My idea for the Perfect Sweet Valley High Movie – 80’s style!


    

Did you know Sweet Valley High was supposed to be an NBC movie back in 1988?! It’s true! I ran across this article in Teen magazine and according to it – Jamie , Francine’s daughter was
meeting to approve cast! Wow.

Sweet Valley High movie 1988 article

The Twins who auditioned for the Sweet Valley High movie

 

What happened? I haven’t a clue – I suppose I could attempt to look into it. But ideas fail all the time – things get changed – projects shelved. I’m being vague but that’s the movies. I could say especially in the 80’s but I remember waiting years for Wes Craven to do American McGee’s Alice. Ha! I decided because of all this Sweet Valley talk swirling around – with the new book that’s been released and the new movie in the works that I would offer up my idea for the perfect Sweet Valley High movie.

First the cast – I decided to slant this fantasy movie  in the 80’s specifically because I can’t imagine Elizabeth and Jessica in this generation as teens. The whole Kim Kardashian , Paris Hilton , texting , fake n’ bake tans , big glasses and big attitudes ugh. I much prefer the bouncy fun gals
of the 80’s. Think Cynthia Gibb!
The real dilemma is the twins themselves – Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield – Real twins? I wouldn’t go that route specifically because you never know whether you’re going to get a set of good actresses or if one is dragging her feet. Best to go the Hayley Mills route of split screen – do you know I’ve met people who’ve seen the movie and thought it was twins -apparently they weren’t paying too much attention to the credits!

        ELIZABETH AND JESSICA WAKEFIELD

Elizabeth Wakefield from Deceptions Jessica Wakefield from All Night Long

 

– Their characters are a study in opposites – while Liz is kind and gentle , poised confident and caring , Jessica is flighty and manipulative , goofy and calculating that’s a lot of range for one actress!

            KRISTY SWANSON

Kristy Swanson as Liz

Kristy Swanson is a good actress , underrated. She was often kept to the background playing spunky characters – like the rambler in Ferris Bueller whose information gives new meaning to six degrees of separation. Her main leading role was in a watered down version of Flowers in the attic which held just enough interest to make the movie a curiosity piece. With her blonde good looks and ability to be both flirty and calm she’d make a perfect combination of Liz and Jess.

            KELLI MARONEY

Kelli Maroney - in Night of the comet Kelli Maroney

Kelli Maroney is one of the actresses you might’ve missed if you didn’t watch the low budget flicks. Mainly known for Night of Comet , Kelli however exudes a spunky vulnerability no matter what she is in. Here she is in her trademark pink and turquoise cheerleader outfit ready to kick some zombie butt , just imagine how she could’ve annihilated Annie! If you want to see her demure side – Chopping Mall.

            JENNIFER JASON LEIGH

Jennifer Jason Leigh b&w Jennifer Jason Leigh in Angel City

Jen , was basically know for being an actress that in the movies was always mistreated , killed , raped , abused , tortured. I suppose it was her wordly look of having a down curled mouth. No matter. She could be lively and vivacious and just as flirty as Jess – though maybe a little too
low key for Liz – she’s a very indie pick for Elizabeth and Jessica.

            DEBORAH FOREMAN

Deborah foreman for maybelline

Deborah Foreman – how can I not mention her! She’s perhaps the most gorgeous gal of the 80’s that smile practically throws off sparks! Not only that she’s got talent you wouldn’t doubt that this girl in a dual role wouldn’t have the entire school eating out of her hand – both as manipulative Jess and kind Liz.

                 TIFFANY HELM

Tiffany Helm in reform school girls Tiffany Helm
Tiffany Helm is one of those actresses that sparked some attention as a punker and made the B-movie circuit – she’s got quite a devoted fan club especially with Friday the 13th freaks. But wash all the Siouxsie Sioux make up off and she’s a doll! Bright and lively in a sleeper called The Zoo Gang I think she’d make a super Liz and Jess.

        LORI LOUGHLIN

Lori Loughlin 80's
This is one of my favorite 80’s under rated actresses! She was skipped over for a lot of opportunities – some were a blessing in disguise – The Blue Lagoon. A brunette beauty with a terrific smile , she was cast in the decades typical fare , horrors and goofy comedies none seeming to play off her
intelligence – she was a poised but spunky Molly Ringwald type – Heads above the muck she had to wade through.  But no one offered her a Breakfast Club. Her intelligent air would make her a perfect Liz! I wished I could’ve seen her as a bit of a flirt to see how she’d bring Jess to life but I think she definitely could’ve pulled it off.                                

