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  • Writer's pictureJust Films & That - Josh

Self Film-Solation | Film 4 | Top Gun.


When I started doing this, I realised that I had the need…. the need to watch Top Gun. I’d never seen it and it had a massive impact at the time of release as well as being one my Dad’s favourite films that he always rips me for never having seen.

Unlike Grease, I can unequivocally say I had never seen this. Not even in bits. I obviously knew all the famous stuff like the songs and the famous dialogue, but I’d never ingested the film from start to finish.

Why? I just do not care about fighter pilots and their volleyball games. It has never appealed to me.

I realise that some people would think that this makes me a traitor to my gender. As does the fact I’ve never seen Fast and Furious or the other 25 films in that franchise in which men wear vests and drive cars or something.

So, what did I expect going in? Basically, all I could think of was Rich Hall’s stand up sketch about every Tom Cruise film. If you haven’t seen it then do check it out on YouTube. But he makes the point that all Tom Cruise films follow one format:

  • Tom cruise is a (insert job, in this case jet pilot)

  • He is a pretty good jet pilot

  • Then he has a crisis of confidence

  • Meets a good-looking woman

  • She helps him become a better jet pilot

  • He becomes a better jet pilot

If I’m honest, I really struggled to look past this because it is basically the plot down to a tee.

At this point you’re probably wondering if I even liked the film as it would appear thus far that I didn’t. Its not that I didn’t like the film, its more a combination of the fact that the film is very of its time and just not really aimed at me.

It’s not without its merits. The cinematography is phenomenal. Not only the breath-taking sequences of aerial acrobatics but also the general setting shots of the various army bases and landscapes. It really does paint a picture that’s visually nice to watch. As with most Tom Cruise films (I say most, even he couldn’t save Rock of Ages) it’s his film. He oozes charisma and likeability that just takes the film up that notch in terms of its quality. I also enjoyed the ending. It was nice to remember that a lot of blockbuster films used to have satisfying endings to their characters arcs and did not try and set up some kind of shared universe or end in a CGI blob fight.

Having said that, I found some of the film a little hard to follow as I have little to no knowledge of the specific terminology used in the film, so the dialogue was often wasted on me. Some of the action scenes are almost a little too kinetic and so its hard to know what’s going.

Also, some of the actions of the characters do make them a little hard to like at times. In particular the way Maverick treats his love interest Charlie (Kelly McGillis).

I find it all to be overly macho bollocks dressed up as a film in a bid to recruit more people to the armed forces. However, similarly with Grease, I am trying my best to remember the film within the contexts of its release. Whilst the film is clearly not to my taste, I can see why it was such a massive hit at the time of its release. You can feel the sexuality oozing out of the film with every bead of sweat. It’s got a hit soundtrack.

It’s like one long music video with a hard on for planes.

In conclusion, I personally still do not care about fighter pilots and their volleyball games but the film is so “of its time” and I can understand why anyone who watched it at the time has a deep love for this film.

Perhaps it’s not one that’s aged well enough to enjoy it as much in 2020 as audience’s did in 1986. I am interested to see what this year’s sequel brings (if it ever comes out).

Ultimately though, I do love me some Thomas Cruise. Weird religion aside.

As with Inside Llewyn Davis. Here are some general thoughts I had whilst watching the film

  • I’ve never seen a film where Tom Cruise’s height is so painfully obvious

  • Is that Strickland from Back to the Future? Oh god it is.

  • God there’s a lot of sunglasses in this.

  • Everyone is so sweaty in this. All. The. Time.

  • Why is it always either dawn or dusk?


Originally published on Tumblr on 24th March 2020

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