Valley Girl Martha Coolidge

Why is it that in the movies cool, outsider-type guys always fall for feminine stereotypes? Like a pre-Iran/Contra Lloyd Dobler, Nicolas Cage's Randy in this Romeo and Juliet tale for the Sherman Oaks Galleria set is a "punk" who can't help but love Julie (Deborah Foreman), a big-gummed blonde from the San Fernando Valley. "You're so fucking programmed," he spits at her with contempt, and then in the next breath asks when he can see her again. It's the one minor quibble to unearth in this otherwise energetic and charming early effort from director Coolidge (Rambling Rose). The movie manages to beat John Hughes' Pretty in Pink, which has essentially the same story, by three years, minus the self-serious attitude. It even features a goofy sidekick with a ducktail and a sensitive father/ daughter subplot. The movie more than serves its purpose as a flawless time capsule of a confused era, one where former hippies grappled with raising label-driven mall rats. And like Amy Heckerling's albeit far-superior Fast Times at Ridgemont High, its exploitative façade cloaks a surprisingly delicacy. Credit the emerging female directorial voice of the time. And who could forget about Cage's bizarre triangular chest hair in the beach scene? Now, that's entertainment. This 20th anniversary special edition DVD is loaded with Reagan-era nostalgia, including an '80s pop-up trivia track, director's commentary, a "look back with the cast" featurette and a close-up on the music from the film, which includes perennial favourites like Modern English's "I Melt With You." The only extra included that isn't a time-warped delight is a preening, self-congratulatory conversation between Coolidge and Cage. Watching the two of them play the "no, you made me who I am," game for 20 minutes is enough to make anyone reach for that proverbial spoon to gag on. Extras: commentary; featurettes; trivia track; music videos; more. (MGM)