Great Scott! presents: Top Gun

Tony: 1986images-1.jpeg

Every fortnight (ish)* my beloved and I are watching a film by either Ridley or Tony Scott. We’re watching in chronological order. There are, of course, spoilers.

*Yeh… not so much with the fortnight(ish)… but we ARE still committed to it!

(Of course, this is not actually chronological. But that’s because it turns out Bladerunner isn’t on iTunes, so now we need to source that. THEN we will be back to chronological.)


It should be noted that this is one of J’s favourite movies Of All Time, whereas A consistently and constantly disses it whenever it gets mentioned. 

A: The opening music is very cool. It builds a lovely level of suspense. I even like the opening on the aircraft carrier; the music matches beautifully. This movie has the opening of a truly awesome film. (Context: I grew up wishing I could have been a pilot in WW1 or 2 with Biggles and his crew, ignoring the whole ‘you’re a girl’ aspect.)

J: Tobacco graduate filters, steam catapults, jets, slow motion footage. AFTERBURNERS.  Jets doing unnecessary aileron rolls at takeoff.  This is the film that made me fall in love with Tony Scott’s cinematography.

A: A plane takes off and KENNY LOGAN AW YEH DANGER ZONE. LOTSA planes taking off and braking and men looking serious.  (cue some serious couch dancing)

J: All the aerial footage was all shot on super 35mm film from the jets and it still looks fantastic if a little gritty on blu-ray

A: I’m really interested to see a dude who earned the nickname Cougar getting traumatised by the very scary experience of being target-locked by a MiG. Aaaaand Maverick exhibits his maverick nature: this first time, in the service of a fellow pilot.

J: ‘God Dammit Maverick’ … from the CO. Everyone is reeeeally sweaty on this aircraft carrier.

A: Classic Cruise On A Motorbike Shot. AND VAL KILMER HELLOOOO there. (Also Tom Skerritt, you are very cool.) The love-eyes between Cruise and Kilmer are hilarious.

A: And this is where this film starts to lose me. 80s versions of bars with single ladies just waiting to be picked up. Blergh.

J: Picked up by Naval aviators.  

A: “She’s lost that loving feeling”? Really? a) that’s just creepy, to sing at an unknown woman in a bar, and b) the expectation that Maverick will then score? URGH. I love that she then goes off with her Friend, and the way she burns him re: not making a living as a singer. MEANWHILE, following a woman into the ladies’? Now you’re at Stalker, dude.

J: I love this film, so I really can’t talk about this middle part which I block from my mind… I’ll re-join the commentary when we get back to flying…  Look out for the cowboy hat … not to mention the ‘inverted flying’ – more classic Top Gun moments.

A: I LOVE that Charlie is a PhD and that she is respected by the brass.

J: ‘The data on the MiG is inaccurate’ … ‘a negative 4 g dive’ … ‘inverted’

A: Maverick, you are seriously an ass. This whole scenario is deeply, deeply unpleasant – as if humiliating a woman, with far more qualifications than you in terms of physics, because she wouldn’t sleep with you is AT ALL sexy or attractive.

J: See this is where we diverge, this might be the greatest sequence of dialog in the film.

A: You’re just wrong   😛   Anyway, Finally, back to some flying. And some seriously fine flying at that. (“Watch the mountains! … Do some of that pilot shit!”)


A: Maverick living up to his name by buzzing the tower is yet another jackass move. And  now the classic head-on collision between the rules that are there for your safety and the desire to prove yourself as a young buck who desperately wants to be the best and has arrogance to burn, who thinks that the rules are just stupid because he doesn’t like them. Meanwhile, NO ONE goes from “I don’t date students” to giving their address to said student. And NOW we get one of the GREAT scenes of this film. Shirtless volleyball! It’s one of the few films I can think of where the fellas’ bodies are actually objectified, even a little; and even here it’s in the context of sport.

images.jpegJ: Who plays volleyball in their jeans? In the sun? In California? Seriously?

