Risky Business (1983)
“Sometimes you gotta say “What the Fuck”, make your move. Joel, every now and then, saying “What the Fuck”, brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future.” Sage advice from Curtis Armstrong AKA Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. Like a lewd Yoda, this piece of advice inspired me during college. Mind you, I’m a huge procrastinator so I didn’t say What the Fuck too often but still I made out OK me thinks.
I adore Risky Business. Since I first saw it around my senior year of high school I watched it a ton of times during college. I recently watched it and I still loved it despite me thinking that a film about a high school teen in the early 80s wouldn’t resonate with me today. But it still did thankfully. To me, Risky Business is my generation’s The Graduate. Both are coming-of-age tales of aloof and rigid young men who more or less go on the road less taken to reach heights on their own terms. Like Benjamin Braddock, Joel Goodson has doubts and trepidations about where or what to do in life and just doesn’t want to follow his parents’ hopes and dreams.
One of the elements that makes Risky Business so inspiring to me is the soundtrack. Sure, we all know the iconic tightie-whitie sing-along to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” and other early 80s hits by Phil Collins, Prince, Talking Heads, Journey, Jeff Beck and The Police but today I’m highlighting the score by Tangerine Dream. Tangerine Dream is a German art rock/synth-based band from the late 60s. Virtually unknown in the states until the 80s when they scored many films like Legend, Thief, The Keep, and Firestarter. They recently composed the score for Grand Theft Auto V. Their ethereal and ambient electronic compositions totally set the mood for Joel’s odyssey as he tries to get laid, avoid being harmed by a killer pimp, fix his father’s prized Porsche and get into college. I love this score and played this soundtrack on repeat while I volunteered to mop my movie theatre’s lobby floors late evenings while the regular cleaning crew quit (or was on vacation—I don’t recall which). To me, Joel was a model of late teen angst and frustration as well as a flaky moral compass that perhaps a college-aged young man may discover at that age. Sex, success and finding your own way in life are all a teen thinks about and this Tangerine Dream score is the perfect soundtrack for those meaningful times in ones’ life.
What the Fuck.