'Risky Business': Echoes in pop culture

March 17, 2013 

How has Risky Business echoed in pop culture since it was released in 1983?

■ The iconic image from the movie is Tom Cruise's eyes looking over a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. The sunglasses were a signature of bad-boy scenes, like the sequence where he is selling the movie's pivotal "party" to friends. Risky Business brought the Wayfarer, first produced in 1956, back in style, and they have never really gone out since. The movie put the style in the cultural conversation enough that the next year, when Don Henley sang in The Boys of Summer, "You've got that hair slicked back, and those Wayfarers on," it created an instant mental image.

■ An iconic scene comes right after Joel's parents have left. In a defiant moment, he turns up the bass on his father's stereo and puts on an air performance of Bob Seger's Old-Time Rock 'n' Roll, an oddly old-codger track for a teen film, in the living room wearing nothing but a pink oxford shirt, briefs and socks (they make it easier to slide into the frame). The scene has been referenced in numerous films and TV shows including Garfield and The Nanny. It was also the basis for ads for the Guitar Hero video game franchise, including a Heidi Klum spot in which she was wearing far less than Cruise.

■ Another prominent song in the soundtrack was Phil Collins' classic In the Air Tonight, which played toward the end of the movie during the train scene with Joel and Lana. But Risky Business didn't solidify Collins' malevolent masterpiece as a film classic. That honor went to NBC's Miami Vice, which used the song in a pivotal scene in its 1984 pilot episode, "Brother's Keeper."

■ Like many '80s films, Risky Business had a flashy sports car at its center. In this case, it was a 1979 Porsche 928 that Joel uses to elude Guido the Killer Pimp, ending the ride by repeating the slogan, "Porsche, there is no substitute." A few scenes later, the car accidentally ends up in Lake Michigan. According to Forbes magazine, one of the four versions of the car used in the movie sold at auction last year for $49,200, five times more than the comparable car sells for today. The same article says Cruise learned to drive a stick shift on that car.

sources: Published reports

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