New Written Review from Mike Crowley on You’ll Probably Agree: I finally saw ‘Top Gun’ and didn’t miss much.

When it comes to nostalgia, I’ve missed much of the ’80s. I’ve never seen Gremlins, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Trading Places, The Untouchables, Escape From New York, and have only seen The Goonies last summer. It’s the music. The synthesizers to score a majority of the films sounds cheap. Probably because it is. To a man who grew up on Tim Burton’s Batman and George Lucas’ Star Wars, forgoing the orchestra is unacceptable. The soundtracks distracted me from a collection of pictures that won’t have the same impact viewing them as an adult instead of a child. 

If having seen Top Gun on VHS as a kid, I might have loved it. The film is loaded with corny one-liners that liven up conversations at any party. Glistening with machismo, Top Gun is pure ’80s schlock. The Navy only expects the best of the best. To be that good, you have to live on the edge. Who better to be edgy than real-life madman Tom Cruise? Cruise plays Captain Pete Mitchell, otherwise known as “Maverick.” Maverick is the best pilot around, a guy’s guy who plays shirtless beach ball and shares inadvertent flirtations with his wingmen. 

One day when hanging with the boys, Maverick tries to seduce Charlie (Kelly McGillis). It turns out that Charlie is an expert instructor in the illustrious Top Gun program Maverick’s enrolled in. After the death of Goose (Anthony Edwards), Maverick nearly quits piloting until Charlie convinces him to stay against his better wishes. That’s about it for the entire plot. 

There’s nothing complicated about Top Gun. Tony Scott’s film is mindless goofy fun and doesn’t hide the fact it is. From Kenny Logins’ “Highway to The Danger Zone” to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” musical pieces resemble every cheesy Rocky -inspired montage. Where Ridley Scott is more of the artistic, award-winning type, Tony Scott was all about high octane energy.

Tony’s work are like Michael Bay films, but less obnoxious. Everything is designed for maximum visual impact. The height of Mr. Scott’s style reaches a nauseating degree in Man on Fire. Top Gun is the type of movie Mr. Bay, I could assume, seeks for inspiration. With action like this, I can’t blame him. 

Nobody sees Top Gun for the plot. That’s like seeing Shakespeare for the explosions. The aerial combat in this film delivers. You can tell what you see on the screen is real except for the inverted middle finger moment. The speed of the jets isn’t exaggerated by any model trickery. The men piloting those aircraft for the film are the real Top Guns, taking the viewer’s breath away with their death-defying acts. Too bad stuntmen aren’t more widely recognized for their work. Like a real life stuntman, Tom Cruise’s thirst for thrills is mind-boggling, making his character larger than life. 

Love or hate him; Tom Cruise is more charismatic and hard-working than the average Joe. He owns a pilot’s license, and has done well over one hundred skydives, one of which wound up in Mission Impossible: Fallout. Cruise has proven he can act with Magnolia and Born on The Fourth of July. When he’s not doing action movies. Cruise is a maverick in many respects. Born, ironically enough, on the third of July, Cruise will be 60 years old this year. Still, Tom is doing insane stunts that continually top what he’s done before. Anyone can be an actor, but to be a semi-stunt man in his middle years is nothing short of stunning. The majority of the cast from Top Gun is either deceased, dying, or out of shape, but not Tom Cruise.

Coolness alone can only take a film so far however. Eighties films thrive off of the bad boy with a good soul image. They were fun flicks if you grew up on them; if not, they can be a bore to watch. I felt like I was watching a lousy skit replay repeatedly. A training mission would commence, Maverick would piss off a C.O. for breaking the rules in the sky, the guys would hit the showers, and Ice Man (Val Kilmer) would taunt Maverick. Sprinkle a distracting and forgettable love story in between the tough guy gossip, and you’ve got Top Gun. God bless America!

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