Saturday, January 21, 2023

Top Gun: Maverick [Media Notes 82]

I suppose I had to see it, didn’t I? I saw Cruise do his underpants dance in Risky Business a long time ago on the Big Screen. And I’ve seen him in a bunch of other films too, including Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, Cocktail, Rain Man, The Firm, Eyes Wide Shut, War of the Worlds, and so on and and then there’s Cruise going off on Matt Lauer on the Today Show and his couch dance for Oprah. I’m sure I’ve seen the original Top Gun, though not, I believe, on the Big Screen.

And then there’s this, Top Gun: Maverick. It was easy to take a pass on the allure of the Big Screen. Who wants to pay that kind of money, even if you get to recline on an over-stuffed lounge coaster? Yeah, I know, there’s all those action sequences – and they flew real planes, used practical special effects instead of CGI – all that good stuff. But really?

So I pulled it up on the little screen about two weeks ago. I watched about two thirds of it, and then I multi-tasked it with solitaire on my smartphone. For the first 10 or 20 minutes I was all revved up about the theme. Once again the black sheep, the outsider, the misfit, the maverick, gets to show that he can do it when no one else can. Oh, how I love that theme. Because, you know, I’m a maverick, too. Aren’t we all? That’s why the theme is so damned popular. We’ll all mavericks, and the straight world, the world that doesn’t understand and appreciate us, that’s just a figment of our wayward imaginations. Just why we invent that fiction, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because deep down we’re all mavericks, and the rest of them, they just don’t get it, do they? Pedal to the metal, high five, up n’ at’em, comin’ thru, it’s mavericks on parade. Yesserie doggie!

That kept me going for a while, that and the hot bike, the barroom camaraderie, the old flame, and the jets. The jets! Woosh! Damn! That’s some fine flyin!

In the end, though, it just didn’t hold my attention. I knew how it would end. But then movies are like that. We always know. Always. It’s the journey to know that grabs us, when done right. I’m sure they did everything right. After all, it’s Tom ‘Scientology’ Cruise. It’s Hollywood. It’s Big Buks. 



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