1Valley Girl (1983)
Written by Wayne Crawford & Andrew Lane
Directed by Martha Coolidge

shouting over the noise just as the music ends] “So, when can I see you again?” ~ Randy

[embarrassed] “Gee, Randy… why don’t you wait until the end of the evening to say these things?” ~ Julie

It’s how I feel. It’s what I want.” ~ Randy

I’m here with you now.” ~ Julie

Trailer

For this week’s “Tuesday Double-Feature” I wanted to not only feature two of my favorite movies, but also two movies that have teen love stories where both are from different “sides of the tracks”. Star-crossed, in some ways, but more like money and society separated. This is not a Romeo and Juliet kind of situation, there are no feuding families, or suicide endings. No, instead this is more the pressures of high school groups, and the audacity to step over the invisible dividing lines to fall in love. There are other movies that I could showcase for this theme. I could probably do an entire month’s worth of Double-Features, but for today I chose two that I personally love, and would enjoy seeing back to back – Pretty In Pink and Valley Girl.

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Let’s start with a story about a girl from the Valley who falls for a punk boy from Hollywood. I love this story, and in some ways can understand Julie’s attraction to Randy. I may have not grown-up in the Valley, per se, but Orange County was not too far from the social standards and “dividing lines”. I fell for more than one Hollywood boy, though not when I was in high school, but not too long after. Though, the irony of the two Hollywood boys I fell for is that they both lived in the Valley, but spent their time hanging-out in Hollywood. Wow, that reads a lot more complicated than it ever was.

I think Julie (Deborah Foreman) would get it.

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My best friend and I watched this movie obsessively (along with Modern Girls, Sid and Nancy and Dogs in Space) nearly every Saturday night for months on end, so much so that the family fun video store (Video Sky) down the street would often just hand them to us as we walked in. I wanted to be Julie, I think, and melt away with Randy (Nicolas Cage). Hearing the song below, well, there is a little part of me that still wouldn’t mind melting away with that boy from Hollywood, or at least sharing a soda with him at Du-par’s.

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I Melt With You :: Modern English
with scenes from Valley Girl

Julie’s friends didn’t approve of Randy, though there was never reasons given. It was more a case of “same with same“, within the social constructs of cliques in high school. Everyone wants to belong at that age, and there are few that step outside of the norm, unless of course they are out of the norm already (funny, isn’t it, that the misfits and outcasts seem to have more freedom in the teen years).

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Randy’s friends don’t seem much to mind, though the only friend of his we ever meet is Fred (Cameron Dye), who I’m not sure counts as he seems eager to get with one of Julie’s friends, just not as seriously as Randy is.

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Ultimately, it is Julie who wants to cross the divide, and let her heart win over any pressure from friends, though she has her moments of doubts. Some of the best parts of the story arc are Julie’s parents (misfits themselves), and her interactions with them, as well as times with Julie and her friends (even if they can be hard on her for her choices). I also love the dating montage we are given between Julie and Randy, that actually lasts for an entire song!

And, speaking of songs, the soundtrack is one of my eighties favorites – see for yourself here.

MPW-39945Intermission time…

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What’s your favorite movie treat to get at the lobby snack bar?

1Pretty in Pink (1986)
Written by John Hughes
Directed by Howard Deutch

If somebody doesn’t believe in me, I can’t believe in them.” ~ Andie

Trailer

The second feature is one of my all-time favorite movies, and my number 1/2 (tied with/sometimes second to The Breakfast Club) John Hughes movie, 1986’s Pretty in Pink. Molly movies hold a special place in my heart as we are both the same age, and every movie she came out with in her teen years, were during the same age of my teen years. This one , though, is the Molly-movie I relate to the most.