            DEDEE PFIEFFER

Dedee Pfeiffer

Dedee Pfeiffer in allnighter Dedee Pfieffer in allnighter 2
Another underrated gem! She totally reminds me of old an movie star -Yvette Mimieux who gave off this wonderful tender spirit. Dedee has that but she also has this amazing vitality , she seems to dance through her scenes! My second fave pick to play Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.

            DIANE LANE

Diane Lane as Liz and Jess

Diane Lane in a tube top - the perfect Jessica Diane Lane as Jess and Liz 2

Diane Lane is who I’d cast if I was making the movie – in the mid 80’s she was one of the most popular beauties – She showed off a ripe teasing quality in Six Pack – as a teen scamming men out of their cash! And displayed that calm gentle quality we love in Liz in a number of other movies – Childbride of Shortbred Creek and Cherry in the Outsiders. 

        STEVEN WAKEFIELD

Steven Wakefield

For a character like Steven you need someone handsome but full of angst – for most of the early books of Sweet Valley High , Steven was wallowing in the death of Tricia. Haunted and tragic
we need an actor who can cry!

        ANDREW MCCARTHY

Andrew mccarthy as steven
What you might say , him! I know ( sigh )  I can’t particularly picture him as Steven but one good thing about Andrew is that he’s got range , he can play a dashing charming student who cries ( Pretty in Pink ) and a party-hearty goof ( Weekend at Bernies .) Lets not forget he is beautiful.

        ROB LOWE

Rob Lowe
I never flipped over Rob like some others did in the 80’s. I didn’t melt over his shaggy hair , or his earring  and I had never seen St. Elmos Fire until the 90’s. Plus his scandal always left me a little wary of enjoying his performances. However if I toss that aside I must say , Rob himself is kind of wooden , he’s pretty but well , that’s the trouble  – that’s all- However he does on the plus side,  give off a quality of doomed pathos  thereby he could
be a really good Steven.

        JASON PATRIC

Jason Patric 2

Jason Patric as Steven
This is my preference if I had to pick the cast – Jason Patric was kindof on the back burner – him and Adrian Pasadar. The Lost Boys gave him a boost but he never really caught on. The great thing about Jason is he radiates the illusion of tortured soul – the very thing to draw in Cara. Plus he is way sexy to boot. I got the pics from a tv movie in the 80’s called Toughlove.  It was hard to catch him smiling in that one.   

                 TRICIA MARTIN

I don’t think she’d be a big part of a movie that I’d do – too much of a downer , but she’d pop up in flashbacks. Despite her looking fragile as she was dying – everyone looks fragile when they’re dying sheesh – I thought she was a relatively strong person.

              CATHERINE MARY STEWART

Catherine Mary Stewart as Tricia

She is totally lovely , and strong willed a very underrated actress – I think she’d make a terrific flashback Tricia.

        MRS. WAKEFIELD
In the tv series the parents never showed up as a running joke. There was even a note tapped to the fridge in one episode it read – ran off with the mailman or something or other. Oddly enough in the books , I thought the parents were an active presence. A sounding board at breakfast that was often ignored. Being that Mrs. Wakefield is described as beautiful and smart – an interior decorator – these are my picks.

        KATE NELLIGAN

Kate Nelligan as Mrs
I first noticed her in a tv movie called Control which was about a bomb shelter , in it her hair was shorter , that trendy bubble style. Still flawless. For me, she sums up the ideal image of an 80’s woman –  never so career minded that she forgets to radiate a womanly presence she becomes all things – mother , lover , wife effortlessly.

        SUSAN ANTON


Susan anton the perfect Mrs
One of the most spectacular beauties of the 80’s  a Farrah Fawcett type – big wide smile. So she must be mentioned – however , she is so beautiful she might over shadow the twins! I mean she is just too gorgeous – that smile  – well it’s in not in this pic , but she is a fun person. You’d believe her as the Mom the twins would crack could be mistaken as an older sister.

