At one point this weekend, I found myself watching part of the 1980s movie Less Than Zero. I had forgotten how truly awful it was. I remember when it was released; everyone I know said, “that was lame.” And it was. Okay, I was there in real life. Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Palm Springs in the early 80s were nothing like the movie. If those people showed up at a party wearing the terrible Miami Vice suits, they would be beaten. And the music? Yeah, we were all listening to heavy metal. No.
Now the movie that got it right is Valley Girl. I know it may sound crazy, and you may be saying, “Are you out of your mind?” But it’s a good movie. Really. The punks at the club in Hollywood were actual CalArts art students and real-life punks. The valley party happened at a friend’s house that really is in the Valley. The music was exactly right. Believe me, we were far more interested in listening to the Plimsouls than the faux heavy metal of Less Than Zero. And the clothes, beside the lead character’s hapless attempt at reality, were right. However, I will suggest watching Less Than Zero, just to see Jamie Gertz say, “OMG,” when Robert Downey, Jr.’s character dies (sorry for the spoiler).