NICOLAS CAGE before The Rock? Bitchin'! And after? Like, total pukeoid! Reaching DVD Aug. 5, 1983's Valley Girl wasn't just way pre-Rock but Cage's first leading role under his stage surname, rather than his illustrious family handle, Coppola. The former hangdog indie curiosity/current personality-free action megastar is surprisingly all over this special edition disc, asserting in assorted featurettes that Girl is a time capsule for the '80s, an updated Romeo and Juliet, and a story that promotes individuality. We sure as hell aren't still quoting Girl 20 years later because it told us to be ourselves, but to hear the reassembled cast tell it (surprisingly, Deborah Foreman and Cameron Dye were available!), the flick was the Citizen Kane of opposite-sides-of-the-tracks teen romances.
The extras are rough stuff, overlong and uncomfortable. The "Music of Valley Girl" featurette, featuring Modern English, the Plimsouls, and Josie Cotton, offers the simultaneously tragic and uproarious spectacle of former featherheads pontificating about the musical impactas if these one-hit wonders were the Beatles or something.
Other than a few Pop-Up Video-style commentary tracks, the standout is a sit-down between Cage and director Martha Coolidge. It's a pleasure to learn that (1) Cage ad-libbed the film's best line ("Fuck off! For sure! Like, totally!"), and that (2) Coolidge's simple direction in a breakup scene"You're hurt but not defeated"gave Cage "dignity as an actor." It's less of a pleasure to watch Cage, clad in a snakeskin jacket and emerald shades, segue into "searching within himself" for "the emotion" as Coolidge affirms how us regular folks just don't understand the craft of acting. Jesus, guys, this is Valley Girl, not, um, Face/Off. ANDREW BONAZELLI
AMONG THE BETTER DVD releases for Aug. 19, Bob Fosse's 1979 All That Jazz lacks any extras but features great choreography (Chicago director Rob Marshall should take notes, lots of notes). Neil Jordan provides commentary on his crime-flick remake, The Good Thief, while Michael Moore has packed four hours (!) of extras onto his Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, including his controversial Oscar speech (Roger & Me finally reaches DVD on the same date). Krzysztof Kieslowski's entire Decalogue is a big deal on disc; Criterion is pushing a nice Merchant-Ivory series (if you care to excuse them for Le Divorce); and The Kid Stays in the Picture contains still more of Robert Evans. EDS.