So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #043: Top Gun Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Warning: the following article is about a piece of old pop culture that I have only recently absorbed for the first time. As such, much of this article will find you asking yourself “Wait, seriously, he’s never seen Top Gun before now?” and I’m making it clear from the get go:

I literally watched Top Gun for the first time, ever, a few days ago.

And I did it because, I kid you not, a would-be investor in Unshaven Comics outright refused to even be pitched to until I did. To be clear: it’s not that I wasn’t familiar with the movie. But when the movie came out, I was 5 years old. My family didn’t go to the movies, and I was never much into military stuff (Like G.I. Joe and the like). I knew Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were in it. I know the soundtrack was Loggins heavy. And I recalled once asking Unshaven Kyle about the climax of the movie (when it happened to be on in our apartment at the time) and he told me “eh, the whole movie is just about fancy maneuvers.”

Well, at the behest of the would-be investor, I downloaded a digital rental of it from YouTube, and watched it from stem to stern. I have many thoughts about it, and most of them will likely result in the investor tossing away my pitch packet right into the trash. But, I’m doing this for you, my loyal readers. I can’t tell a [pop culture] lie. Here’s my litany of hot takes… in no apparent order.

  • First off, this movie should be called Douche Bags Being Douches; And They Are All Very Much Gay
  • So, Maverick’s deal is he’s such a skill-douche that he qualifies for the Top Gun program, in spite of not following the rules when piloting a million dollar weapon for the government. Because that kind of crazy is just too awesome. OK.
  • In 2019, Goose’s mustache reads as hipster. As does his weird yelpy laugh. If they remade this movie today, he’d play the dulcimer for Arcade Fire on the weekends.
  • I love Michael Ironside. Even when he’s just Mean Admiral Douche.
  • I realized that literally every scene put down a bed track of music. Is it an action scene? Better start the guitars chugging now! Wait! Romantic scene… better hit the wet saxophone synth! This trope was picked up by soap operas and everything on the CW, and screw you Top Gun for starting the trend. ARE YOU THAT AFRAID OF SILENCE?
  • Given the dialogue when things are whizzing around in the air? OK, yeah, I get why you needed the muzak.
  • So, the big deal here is that the MiGs the baddies pilot are super fast, can hide their numbers on radar, and are piloted by people who think black is slimming. Did I get that all correct?
  • I love how Johnny Exposition sets us up about a dozen times throughout the movie. “Welcome, all you Top Gun Fighter Pilots, today is day 4 of your 12 day schooling. It’s clear that Maverick is in second place to Iceman because he’s just too cocky for his own damn good. Today your assignment will be to fly planes again, but this time Maverick needs to be a team player, except when the mission demands he become a cocky cock-sure cock who’d cock up the mission to see us win. America!”
  • By the way… is it ICE or ICEMAN? Because the line of dialogue calls him Iceman. But IMDB and the end credit says Ice. Your move, thin sexy Kilmer.
  • I’ve completely disregarded the love interest and story thus far! Well, what can I say. Maverick beds ladies the same way Captain Kirk does. He looks at them, and next thing you know? Smoking a cigarette in bed, I tell you whut. Charlie has as much character as Slider did. Wait, do you not remember Slider? Pity…
  • OK, fine. I admit it. Taking a polaroid of the enemy as you fly upside down, giving the evil foreigner the middle finger is the kind of douchebaggery I find funny.
  • I also admit the high five walking from the planes was as enjoyable as it is when I deploy it in gif form at least 17 conversations a day.
  • Goose’s wife (aka MEG RYAN) seemed like a fine lady, who was fine with her obviously gay husband being in an obviously gay relationship with Maverick, and I sincerely respect her keeping up the ruse. And I don’t say this in jest. She was damned supportive of these mustached and muscled men playing their sexy-time volleyball and giving each other knowing nods every 3-4 minutes.
  • Iceman won the Top Gun trophy by the way.
  • I love that immediately after graduating the class, our protagonists have a mission. It’s like the screenwriters were totally into Dungeons and Dragons, and realized that the players needed a campaign to use their new skills!
  • And Maverick saved Iceman all while surviving a near repeat of the fatal jet-wash Kryptonite Maverick suffered from earlier. Turns out all he needed was Goose’s spirit.
  • We end with Maverick completing one mission as Second From the Top Gun, and he’s told he can now have any job he wants. Is this how the Navy works in real life? And Maverick decides (because he clearly has the worldview of someone who only knows like 3 places to live) to teach at Top Gun. Because… clearly… accidently flying through the jet-wash of another fighter, accidently leading the death of your wingman, doing it again, and then breaking all the rules in order to save the teeth-clacking asshat who apparently is a better pilot than you, except you’ve literally never seen him do a single thing in the air close to your own prowess… qualifies you to teach? What’s lesson 1… Break all the rules?
  • Mark my words: a young Michael Bay saw this film, pushed down his latent homophobia and racist tendencies, and vowed to one day refilm this movie but do it with his favorite toys, Transformers. And for that… I will never forgive Top Gun for existing.

Can’t wait to see the sequel!