Looking Back At RISKY BUSINESS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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In the constellation of 1980s cinema, few films shine as brightly as 'Risky Business'. Its iconic blend of comedy, drama, and coming-of-age angst continues to resonate, while the performances it boasted - especially a breakout role for a young Tom Cruise - have endured in Hollywood's collective memory.

Directed by Paul Brickman, 'Risky Business' is a tale of youthful exuberance, misadventure, and the calamitous consequences of parental absence. Cruise stars as Joel Goodsen, a high school senior residing in affluent suburban Chicago. With his parents away, Joel seizes the opportunity to shed his straight-laced image, descending into a world of wild parties, high-end escorts, and entrepreneurial endeavors in the adult entertainment industry. His liaison with the captivating Lana, played by Rebecca De Mornay, adds a romantic subplot, contributing to the film's reputation as an unconventional love story.

In crafting the narrative of 'Risky Business', Brickman aimed to subvert the typical teen comedy genre. Rather than simply focusing on adolescent antics, he delved into the economic realities and social pressures of the time. Joel's transformation from cautious teen to audacious entrepreneur is seen as a metaphor for the ruthless capitalism and materialistic ethos of the 80s, positioning 'Risky Business' alongside films like 'Wall Street' in its critique of the decade's excesses.

The film's production wasn't without its hitches. The famed 'dance in underwear' scene, now a classic moment in pop culture, was almost entirely improvised. Cruise's iconic dance to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" was initially met with skepticism by the studio, but Brickman's decision to keep the scene proved to be a masterstroke, cementing Cruise's star status.

'Risky Business' also owes much of its success to its stellar cast. Cruise, in his first leading role, proved his mettle as a charismatic lead. Rebecca De Mornay's portrayal of Lana showcased her ability to bring depth and complexity to her character. The film also featured early appearances by actors like Joe Pantoliano, who would later become staples in Hollywood.

Making its U.S. debut on August 5, 1983, 'Risky Business' was met with both critical and commercial success. The film earned a commendable $63.5 million domestically, with its global box office reaching an impressive $91.5 million. This success marked a turning point in Tom Cruise's career, transforming him from an upcoming actor into a bonafide Hollywood A-lister.

The legacy of 'Risky Business' stretches far beyond its box office success. The film's narrative and stylistic choices have influenced a myriad of films in the coming-of-age genre. Notably, John Hughes' films, such as 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', show a clear debt to 'Risky Business', employing similar themes of teen rebellion and the unpredictable consequences of parental absence.

Perhaps the most significant impact of 'Risky Business' lies in its treatment of teen sexuality. By approaching this subject with a blend of humor and honesty, the film set the stage for later movies like 'American Pie' and 'Superbad'.

Moreover, the film's satirical exploration of capitalist ideals and economic realities has been echoed in various other productions. Movies like 'The Wolf of Wall Street' and 'The Big Short' share a kinship with 'Risky Business', employing humor and wit to critique financial excesses and corruption.

Reflecting on 'Risky Business', its legacy is multi-dimensional, extending from its performances and narrative choices to its cultural influence and enduring relevance. It remains a benchmark for the teen comedy-drama genre, a quintessential 80s film that encapsulates the era's aesthetics, anxieties, and aspirations.

From Tom Cruise's star-making performance and Brickman's skillful direction, to its memorable soundtrack and iconic scenes, 'Risky Business' is more than just a movie. It's a fascinating time capsule, an enduring cultural touchstone, and a testament to the power of cinema in reflecting and shaping societal attitudes. As it continues to inspire and entertain, the legacy of 'Risky Business' remains as vibrant as ever.

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