Greetings, programs, and welcome to this week’s podcast! Following a year-long journey from its festival premiere at Fantasia 2021, Mark O’Brien’s The Righteous is finally coming to cinemas and on-demand thanks to Arrow Video and Vortex Media, and after a 36-year gap, Tom Cruise is back as a Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in the long-awaited sequel to the 1980s classic Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick.
There are streaming links powered by JustWatch a little further down this page, and the episode should be live wherever you listen to podcasts (also including on this page) now.
Oh hey there. It’s been a weird year and I haven’t been writing again. 2020 has been a challenge, to say the least, and it’s seemed like there have been bigger things going on, and also the ol’ day job has been a little on the intense side.
But things are finally calming down a little so I am back to writing a little. A good place to start is with the films I was looking forward to this year because, well, most of them aren’t coming out this year anymore. Theatres here in Vancouver are re-opening in a limited way, but even if new movies were coming to them (which they aren’t) I don’t think I would feel comfortable going to see them yet. Or for the rest of the year.
So let’s take a look at what I was looking forward to, and see where that leaves us for the rest of the year.
Every year is a good year for movies but every year there are always those few you are really looking forward to. Here is my list of those movies.
Will these end up being my favourite movies of the year? Who knows! Probably not! The only movies that we know anything about as far away as December are the big-budget blockbusters with marketing pockets so deep we can start hearing about them now. There are hundreds of movies per year that don’t have that.
This list should probably be re-titled “most anticipated big-budget films”, really.
In any event, here is the list. See if you can guess the first entry.
If you watch Archer then you will find this hilarious, if you don’t watch Archer you will also find this hilarious but you seriously need to go watch Archer right now, that way you’ll know just how often the song _Danger Zone_ comes up.
Which makes this awesome promo for season five, in which they have recreated the music video for Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, awesome.
The problem with talking stunt something that everyone has seen is that everyone has seen it and everyone already has an opinion, and Top Gun is certainly a polarizing film among my circle of friends. In case you hadn’t already guessed though: I love it.
In case you haven’t seen it Top Gun follows Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a US Navy fighter pilot as he competes to be the best of the best at what he does at Top Gun, the navy’s elite fighter wining school. He shows up cocky, gets beaten, endures some loss, falls in love, and in the end is the hero. When you lay it out on paper it’s a fairly straightforward formula action movie. It’s that way on screen as well.
That is to say that the movie is pretty shallow, especially by today’s standards, but it does make a cursory effort to be more than the shallow testosterone fest it seems to be. Two thirds of the way into the film when a beloved supporting character dies it shows the main character reeling and vulnerable from survivors guilt and regret. If it breaks from the mold at all it’s that in the age of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone churning out movies like Predator, First Blood, and Commando it dared to actually show it’s hero mourning instead of just shedding a single tear before throwing his head back and screaming at the heavens, invoking super human power to overcome the ridiculous odds he’s about to face.
Yes, I’m saying that the hero of Top Gun is in fact human whereas most 80s heroes were not.
Tom Cruise was 24 in 1986, he’s hardly at best form here, but he’s better than the movie needs him to be, especially when it comes to the switching back and forth between the ultra cocky public persona that Maverick cultivates and the unsure private persona you see when it’s just him and Goose, his best friend.
But then there is the rest of the movie. A movie with awesome exciting dog fighting, with dude-bro alpha male rivalry, with 24 year old Tom Cruise falling in love with 29 year old and taller than him Kelly McGillis, with a zillion catch phrases and and awesome high five/low five when the main characters score a point in volleyball. And yes, the volleyball features men oiled up and playing in the sand.
There’s a lot of people in this world that will tell you Top Gun is shallow. That it’s thinly veiled homoeroticism. That it’s stupid. They aren’t wrong (well, they are wrong about the homoeroticism, the intended audience for that was the girl friends of all the dude-bros that went to see it), but none of that matters. At the end of the day it’s well executed and fun.
Recently I had the chance to see it in 3D IMAX in the lead up to its Blu-Ray re-release and it holds up pretty well. There’s something to be said for the shared movie experience, when everyone in the theatre is there and completely into the movie. Only a few times have I truly experienced this, but it’s amazing. The 3D, well, I could write a whole other article on 3D but it was OK, but blown up to IMAX proportions the film was amazing.
And all this is fueled by Kenny Loggins 80s pop rock anthems.
So is the whole thing cheesy? Yes. Shallow? Absolutely. Fun? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen Top Gun, or more likely someone who hasn’t seen it in years, now is the time. Grab the Blu-Ray (or go to a screening if they are still happening near you), have a few beers, crank the sound and take highway to the danger zone.