There aren’t many men who can carry off a New Wave haircut with blonde highlights, a shirt that’s unbuttoned at the chest to showcase a tuft of hairiness and pair it all with what is presumably a faux leather vest. But Nicolas Cage as Randy in Valley Girl can. He is by far the most offhandedly debonair character in the echelons of early 80s cinema. His tormented, yet charming nature is also part of what makes Randy, like totally tripindicular.
Based very (very) loosely on Romeo and Juliet, Cage (in his first role not bearing the Coppola last name–proving he didn’t need to be Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew to make it, even though that’s probably part of why director Martha Coolidge cast him.) plays the wayward romantic soul recently broken up from his girlfriend. He encounters Valley girl/all-around snob and Hollywood hater Julie Richman (Deborah Foreman) in a setting where both of them are stripped of the clothes that would otherwise define them: At the beach. While waiting to buy food at one of those shacks that beaches tend to have, Randy’s dim-witted friend, Fred (Cameron Dye), overhears Julie’s friend, Loryn (Elizabeth Daily, of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure fame), talking about a party in the Valley. Fred memorizes the address she states and runs back to Randy to tell him. Randy is momentarily distracted from repeating “I don’t wanna go to the Valley” when he sees Julie sitting nearby with her friends.
But with nothing else to keep him occupied that night, Randy agrees to go with Fred to the odious Valley. Their reception at the party is, predictably, less than warm–especially on the part of “Val dudes” who find plenty of fault with Fred and Randy’s punkish ensembles. But Julie, who has freshly broken up with Tommy (Michael Bowen), who John Hughes might refer to as “the king of the douche bags,” can’t deny her odd attraction to Randy’s aura.
Randy further proves he’s the perfect man by waiting through several trysts and drug uses in the bathroom until Julie comes in so he can invite her to leave the party with him. Julie, at once titillated and concerned for her reputation, agrees to go as long as her friend, Stacey (Heidi Holicker), can too. And so begins a night of whirlwind romance wherein Randy drives them all over the hill, cruises Hollywood Boulevard to show off all the weirdos he knows and takes them to a dive bar/club in which The Plimsouls make a cameo as the resident band.
What more could Julie ask for? Well, apparently a lot, since she’s still experiencing uncertainty over the fact that, among other things, Randy wears used clothes and goes to Hollywood High. But even after she forsakes him, Randy still shows how much he cares by pursuing her in a grand gesture that has no strategy behind it at her school’s prom. And who doesn’t love a man who’s willing to steal another man’s limo and Valley Sheraton hotel room?