        MR. WAKEFIELD
Though Mr. Wakefield could come across goofy – his weird glass sculpture side story ,which probably was only echoing tv dads of the moments lets-laugh-at-dad scenes – 90210’s Mr. Walsh taking up the keyboard. I pictured lawyer-Wakefield to be a little debonair.
       

        JAMES BROLIN

James Brolin as Mr Wakefield

Don’t flip out – I love the idea of a trimmed bearded  James Brolin as Mr. Wakefield , Brolin gave off a great charisma while on screen but if the beard isn’t your thing my next pick is….

            CRAIG T. NELSON

Craig T Nelson
I think he’s the perfect pick for an average likable dad , he’s got major screen presence , though it might be a stretch to buy him as a lawyer its a moot point. He’s a good pick for a scene if he’s trying to talk reason to the twins or console Steven.

                ENID ROLLINS

Enid Rollins 
As the best friend of Liz , she needs to be a loyal person , kind caring , and beautiful. Though some readers and fans of SVH have written off Enid as a spineless goof  if you look at the entirety of Enid’s history , she’s a pretty spectacular character – she’s the only student in Sweet Valley High – a Junior to land a college man as her steady boyfriend – and did you know Jessica brought her home to be friends first! That Liz stole her! Not only that Enid over came a wild background and has become apparently an honor student –whew!  In some ways Enid tops Liz!

        DONNA WILKES

Donna Wilkes as Enid
Okay this may be a stretch – you may be thinking – what am I thinking,  this is the girl that played that tart in that low-budget  flick – Angel – but wait – she is real pretty and  it’s such a sweet heart of a face ( bedazzled with freckles and feather framed with shaggy hair)  that it becomes a pun in casting – good girl with a baaaad past.

        LISA PELIKAN

Lisa Pelikan as Tricia
She’s more an early 80’s late 70’s actress but this is fantasy stuff anyway – I’m trying to keep some boundaries  – I won’t say early Julia Roberts or Tom Cruise or something like that- too easy! I want to keep the actresses and actors somewhat believable and Lisa Pelikan is pure Enid. If you’ve ever seen the movie Jennifer you know what I mean. She’s got the same cloud of hair and her face is real pretty. She also has poise.

        BETSY RUSSELL

Betsy russell in suspenders
There are moments in Betsy’s career when she sports an out of control perm that screams Enid! Not in this pic though – here she looks a little sweeter. Because is  she is a bit of a tough person – Enid sometimes has a hard time biting her tongue around Jessica , Betsy would be the perfect actress to prove Enid has an underlining backbone.  My favorite look for Betsy is in Cheerleader camp  her hair has been colored – light brown and tamed – body wave. Which is why I also think she’d make a terrific Cara.

            KEN MATTHEWS

Ken Matthews svh
I thought it’d been cool to keep supporting cast in mind – when I think of Ken I think of a not just a built guy but a slightly goofy guy.  Look at Ken’s background he rips off Liz’s story , dates a pushy rich girl , goes blind – temporarily,  he’s a little goofy. I kept that in mind when I went looking for his cinematic equivalent.

            CHRISTOPHER ATKINS

Christopher Atkins - hubba hubba 
Let’s face it – nobody got goofier in the 80s than Christopher Atkins. I don’t think it was his fault , per say, but all the credit can’t be given to his roles. Chris is just one of those guys that would trip walking down the aisle on his wedding day, break a pen in his mouth while chewing it , wipe out just after the lifeguard told him to go slow around the pool. A klutz. He thinks he’s hot , we know he’s hot but when he tries to act hot , it comes off as goofy. He’s Winston in a hot bod. The perfect golden boy, Ken.

            BILL CHASE

Bill Chase
SVH’s other golden boy is surfer dude Bill Chase. Considering Jessica managed to wrap him around his finger before he got wise , I thought maybe of searching out a blonde dolt – but since he lasted so long with Dee Dee I decided Bill wasn’t so bad. He can commit which is more than I can say about some of the characters.

 
            JOHN TERLESKY

John Terlesky

John terlesky in allnighter
A low budget actor who made the rounds. I thought he would make a great Bruce Patman till I thought it over , he played hot heads , arrogant types but if you watch the All Nighter with Susanna Hoffs – he plays a surfer dude! Totally Bill , he cute and charming with a sexy grin that sort of pulls up over a patch of chipmunk teeth that is how in any movie you can recognize him. I even love the shaggy blonde hair. Totally cool. 

