Guys, I saw movies that weren’t Top Gun this week!

But you’re not here for that, are you?

Well, my life’s been nothing but work and Tom Cruise these days. Not sure why, apart from the fact that I love money and I’m part of a science experiment in which I have to watch Top Gun every week.

Wait, that might be it.


Jul. 15, 2012
7:33pm EST – Heard someone on 60 Minutes say “tight grip.” Thought they said “T.A.G. Rep,” Charlie’s profession in Top Gun.

10:57pm EST – Read “keep it coming” in a news story. Heard Viper shouting, “KEEP COMIN’!”

Jul. 16, 2012
Sleep, morning??? – Way too hot to sleep. Thought of ice. Thought of Iceman. Too tired to get notebook.

This man has ruined iced tea, ice cream, icicles, ice skating, Vanilla Ice, and 4-methylaminorex for me.

1:44pm EST – Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” stuck in head, which keeps turning into Kenny Loggins’s “Playing with the Boys.”

4:21pm EST – Somebody mentioned blood spray at a crime scene. Thought of Slider saying, “Splash 4!”

10:34pm EST – Heard “no apologies” on the news. Thought of Mav saying, “No apologies.”

Jul. 17, 2012
2:35pm EST – Reading Hellblazer #4, “Waiting for the Man.” Caption says: “They want her in their family.” Thought of Goose saying, “Sing with the family.” Also thought of Charlie being invited into their family from my poly interpretation.

Jul. 18, 2012
2:28pm EST – Was talking about Quantum Leap with Cinemanaut John. Accidentally said “Top Gun” when I meant “Quantum Leap.”

In fairness, this is the actual poster in John’s living room, and I was talking about the pilot episode. Which is the pilot episode. But it’s called “Genesis.” You blew a perfect title opportunity, Bellisario.

5:10pm EST – Watching The Amazing Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker flirts like Maverick. Forceful and creepy.

6:39pm EST – Entered John’s apartment and Retired Cinemanaut Nancy was watching Innerspace. Sexy Meg Ryan made me think of Top Gun Sexy Meg Ryan.

Jul. 19, 2012
5:22pm EST – “Playing with the Boys” stuck in head while stressed at work.

6:23pm EST – Been stuck in a fluctuating “Playing with the Boys” mode since last entry. Too busy at work to counter it.

7:47pm EST – Still in PWTB mode at bus stop. No way to kill it. iPod is dead. Decided to go with it and have another think about Quentin Tarantino’s analysis of Top Gun in Sleep With Me. Will be asleep soon.

8:32pm EST – Still in PWTB mode. Going to bed. Please no Top Gun dreams.

“Playing with the Boys” mode is a horror I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Jul. 20, 2012
3:41pm EST – Playing Wii GoldenEye on Nintendo Wi-Fi multiplayer. Spotted a player named “tino” who had killed me multiple times. Had the opportunity for an easy kill right in front of me, but instead chased after tino and said aloud, “I want tino,” just like Maverick breaks away from Jester and says, “I want Viper.” Was embarrassingly aware of what I did, but also killed the shit out of tino.


Fuck you, tino. Your blood has the bittersweet taste of revenge XP.

So, let’s talk about how I’m remembering shit that nobody else does about this movie. Have you ever been having a casual conversation about Star Trek with friends, and in the middle of your general witticisms about transporters and Vulcans, some guy breaks in to talk about how this one specific episode of Voyager completely messes up the series continuity on warp speeds?

I never have, because I don’t have “casual” conversations about Star Trek. Everybody in my circle of friends knows that episode.

Seriously, “Threshold” writers, did you high-five as you cashed your paychecks?

Well, now I’m that guy for Top Gun, a movie I don’t even care about. When I overhear some co-workers talking about the need for speed or whatever the fuck, I’m trying not to Trek my way into the conversation with how many times Maverick accidentally kicks Charlie’s table on their date. I have to fight it.

