test of time (new reviews of old movies, 1 of ?)

The combination of Netflx's ever-expanding on demand catalog and my inherent laziness have conspired to have me watching no small number of older (read: 1980's) movies in the last week or so, most for the first time in a really long time. And I'm pretty impressed how well some of them stand up.

Risky Business launched the career of noted character actor Tom Cruise (Magnolia, Tropic Thunder) and also features a bit part by an unrecognizable Megan Mullally (seriously, look it up.) Also, Rebecca De Mornay who slipped into another dimension c. 1993, reality superstar Bronson Pinchot, and Joe Pantoliano (who, like every other Italian-American actor of a certain age, got killed on The Sopranos.)

But what I really want to know is what the hell happened to Paul Brickman, the director? He made one other movie (you haven't heard of it and I can't be bothered to look it up again) and then did some TV stuff. And that's...pretty much it. I ask this, because even viewed 27 (!) years later, Risky Business is really, really good.

You probably know the plot: uptight high school student has the house to himself for a week. Dances in his underwear. Hires a prostitute. Doesn't have the money to pay her, so she takes a valuable objet d'art that belongs to his mother to settle the debt. Hilarity ensues, and our hero learns the value of taking risks.

Before John Hughes was writing angsty teen comedies set in the affluent suburbs of Chicago, before Michael Mann was shooting weirdly impersonal yet oddly compelling sex scenes with bad lighting and synth-heavy music, and before Cruise was gaying it up in Top Gun, Brickman did all of these things in Risky Business, and did them well. Seriously, Risky Business is to the "80's movie" what The French Connection is to the action-packed crime drama: you see the outlines of all the subsequent imitators throughout, and it's kind of a revelation in retrospect.

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