                  WILLIAM ZABKA

William Zabka

This is just to throw a second idea out there. It would’ve been nice to see Zabka playing a nice guy through and through – even in the Equalizer he was always up and down. Plus he’s got the best white blonde hair around.

 

            LILA FOWLER

Lila Fowler
For me Lila is the hardest to cast  even when it’s pretend! – Lila is a rahter complex character , like Jess. She appears to be the villain – she’s rich , spoiled , vain but she’s often cast in a humorous light – the incident when she is told by a fashion magazine she has a flat face! Buying the same bathing suit as Jessica. On the covers she has a luminous beauty – in fact she appears positively serene! See what I mean by hard.

        LEA THOMPSON

lea thompson 
Once she played a girl attempting to run with the rich crowd , she wore borrowed diamond earrings and had the look of tasteful wealth. With her tousled red mane and gentle good looks – Lea is a good choice for Lila , she can be wild and up for fun and then an odd contrast of demur face and  condescending nature – remember her telling off Eric Stolz in Some Kind of Wonderful?

        JENNIFER CONNELY

Jennifer Connelly
In some ways she seems out of the age bracket of the others – especially because her Lila quality isn’t noticed until Career Opportunities which hangs on the edge – 1990. In the movie she played a poor little rich girl , lippy but gentle. She’s got a very good look about her though – long dark hair perfect face! She even has a voice that I could picture Lila using.

        IONE SKY

Ione skye as Lila

Is my Favorite pick. Even though she played a rich girl in Say Anything and was nice you have to admit ,Lila really isn’t that evil , she’s misunderstood – usually going along with Jessica’s schemes – though she does hatch a few of her own. I think Ione could pull off an arrogant character I don’t recall seeing her play anything but gentle parts but this pic says she’s ready for a change!

                              BRUCE PATMAN

Bruce Patman
One of the most important roles to cast is our resident beloved creep. Bruce is a hard character to fill – first of all if you consider that Bruce’s attributes and flaws – he’s  rich , arrogant , very handsome and a tennis player. Basically dismiss all hulks – there are a lot of beefy actors in the 80’s but I think Bruce given his often cowardly nature is more built like a runner.  heh! heh! pun intended.
           

                JAMES SPADER

James Spader in black and white as Bruce Patman
He made a character out of playing slime balls in the 80’s  and could sleepwalk through Bruce’s role – I’d ditch Bruce’s brown hair and keep the tousled two tone hair Spader sports in Pretty in Pink ( which by the way he drives Bruce’s trademark black Porsche!)  In fact he’s practically playing Bruce in Pretty In Pink!  Think about he’s only out to score with Andie ( who could be Liz and who of course sees right through him! )

            RODNEY HARVEY

Rodney Harvey as Bruce Patman 
He played in the tv series of The Outsiders , which I don’t recall ever catching. I thought his picture though was perfect – he looks to be the physical persona of Bruce come to life. 

            CARA WALKER

Cara Walker
A gentle but spunky and confident character , Cara is complex. She started the series as a dippy cheerleader but stood out mainly because after setting her eyes on Steven became more tender and befriended both Liz and Jessica. Perhaps the only person to share their friendship.

        BETSY RUSSELL

 Betsy Russell in Cheerleader camp
In Cheerleader Camp , Betsy gives off all the Cara vibes – cheerleader who seems unfulfilled in her station – longing for something more. She’s also so beautiful you can believe she’d have a college man’s interest.

        CYNTHIA GIBB

Cynthia Gibb as Cara
One of my Fave , 80’s chicks Cynthia Gibb is way spunky! She’s great for a Cara that’s bent on cheering up Steven and even better when you want to start the movie with her as frivolous and fun loving. Cute.

        PHOEBE CATES

Phoebe Cates 80's
Phoebe often seems to float through her roles on a bubble , she’s beautiful and your eyes follow her but she’s hard to pin down – usually the real personality of a star seeps through , but with Phoebe you get the idea that all is veiled – she comes across however as the every girl. Smart beautiful , likable.

