January 24, 2021

Top Gun (1986)

Those of you who have noticed that it’s been two weeks since the last film review may think that we’ve managed to already fail in the Great Uborka Movie Project of 2021, despite it still being January. Actually we did watch The Shawshank Redemption last weekend, as it was Bernard’s turn to write the review, and we felt that it was a film that he’d really enjoy, especially as we’ve been playing a fair bit of The Escapists 2 lately. And indeed, he did really enjoy it – you can tell because he spent most of the film actually watching the film that was on the screen instead of playing PUBG on his phone. We spent most of the week gently reminding him to write his review, and offering him help with this, which he declined, before yesterday revealing that he had no intention of writing a review, had never had any intention of writing a review, and felt that he had made this perfectly clear to us ever since we embarked upon this project. Needless to say, Karen and I felt a degree of frustration at this.

Anyway, upshot of this is that there will be no review of The Shawshank Redemption, and we also need to figure out what we’re going to do going forward. Just review 2 out of every 3 films? Review all films, with Karen and I alternating? Keep watching the films, but not bother writing reviews?

Adding Top Gun to the list was at my behest. Okay, yeah, so it’s no Citizen Kane, but it’s a film that I consider to be of cultural significance and great quotability. From the opening theme, I am utterly pumped. Bernard and I recently watched an episode of Final Space in which the protagonist is full of pent-up energy after a daring mission to retrieve a precious artefact, and uses “a hit of Loggins” to help release it. Watch this clip and you’ll understand:

(Alternate link)

I can vouch that “a hit of Loggins” is indeed just the tonic for getting oneself amped up.

For those who have not seen this film, it follows the story of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a fighter pilot who doesn’t play by the rules, which seems to continually catch people unawares, despite the fact that the clue’s right there in his callsign. He can be a bit of a petulant, arrogant, slimy, womanising douchebag, but back in the 1980s that was everything we wanted in a hero. He gets his big break to train at the Top Gun flight school, where he goes up against other ace pilots to see who is the best, while also romancing one of his instructors. She’s taller than him, so you may notice that in most of their scenes together they are either sitting or lying down, and on the rare occasion that they are stood up together, the camera always crops out their lower bodies so you can’t see the box that he carries around to stand on. The box is never explicitly mentioned in the script, but I believe that that makes it no less canon.

There is actually a serious subject within this film about PTSD in the military, but it is sadly used merely as a plot device, and barely explored in any depth. But then if you’re looking for depth, you’re in the wrong place. This is a film about dogfighting and bromance and oiled male torsos playing beach volleyball and trying not to get too distracted by Tom Cruise’s monobrow and weird upper front tooth configuration. This is probably about the 4th time that I’ve seen the film, and I enjoyed it as much as ever, though the singing scene in the bar gets more awkward and raises more questions with every viewing. Bernard spent most of the film playing PUBG on his mobile and afterwards declared the film “boring”, but I did notice that he put his phone down for the big aerial combat sequence in the final act, so that’s got to count for something, surely?


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