When we think of classic ’80s movies that we want our kids to see, the list typically starts and ends with John Hughes, from Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club to Ferris Bueller and Pretty in Pink. However, my favorite ’80s movie is not one that reliably appears during Saturday afternoon TBS marathons. It’s practically on the pop culture endangered species list. But my fellow Gen-Xers, we must not let it die. It’s perfect in every way and needs to be enjoyed by the teens of today and tomorrow. That movie is Valley Girl. Don’t remember why Valley Girl is totally tubular? I’ve got 10 reasons right here:
1. The Story
Clueless got props for updating Jane Austen’s Emma, but Valley Girl took on the classic of classics, Romeo and Juliet! Our heroine Julie (get it?) is from the Valley, while punk rock Randy lives in Hollyweird. Their friends say it can never work, but they risk everything, including their reputations, to be together.
2. The Lingo
Imagine explaining to your kids, “So, for a brief moment in time, the whole world wanted to sound like mall rats from the San Fernando Valley.” I’m so sure! Seriously, how entertaining would it be for “gag me with a spoon” and “grody to the max” to catch on with today’s teens, even ironically?
3. The Hunk
Before Nicolas Cage got weird and made too many National Treasure movies, he was so dreamy, and never more than in Valley Girl. With his floppy hair, soulful eyes and awesome bod, I wanted him to be my boyfriend so bad. I feel duty-bound to share 1980s-era Nic with my daughters as my mother shared Warren Beatty and Paul Newman with me.
4. The Montage
I’m making the bold claim that Valley Girl contains the greatest romantic movie montage of all time. Set to Modern English’s “I Melt With You,” we see Randy and Julie sipping milkshakes, swapping threads, snogging at the beach, going to see Romeo and Juliet (get it?) and falling in love. It still gives me goosebumps.
5. The Music
The Valley Girl soundtrack was so rad that they actually had to release two editions, the original and, later, the More Music From the Soundtrack CD. From The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away” to The Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way” and of course the aforementioned “I Melt With You,” these are songs of passion and longing that would stir any teen’s heart. Will all due respect to The Flirts, do put another dime in the jukebox—I wanna hear all those songs some more.
6. The Fashion
Popped collars, bandanas as neckwear and headbands that grace your center forehead are all ripe for a comeback. Plus, I totally approve of Julie’s buttoned-up-to-the-neck Victorian lace blouse that she wears to a party. See kids, you don’t have to dress like a Kardashian to get boys.
7. The Parents
Colleen Camp and Frederic Forrest play health-food-store-owning hippies who think their valley girl daughter is, like, so square compared with their free wheelin’ past. It’s a great twist on the traditional parent-child dynamic and would maybe remind our kids that we were young once too and we do understand.
8. The Sidekick
Ferris had Cameron, Andie had Duckie and Randy had Fred, who tells us, “Hi, I’m Fred. I like tacos and ’71 Cabernet. My favorite color is magenta.” Fred always has Randy’s back, providing impeccable wingman services in the quest for Julie, protecting him from a beat down and helping him get revenge—and the girl—in the end. Everybody should have a Fred.
9. The Prom
Who doesn’t love a high school movie that ends at the prom? And this shindig’s got it all: kings and queens, revenge plans, sucker punches, cake in the face, a bitchin’ ’80s band and a happy ending. Fer sure!
10. The Message
The ultimate moral of Valley Girl is such a good one: Be who you are, love whom you love, and don’t worry about what your friends think. Totally tripendicular.
Disclaimer: When deciding the right time to share Valley Girl with your teens, know that it contains boobs, weed, several sexual situations and artful uses of the F word, as when Randy retorts, “Fuck off, for sure, like totally!”