           ANNIE WHITMAN

Annie Whitman
Annie is one of those characters that like Cara transformed slightly – a dish that overcomes her wild ways – it’s hinted at that Annie is promiscuous and turns more to scholastic scoring. I was thinking needy is the key word.

        CYNTHIA GIBB

Cynthia Gibb cute
She’s an actress that you’re eyes are always drawn to when she’s on the screen, she’s bubbly and needy and a perfect pick for a girl attempting to crash in on the cheerleaders circle. She’s definitely my pick for Annie.

        ALLY SHEEDY

Ally Sheedy
Ally sheedy 2

In The Breakfast Club Ally gives us that Annie quality – she’s an outsider , looking in , wants to be in. She’s attention getting and needy. Her grin is infectious – I don’t see Ally as being bubbly
but as the type who the boys would pass around.

        TODD WILKENS

Todd Wilkens
Todd is one of those main characters that when it’s time to cast him you’re wonder who do I chose – do I pick based on high class stars – Tom Cruise. ha!  Todd is a character that seems to have everything – he’s a basketball player , he’s gorgeous , girls fling themselves at him , he’s apparently nice – to a fault , slightly pretentious and had decided to allow Liz the honor of being his girl. See what I mean – on the surface Todd is all that and a bag of chips , beneath that he’s
a stuffy snot.

        KEN OLANDT

Ken Olandt - perfect todd 
If you’ve watched Riptide you might recognize this name – Ken Olandt made the rounds I think he was in April Fools Day too – on Riptide he played a bit of a Todd role. He thought he was all that and a bag of chips. He was good looking , charming but a bit of a clueless dolt – remember how often Todd could be tricked on the flimsiest of evidence?

        RUSSELL TODD

Russell Todd as Todd
Now this is a guy girls would fight over and Liz would ditch Jeffery for , this guy is flawless. He appeared in Chopping Mall as one of the teens who got chopped so his moments were brief but he does have charm. I think he could’ve definitely pulled off playing Todd – A guy who, you could believe, had the school in the palm of his hand.

        WINSTON EGGBERT

Winston Eggbert
The school nerd is a curious character. Trying to figure him out is a little like attempting to decipher his Jughead quotient. I mean when you’re reading the books you find it somewhat unbelievable that they haul this nerd to every party so he’d either have to be someone that posed no threat to the festivities or added to them.

        ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

Robert Downy Jr as Winston
He is one of my favorite ideas for Winston! – In the 80’s Robert was nerdy looking , his teeth looked like curtsying Chiclets , his hair was spiked , his gaze fish eyed, and his wardrobe was new-wave meets wipeout . But he’s talented! And memorable – out of the all the movies that he was playing second banana to he came out ,finally the leading man!

        THOM BRAY

Thom Bray as Winston
My favorite 80’s nerd – besides that nerd archetype from Grease 2. Thom Bray was the nerdiest nerd on tv. He was the brains in the detective trio on Riptide – okay that makes him older but he’s short and I think he could’ve pulled off playing a nerdy teen. The great thing about Bray is that he’s so energetic – he’s being himself he doesn’t even seem to be aware of his nerdiness I love it!

          ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL

Anthony Michael Hall as Winston Eggbert
Okay I mention nerd, his name has to come up – but it’s not my favorite pick for Winston. It’s too I don’t know going with the grain. Could you imagine him stuffing down mini pizzas?  Okay maybe with his personality in Weird Science.

        MARC PRICE

Marc Price 
He played Skippy for years wearing round glasses – in the game version of Sweet Valley High – Winston wears the same round glasses. I think he’d make a brilliant Winston – but what can you expect, he’d been being playing a type of Winston for years!

             NORA DALTON

Nora Dalton
A beautiful teacher who manages to cause controversy, for giving Ken secret French lessons , dating Roger Collins and then Mr. Patman – she’s a rare one so I had to think beauty, poise and confidence.

        CONNIE SELLECA

connie sellecca as nora
Those three things will always bring to mind one of the prettiest ladies of any decade – Connie Selleca. With her luminous skin, affectionate gaze and long dark hair she gives off the notion of being able to take control of any situation – a perfect teacher.

        DANA LARSON

Dana from svh
One of the wild characters in the series – Dana is lead singer of the band the Droids. She’s a bit of brat – probably that edgy rocker thing. She gives her cousin a rough time , manages to attract royalty and allows Jessica to borrow her funky jewelry. She the token punker in any 80’s movie.