The story of a girl raised by a single parent, who grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, went to a High School with a bunch of rich kids who seemed to think they were better because of money and status, who worked in a record store, and whose best friend was just as quirky as she was (if not more) could be ripped pages from my own upbringing. I wore thrift shop clothes that I pieced together to come up with something that fit together with a sense of self I was trying to come up with. I listened to music that was on the fringes of punk and goth, alternative when it really was alternative, and hung out at darkened, smokey clubs where some of these bands played. I knew what it was like to have to be a grown-up and the responsible one in my teen years, not necessarily by choice.

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I wish I’d had an Iona (Annie Potts), and a record store job, in my teen years though. I would get a record store job right out of high school, but I wish I’d had it during.

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She was a Mom to Andie, and a best girlfriend, and a mentor, as well as a boss, and Annie Potts definitely stole every scene she was in, with the only exception possibly when Duckie does his dance to Otis Redding, a favorite music in movie scene of mine.

Try a Little Tenderness

My Duckie (Jon Cryer) and Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) came a few years after High School, though I watch the movie now and can see both the attraction and detraction in both choices. That said, I still believe Duckie was the better choice. No matter how many times I watch Blaine tell Andie that he believed in her, just did not believe in himself, I still do not believe it. He felt spineless to me, and hurt her more than he ever seemed to be there for her. Yes, there were moments, but not enough to warrant her choice at the end.

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Duckie, on the other hand, was always there for her, no matter what the consequence or cost. I can see why she may not have chosen him, especially as they were such good friends she may not have been able to see him like that, but I do wish she had.

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I hope to someday find, and see, the original cut of the film where she did choose Duckie, and the two of them danced to David Bowie’s Heroes (one of my all-time favorite songs, by the way) at the dance. To me, Duckie was her hero, and always came through.

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Who would you have chosen/wanted her to choose?

Musically speaking, Pretty in Pink is in my top five list of best movie soundtracks ever, featuring some of my best loved bands from the late 80’s: OMD, Suzanne Vega, Inxs, The Psychedelic Furs and New Order. Though, I do think they should have included the Otis Redding song (see above) on the soundtrack, as well as the band from the club scene (and one of Molly Ringwald’s favorite bands at the time), The Rave-Ups.

Listen here.

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21 thoughts on “Valley Girl and Pretty in Pink :: Tuesday Double-Feature

  1. Oh boy, here I go with rambling:
    Blaine isn’t as empty headed and selfish(in some ways) as Jordan Catalano but Andie basically picked Jordan. I honestly just now only realized this similarity between Pretty in Pink and MSCL. Not that Angela and Jordan resemble Andie and Blaine in their high school’s social system but as far as other aspects go they’ve got a bit in common there.
    I understand Andie’s choice even though it seems like the possibly the wrong choice. Part of me likes the ending because it wouldn’t seem real if she ended up with Duckie either. She didn’t like him like that at all and if she’d suddenly realized he was right for her and she’d liked him all along(or grown to over the course of the movie) it would seem forced. If they’d had more chemistry or “close calls” together shown in the movie, at least some type of attraction that the audience would pick up on then I’d believe in the Duckie ending.
    But the Blaine ending isn’t quite right either. I think Blaine’s apology and ending up with Andie is more that teen wish fulfilment like no matter who Andie is or how gutsy she still might hope the popular boy picks her though though his being popular isn’t necessarily the icing on the cake

    In a way I wish Andie didn’t pick anybody but what kind of ending would that be! (That’d be like that one Beverly Hills 90210 episode “I choose me!”)

    I think because Andie cares about Blaine and her heart is so invested in him that I want them to work at the end because that’s what Andie wants. Duckie seems like a much better guy and is clearly devoted to Andie but if she doesn’t like him she doesn’t like him. It’s SO complicated. Just like high school….

    My favorite movie treat at the lobby snack bar is probably Raisinettes, popcorn hold the butter and a Cherry Coke. How about you?

