THERE’S A TIME FOR PLAYING IT SAFE AND A TIME FOR RISKY BUSINESS.
Chicago high-school student Joel Goodson’s (Tom Cruise) parents are out of town, so he decides to have a little fun for once… but when his friend calls a hooker one thing leads to another. Paul Brickman’s directing debut is the kind of substantial teen classic that John Hughes spent several movies trying to create. The script addresses 1980s capitalism and the loss of innocence in funny, thoughtful and bittersweet ways, with some sequences that are evocative and dreamlike (obviously helped by Tangerine Dream’s music score). Rebecca De Mornay is excellent as Lana the call girl, but this was primarily Cruise’s breakthrough; he’s very sweet, and the scene where he’s dancing in his briefs is part of film history.
1983-U.S. 96 min. Color. Produced by Jon Avnet, Steve Tisch. Written and directed by Paul Brickman. Music: Tangerine Dream. Cast: Tom Cruise (Joel Goodson), Rebecca De Mornay (Lana), Curtis Armstrong (Miles Dalby), Bronson Pinchot, Raphael Sbarge, Joe Pantoliano… Megan Mullally.
Trivia: Timothy Hutton and Kim Basinger were allegedly considered for the leads.
Last word: “I headed out to a rented cabin in the West to write it. I wanted to do a film for young people that was very stylized in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I wanted to make the film that if I were in high school I would’ve wanted to see. I was writing it in the time just after Reagan had taken office and everyone wanted to be a little capitalist, get their M.B.A.s and wear power suspenders. I thought, That’s all dandy, but life is more complex and darker than that. It’s tough out there. Capitalism takes its toll on a lot of people.” (Brickman, Salon)