WHEN: 8:09am EST, March 23rd, 2012

WHERE: My apartment in Portland, ME (Isla Nublar)

FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Exhausted, pissed, just got off the bus, tired (only got four hours of sleep the night before), greasy hands from fixing up a bicycle, drinking some orange juice

FOCUS OF THIS WEEK’S STUDY: Pretending Top Gun is a Sci-Fi Movie Because You Really Don’t Want to Watch Top Gun Right Now


  • I now read the opening onscreen text aloud every time. But I expect the title to be “FUCK YOU” instead of “TOP GUN.”
  • This is the very first time I recall seeing Mav shake down the missile on his jet. This blind spot must be the exact point where I start to zone out week after week.
  • When Stinger says, “This thing’ll be over in two minutes,” I wish he were telling the truth.

This was a rough week. I tried to watch Top Gun around noon on a Wednesday. I actually watched the damn thing on a Friday. What’s worse, horrible mood. Absolutely horrible. While riding my bicycle home from work at midnight last night, I blew out a tire. I had to call Becca, wake her up, chain my bike to a lamppost at a Starbucks, catch four hours of sleep, then wake up and drag the flat-tired bastard to a bus stop and take it home on the bus in time for work. And still get Top Gun in before the end of the week.

Damn. Damn. Damn, damn.

When life craps in my hair, I like to throw on an old stand-by, like Back to the Future or Forbidden Planet or Explorers. But, as the four of us have all been repeating day in and day out, Cinema 52 is for any mood. So instead of something with robots or time travel, it’s another glorious 110 minutes of plain old fighter pilots doing plain old fighter pilot business.

Not today.

Turns out, there are tons of science fiction plotlines hiding right below the surface in Top Gun. You just have to look for them.

Alternate universes. Probably the one with the most evidence, the events of Top Gun would have kicked off World War III, and that didn’t happen on our Earth. But that’s been discussed at length elsewhere, so let’s move on.

Quantum leap. What if Sam Beckett leaped into any of these characters? If he did, my money is on Cougar. “But wait, when Cougar turns in his wings, why does he say he did it because of his wife and kids?” Have you seen Quantum Leap? (No? Get the fuck out.) Every single episode has Sam covering his ass with excuses and bad acting. I bet Sam’s mission was to get Cougar back to his family, and he succeeded. Or it was to save Goose– OH SHIT. And Cougar’s silent the whole way down to the runway… he’s probably listening to Al as he tells him how to land. (Al probably felt bad making him bail the first time he leaped into a pilot in the, um, pilot.)

Or Sam leaped into Charlie.

Oh, boy.

Psychic links. The pilots’ jaws don’t move enough in the masks for them to be actually talking. Perhaps they can all read minds?

Genetic mutation. Look at Iceman’s pen-flipping ability. That’s a superpower.

Shape-shifting. Maybe Maverick goes into the ladies room because he can change form from male to female.

Apocalyptic event. Charlie is an astrophysicist. She must know about some big meteor headed for Earth. I bet she’s training these pilots to fly space shuttles and bust it up!

Stranger professions have been sought out for this task.

Immortality. Iceman says, “You really are cowboys.” What if they are? Maybe Maverick is 200 years old. Wait, we see a photo of him as a kid. Slow aging? Hmmm.

Robots. Iceman could be an experimental robot that they’re testing against the human pilots. This would explain his jaw malfunction in the locker room.

Time travel. Viper IS Maverick. After the events of the film, Maverick falls back in time, enlists, fights in combat with his father, becomes the first pilot to win the TOPGUN trophy, then grows up and trains himself at Fightertown. Because the timeline is immutable, he was unable to prevent his father’s death. Once he learns this, he can’t tell his younger self about Goose or the time portal, because he never did. Viper’s wise like that, and he helps himself become that way.

“Oh, hey Slider.” (Yeah, Slider fell in too! Whoa!)

Aliens. What if Charlie is an extraterrestrial in disguise? Astrophysicist would be a pretty good cover for someone who travels in space all day. And she wants to know who Earth’s best pilots are so  the alien attackers can be prepared when they invade. Plus, she laid eggs in Maverick’s tongue. That’s gonna be a surprise for the next crop of cadets.

Wormhole. Maverick’s dad literally disappeared. He was thrown halfway across the universe in a freak tachyon storm and now he’s having space adventures with an alien race. That’s why it’s classified. Viper completely lied to Maverick about it.

Stealth was a terrible movie. That I’ll probably watch again this year.

Simulation. The entire TOPGUN training program was an incredibly complex flight simulator. I have two theories.

A) The whole movie is inside the simulator. Maverick, like Neo, is “the one.” The program is only supposed to help him fly, but Maverick somehow left his plane. And began conversing with other pilots. And creating new pilots. And a sexy(?) astrophysicist. And a backstory for his dead father. Essentially, an entire world. Stunned, scientists couldn’t bring themselves to disconnect him. The government eventually stepped in and now Maverick lives out his entire life hooked up to a computer in an underground naval base.

B) Maverick is strapped into the simulator after they arrive in Miramar. Iceman, Viper, Charlie… none of them are real people. Goose is real, but attached to a different simulator. When Maverick gets to the end of the movie, they unplug him and he fails hardcore. Sleeping with an instructor? Ignoring the pilot with the good advice? The tower buzzing? And all while you thought it was real life? F minus, hotshot. To top it off, Goose walks in and calls Maverick a pussy for crying so much over him. Goose didn’t even bat an eye when Maverick’s head split in half.

Mind powers. Iceman tells Maverick he’s sorry about Goose… because he accidentally killed Goose with his mind.

The Force. Goose was a Jedi. How else was he talking to Maverick at the end?

Teleportation. Yeah, seriously, that’s the only way Charlie can put a quarter in the jukebox in one room and then appear in the other room without Maverick seeing her.

Nanorobotics. Was Maverick drinking ice water… OR NANITES??? Okay, I’m out of ideas.

Surprisingly, this really cheered me up. Sure, not as much as Flight of the Navigator or RoboCop might have, but I feel better. So yeah, next time you’re complaining about a sci-fi movie, pretend it’s Earth. Present day. And Jennifer Aniston is in it.

“He tasks me. He tasks me and I must have him!”