Dn the opening credits of the classic 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, an animated scene takes place in a historic old shopping center (Sherman Oaks Galleria) in Hollywood’s neighboring San Fernando Valley. The fast-paced ’80s Go-Go hit “We Got the Beat” punctuates the mood: a mostly young crowd hanging out and working at various retailers and restaurants.
In the background, there is a photo of Licorice Pizza, the music store Paul Thomas Anderson referenced in the title of his latest film. The memory of this now-defunct SoCal icon occupies space both literally and figuratively for anyone who bought records there a long time ago, and it’s no accident that Anderson pays homage to him.
Prior to Anderson’s arrival, Hollywood tended to portray the Valley in a special light: a seamless, for the most part safe – somewhat peaceful, perhaps boring – haven where palm trees line an eternally sunny sky, and the non- compliance and foreigners are invariably punished. The young speak with distinct accents and intermittent vocal fry; the houses have plush green lawns and often a backyard pool.
Freeways and freeways form a seemingly endless maze, while the streets are grid-shaped and flat, with shopping malls occupying every other corner. It is vast and sprawling, with the East San Fernando Valley stretching all the way to Hollywood. It’s easy to see why Burbank is home to so many film and television studios. Yet the valley has a mixed reputation and image within Movieland.
In 1995’s Clueless, Cher (Alicia Silverstone) laments going to a Val party while she’s based in Beverly Hills: “Ugh, it’s in the valley. The cops separate them in less than an hour, and it takes that long to get there. An exaggeration to say the least: the party turns out to be a raging one.
Likewise, in Valley Girl in 1983, Randy (Nicolas Cage) complains, “I don’t want to go to the Valley”, when his friend Fred (Cameron Dye) urges him to come to a party there. Randy and Fred are both Hollywood punks – or “Hollyweird,” as another joking character – and stand out among the pared-down BCBG crowd. But when Valley’s titular daughter Julie (Deborah Foreman) meets Randy’s eyes, chaos ensues.
A familiar tale unfolds in the original 1984 Karate Kid: New Jersey working-class alien Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) falls in love with Ali (Elisabeth Shue), a effervescent teenager from Encino, who lives in a stately home with his parents tense. Meanwhile, Daniel and his mother reside in Reseda in a modest apartment complex in need of some repairs – the communal pool looks neglected and nearly empty.
Ali’s jealous ex-boyfriend Johnny (William Zabka) and his friends bully Daniel to the point that he confesses to his mother, “I hate this place. I just want to go home. ”That is, until he masters the karate of his best friend and teacher, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Apparently Daniel is still thriving in the valley in as a successful businessman and father, as seen in Netflix’s Cobra Kai.
And then there are the otherworldly and quirky depictions, juxtaposed with touches of warmth and coziness: ET found a welcoming home with Elliott (Henry Thomas) and his family in the foothills of suburban Tujunga.
Over a decade later, Quentin Tarantino has written about the characters navigating the bowels of LA’s crime world in Pulp Fiction, and the Valley was involved: Butch’s (Bruce Willis) apartment – where he recovers an heirloom. family – still stays in North Hollywood, and the pink house where Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino) and his wife live was actually a place suggestion related to Anderson.
The director had a personal connection through his father, Ernie Anderson, and had known the place well since he was born and raised in Studio City, where the house is today (in a different color scheme). This ideal setting demonstrated just how safe and suburban the valley can be amid the drama that “explodes” between Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L Jackson) in their bloodstained car.
When Boogie Nights arrived in 1997, the Valley finally had someone – a local – who showed them unconditional love. Anderson wrote in The New York Times: “The San Fernando Valley has always been epic for me. I would look at Lawrence of Arabia and think of my equivalent: Ventura Boulevard. As a child, I would take my camcorder and recreate images from other films. You do with what you have, and my goal was to do the valley cutscene. It seemed rather easy, due to my frustration with the way the others had tried to do it. “
Now, with the release of Anderson’s Licorice Pizza, there is even more to love – and perhaps criticize – about the Valley. As the locals would say: like, totally.
Reference of the Article-post – lwlies