There are movies that help define their decade—timeless, important films like On the Waterfront (50’s), In the Heat of the Night (60’s), and The Godfather (70’s). Meanwhile, the 80’s were blessed with the epic blockbuster shitshow that was Top Gun. While I didn’t catch it in a theater when it came out in ’86, I did watch it at a friend’s house on VHS (naturally), and admittedly, gave the flick zero f__ks at the time. Until now. Thank you, Amazon Video. Crap like this helps me justify my Prime membership and pieces together the fragmented pop culture memories of my youth.
So more than 30 years after its release, here’s my review of Top Gun. I’ve opted for the good ol’ Top 10 format, because people love lists. Here we go. The Top 10 things I learned from watching Top Gun (while simultaneously becoming stupider), in no particular order. I feel the need…the need for an airsick bag.
10.) In the 1980’s, pilots sweat all the time. Like, 24/7. The entire movie. Go back and watch it, it’s incredible. It’s a wonder the pilots can even get a firm grip on their aircraft’s controls with their sweaty palms. Or a Kawasaki Ninja. Or a volleyball. And it’s not just a light, glistening sheen, but a really heavy, drenching, projectile sweat. No matter the situation, environment, or ambient air temperature—the pilots are perspiring profusely from every gland. This is why proper hydration is essential, people.
9.) Some parts were forgettable—particularly, Tim Robbins and Meg Ryan. Others were career-defining, and possibly career-ending—hello, Tom Skerritt.
8.) Those weren’t really MiGs.
7.) I think the movie may have singlehandedly won the Cold War for the United States. I mean, the Soviet Union [sic] would have been batshit crazy to screw with us after watching Maverick and Goose and Iceman kick major ass all over the globe without losing an ounce of hair gel in the process. They could fly circles around you and spike on you in volleyball (even a 3.7-foot-tall Tom Cruise), all while going shirtless, wearing aviator sunglasses, high-fiving each other, and singing sappy Motown tunes to their girlfriends. Poorly.
6.) Kelly McGillis was a very, very handsome gal.
5.) “This is what I call a target-rich environment.” Shockingly, it’s a line that I still use to this day, and cringe every time I do.
4.) Iceman’s “you can be my wingman any time,” is the cheesiest, most latently homoerotic line of 1980’s cinema, bar none.
3.) You should never, ever leave said wingman.
2.) Wearing aviator sunglasses makes you better at learning how to fly fighter jets, especially while seated indoors in a darkened classroom.
1.) The movie is actually pretty awful.