Anyone who has been a fan of BoxOfficeBoredom.com over any portion of the last 10 years of it’s existence knows that The Mike and I have never been shy about proclaiming our love for Nicolas Cage. Nic Cage has always been that quirky actor that just didn’t seem to have all of his marbles lined up in quite the right order, but we love him anyway. The last few years have been rough on Cage, and after Season of The Witch, who can really blame people for associating him with terrible cinema. So in order to prove to you that Nic Cage is awesome, we continue our quest to prove by rehashing the early Cage we all know and love.
With Drive Angry opening in theater today it seemed only fitting to dig up Nic Cage flicks and lament of the days of Nic Cage awesomeness. Everyone’s favorite “DVD by mail and streaming to your PC” service provided me with my Nic Cage fix as their Instant queue introduced me to 1983’s Valley Girl. Valley Girl was groundbreaking for Cage because it was the first film that Nicolas Coppola dropped the “Coppola” and became “Cage” in order to make a name for himself and not live off the coat tails of his Uncle, Francis Ford Coppola. (It’s really too bad Sophia didn’t try the same thing- after all would anyone give her the time of day if she didn’t share the family name?). Anyhow, in many a way we can thank Valley Girl, a cheesy 80’s romantic comedy as the humble beginnings of the great Nicolas Cage.
To be honest, there really isn’t anything special about Valley Girl. It’s yet another loosely based Romeo and Juliet story that really hasn’t aged well. Cage plays Randy, an 80’s punk for lack of a better term who falls for a preppy California Valley girl. The budding romance between these two unlikely lovers leads to all kinds of drama as her friends just don’t quite understand how the Valley High Prom Queen could see anything in this punk rock loser. But using his newly formed awesome powers of Nic Cage-ness, Cage serenades the girl and wins the hearts of the girls at the prom.
Cage is still developing his style and form in this film, and as an actor there really isn’t much to look at. I’m not going to lie, for the first 45 minutes of the film I found myself quite bored by the simplicity and mediocrity of the film. Cage was playing it straight as a “cool punk” who really had no place hanging with the valley girls. However, I got my first glimpse of the Nicolas Cage we love as he very mildly freaks out on her after she breaks up with him. (Video posted on the right.) Sure it was mild freak out, but knowing that was the beginning of decades of awesome Cage freaks outs, I was happy to bear witness.
Perhaps my favorite part of the film was a 3-5 minute montage of Cage trying to win back his valley girl by showing up everywhere she could possibly think of, dressed in disguise as waiters, movie ticket ushers and more. Perhaps this was so enjoyable because we got to see Cage hamming up the camera and being outlandish and fun; The first “quirky Cage” characters right before my very eyes. Hooray for Quirky Cage!
Where this film fails in modern times as a film is Valley Girl does NOT age well. The film is rooted in the 80’s and unless you were a child of the 80’s it’s hard to relate. It’s like watching Hot Tub Time Machine but the problem is there is no 80’s satire here- its the real deal. You find yourself chuckling at girls with posters for Men With Hats and E.T. on their walls, and laugh at the high school prom songs such as Josie Cotton’s Johnny are you queer? (could any school get away with that song at a prom now days? -C’mon High Schoolers- Bring that song back!) The film also prominently featured “I’ll Melt with you” by Modern English and it took me about an hour to figure out why I was craving Taco Bell until I realized the song has been beaten into my brain in commecial land. I couldn’t help but find myself having a great time laughing at the terminology of the 80’s. Terms like “bitchin'” “tubular” and at one point Nic Cage is described as “tripendicular” by a lovestruck girl.
When it comes right down to it, there is nothing amazingly groundbreaking about Valley Girl. It launched Nicolas “Cage” onto the big screen and is a traditional 80’s romantic comedy. Many came before it, many others came after it and Valley Girl is just another 80’s teen romance lost in the shuffle. But as Julie states in the film, “Man, He [Nic Cage] is just like tripendicular, you know?” Julie- we do know; and you are indeed right, he certainly is.