        CARRIE HAMILTON

CARRIE HAMILTON FROM TOKOYO POP Carrie Hamilton bw 
She was Carol Burnett’s daughter and a bit of a punker in real life. Unusually pretty she had a habit of chopping her hair off into odd shapes and styles , a Chelsea ( shaved head & bangs ) one moment with a long strand left to braid – or a rooster shaped sort-of mullet. In Tokoyo Pop
she had an on and off sour/ this is so not cool look that I took as pure Dana. And she was a rocker!

        CAROLYN DUNN

Carolyn Dunn from Breaking all the Rules
In a little known movie – Breaking all the Rules a button-cute blonde decides to expose the real her by giving herself spikes. Punked out she then sets about making a guy fall for her. Though attempting sweetness in her flirting her dark side comes out with hilarious edge. She’s cute and vivacious but edgy a great Dana. Maybe a little too pretty though- love the hair!

        HELEN SLATER

Helen Slater as Dana
I loved her in The legend of Billie Jean especially when she cut off her hair – a look that for me totally says Dana!                           

        JENNY WRIGHT

Jenny Wright as Dana
She made the rounds in the 80’s and played a punked out chick who gives you the essence of Dana’s who image – the punk but not too aggressively punk.

            ROGER PATMAN

Roger Patman

The original Cinder-fella he goes from nerdy pauper to popular relative of the posh Patmans! I needed someone who wasn’t too geeky.

           CLAYTON ROHNER

Clayton Rohner

        MR. FOWLER 
Lila’s dad, would he even make an appearance? – for me , he would. And considering he’s rich , spoils Lila, allows this girl to have parties every weekend well , I kinda like him.

        ROBERT WAGNER

Robert Wagner
I picked Robert because he is a fabulous actor – Loved him in Hart to Hart , he’s got charisma, charm and a swarminess that makes him perfect to play a rich guy whose rather oblivious to his daughters needs but is kind nonetheless

        MR. PATMAN
Who could play the father of Bruce? The man who steals Nora temporarily away from Mr. Collins? Someone big.

        WILLIAM SHATNER

William Shatner as Mr Patman
Don’t laugh he’d be marvelous. He’s got the arrogance , he’s got the stature. He’s even good looking. He and Wagner can duke it out for the hammiest rich guy.

                    ROGER COLLINS

Roger Collins

Everyone’s Favorite cool teacher – the one everyone describes as looking like Robert Redford. Well I suppose I could pick Redford only I think I’ll try someone else.

               FRANK CONVERSE

Frank Converse

This guy totally reminds me of Robert Redford – he played in Anne of Green Gables the sequel back in the 80’s and had strawberry blonde hair!

 

Okay we’ve got the cast – now some of the dressing. If you’re anything like me you could be cringing at the prospect of an updated movie. You know what I mean – Jessica and Liz as Kim Kardashian types – Jessica lugging around a massive purse , wearing sunglasses that eclipse her face but not her perpetually smug grin. Texting , emails , so long sporty Triumph , hello boring Hybrid. In fact without the names to remind you of where you are and whose story this is you could very well forget. I’m reminded of a t.v. movie they did in the 80’s of a middle aged Archie.
Leapt out from the animators drawing board and brought to three dimensional life , he became
boring. Had the characters not been branded by the names of Archie , Betty or Veronica the movie would be pointless and in a way even with the names it still was pointless. I’m hoping for some nostalgia. Jessica and Liz and Sweet Valley are so much a part of the 80’s even the 70’s! A Copper fridge! A Hershey brown bedroom! A beach disco! That to rip them out of their decade would be to dissect Jughead from his jalopy , Back to the Future from it’s Delorian – Jessica from her Fate – Fiat.
    The sets would be very early 80’s late 70’s – Living rooms with bulky early Colonial Sears monsters – with the famously bizarre color palates and nubby fabric- avocado , lemon , caramel – beige – lots of beige.

80's living room

And ferns everywhere. Console tvs , dial phones. Monochromatic bathrooms with matching colored toilet paper and rugs on everything from toilet seat on up.