    I haven’t seen Valley Girl in at least 5 years so I guess I’m overdue.
    The outcasts having more freedom reminds me of something Claire said in The Breakfast Club. I don’t know the quote at this time but it’s in the spirit of “Of course you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with me because I’m the popular one.” Of course that’s what Claire thinks and isn’t necessarily reality at all. I would say in my own experience in high school there was some freedom as somewhat of an outsider, to a degree, but in my group of friends/acquaintances there was still plenty of judgement. Plenty of that “Why were you talking to that person?” “Oh my god you’re not friends with___ are you?” and I HATE to remember that. I miss pieces of the high school era but not the social stuff. What about you?

    I think you’re totally right though. In these movies these outsiders/outcasts are either loners or very close as they’re depicted with a friend or two or maybe even just acquaintances. They’re somewhat(or completely sometimes it seems) free from the prison of judgement and bullshit that popularity might include.

    Great great great pairing of movies and if you were able to get through my long wandering comment, bless you.

    1. I love love love LOVE when you ramble in the comments.

      Okay, favorite snack bar treat at the movies? I like non-pareils, like Sno Caps, Popcorn with no butter, and a Diet Coke with Cherry (though I no longer drink soda, so maybe a giant water, or a lemonade…but part of me would still lean toward that soda…like maybe once in awhile).

      Pretty in Pink. I’ve had MANY discussions regarding the Blaine vs. Duckie debacle. I will say that for YEARS I was pro-Duckie in a way that made me incapable of understanding her choice. But then I thought about it, and thought about, and thought about it – and remembered that I’m a Jordan Catalano girl, and a Ben girl (Felicity) and a Pacey girl (Dawson’s Creek) and well, Duckie isn’t that…and if I was Andie, why would I pick the boy I didn’t feel that way about – even if he was the “better choice”?

      But, honestly, I really just don’t like Blaine. He’s not a dumb guy, no, but he’s so weak and I don’t buy that he believed in her. He didn’t act like he did. I mean, I know his friends were assholes and put a lot of pressure on him, and it is only high school, but I just don’t like him EXCEPT in the scene in the record store (when he first comes in) and the scene when he comes out to where Andie sits at lunch and talks to her.

      I sorta wish she just chose herself, too.

      All that said, I would still love to see the Duckie is chosen ending, just to see how it played out. I agree, though, there was never a moment of chemistry or near miss or anything (think that kiss between Watts and Keith) that makes you believe they are fated.

      As for outcasts – I think its movie outcasts that seem free. I was a theater department misfit and belonged to a group of somewhat outcasts that were obsessed with music, and didn’t fit in well with the “popular” crowd, but there was still pressures in that group, too, and questions like you described.

      I’d love to hear what you think of Valley Girl if you watch it again.

      Thanks for the epic comment! I rambled back 🙂

      1. I’m partially through this but I just need to quick say: I do not like Blaine!!
        So, I think I’m on the same page as you as thinking about what the situation would really be like and again just giving Andie what she wants. I’d never be into Blaine in a million years especially after the way their dating goes. Unfortunately I did like James Spader in that movie for some reason even though he’s a total piece of shit. I was a kid though so I hope that’s an okay excuse. I mean, I didn’t want him to prevail in any way I just liked all his scenes a lot. I’m sick.

      2. So, here’s my confession – I liked Spader, too, and kinda wondered what would have happened if she’d had a fling with him. You know he wanted her/had feelings for her. I mean he’s a total shit so its a BAD idea and rather self-destructive, but I’ve thought about it…

      3. Oh & I don’t believe him either…that he believed in her. That was some movie writing right now. I can’t imagine him saying that if that situation was reality. He was weak, like you said. That’s really who he is. He’s a little like Amanda in Some Kind of Wonderful.
        With all that in mind Steff was a gross human being and he was disgusting in how he approached Andie and dealt with her rejection but I think if she lost her mind and accepted his advances he wouldn’t have been afraid to be seen with her or say she was his girlfriend. He would’ve told everybody to fuck off. But he still would’ve treated her like crap or like a toy because he’s an awful person. But I think in many ways Steff had more guts than Blaine did though he was still a slimey little snake.

