Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

Potted Retro Film Review: Risky Business (1983)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano

What’s it all about?
Cruise plays Joel, a suburban teenager who is on the one hand trying to get into college, but on the other, is just your typically horny kid whose primary concern is to get laid by a prostitute when his parents are away. Cue Lana, played by a sweet, butter-wouldn’t-melt Rebecca De Mornay.

The story escalates from one night of no-strings sex, to a stolen glass egg, to eventually Joel using his parents’ home as a makeshift brothel for a whole fleet of Lana’s colleagues to make some money. There’s a Porsche, a disgruntled pimp (called Guido, of course), and the whole thing is underpinned by the blossoming romance between Joel and Lana.

There are no real surprises here. There are some fun scenes, and the dialogue is on point, but it feels nothing like the benchmark title it is often considered to be. Cruise is on good early form, before he became a megastar a couple of years after this; and De Mornay is, well… she looks good, at least.

Watching it with the kids…
There are a couple of sex scenes here that you’ll want to avoid, and some stylised full frontal female nudity, done in the way that only a film made in the eighties could truly pull off. There’s also some bad language throughout. All things considered, given the reputation this has for my generation, it’s really very tame.

Verdict…
It had been many years since I last saw Risky Business, before this recent viewing. Was it as good as I remembered? No. For a comedy it’s not all that funny, and as a coming-of-age piece it has very few dramatic moments. I never feel the chemistry between Cruise and De Mornay, and their burgeoning relationship is clumsy and awkward at best. But as an early example of what the eighties was pushing in the teen genre – and before the market was flooded with this kind of thing – it’s hard to deny its influence and raw energy.

Recommended (slightly) ↑

Sunday Song Suggestions #13…

Kokomo – The Beach Boys – 1988

s-l223The infectious Kokomo was a massive hit in Australia in the summer of 1988, and it was because of this song that I bought my first piece of music at the height of its success – The Beach Boys’ compilation album, 20 Golden Greats. Yeah, that one over there, and that’s right, it was on cassette. My pocket money didn’t stretch to a CD.

The guy behind the desk who sold it to me said: you know Kokomo’s not on this tape, right? Cheeky so and so. Of course I knew: I was twelve, I wasn’t stupid. That collection was put together in 1976, and it acted as my introduction to the wider oeuvre of The Beach Boys, and perhaps oddly for a guy about to hit his teens in the late eighties, they soon became one of my favourite bands.

Kokomo was featured in the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail and it was the perfect partnership, bringing The Beach Boys back into the spotlight for a whole new generation of listeners.

The song showcases their innate ability to write a memorable chorus and shows that although it had been over twenty years since their sixties heyday, their vocal harmonies were still up there with the best in the business. While it’s certainly not their best work, it was a good springboard for me to hunt out their earlier stuff, and to really appreciate the indelible mark The Beach Boys left on the music industry.