80's bathroom - rugs everywhere

80's kitchen with hanging ferns

As for the bedrooms – keeping in mind the decade – television  – yup – that long winded word television not tv sets  – would have rabbit ear antenna preferably with foil attachments. Digital alarm clocks set to wake up the Wakefields with ironic touches like Wham’s wake me up before you go-go,  no , too corny. Rock star posters – so who would Jessica have on her walls? I’m guessing she’s a Bon Jovi kinda girl – or an old tattered poster of Johnny Buck secretly taped to her closet door? An owl earring holder on her dresser top , a ton of 80’s bric a brac on the floor – Jess’s room is a mess – roller shoes , not skates , tons of magazines , shopping bags from Lizettes , maillot bathing suits , pantyhose draped over a lampshade , and a mirror over a long dresser with all kinds of things wedged into the frame and hanging over the edges ; beads , filmy scarfs , plastic sun visor , pictures of her self and Lila and her and Liz.

Jessica Wakefield's bedroom
    As for Elizabeth’s room it would be much more serene , tidy – with
a bookcase full of novels with all the covers covered in color coordinated colors to stress Elizabeth’s proclivity for organization. A hulking typewriter – one of those behemoths colored
avocado or turquoise on a neat little desk but to give Liz some flair – something goofy – like one of Olivia’s paintings. Bruce’s bedroom would be a masterpiece of shtick – think waterbed – and the fact that if anyone knows he’s got a waterbed that girl’s reputation becomes suspect – however contrariwise anyone that can verify Bruce has a waterbed well – let’s just say the girls are at a draw. He could also have a giant Andy Warhol original of himself. A picture of Roger turned into a dartboard , and a state of the art record player that can play Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing at the flick of a switch! Lila’s bedroom wouldn’t be as impressive as her closet. Wall-to wall carpeting for all!
     Lets not forget the best of the dressing – the cars – Bruce must drive his black Porsche – but lets have the old early 80’s classic version, please. Lila gets her lime green Triumph and Jess and Liz are returned to their Fiat.

Fiat Spider as 1982

Triumph ad 1980

Porsche ad

As for the actual wardrobe – I’m a fan of keeping it simple. Though Jess loved clothes and always seemed to get some new dress for every new dance they were relatively simple. I don’t think her parents shelled out a lot for a fancy wardrobe and in a way Jess didn’t need it – I think the twins were as sporty/conventional as the cover art – Liz stuck to short sleeved button down blouses – much as what was going on at the time – bright Hawaiian prints , or conservative polo shirts. Preppy but totally Liz. Paired with walking shorts or khakis that about sums up her look – although you could throw in a smocked top sundress with tie on straps.

Terry cloth shorts 80's
     Jessica would be slightly more free spirited – those awesome strapped high heeled sandals of the 80’s , side split shorts – very sexy , tank tops and t shirts and fun new wave tops – boat neck sweaters paired with cuffed shorts and bangle bracelets. Or the sexy boob tube! All in all – both girls would exude those easy-breezy summer days.
    Lila  on the book covers seems to be stuck in old lady mode trying to impress on us a classical kind of wealth – so I’d put her in more sophisticated looks – wrap around dresses , side swept hair – which always looks chic , strappy high sandals and color coordinated bags. The guys – tight jeans! Yah! Shirts that fit! Hooray! Polo shirts or Izods with little alligators. For the ultimate prep , sport jackets – sweaters tied around the neck by the sleeves. A must for Liz , Todd and Bruce. Plus Bruce must wear an entire white tennis ensemble – just to show off his tanned legs. No sneakers for him real dress shoes. As for some of the sporty guys – Bill and Ken – think
surfer dude – short shorts , mesh half tops , ringed sport socks pulled up to the knee.

80's men in shorts
    Now for the most important thing the plot – why does this movie exist besides a sole purpose to capitalize on it’s product – namely the characters – that might be good enough for the likes of say Dukes of Hazzard and their hazardous waste of a movie – but if you want to make
something that if it doesn’t at least last has a moment of recognition – like the Brady Bunch movie – in other words, relax don’t take yourself too serious, and don’t rush it.
    If it were up to me , I’d keep the plot ultra simple – the fun lay not in the plots but in what catastrophe Jessica was going to get herself into. My all time favorite Sweet Valley High book was Perfect Summer one I’ve re-read dozens of times – the reason is the all-present – accept Enid – cast.

