On Seeing “Top Gun” for the First Time

I saw Top Gun last week. You may not be impressed, so let me tell you next that I had never seen it before. I remember when it was the hot movie. I was 8 years old, and my piano teacher had me play that terrible love song they used to play on MTV over and over again. Really, I mostly remember that the tune had five flats, which didn’t seem fair at the time, and it took me forever to pass (but I can still play it from memory).

Maybe I’ve held a grudge against Top Gun — or all Tom Cruise movies for that matter — because of D-flat major. Whatever the reason, I have a few observations:

1. Lots of boys quote that movie. I felt like I’d seen the movie before, all because of macho references and boys referring to each other as “Goose” and “Maverick.”

2. Along those lines, did the quote, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” REALLY originate with that movie? I suppose I must give it props for pop culture infiltration, but I find it hard to believe, nonetheless.

2. Lots of boys also think that leaving a woman (a woman who is obviously interested in you) on the porch without kissing her is a strong move. I’ve even recently heard a 29-year-old man pat himself on the back for pulling a “Top Gun” on a lady friend. For the record, I don’t think that’s a very strong move. (A better move would be pulling a “Princess Bride,” by dressing up like a pirate and rescuing a lady friend from an evil conspirator.)

3. In general, I don’t think it’s a good idea, guys, to get your moves from Tom Cruise movies.

4. It’s possible to write a hit song with such daring and provocative lyrics such as, “You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ and now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoah-oh-oh-oh.” I’m going to start working on my new hit, “Whoah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” .. wait, isn’t that an NKOTB song? Clearly, I’m over-thinking my own lyrics.

5. Just who exactly were they fighting against at the end? There were these unknown enemies, who did tricky flight maneuvers in planes that I kept getting confused with Tom Cruise’s plane (single engine, double engine, what’s the difference, hmpf), and caused nothing but death and the loss of expensive planes. Why did they even have to cross enemy lines? Seems like Val Kilmer should have just stayed on that nice boat in the Indian Ocean. I guess that’s a bigger philosophical question, though, about war. Jerry Bruckheimer wouldn’t have much of a movie without unknown enemies.

That’s all I’ve got. It was a good movie, I guess, but it seemed incredibly predictable and cliche in this world. Probably I’d feel the same way about The Sound of Music if I hadn’t seen it when I was wee. I’d probably be, like, “Oooooh, so THAT’s where ‘Doe-a-deer’ came from! How blase.”

Also, one more public service announcement: Pump Up the Volume is not nearly as good as you remember.