I saw this movie, one of my all-time faves, again the other night on TV. It’s one of those teenage romance movies which fill the theaters in the summers when all the kids are out of school But unlike most, this one turned out to be terrific. I judge movies by how often I enjoy watching them (just like listening to rock music albums), & I can’t count the number of times I’ve viewed this one. It’s the story of Julie from Valley High meaning the San Fernando Valley north of L.A. (Deborah Foreman in her 1st starring role) & Randy (Nicholas Cage, in his 1st starring role) from Hollywood High. It’s full of the “Valley girl talk” so popular back then (even Frank Zappa put out a hilarious single 45 satirizing it), plus the tough punk talk up in Hollywood. The two meet at Malibu beach & are instantly smitten. Randy & his sidekick Fred Bailey crash a Valley party & off the plot goes, crackling all the way.
What the critics didn’t realize until 20 years later is that the plot is stolen from Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” with a happy ending. I knew it the 2nd time I saw it; for a big clue is a clear shot of a movie marquee with the title “Romeo & Juliet.” Randy of Hollywood High is Romeo (the Montagues), Julie of Valley High is Juliet (the Capulets), Randy’s rival for Julie is Tommy (Tybalt), & Randy’s best friend is Fred Bailey (Benvolio). The film is directed by Martha Coolidge & shows a woman’s touch.
The music is awesome: Modern English “I Melt With You” is the theme song for Randy & Julie, & you hear (& see) the Plimsouls (“A Million Miles Away”); others are the Psychedelic Furs, Sparks, Pat Travers. The film has considerable nudity & drinking & pot smoking. It is hilarious as well as being satiric & romantic. Check it out!