There used to be a time that I lied when asked about my favorite movie. I answered something that I thought made me sound smart and sensitive, like The Shawshank Redemption or The Blind Side, both of which I truly do love. But they were not and never have been my favorite. My favorite is, and always will be, a completely pointless movie about fighter pilots with vaguely homoerotic overtones and some of the most quotable lines of all time. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about Top Gun.
But nothing’s perfect, and while I was watching Top Gun for the umpteenth time the other night (CMT airs it at least three times a week, despite the fact that I would not categorize the movie as country music television in any way), I started thinking about what minor tweaks I would make to this cinematic masterpiece. And then I figured I’d share them with you…and likely get bashed in the comments, but I stand by my quibbles and proposed changes as a dedicated Top Gun enthusiast.
Top Gun came out in 1986. According to Wikipedia, “the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by US inventor Willis Carrier.” And yet it is apparently not used in any of the places featured in this movie: not somewhere in the Indian Ocean; nowhere in Miramar, California; and still not when we again go back to somewhere in the Indian Ocean. At every single point in this movie, no matter where they are, everyone – with the exception of Charlie – is sweaty. And not a cute glow; like drippy, gross sweat. Don’t we care enough about our military to make sure they have proper HVAC?
A side note to this: despite his overactive sweat glands, Mav almost always sports his leather flight coat with the fleece collar. In Southern California. Where the average temperature is 69 degrees. Lose the jacket and just give me the plain white T.
The White Guys (Almost) All Look Alike. Oh, And It’s (Almost) All White Guys
Yes, it was 1986 and diversity wasn’t exactly at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but seriously? Aside from Charlie and token black guy with the ironic call sign Sundown (who I am relatively sure was added in after someone watching the movie and went “It’s all white people! We must find a person of color to add to this movie!”)
To add insult to injury…these dudes were so stereotypical white guys, it hurts. Be honest – would you be able to tell Slider, Wolfman and Hollywood apart in a line up? I’ve watched the movie at least 70 times and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. And it’s not an accident; according to an article about the 30th anniversary of the movie, “The look of the actors in the pilot program was inspired by Bruce Weber photography, specifically his first book featuring scantily clad (and some nude) male models in a military theme.”
This all makes so much more sense now.
Make no mistake: the Top Gun soundtrack is one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time and I will get in a verbal altercation with anyone that dares to talk shit about Danger Zone or Mighty Wings.
But I do have a complaint about something that probably only I am bothered by – they play the finale music during Maverick’s first hop. The song is officially known as Top Gun Anthem by Steve Stevens:
And I am all about it. It just inspires a proud, patriotic, yet slightly sad tone, doesn’t it? Which perfectly hits the emotion of Maverick landing the damn plane and throwing Goose’s dog tags into the sea. My problem is that hearing it more than 60 minutes earlier kind of ruined the specialness of the song. Give me another instrumental jam after Mav takes Jester out below the hard deck, won’t you?
Yeah, I said it – there’s one woman in this entire movie (save for the short Meg Ryan appearances) and she sucks. She’s condescending, she embarrasses Mav in front of his classmates, and she goes around spewing incorrect information on the MiG28. Not to mention she apparently has no sudoriparous glands (see above).
This may be an unpopular opinion, but if I had my dithers, I’d cut the entire Charlie storyline altogether. Before you disagree, think about it – what did she really add to the movie, besides the most boring sex scene ever to hit movie screens (which was not even in the original script)? You’ll see I’m right.
If we eliminate Charlie, we also get to eliminate the whole stupid closing scene when she comes back to Miramar because she heard the best of the best were going to be there…which means she shouldn’t be anywhere near there given her status as the literal worst.
With that scene gone, we just need to do a little rejiggering and we will have movie perfection. First, Mav lands the plane after blowing up some Russians and he and Iceman have their little wingman discussion, which makes me cry every.single.time. Then I’d follow with the locker room scene in which the highly underrated Commander Tom “Stinger” Jardian informs Mav he has his choice of assignment and he picks Top Gun (God help us!). Then we close with Mav throwing our beloved Goose’s dogtags into the ocean…a perfect segue way into next year’s sequel where Mav mentors Goose’s offspring, now a pilot himself.
Speaking of the sequel, I’m campaigning for a theater re-release of the original ahead of time, which would be a perfect time to make these tweaks, wouldn’t it? Let’s make it happen, Tom – take my breath away.