Cult Classic: Risky Business (1983)

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

RebeccaDeMornay__RiskyBusiness1983_v1

Where to start?  How about with an observation concerning World War Z and how Hollywood muddles nearly any political point it ever tries to make in the service of maximizing viewership?  “That’s how they sell the most tickets imaginable, by appealing across a broad spectrum, and combining so many ideas that everyone can walk away feeling like they got what they wanted (Anthony Kaufman).”  Pretty good observation, and it also lets the perpetrators of propaganda off the hook for the more malignant ideas they push on the masses.  Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises was a case in point.  So what has that got to do with Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear?

“Get off the babysitter!”

Risky Business spoke to me when I first snuck in to the multiplex through the exit door and caught it.  I guess I was 16, a junior in high school.  Joel (Cruise) has a debauched best friend Miles who is always prodding him to cross that next line.  I had a similar real world compatriot, and so this relationship at the opening of the movie immediately grabbed my attention.  And if that wasn’t enough, there are also a bevy of stunning prostitutes in the film, including Rebecca DeMornay as Lana.  That’s enough to attract 90% of 16 y.o. American boys, and so where does this thing go?

It goes off into the world of business, capitalism, Yale.  It’s an odd and sometimes confusing journey into supply and demand.  In this case the supply is Lana and friends; the demand are the little rich boys of a Chicago suburb who are ready to put their money down.

risky-business-shot

Ah, but the competition is not going to sit still while upstarts like Joel try and pilfer a stable of high class call girls.  Enter Guido the killer pimp.  And then it seems Joel himself has ascended into the pimp racket.  There are some strange complications however, as prostitution, pimping and competition also entail the little matter of stealing whatever’s not nailed down.  In this case, the stealing is from Joel’s own house – scratch that – Joel’s parents’ house while they are away on business.  The stakes for Joel keep raising, especially after his Dad’s turbo Porsche ends up in the lake.

risky-business-1983-05-g

One might try and claim a clear pro-capitalist, even libertarian slant to Joel and his pimp business.  Supply, demand, profit, everyone’s happy (not Guido).  But is that the ultimate point of Risky Business, or is there a larger ironic point to be gleaned?  The ending, and its Yale business school tie-in leave room for contemplation.

Oh I hate giving away plot, and yet I need to stuff a sufficient amount of words into these things.  See the movie, if you haven’t already.  You tell me what you think.

Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s