Everyone was beautiful and nothing hurt

Over the weekend I saw Top Gun: Maverick (at the Air & Space Museum annex IMAX, no less).

SO MANY THOUGHTS. One, I had never seen the first Top Gun before save for ten minutes at my cousins’ house during a family barbecue sometime in the mid-nineties. You know the barbecue protocol where an adult is required to offer the group of children who are rapidly devolving into a tribal society under lack of supervision a VHS in a completely futile and more symbolic gesture to distract them in exchange for the sense that they tried to establish a proxy-parent, and can proceed discretely getting drunk morally unencumbered. I had to watch Top Gun first because all I remembered was “Danger Zone” and my cousins’ and I beating each other with inflatable chairs.

TOP GUN REVIEW

TOM CRUISE. GOD DAMN. In the words of Lana Del Rey, “Blue jeans, white shirt, walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn.” I understand Katie Holmes now. I’m absolutely watching this movie again just to ogle him. As something besides a plea to offer all men of fighting age a standard issue pair of Levis, white shirt, and aviator sunglasses, loved it. Zero chemistry with Kelly McGillis, didn’t get that whole thing, but the story line didn’t take up too much time so no harm no foul. In fact, I didn’t realize Top Gun wasn’t a war film. If you had told me the day before that it was a film about a flight school, and all the action is being driven by men razzing each other for bragging rights, I would have said “well how is that supposed to work.” The only part of the movie I really knew about was the infamous volleyball scene, which though definitely gratuitous, was not as incongruous or frankly homoerotic as I thought it was going to be. I thought the entire film was important and adorable. An entire film about male camaraderie. That doesn’t happen anymore.

TOP GUN: MAVERICK REVIEW

This movie has single-handedly restored my faith in the potential of America. There has been year after year of terribly written super-hero garbage. Garbage where you can tell no one involved is even trying, because they know you’re just so depressed with your depressing life you will watch it anyways. There is muddled moralizing, there is finger pointing, it is always your fault. There’s always some weird alien race of trees that’s dying because of their lack of access to abortion and bike lanes and it’s like the writers were being bonused based on how many issues they can chain together. Yes, films have always contained morals, and always been political. I mean not literally, but I get the point. But I don’t recall, especially in a time of such global desperation, them being so belligerent towards the viewer. This sense of shame and sole responsibility on some family making 30k a year being projected by mega-corporations in the position for actual change.

Yes, I can stop watching those movies, but now I don’t have to

BECAUSE TOP GUN: MAVERICK IS LIKE, TURN THAT PROPAGANDA MACHINE BACK ON BABY, LET ME SHOW YOU WHAT MADE AMERICA GREAT. It knows exactly what you want, gives you a fuck ton of it, and wastes your time with nothing else. There is no global crises, there are no “issues”, there is no 2022 contextualizing. There are students at a school and they fight things. Social issues domestically? MENTION NOTHING AND GIVE NONE OF THE SECONDARY CHARACTERS A BACKSTORY. International stage too hot to name an enemy? NEVER NAME ONE. Where are they? NONDESCRIPT TERRAIN. What is important? US VS. THEM. We will simultaneously have MORE ADVANCED WEAPONRY and possess MORE UNDERDOG SCRAPPINESS. Things getting too maudlin? MAKE A JOKE. In two hours, this movie wiped a couple decades worth of crazy-stink off Tom Cruise, made him fuckable again and made me want to give Lockheed Martin a bunch of money. This is what this country was built on. Erasing differences in order to create a consumer base large enough to fund our military and everyone else’s.

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