The L.A. High School film


The only thing out-of-date about this film is the original Valley Girl (1983), the filler word “like” being her only surviving legacy.  Now I realize my mom had been dressing like a Valley Girl way into the late 90s, till she switched up her style to resemble the wife of a presidential elect. This left us looking like quite the pair; no one could guess we were related. I, on the other hand, had somehow managed to incorporate the word like into like all my sentences like all the time until my mid-twenties.

Not unlike the Viking/Mountain look of full beards and outdoor craftsmanship having its cultural realization in The Revenant now, this was the film that wanted to tap into the popularity of the Valley Girl. A Valley Girl likes to go to the mall and shop, go to the beach and tan and lived in the middle-class suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, forming their own use of language and creating a cultural movement in the early 80s. The film never made it into the long-lasting mainstream appeal of 80s teenage films of Say Anything and Pretty in Pink dominance, so I only found it recently by a chance perusal of Nicolas Cage filmography.

One of the most pleasurable things about this movie was having the landscape of the romance being spoken in the language of L.A. The progression of dates and the falling in love montage was a series of lit boulevard signs riding by to the best new wave. A hook-up scene perpetrated by a douche included in the open air fake plastic boobs, the anti-gravity kind. The young parents, aging hippies, now ran a health juice bar, dressed almost identically to the cool Berlin youth of today and smoked weed when they realized how old they were getting. It was as if hipster parents had given birth to a preppy, beach girl.

Then we have the young Nicolas Cage, whose eyebrows could star in their own film. He was channeling James Dean, the punk version and transforms from a heartthrob to goofball in the blink of a smile which made me wonder how could I have ever been a Say Anything or Pretty in Pink kind of girl.

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