WHEN: 8:00am EST, August 25th, 2012

WHERE: In the bedroom of my apartment in Portland, ME (Isla Nublar)

FORMAT: DVD on VLC media player on Becca’s Dell Inspiron E1405 laptop

COMPANY: Becca, in and out (times of entrance and exit noted below)

ABORTED VIEWING: At 7:26am EST, I attempted to watch the movie in iTunes on the laptop with the digital copy from the Blu-Ray, but this was an absolute disaster. There was a gray band all along the bottom of the frame, plus the subtitles were on. When I turned off the subtitles, the video became extremely choppy and entirely unwatchable. I aborted this viewing approximately 30 seconds after the line “You’re vector zero-nine-zero for bogey.”

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Pissed about the aborted viewing, pissed that it took me so long to find the DVD this morning (it was in the case for the Top Gun soundtrack), just really wanted to get started.

Yes. I see the elephant.

This is my first viewing since the death of Top Gun director Tony Scott. Yes, it affected my viewing, as you’ll clearly see in my Observations of Note, but I’m going to wait until the end to reflect on it further. Needless to say, it’s a terrible loss and my heart goes out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

OBSERVATIONS OF NOTE:

  • Warren Skaaren. That’s a neat name.
  • I want to watch Carrier.
  • You have to be a skilled director to get aerial scenes to look this good. You really do. So much of it is thanks to the cinematography and editing and sound and camerawork and piloting, but that still has to go through the director.
  • I’m noticing more camera shake this time. The cockpit displays especially. Those could have been filmed completely steady on the ground, but the shake gives it a POV feel.
  • I’m flashing back to seeing Crimson Tide on TV as a kid. Was the lighting/sweat similar? Good thing I picked up the Blu-Ray. More on that later.
  • The editing as Cougar approaches the aircraft carrier is seriously top notch. It’s gripping and the continuity is on point.
  • What exactly is the “high speed pass” over the admiral’s daughter? I always assumed that Maverick just slept with her, but now I wonder if he could really get in trouble for that. Was it more? Public butt slap? Wolf whistle? Those classically un-PC Navy pranks? Then Maverick slept with her? Or something even worse.
  • Becca wonders if they shortened California to “Calif.” because of the aspect ratio. Did they think this was going to get more popular on TV?
  • There is no actual TOPGUN trophy. Still can’t believe it. Still feel betrayed.
  • I’m legitimately curious to see how over-sexualized the dialogue is in other Tony Scott films.
  • Iceman’s first interaction with Maverick reminds Becca of Draco Malfoy confronting Harry Potter for the first time. It would. She’s played Muggle Quidditch.

It’s a thing.

  • Maverick almost pulls off pick-up lines, then laughs at them and ruins everything. I feel for him, which surprises me.
  • Becca points out that Maverick’s macking routine must work on all the bimbos. Charlie isn’t a bimbo. And Maverick hates to lose. Does he just want what he can’t have? Are Maverick and Charlie in a relationship that just… happened? They didn’t get together because they liked each other, but they decided to stay.
  • I’ll be honest, I’m going to be quoting this movie for years to come. If I weren’t physically terrified whenever I think of the film, I’d be saying, “Do some of that pilot shit!” all the time.
  • We both laughed at “I WANT SOME BUTTS!” Because you have to. Becca thinks the line was improvised. I disagree. I’ll have to ask Duke Stroud.
  • When Viper says, “I flew with his old man,” Jester makes a face that almost says, “Really? We’re doing exposition here?”

“You do know Maverick is in the other room, right?”

  • I started giving Becca a back rub, forgetting that the volleyball scene was coming up. “Trying to feel more masculine?” NO.
  • Becca said that she was going to take a shower exactly when Maverick says he’s going to take a shower. Her reaction: “Whoa. Does Maverick have to take a shit, too?” Charming. Becca made her exit at the 46:24 mark.
  • Got a weird craving to hear the theme song from Enterprise. Probably because it’s the Top Gunniest of the Star Treks. Downloaded that piece of cheese on my iPhone.
  • Also grabbed a “Danger Zone” ringtone so I can keep using it as my alarm clock on the new phone.
  • I’m interested in seeing the allegedly great sex scene in The Hunger, as the one in Top Gun is lackluster.
  • Becca returned at 1:05:02 to quote Carole saying, “Take me to bed or lose me forever.” Adorableyuck. She then left at 1:12:45 to move some laundry and returned at 1:18:06. You needed to know that.
  • Becca: “I feel like this movie should be over, but there are 30 minutes left.” Feel. My. Pain. Enjoy this next year, Becca.
  • I’ve moved the laptop to my chest for the last 30 minutes, so I can really focus. And to feel like a bachelor.
  • I think the end of this film could be extended and stand on its own. We slog through a lot to get to this battle. I feel tired before the big climax hits.

Amirite, stock photo ladies?

  • I like how RIOs, in addition to manning the radar, are there to lend moral support. That back seat is a perfect place to give the pilot a back rub.
  • Sang “this guy… has binoculars…” to the tune of “Top Gun Anthem.” Just popped into my head.
  • I always think of how restless extras must get during celebration scenes. (See: Anakin’s post-podrace victory. Some of those aliens look pooped.)
  • Some guy in the credits has the call sign “Horse.” And his last name is Caulk. Have I never caught that before? (According to our search results, nope. 33 weeks devoid of horse cock jokes.)

TOP GUN DETOX BOX:
After the viewing, I listened to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, Van Halen’s 1984, and Oingo Boingo’s Dead Man’s Party on my iPhone, which I’ve also done after the past three viewings. I’m performing an experiment to see if other ’80s pop albums will prevent the music of Top Gun from becoming lodged in my head. Next week, I will go cold turkey and log all the results. An analysis with fancy math and charts will be posted to get specifics on just how much help the Top Gun Detox Box has provided. Then some other music experiments. Maybe.

THOUGHTS:
“De mortuis nil nisi bonum.” — Old Klingon Proverb

I tried to give Tony a fair shake this time around, but I quickly realized that I couldn’t. I’ve been watching exactly one film of his every single week, which would probably bore you no matter what film it was (see: Cinema 52, circa 2013 and 2014). Other movie-flavored websites have smartly addressed how hard it is to give a respectful memorial tribute to a director that you weren’t really that big a fan of to begin with. I am in that camp.

You know what? No. I am not a fan of Top Gun. That does not prove that I am not a fan of Tony Scott.

Get. Your. Lab. Coat.

Pictured: A fair shake.

Here we go.

I consulted the film blogs and took to our Twitter and Facebook pages to see which Tony Scott movies people loved the most, and guess what? Nobody has the same answer. As I kept lengthening the list to include each new recommendation, I eventually crossed everything out and ran to Bull Moose with the IMDb app fired up.

So now I have every feature-length Tony Scott movie. The two gaps were not available at either Bull Moose location in Portland (support your brick-and-mortars), so I ordered them from Amazon. But I’ve got plenty to watch before I hit those potholes, and I need to get started.

I am certainly not out to prove that Tony Scott is a sub-par director, nor am I trying to redeem him in the wake of tragedy. I am merely taking this opportunity to get a better look at the talents of a man whose movie I am watching on a weekly basis for science. And if I see a handful of damn awesome/terrible films along the way that expand my view of the man or the medium, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Go watch more movies, everybody. Always watch more movies.

Tony Scott
1944-2012