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I actually really hate this film but it has an astonishing cultural impact and definitely deserves to be discussed. I'd be sad about denying Amy another Tom Cruise movie in the canon, but I'm interested in hearing what she likes about it.

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Ugh. I wouldn't deny Top Gun has enough cultural clout to warrant a podcast, but I recently watched it again and I have to confess I struggled not to give up halfway through.

 

When Tony Scott was good we got solid popcorn thrillers like Crimson Tide; but all too often his films were a glimpse of what Michael Bay would eventually do to the Summer blockbuster.

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I'm really surprised Amy hasn't suggested this one. I'd vote no, but I agree it's probably worth discussing.

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I'm not even sure it's worth discussing.

I didn't really know it existed till Archer made a reference to it (is that too millennial of me?)

Plus, it's kinda shitty.

The homoeroticism's not even interesting-

accidental, but not in a fun way

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If we must do Tom Cruise in a lead role, then why not Risky Business? But clearly the most canon worthy Cruise film is Magnolia.

 

Maybe Rain Man would be worth discussing. It's one that may be dated in its depiction of autism but seemed groundbreaking at the time.

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I'm not even sure it's worth discussing.

I didn't really know it existed till Archer made a reference to it (is that too millennial of me?)

 

LOL. My mom loves it so I first saw it when I was young, and I later revisited when I got more ~serious about film. It's one of the highest grossing films of the 80's, it launched Tom Cruise into a superstar, and it caused a huge influx of people joining the Navy. Again, I don't like it (Iceman and Maverick don't even make out once so what's the point), but its impact is well worth analyzing. I'm definitely down for other Cruise episodes though, like Magnolia or even A Few Good Men.

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It's just not that good a movie. If it's going to be discussed, maybe it would be a good opportunity for a versus episode that takes an original film and pits it against its parody, in this case Hot Shots!

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I didn't really know it existed till Archer made a reference to it (is that too millennial of me?)

Jesus. Is this film really that irrelevant today? It definitely showcases to a certain kind of lingering Cold War cheerleading while also being very 80s in its fetishization of high speed aircraft (see also: lamborghini, ferrari testerosa, delorean, etc). It was iconic as hell throughout the decade and into the 90s, although I think a lot of it had to do with the durability of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" and Berlin's "Take My Breath Away".

 

I think it's worth an episode. It was an extremely popular film, there's tons of interesting politics in it, plus the homosexual subtext (which is there, but overstated by people now for humor).

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the Cruise film i'd want in would be Eyes Wide Shut but theres a 99% chance both of them hate it

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I didn't really know it existed till Archer made a reference to it (is that too millennial of me?)

Maybe, maybe not. But it does make me feel old as fuck.

 

I think people forget how many military/aviation themed movies there were in the Reagan years (Iron Eagle, which is all kinds of terrible, came out the same year).

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While I find it strange to defend Top Gun (it has a very wide and diverse fanbase), I am getting a little creeped out in my aging bones to read that millennials out there may not know this film. It's by no means the best film FROM the 80s, but it's one of the best films OF the 80s. It's super-Reaganist, sure, but it's also stylish, romantic, and incredibly cool. It's a music video in cinematic form, beautifully shot, with compelling (if archetypal) characters, telling a classic underdog/rebel/hero's journey type story in the 80sist way possible without remotely descending into camp. It's a great "fluff" piece, but so of-its-time I can't NOT recommend it.

 

You want an iconic and entertaining 80s movie, kids? Look no further.

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...without remotely descending into camp.

 

What? Top Gun is a camp classic!

 

Honestly, I agree with you on everything else, but to say Top Gun does not descend into camp is like saying the original Star Wars is notorious for its great acting.

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"Sure, kid, we'll let you fly the plane. First, though, let me strap you to the side of this aircraft carrier so you can scrape off the barnacles with a putty knife"

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What? Top Gun is a camp classic!

 

Honestly, I agree with you on everything else, but to say Top Gun does not descend into camp is like saying the original Star Wars is notorious for its great acting.

 

Could be we just have different ideas of what makes something camp. To me, Top Gun is too slick and, in the end, pretty conventional. So while it has some indulgent moments - "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", and, of course, the volleyball match - it doesn't really stand out as especially campy for the time (compare the volleyball match to the training montage in Rocky III, for instance). The mid 80s were the heyday of the mandatory musical montage, and so many scenes in Top Gun work like early, professionally-stylized music videos, another sign of the times. It often flirts with going over-the-top, but it keeps grounding itself back in the plot before it goes too far. It's structured very effectively to thrill the audience, then pull at the heartstrings, then thrill them again, and I don't think it misses a beat anywhere, and I don't think it's really that much sillier than anything we've gotten since. The movie is 80s as all hell, but I don't think that alone makes something camp.

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Could be we just have different ideas of what makes something camp. To me, Top Gun is too slick and, in the end, pretty conventional. So while it has some indulgent moments - "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", and, of course, the volleyball match - it doesn't really stand out as especially campy for the time (compare the volleyball match to the training montage in Rocky III, for instance). The mid 80s were the heyday of the mandatory musical montage, and so many scenes in Top Gun work like early, professionally-stylized music videos, another sign of the times. It often flirts with going over-the-top, but it keeps grounding itself back in the plot before it goes too far. It's structured very effectively to thrill the audience, then pull at the heartstrings, then thrill them again, and I don't think it misses a beat anywhere, and I don't think it's really that much sillier than anything we've gotten since. The movie is 80s as all hell, but I don't think that alone makes something camp.

 

- You've Lost That Loving Feeling

- Volleyball

- Maverick and Goose's bromance

- Maverick and Iceman's budding bromance

- Kenny Loggins...

 

...I agree that Top Gun was probably not camp when it came out - it was not camp in its own terms - but the way the culture and aesthetics of films has moved, it's only a Billy Idol hairdo away from being the full Liberace.

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Top Gun was marketed and received as a serious action movie in its time. I think that disqualifies it as "campy". The kind of over the top goofiness in the scenes you describe was par for the course around that time, especially in action movies:

 

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I'm fairly convinced all we remember Top Gun for is Kenny Loggins, a few quotes laced with slight macho homoerotic undertones and some decent fighter jet combat. But that's really about it.

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Top Gun was marketed and received as a serious action movie in its time. I think that disqualifies it as "campy". The kind of over the top goofiness in the scenes you describe was par for the course around that time, especially in action movies:

 

 

Cue Team America: World Police.

 

 

I absolutely take (and made) the point that it was not camp when it was released. I just couldn't help smirking all the way last time I watched the film.

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How about Top Gun vs. Pretty Woman, the ultimate crap-off?

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Tough to judge cultural touchstones. They fade. Then what? Do we try to estimate what they were and judge on that? Did they really inspire some kind of attitude or something significant in people, or was it just a popular reference?

 

I don't feel qualified to make a case either way. I like that movie and it was a big deal, but I can't say where that leaves it in history.

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