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Valley Girl – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Its a real shocker that 1983’s Valley Girls is JUST NOW in 2018 making its debut on Blu-ray. Sure, its hitting its 35th anniversary mark, but it had a 30th and a 25th that could have made it prior. This is a well reviewed and pretty popular film. One would have thought this would have made it by now. There was a special edition DVD of it for its 20th anniversary, so they know people care. Anyway, rights are being wronged by the folks who usually do such things. Yes, of course its Shout Factory, under their Shout Select banner. With this new Blu-ray release, they are giving it Collector’s Edition treatment with brand new bonus features and retaining pretty much all of them from that old DVD release. You can finally own the film when it comes to Blu-ray October 30th.

Film 

Lovely teen Julie Richman is steeped in the excessive, pink-clad culture of the San Fernando Valley, complete with her narcissistic boyfriend, Tommy. At a party, however, Julie falls for an edgy Hollywood punk named Randy, and the two begin an unlikely romance. Torn between fitting in with her superficial friends and embracing a more non-conformist lifestyle, Julie ultimately has to decide to stay with Tommy or take a risk with Randy.

From the moment the music starts and the first few characters have a discussion, you’re right into the flavor and feel of the stylish 1983 teen comedy Valley Girl. The film embraces a culture long since passed, but feels very sway and hip today. It goes in big on the dialect and behaviors of all its characters of both the era and the locale of the San Fernando Valley in California. While this stuff may appear cool and have started many a trend for the remainder of the decade, apparently it WASN’T a cool place during the time. Nic Cage talks in the bonus features of hating when he’d have to go to a party or something in the valley when he was a kid.

Martha Coolidge’s film is a light take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but the themes and such are so general and timeless that its not heavy handed or obvious. Valley Girl really does its own thing, even taking cues (And actual shots) from The Graduate. Its a film that both loves art that predates it while confidently putting its own spin on things and carving its own path. Valley Girl is mostly new with a few throwback things they’ve decided to put a slick spin on.

They were dating at the time, so the chemistry of Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman is fire and helps to drive the movie. Cage is absolutely unique and “all-in” with his role, making for a memorable and interesting beau in this type of film. He almost feels in many ways to have inspired Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything later in the decade. Foreman is a true delight and her smile really lights up every frame. While bubbly, she easily can drop the guard and become both vulnerable and aggressive when need be.

The film doesn’t wouldn’t work as well without some great turns from supporting players. Elizabeth (Then EG) Daily almost feels she could have her own movie with her charisma and beauty. But, she actually sells what is a pretty deep characters on its own and pulls it off making certain aspects much stronger. Michael Bowen here is fantastic because he’s so good at making you hate him so much. He’d go on to a career of creeps and vile characters and this one might be his most light-hearted, but he’s still such a bastard.

Valley Girl is just truly a fun time at the movies, giving something for everyone. That rom-com that equally plays to the sensibilities and humor of all genders. And its got a killer soundtrack. This holds up with The Last American Virgin and Fast Times At Ridgemont High as having such great songs and bands playing during your movie. Valley Girl is bubbly, fun and a breeze to watch.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Valley Girl’s transfer comes from a new 4K scan of the original negative in its Blu-ray debut. Valley Girl has never been on Blu-ray and its been given some delicious treatment here from Shout! Factory. There is a lot of good detail, great colors and good depth on display in this brand new image. It retains a nice layer of grain, giving a nice naturally cinematic appearance to it.

Depth:  The spaciousness in this transfer is pretty impressive at times. There’s a moment when Julie is talking to her dad on the couch that looks oddly 3-dimensional. The push back is pretty well down and the movements are cinematic and smooth with no real distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich. The shadows and darkness mostly retain detail when intended to. It does carry a little more grain with the darker areas.

Color Reproduction: Colors have some good pop here with the more extravagant 80s stylings, but with a more natural tint to them, keeping them from being overly vivid and bleeding.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features like freckles, make-up brushings, wrinkles, stubble and more can be made out from any reasonable difference.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Valley Girl drops a pretty good 5.1 track in its first Blu-ray presentation. It finds itself being a hair lower than your normal default setting. The track is also front heavy, so you might be fine just with the stereo track. 5.1 does provide some deeper tones, but they’re not THAT much bumpier. Overall, this is a pretty fun experience, its just not as consuming as one might think it could be.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The bass from the sub on songs is decent, but I was expecting a bit more impact. Effects bumps are all right and complimentary of how its mixed.

Surround Sound Presentation: While its 5.1, most of the mix hangs out up front. The rear channels do have activity but its mainly to fill out a room or song playing. Movements are accurately tracked as per the action occurring on screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. The mix is a little low to begin with so you’ll want to turn it up a little more as already mentioned. There is also some peaking and a faint hiss in the source during certain moments.

Extras 

Valley Girl – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original theatrical poster artwork.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Martha Coolidge

Valley Girl In Conversation (HD, 50:11) – Director Martha Coolidge with Actors Elizabeth (EG) Daily and Heidi Holicker sit around together reminiscing on the film. It opens on a pretty enlightening discussing about showing boobs in the film. There’s a lot of stuff like that, in this very honest, blunt roundtable on the film full of anecdotes and all.

Greetings from the San Fernando Valley (HD, 19:14) – After a brief introduction via an archival interview of Nic Cage, we are treated to a short history of the iconic San Fernando Valley. Hosted by Tommy Gelinas of The Valley Relics Museum.

Show and Tell (HD, 4:47) – From the roundtable, Heidi Holicker shares some of her own memorabilia from the film with director Martha Coolidge.

Storyboard-to-Film Comparisons (SD, 11:30) – Has an introduction from Martha Coolidge.

In Conversation: Martha Coolidge and Nicolas Cage (SD, 20:00) – Nicolas Cage and Martha Coolidge sit together and have a conversation about working on the movie. This is an archival feature and is a bit more puffy and positive than the other.

20 Totally Tubular Years Later (SD, 24:15) – From the DVD edition, this is a retrospective featurette celebrating the movie with Martha Coolidge, Nic Cage Elizabeth Daly, Michael Bowen, Heidi Holicker, Colleen Camp and others.

The Music of Valley Girl (SD, 15:57) – Discusses the soundtrack with people from the film and people involved with some of the bands on it.

The Girls (SD, 47:51) – Full interview segments from the interviews for the 2003 DVD with all the females.

The Boys (SD, 54:09) – Full interview segments from the interviews for the 2003 DVD with all the guys.

The Parents (SD, 42:59) – Full interview segments from the interviews for the 2003 DVD with all the people who played the parental figures.

The Bands (SD, 54:11) – Full interview segments from the interviews for the 2003 DVD with all the people involved with the music.

The Producers-Writers (SD, 14:17) – Full interview segments from the interviews for the 2003 DVD with the producers and writers.

Music Videos (SD, 8:13) – “I Melt With You”, “Million Miles Away”

Trailer (HD, 2:27)

Summary 

Valley Girl is a quirky, fun teen romantic comedy and one that holds up as one of the most memorable and best of its era. Shout! Factory has debuted it on Blu-ray with a terrific transfer and solid audio. They’ve packed it to the brim with new and vintage bonus features that cover the gamut of everyone but Deborah Foreman’s thoughts. This is an easy recommend on the film and typical great work done by Shout! Factory.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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