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Top Gun (1986)

June 10, 2009

3/10 Bi-curious Wingmen

This movie, in a nutshell, is why the 1980s is a decade best forgotten.

Top Gun is about a hot shot jet fighter pilot named Maverick who’s fighting for the title of “Top Gun” in his fleet over his rival, the aptly named Iceman, another cocky pilot with frosted hair tips who may or may not be trying to seduce him while the superior officer is breathing down Maverick’s neck for being such a hot shot jerk (why can’t you all just leave Maverick alone, dammit!). The Mav’s also trying to juggle a relationship with a woman he met by singing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” to her in a bar; that one’s for the ladies.

This is a generous summary for a movie that’s hardly more than jets flying around for two hours to a soundtrack comprised almost entirely of synthesizers and ’80s hair metal electric guitar.

Look, Tom Cruise is a hit or miss actor. I was tempted to say that he’s nothing special, but since he does have some good movies under his belt to counter his pretty boy looks and his real-life insanity (it’s not his best effort, but his wildly unusual and funny role in Tropic Thunder is a more recent example of what I’m saying), I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and not completely trounce his acting abilities. He’s usually best when he’s not the only thing trying to carry a weak script (I’m looking at you, Valkyrie), so unfortunately, things don’t work out so well for Tommy boy in Top Gun as a result.

The movie is directed by Tony Scott, an individual who pretty much makes the same freaking movie every time. You’d think he’d get the hang of it twenty years later, but no dice for poor Tony. He doesn’t do anything to bring this movie to a level of depth higher than “Look, Daddy! Airplanes!” and the only time he has ever gone the extra mile with one of his movies is with True Romance, even though the credit actually goes to Quentin Tarantino’s script.

The only saving grace of Top Gun is Anthony Edwards as Maverick’s best friend/trusty co-pilot, Goose. Anthony Edwards is awesome, he plays the only good, endearing character in this movie, he’s a really good actor in general, and we should never forget that he also starred in one of the great comedies of the 1980s, Revenge of the Nerds.

Aside from Edwards, Top Gun is a corny mess filled with dumbass dialogue and lots of strange homoerotic undertones that don’t do any favors for the so-called “macho” characters that the story revolves around. Nothing like sweaty, glistening guys stuck on an aircraft frieghter in the middle of the ocean playing shirtless beach volleyball with aviators on to take one’s mind off the women that are nowhere in sight. Well done, Mr. Scott.

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