Kian Bergstrom reviews “Top Gun” as part of the Music Box’s 70mm Film Festival

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The five men sit in the locker room, their toned torsos still damp from their showers. Around each of their waists, a thin, white towel is tightly wrapped, under so much tension it must hurt to breathe, let alone walk. Pendulous, pneumatic bulges sway tantalizingly beneath the cloth. Hollywood arches his back against the wall, stroking his chest, pulling at his dog tags. Iceman leans against a post, jutting his pectorals out as far as he can. Maverick struts through the room, surveying the parade of flesh available to his delighted eye. ‘It’s not your flying’, Iceman tells him, sweat beading slightly on his forehead and the bridge of his nose. His mouth hangs open, just a hair, before he continues, ‘it’s your attitude’. As he continues, Maverick bends forward, hanging over Goose, presenting his rear to Iceman. Goose’s head partially obscures the stenciled text, making it seem as though it says ‘MAN OF THE DAY’ rather than ‘PLAN’. ‘The enemy’s dangerous,’ Iceman tells Maverick, ‘but right now, you’re worse than the enemy. You’re dangerous and foolish’. Iceman, back in close-up, clenches his jaw, his face shaking back and forth in frustration. ‘You may not like the guys flying with you’. Hollywood looks down toward Iceman’s crotch. ‘They may not like you’, Iceman says, ‘but whose side are you on?’ Maverick, in profile, faces Goose in the foreground and Wolfman in the background, torn between his need and his desire: will he stay loyal to his partner or, like Wolfman, be submissive to another pilot?  Whose side is he on? He’s going to have to choose which man to be with, and what kind of man he’s going to be. Disgusted, Iceman and Hollywood cross each other’s paths as they leave, their rippling flesh and, in Hollywood’s case, powerful upper thighs, heaving as they go. Defeated, Maverick shows Goose his bare left leg, all the way up to his crotch, but Goose stoically refuses to rise to the bait. He, too, has had his heart broken by his naïf of a pilot, but no more. ‘At least Viper got Iceman before he got us. We still got a shot at it,’ he says, the hopelessness and betrayal in his face belying the words that come out of his mouth. Maverick gazes regretfully after Iceman, muttering, ‘that was stupid.  I know better than that.’ Back to a two-shot, Maverick concludes, ‘that will never happen again’, pounding his fist in the air.’ Goose rises, caresses Maverick’s shoulder, and walks away. ‘I know’, he says. ‘I know’. Finally, Maverick slumps, listless and deflated, on to the bench. It says something about Tony Scott that the movie he made in which Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon have sex is only his second-queerest melodrama.

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