      4. I totally agree. He wouldn’t have cared who knew, though he wouldn’t have treated her well. Its not like Andie’s love would redeem him, though maybe he’d respect her more than the girlfriend we see him with – though she’s a rather horrible thing, too.

      5. I’d want to see the Duckie ending too. I think part of the issue is that Molly Ringwald didn’t want the Duckie ending and so she was never going to play it that way…we can see that she’s not that into Duckie so Andie can’t be either. Something to think about it. Maybe some characters are written with more chemistry but we can’t see it because the cast didn’t have it among themselves.
        Yes!! Keith and Watts were believable to me. I just remember that she chauffeured them around and though she was good friend for doing it I wish that hadn’t happened to her. For some reason that makes me cringe and makes me want to slap Keith across the face. Even though he didn’t quite see how Watts was feeling.
        I love your comments on this too!!

      6. I cringe at Watts as chauffeur, too, especially when she’s crying in the car at one point. The brilliance with that movie is they let the two have that moment – that “practice” kiss – to show chemistry. It made it more believable…thought I still can’t believe the original script had Keith proposing to Watts in the end!!! That’s just TOO MUCH to me.

        I can see Molly not wanting that ending…I never really thought about it that way, but yeah.

      7. If he proposed to Watts I’d be like “I’m calling your parents and your principal Keith!” TOO much is right. And I’d be worried for those crazy kids.
        I can see Molly’s reasoning too but maybe she let too much personal stuff get in there. Like she wasn’t into Duckie and she thought Duckie was gay and didn’t know it yet(or something like that) whereas John Cryer says he never thought of Duckie as gay and why should being artistic and different make him gay? I agree with him. How awkward for him during the shoot though huh?

      8. Wow – I didn’t know all of that. Yeah – SUPER awkward! I never saw him as gay at all….just artistic and different, and much like a few guy friends of mine at that age.

        YES I WOULD CALL KEITH’S DAD IMMEDIATELY!

      9. Oh my gosh!! Yeah I forget when that came out but I think in the past few years. Lemme see if I can scrounge up an article or quote on it.

      10. The most overlooked archetype in Hughes’s high school oeuvre was “the gay kid” — or at least an out one. “John wrote a lot of gay characters,” Ringwald says easily. “But it was something that we never talked about. I would say in just about every movie he did, he had a character that easily could have been gay.”

        Even the iconic final Pretty in Pink shot — the prom sequence ends with Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy kissing in the street — was one of two possible happy endings that Hughes shot. In the other version, Andie ends up with flamboyant, heart-on-his-sleeve Duckie, played by Jon Cryer.

        There was just one problem, Ringwald says: “Duckie doesn’t know he’s gay. I think he loves Andie in the way that [my gay best friend] always loved me. That ending fell so flat — it bombed at all the screenings. I didn’t realize it then — I just knew that my character shouldn’t end up with him, because we didn’t have that sort of chemistry. If John was here now, and I could talk to him, I think that he would completely acknowledge that.” & here’s Cryer’s reaction http://www.out.com/entertainment/movies/2012/05/23/jon-cryer-duckie-wasnt-gay

      11. That’s a good way to put it “who Molly thought they were.” I think if there’s stereotyping going into it I have an idea who some of the characters are, assuming they’re main or prominently supporting characters, otherwise I don’t know. But if they are those people I don’t think they’re gay though they should be! It’s true JH’s movies seem to lack gay characters and I never realized how much that lack of representation sucks in his movies sucks. Hmmmmm.

      12. yeah, I honestly never thought about it either. I’m assuming it had to do with the era they were made in. I feel like if Hughes’ was still making teen films now they would be included…but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

      13. You know what else came to mind is also not writing what you don’t know, meaning if JH wasn’t gay maybe he shouldn’t write a gay character. And because of the time it was time in and who he was maybe that wasn’t part of his world.

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