11/7/13: Risky Business (1983)


“Lately, I’ve been having the same dream every night. It’s all tinted in orange. I go to my neighbors’ to borrow some sugar. I ring the doorbell, but nobody answers. The door is open, so I go inside. Nobody seems to be there. And then I hear the shower running, so I go upstairs to see what’s what. I walk into the bathroom & there she is – my incredibly hot next door neighbor. So I go to her & open the shower door… and…I find myself…right here, in front of my laptop, unprepared to Blog a classic movie yet again! Oh well, I may never get to Hollywood, and I am not sure if I’m awake or if this is just a tangerine dream,” “but sometimes you just gotta say, ‘What the fuck!!’” Anyway, today’s Blog is of Paul Brickman’s Risky Business starring Tom Cruise as Joel, a high school senior torn between his scholastic career & his desire to lose his virginity. His rich parents (Nicholas Pryor & Janet Carroll) want him to go to Princeton. When they go on vacation, his friends Miles (Curtis Armstrong) and Barry (Bronson Pinchot), want him to say, “’What the fuck!’” and have a big party in the house. Rebecca DeMornay is great as the female lead, Lana the Call Girl, in just her second role. Her ‘manager’ is Guido (Joe Pantoliano, best known as Cypher in The Matrix and Teddy in Memento). The infamous Joel’s tighty-whitey dance to Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll scene, was entirely improved. The script simply called for Cruise to dance to the tune.

Risky - Parents    Risky - Friends    Risky - Rebecca Risky - Pantoliano      Risky - Joel

Risky Business received no Academy Award nominations, but Cruise was nominated for the 1984 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Movie Comedy or Musical. Cruise was nominated for Best Actor Oscars in 1990 & ’97 for Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire, respectively; and for Best Supporting Actor in Magnolia in 2000. Barry Levinson’s signature piece, Rain Man, won 4 Oscars & was nominated for 4 more. But Cruise’s wonderful performance as Charlie Babbitt was snubbed in the Best Supporting Actor category.  

Risky - 4th    Risky - Maguire    Risky - Rain

The esoteric score in Risky Business is by the German progressive rock band, Tangerine Dream. Though we think of movie scores as by specialized composers like Hans Zimmer, there’s a rich history of rock stars & bands composing motion picture scores. Real soundtracks, not those made from albums like the 5 Beatles’ movies or ‘Pink Floyd The Wall’ or concert films like ‘Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same’. Tangerine Dream has over 20 movie soundtracks in the ‘80’s alone, including: Legend, which also starred Tom Cruise; Firestarter, starring a then 8 year-old Drew Barrymore; and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. They composed the music for 2 other of Scott’s films, as well: Alien, from ’79; and Black Hawk Down, from 2001. There are more than a score more rock bands/stars that have done movie scores: Pink Floyd has 3 themselves, and co-composed on the cult favorite Zabriskie Point with Jerry Garcia; Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman has composed almost 80 scores, including 5 in 2013 & all but 2 of Tim Burton’s films, and has 4 Oscar nominations*; Stewart Copeland of the Police over 50, including Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street; Ry Cooder has 17; Mark Knopfler, 10, including The Princess Bride; Peter Gabriel has 3 including The Last Temptation of Christ; Jimmy Page – Death Wish II & 3; and who could ever forget the Bee Gees’ score for Saturday Night Fever? So now, watch the trailer & then add the movie to your Netflix DVD list so you can groove to some Tangerine Dream, Tom Cruise, and his under pants in Paul Brickman’s Risky Business. 3 Stars!

Risky - Tangerine Risky - Zimmer Risky - Pink Risky - Jerry Risky - Copeland    Risky - Cooder    Risky - Knopfler Risky - Gabriel    Risky - Page   Risky - Bee Gees

* Credit for the Danny Elfman notification goes out to Joe Andrade. Thanks, Joey!!


3 thoughts on “11/7/13: Risky Business (1983)

  1. To the long list of rock bands doing sound tracks, I would like to add Danny Elfman. He composed over 70 movie soundtracks including the Simpson opening, 1989 Batman and many Tim Burton movies. Most recently he did American Hustle. He has received 4 Academy award nominations. Oingo Boingo may not have been the edgiest/coolest rock band but his vast movie work is undeniable.

    • Thanks,Joey. Whenever I introduce a film, be it t a cinema or for a course, I conclude the speech w/ a lesson or teaching moment on the discipline of filmmaking. I then convert the speech into a Blog. For Risky Business, the lesson was obviously on rockers who have written movie soundtracks. Since I do this across several arenas (OLLI, Adult Ed, RAW, Rave), the lessons are reusable. I’ve updated the speech to include Danny Elfman of Oingo Bingo. Nice!

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