A: Only if you’re hard enough, clearly. Then Maverick leaves Goose to go on his date and doesn’t bother to explain himself and rocks up at her house LATE AND ASKS FOR A SHOWER DOES YOUR ARROGANCE KNOW NO BOUNDS MAVERICK YOU JACKASS. I love that she’s all ‘uh, no, my time – I’m hungry’. And then he leaves before they get all too sexy for words. For which she is mostly grateful I think if exasperated. Meanwhile,  Goose and his family are too cute. But more importantly, BACK TO THE PLANES and appalling computer graphics to explain dogfighting. Which includes Maverick getting ripped by Charlie, which he can’t handle because a) he doesn’t like being corrected and b) he really doesn’t like being corrected by a civilian and c) he really really doesn’t like being corrected by a woman. Revving your bike so you can’t hear her? That’s like, 13 years old. And so is driving through traffic to come after him, and REALLY REALLY so is telling him that ‘I’ve fallen for you’ – PASS THE BUCKET BY GOSH I HATE THIS WHOLE PART OF SLO-MO UNDRESSING AND WEIRD KISSING. Which happily, even J accepts is crap and we fast-forwarded a bit.

J: I’m going to ignore this last section of the film and focus on Kelly’s HOT PORSCHE. Oh and now she is in love … this movie is probably why a generation of young men have struggled with relating in a positive way to women ….Meanwhile, “I’ve got the need, the need for speed” and we are back in the jets… “HOLY SHIT IT’S VIPER”.

A: Thank GOD we’re back to the planes. WHEEE Viper in a plane! But Maverick, you are a JACKASS you NEVER leave your team I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR EGO WANTS. Truly you deserve that name and it is not a commendation. And who knew, your teacher is actually smarter than you and was totally playing you. … But Charlie, if you don’t want to be known to be dating a student, I don’t think you go out in public with him and his friends. Meanwhile, everyone singing together in public is never a good idea unless you’re actually in a musical. ENOUGH WITH THE KISSING ALREADY. *sigh* thank heavens we’re back in the planes. … and a flat spin, because Mav was too close to Iceman and they got caught in the jetwash.

J: A particularly brutal piece of slow-motion film making as they eject and Goose breaks his neck hitting the canopy.

A: And Viper is just full of tough love: You gotta let him go. Their bromance might have been more full of real joy than Mav and Charlie’s romance has shown yet. BODING MUSIC – will Maverick be able to fly with his hang-ups about being responsible for killing Goose? Turns out he can fly, but he’s lost all his mojo. And his bosses are worried. Iceman trying to be nice to Maverick is one of the funnier single moments in the whole film. And why on Earth is Wolfman just hanging around in the locker room?? Was he calling Charlie?? Turns he was, which is good because otherwise Maverick was going to RUN AWAY WITHOUT EXPLAINING WHICH IS A JACKASS MOVE, buddy.

J: This pep talk from Charlie is just as bad as Viper’s callous ‘you gotta let him go’ speech.

A: this isn’t callous, this is Be An Adult, buddy.

J: Because someone suffering from grief just needs to be told to suck it up ?

A: no, but they do need to be told not to run away, to face their responsibilities, not to take more blame than is actually reasonable.

J: And now the redemption scene … ‘I’ll fly with you’ – VIPER

A: Cruise on his motorobike here, and then at the airport, makes me think of Luke staring into the sunset.

J: Back on the sweaty aircraft carrier for the finale.  More tobacco grads, more men waving and more AFTERBURNERS. The sad truth is Top Gun could have been a 15-20min short film of the most amazing aircraft carrier / flying / dog fighting footage ever made … Even after all the times I’ve seen it, in 25+ years, the flying sequences leave hearts racing.

A: if this movie had ZERO romance it would be one of MY favourite 80s movies. Because the redemption story of arrogant kid – comeuppance through killing your bestie – coming back and managing to be an excellent wingman, combined with the wonderful cinematography, is a magic one.

J: “God Damn it Maverick”

(Silence here) – that last dog fight sequence is electric from one end to the other … we finish with another fly by – this time with the whole crew on deck watching.  Two supersonic jets over a full aircraft carrier.

A: but by golly, what a bloody terrible piece of dialogue at the end of it.

J: And that’s where the film should have finished, the jet landing in front of the  ‘Fighter Town USA’ hangar building.

A: But instead we get a Righteous Bros reprise, and THE ROMANCE RUINS THIS FILM.


Actors out of place:

Adrian Pasdar, as a pilot instead instead of being in either Heroes or SHIELD

Val Kilmer… kinda still like The Saint, actually.

Tim Robbins!?

2 responses

  1. […] – Alien (1979) Ridley – Blade Runner (1982) Tony – Top Gun (1986) Tony – Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) Tony – Crimson Tide (1995) Tony – Enemy […]

  2. […] what it’s doing, and it is beautiful, but I doubt I’ll rewatch it. Tony – Top Gun (1986) J: Hiiiiiiggghway tooooo the Daaangerzone. I have the need, the need for speed. #inverted. […]

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