Teens on ten speeds

Perfect movie material, for in order to ensure a full cast – it would be necessary to consider a project the entire school would be involved in – How about a fund raising competition to help support future Olympic athletes in a race to prove that Sweet Valley would be the best place to hold the 1984 Olympic games – hey it’s my fantasy. Up against their school spirit is of course Palisade high – boo hiss – always on hand to throw a monkey wrench into their efforts. With this kind of idea, you can have it all – the thrill of Olympic mania – Jessica getting all starry eyed about a local talk show host on hand to cover the competitions and being her schools own worse saboteur. Worrying more about looking good in a shot than winning. Plus you can imagine Jess wanting to make some moolah on phony Olympic merchandise – going in on defective deelyboppers – with Winston Eggbert!  I can imagine lots of out-door shots – all glowing with that early California sunshine look – station wagons down the street , sheep dogs on leashes , moms with bad hair , while the Sweet Valley high gang leans over rams horn ten speed handles for a bike race. Bruce Patman kicking butt in a tennis match , the gang withdrawing from the days events to the Dari Burger – Liz for her beloved Root Beer oh what the heck make it a root beer float , and Jessica a huge banana split – just so everyone can despise her size 6 figure a little bit more.
    More plots – Jessica out to romance the host filming the week long competition – ignoring the dishier camera guy, but not to be outdone is Lila putting herself into the competition after all she’s got daddy, who can pulls strings. Enid who recognizes a blast from her shady past – on the Palisades team and tries to keep him from telling George – will she or won’t she throw a competition? Robin still plump in this version makes herself Jessica’s slave and pawn in her attempts to sabotage Lila in the hopes of being accepted at Pi Beta Alpha. Elizabeth chief organizer of the competitions and covering it for the paper is a little bit overwhelmed though she has the help of dashing Roger Collins distracted by Nora Dalton taking up with Mr. Patman who is sponsoring the competition.  But Liz has time to take notice of Todd – I mean what the heck – lets have them start a romance, it’s much more exciting than having them simply together – Besides it would be fun if Jessica winds up impeding Liz’s attempts at every turn without even half trying – like throwing herself at Todd – in order to become his partner in the competition as mere calculation , knowing Todd’s good at sports she’ll get more screen time at his side. As for the Lila and Jess’s showdown it wouldn’t keep them apart just the opposite – name me a soap that didn’t go ten minutes without have the villain/heros within one anothers company. A chummy scene that only the 80’s could do justice to – Envision Jess and Lila walking arm in arm down the halls of Sweet Valley – each knowing the other is trying to sabotage her attempt at stardom and being smugly polite – each cat thinking the other is the mouse. Steven would still be grieving Tricia – cue flashbacks and tears and enter a bouncy Cara who is all set to help sabotage the Palisades team with the rest of the cheerleaders – but as the movie progresses she begins to  ‘mature’ and talks with Steven drawing him out. The best scene for them is pure lovely corn 80’s style – a picnic with kite flying. And we couldn’t have a movie without a beach scene – Bill Chase in a surfing competition , dancing at the beach disco , a trip to Miller’s point. And the end all party complete with people in the pool , the Droids playing new wave rock , Winston doing something goony and  Jessica and Lila arriving in the same outfit , only to discover their talk show host is probably married with triplets of which both girls have been conned into babysitting.
    That’s it in a nut shell – For me the movie isn’t just about name dropping. It’s a whole atmosphere – it’s feet are set in daytime soap – and it’s as squeaky clean as anything on tv – I’d work with it – that’s the point , it’s not a stumbling block it’s a foundation – I’d never lose it’s sense of humor – take a cue from Jess she never did.

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3 Responses to My idea for the Perfect Sweet Valley High Movie – 80’s style!

  1. Crystal says:

    i loved reading SVT and SVH books!!!! i love reading your blog….makes me almost teary eyed because i am now going on 37 and it brought back so many good memories..to just for a moment relive them…i remember how excited i would get when they passed out the new book order forms..and could wait to order the new SVT book…or going to the library to check out the new SVH book. Thank you for writing this. 🙂

    • peacharino says:

      Thanks! I too, loved going to the mall and checking out the latest series books – I practically hugged my purchases to my chest on the way out! Books have never been as much fun as they were back then.

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