Risky Business (1983)

Director: Paul Brickman Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Bronson Pinchot, Curtis Armstrong, Joe Pantoliano

When his parents leave him home alone, high school student Joel takes his friend’s advice and decides to make the most of it. However, he gets into some trouble with a call girl and things start to spiral out of control.

So going in I thought this movie was a comedy- and to be fair, most things I’ve read say that it is. Over-confident teenager is left with the house to himself and gets into some silly japes with his friends, while managing to get everything back in order just in time for his parents get back. While that generally is the list of the film, it didn’t quite pan out how I’d imagined. The film starts off innocently enough- teenage boy doesn’t know how to make a microwave dinner, ho ho ho- but then all of a sudden he decides to invite a prostitute round like it’s no big deal- what?! Where did that come from?? Is that regular behaviour for high school students in America or something?! So yeah, that happens and then he gets “involved” with her and they end up running a brothel from his house.

The whole thing just felt totally unrealistic and, well, stupid. It escalates and gets kind of dark pretty suddenly and is just plain weird. I feel like it would have made more sense if it was more clearly defined as a comedy, but it’s really not and the fact that it’s so serious is a little disturbing. What certainly doesn’t help is the weird soundtrack, composed by Tangerine Dream- the ambience is more Bladerunner than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. While it’s an 80s movie, it doesn’t really seem to fit with all those other Golden Age classics. Basically, it would sit better with me if it was just funnier.

Did I like this film? I mean, I sat through it and didn’t hate it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again. In terms of the actual quality of the film-making, there’s not really much to complain about but the vibe feels off. There are some messages in there such as obsession with making money and moving from high school into the real world, but it’s not an enjoyable watch at times. It’s the movie that launched Tom Cruise but I prefer him in other stuff.

Risky Business isn’t family viewing and I wouldn’t want to watch it with my parents. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to recommend it to anyone I know, but if you’re intrigued I would say give it a go and see what you make of it.

2.5 stars

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

Breakfast Club

Director: John Hughes Cast: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Peak 1980s and peak teen movie merge in this story about five very different high school students who end up in Saturday detention together.

I guarantee that 99% of people will enjoy this film. While it’s a teen movie, it has quite a lot of depth and isn’t just about irrelevant issues like making the agonising life choice between playing basketball and singing in musicals (not that I’m thinking of anything in particular). The movie delves into some pretty heavy stuff, and things that audience members will relate to.

The best part of the film is seeing how each of the characters isn’t how they appear on the surface and what prompts them to reveal their real selves. Everyone will be able to pick out one character who they were or are most like, which makes it relatable- and not just on the surface but deeper down too (and, by the way, I would most definitely be Brian).

With its classic 80s soundtrack, amusing fashion choices, thoughtful dialogues and dry humour, this film ticks all the boxes. However, I cannot let it get away without this serious criticism: the ending is total balls. Without ruining it, basically what happens would not happen. For a film that does so well to actually portray teenagers (mostly) realistically, the ending is a serious let-down. That. Would. Not. Happen. And for that serious sin, it will lose one whole star for its rating. It’s that stupid.

(Do watch it though.)

4 stars