A Deeper Valley

Anyone who's got cable has probably tuned in to Valley Girl, that '80s classic, at one time or another. And anyone who's seen the film will be surprised to learn that Michelle O'Marah's remake features a cast of folks in their late twenties and early thirties.

"I'm not trying to be realistic about the story," says O'Marah, whose film has been screened in Los Angeles, New York and London. "That's not my interest at all. Right away you know, 'Okay, this is something totally different. This person who's 27 is supposed to be 16.' "

Valley Girl centers around Julie, a valley girl, and Randy, a punk. "I really identified with it as a teen," says O'Marah. "It's the classic Romeo and Juliet story set against the punk new wave scene...The overall point of the movie is that you shouldn't go with the crowd, you should do what you want."

At every turn in the film, O'Marah tries to remind the audience that her Valley Girl is a remake. In one scene, Randy's just been dumped by Julie. He gets wasted and goes to a punk bar, where he runs into an ex-girlfriend. In the original film, the two make out against a brick background. For the remake, O'Marah made the wall out of paper. "It's super-physical comedy," she says. "They're rolling around in a really ridiculous fashion, crunching. It's a parody of the scene."

By creating distance between the audience and the story, O'Marah hopes to point out the absurdity of Hollywood. "There's no pretense that 'this is really going on' in my work," she says. "It's so obviously constructed. I want to expose what's not realistic." Though O'Marah is clearly a fan of the original, she thinks it's sappy. "This guy breaks into this party to get this girl. As a teen, you want that to happen to you, and it's not gonna happen."

To her credit, O'Marah deconstructs the film in a loving way, so that paper walls and all, you still give a damn about Randy and Julie and want them to get together. And the costumes alone are reason enough to see the film. Like, for sure.

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Cathy Matusow
Contact: Cathy Matusow