Film: Risky Business (1983)
Most recent project: Brickman last directed a short in 2012, titled Allison.
If all you know about Risky Business is Tom Cruise's slip n' slidin across his living room floor in only a button down and tighty whiteys, do yourself a favor and watch the entire film to understand why it's a total iconic work. When Paul Brickman dropped his debut feature on the world, he accomplished two things: he singlehandedly made Tom Cruise an all-universe movie star and he tore the traditional teenage movie blueprint into a million pieces.
Risky Business's brilliance lies in Brickman's self-aware obliteration of the genre. He carefully lays out the pieces: a high school nobody with dopey friends is desperate to lose his virginity, and one night his parents leave the house to himself as they go on vacation. It is here Brickman darkens the tint and begins his deconstruction of teen movie expectations that still feels fresh and honest, even 30 years later.
Paul Brickman, however, after directing a couple underwhelming comedies disappeared from Hollywood completely by 1990. In interviews, Brickman admits that the big studios were knocking down his door after his Risky Business's release, but instead chose the path of intentional obscurity, where he felt more comfortable. He has not since touched a feature film, and by accounts, looks like he never will again. But before making his premature exit, Brickman left us (and filmmakers) a cinematic gem and touchstone.