
The really most important here in this mix, be it in the 5.1 or 2.0 option, is the dialogue. I’m happy to report that the dialogue is delivered very distinctly from primarily the front center channel speaker in the 5.1 mix, and also spot-on through the 2.0 Stereo lossless mix.
One of the most memorable aspects of this film is the music that happens to be on the soundtrack, as well as the live musical performances by The Plimsouls and Josie Cotton. The songs that really stand out the most in this 5.1 mix off the soundtrack are “Electric Avenue” (by Eddy Grant), “I Melt With You” (by Modern English), and “A Million Miles Away” (by The Plimsouls). The song “Girls Like Me” (by Bonnie Hayes) that starts out in the opening credits and seems to be the anthem of sorts, as it plays throughout the film, is represented nicely in the 5.1 mix as well. Music played a very large part in helping make this film memorable, with one song in particular making the montage all the more impressive.
Overall this delivers a solid 5.1 lossless mix and a nice lossless Stereo mix as well. The audio presentation here is enough to do this eighties romantic comedy justice. I think that fans of the film will be satisfied with what you get here in terms of sound.
Audio Quality Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Bonus materials on this release all are presented in 1080p HD video with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo sound – unless otherwise noted below. They include the following:
- New “Valley Girl in Conversation” (50:11 – HD) includes interviews with Martha Coolidge (Director), Elizabeth Daily (“Loryn”), and Heidi Holicker (“Stacey”). This is a very thorough interview and retrospective. It proves to be very much worthwhile even without the big stars missing. Having discussion about nudity from one of the girls who did nudity in the film, it’s pretty interesting – just for that alone – when the female director is sitting right across from her as they discuss it. The pressure to include more female nudity was discussed here as well, all because of the other eighties films at the time. This interview is a very truthful from start to finish.
- New “Greetings From The San Fernando Valley“ (19:14 – HD) is a featurette that actually focuses on the history of the San Fernando Valley. This is hosted by Tommy Gelinas (Curator and Founder of the The Valley Relics Museum). It starts off though with a 2003 interview with Nicolas Cage describing the Valley in a very non-flattering way. You get to see a lot of old photographs of the area, and the history really being discussed in a very serious manner. This featurette is very informative in a historical sense and is nice to see included.
- New “Heidi Holicker: Show and Tell” (4:47 – HD) has cast member Heidi Holicker (“Stacey”) showing the film’s director (Martha Coolidge) a photograph of her behind the scenes making the film and telling us the story behind that. She follows up with her copy of the original Motion Picture Soundtrack on vinyl (featuring some autographs), some stills and publicity stills of her from the film, and more items from or related to the film.
- New Storyboard to Film Comparison (11:30 – HD)
- Trailer (2:27 – HD) is nice to see included and in Hi-Def.
Original 2003 DVD Bonus Materials – all feature Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound and standard definition (SD) video.
- Audio Commentary with Director Martha Coolidge
- “In Conversation With Martha Coolidge and Nicolas Cage” (20:00 – SD) is definitely worth watching. I’ll leave it at that, and that I’m glad to see it ported over.
- “20 Totally Tubular Years Later” (24:15 – SD) includes interviews with Martha Coolidge (Director), Andrew Lane (Writer/Producer), Wayne Crawford (Writer/Producer), Nicolas Cage (“Randy”), Elizabeth Daly (“Loryn”), Heidi Holicker (“Stacey”), Michael Bowen (“Tommy”), Cameron Dye (“Fred”), Colleen Camp (“Beth”), Frederic Forrest (“Steve”), and Lee Purcell (“Mrs. Brent”).
- “The Music of Valley Girl“ (15:57 – SD) includes interviews with Martha Coolidge (Director), Richard Blade (Former K.R.O.Q. D.J. Los Angeles), Peter Case (from band The Plimsouls), Cameron Dye (“Fred”), Josie Cotton (musician), Nicolas Cage (“Randy”), Robbie Grey (from band Modern English), Elizabeth Daly (“Loryn”), Colleen Camp (“Beth”), and Heidi Holicker (“Stacey”).
- “The Girls” (47:51 – SD) includes interviews with Elizabeth Daly (“Loryn”), Heidi Holicker (“Stacey”), and Martha Coolidge (Director).
- “The Boys” (54:09 – SD) includes interviews with Nicolas Cage (“Randy”), Michael Bowen (“Tommy”), and Cameron Dye (“Fred”).
- “The Parents” (42:59 – SD) includes interviews with Colleen Camp (“Beth”), Frederic Forrest (“Steve”), and Lee Purcell (“Mrs. Brent”).
- “The Bands” (54:11 – SD) includes interviews with Richard Blade (Former K.R.O.Q. D.J. Los Angeles), Peter Case (from band The Plimsouls), and Robbie Grey (from band Modern English), Josie Cotton (musician), and Martha Coolidge (Director),
- “The Producers – Writers” (14:17 – SD) features interviews with Wayne Crawford (Co-Writer / Producer) and Andrew Lane (Co-Writer / Producer).
- Music Videos (8:13 -SD) lacks the option to pick which but includes:
- Modern English – “I Melt With You”
- The Plimsouls – “A Million Miles Away”
Overall the bonus materials are very impressive. You get about an hour and half just of New bonus materials (featurettes), as well as all the original 2003 “Special Edition” DVD extras ported over – which total up to roughly over 4 hours alone. This is a lot of supplemental material on one release. Any fan will be happy to see this much carried over, and this much new material included. You get nearly 6 hours of extras here.
Bonus Materials Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
“Valley Girl” proves to still be just as moving of a romantic comedy, even some 35 years later. The story itself, while simple, is great and the acting here is so genuine – especially from the two main stars Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman. It’s a film about the San Fernando valley area, sure, and the difference between a girl from that area and a guy from the Hollywood area. It’s a tale of two slightly different cultures coming together despite their peer pressure to not. This film has held up to the test of time, and still proves memorable. In fact, there’s currently a remake of the film in the works.
The Blu-ray Disc debut of “Valley Girl” comes with an impressive video transfer visually, a solid audio presentation, and finally comes with bonus materials that total up to almost 6 hours in runtime – not including the audio commentary. It’s enough to leave any fan of the film extremely happy with the final product. Shout! Factory has done a great job on this “Shout Select” release of the film.
In terms of Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4 (out of 5) for audio quality
4.5 (out of 5) for bonus materials