The Front Row View: Risky Business

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.


Years before Tom Cruise appeared in an endless series of action blockbusters, he scored his first major hit as the naïve high schooler Joel Goodson in Paul Brickman’s Risky Business. This clever and enjoyable teen fantasy ruled the box office during the summer of ’83. It’s full of memorable moments: Cruise in his now-iconic drunken boogie to “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll” (demerit to the movie for popularizing it again—I can definitely live the rest of my life without hearing it!): Rebecca DeMornay’s first appearance at Joel’s house with the aid of wind, heavy shadows and Tangerine Dream’s electronic mood music: the stylish, funny dream sequences: the late-night “date” on the train (scored to “In the Air Tonight”, thus helping to keep the ’80s Phil Collins Era alive): and Joel’s “U-boat commander” experience in Lake Michigan. The smart script by Brickman and the dreamy look of the film elevate it far above the usual teen movie dreck. Cruise is appealing as Joel, Demornay is seductive and mysterious as Lana and the wonderful Curtis Armstrong delivers some of Brickman’s killer lines. “I have a Trig exam tomorrow and I’m being chased by Guido the Killer Pimp.” Classic!


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