Scroll back up through my notes. Did you know that “Sing with the family,” or “Splash 4,” or “No apologies,” were Top Gun quotes? Of course you didn’t. You know “You can be my wing man any time,” just like you kind of know what a tribble is, but you’ve never heard of a glommer.

It eats tribbles.

On the other side of my brain, there’s a positive to this experiment: Top Gun has been incorporated into my film analysis. No, really, that’s a positive. I use Top Gun to represent the soulless blockbuster, and it helps to have it in the back of my mind when I’m watching a new film.

This week, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, and both made me think of Top Gun. (I don’t think this will be too spoiler-y, but fine, PLOT RUINERS.) In Spider-Man, as noted above, it seemed to me that Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker was a bit too much like Maverick, especially in a romantic sense. He’s very forceful with Gwen Stacy, to the point of being disturbing, but I realized that it worked on his character. (The way he was playing Peter Parker in the film, that is. His Peter Parker is way off base, while his Spider-Man is closer to the mark than Maguire ever was.) This made me realize that Maverick’s behavior is fitting for a teenager, not an adult. I don’t want to see a grown man awkwardly find the middle ground between seduction and molestation. You should know this shit by now. Maybe? I guess they could be trying to set up Maverick as both immature and alpha male, but on the flip side, that means they’ve gotten too much alpha male in Peter Parker. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to compare the two characters, something I couldn’t have done without Cinema 52.


During The Dark Knight Rises, I didn’t exactly think of Top Gun, but I came up with a movie rule that I realized also applied to Top Gun: Star Wars Subtlety. Basically, the rule is this: while Star Wars certainly didn’t invent several of its tropes, it has now become the most famous example of most of them, so if you’re going to steal a plot point from the trilogy, you need to make it subtle. Top Gun fails this test at the end, when Maverick holds Goose’s dog tags and channels the Force to help him win the climactic battle. The Dark Knight Rises (can you call it a spoiler when you see it coming?) absolutely makes a Han Solo out of Catwoman, and badly. Maybe I was just a dumb kid, but I didn’t predict that Han Solo would come back in Star Wars. He was the quintessential space cowboy to Luke’s space grasshopper-warrior-monk; cowboys mosey into town, deal with shit, and ride off into the sunset. His arc seemed done to me; he wanted money, he got money, goal achieved. (Okay, yeah, I probably was a dumb kid who didn’t know that money wasn’t everything.) When he comes back, holy shit, crowning moment of awesome. But now we have Catwoman… uck. In Rises, Batman is all, “Come on, stick around, help me out.” And Catwoman is all, “Fuck you, I’m all about myself, I will do this one thing and then I will totally leave.” And Batman is all, “No, I have a pretty good hunch that you will come back.” And Catwoman is all, “No, did you not hear me? I’m headed back to Corellia.” And Batman is all, “I’m just saying, you seem like a nice person and I might need you to shoot at the guy in the mask when I’m in a moment of complete vulnerability.” And Catwoman is all, “Hahaha, that’s oddly specific and totally not going to happen because I am Catwoman and I’m a self-centered space loner, oh goodness, me-oh-my.” I didn’t even feel good about leaning over to John and calling it; that’s how obvious it was. So yes, when she eventually does come to the aid of Batman, riding a kickass vehicle and shooting the bad guy away from our hero, I just had to let loose with, “YEE HAW! You’re all clear, kid! Now let’s blow this thing and go home.”

“Great shot, kid, that was… oh, sorry, you don’t use guns. That was premature. Um… Kessel Run?”

For the record, I let loose quietly. I’m not the sort of asshole who ruins the experience for everyone in the theater. I only ruin it for John.


So, it’s been a Top Gun week at the movies. And it doesn’t stop there: next week, I’ll have a Top Gun analysis of a very good Star Trek: The Next Generation episode I just watched. And hopefully you can follow along.

Come on, even if you’ve never seen a TNG, you can tell this kid’s unbearable, right?