“The dream is always the same.” So begins this most brilliant of coming-of-age stories. Writer-director Paul Brickman’s tale of a young high school student whose extracurricular activities lead him into some entrepreneurial ‘risky business,’ is among the best films of the 1980s. Indeed, alongside Robocop, no film offers such a stinging satirical jab at the purveyance of American capitalism and the materialistic attitudes that can dominate the middle classes. This is a film with such a superb level of dexterity, due to Brickman’s single-minded purpose, that it manages to stand on it’s feet as many different things, satire, coming-of-age story and just pure popcorn entertainment, all at the same time. Through the cinematography, editing and superb score by Tangerine Dream, the film consistently maintains the quality of a lucid dream (perhaps that of a teenage fantasy cum American Dream?), showing us the alienation created by conflicting morals and views. It also features one of the great screen romances in that of Rebecca De Mornay’s call girl Lana (as the transvestite Jackie would say, “what every white boy off the lake wants.”) and rich kid Joel Goodson, played by the mighty Tom Cruise, whose career was rightfully launched to stardom after this film. The two share an excellent chemistry together in an emotive and complex relationship. Both are great, but this is Cruise’s film through and through. Only twenty-one at the time of it’s release, it’s rare to see an actor so young deliver so fully formed and developed a performance, but Cruise does so brilliantly. His Joel is at equal lengths somewhat detestable (sometimes you would love to punch him for being such a douche), hilarious and totally empathetic. In a role that would be hard for anyone to pull off, Cruise does it with confidence and gusto, in one of the more intelligent films of the decade.