Top 10: Top Gun

Helmet Hunting.
WI, USA. 2018.

Top 10: Top Gun? Nope, not a typo. Not today Satan.

Every family has their own Big Fish story. Familial fantasies larger than life painted as hazy visions of the past; romanticized by the art of storytelling and passed down through generations of bonfires.

Epics of men at a war, women conquering tradition, and endless stories of the incredulous adventures that predated us. As we listen, wide-eyed and innocent, we often hear stories of our ancestors that instill a pained sense of longing.

We wish to have known their faces, their mannerisms, their unique interpretations. We ache for the stories lost and the love unknown to us; yearning to fulfill shared destinies.

My personal Big Fish story starts with Top Gun. And by that, I mean that I was literally conceived while my parents were watching Top Gun. Yes, its true. Yes, it explains a lot. Please don’t make it weird.

Continue reading for the Top 10 (additional) reasons Top Gun is not to be taken for granted.

The leather bomber. Swoon! Tom Cruise is the epitome of all things crazy, sexy, cool in that jacket. It almost makes you forget he’s 4’11”.

The girl power. The hot girl at the bar by night meets astrophysicist with higher-security-clearance-than-you by day is my ultimate fantasy. Charlie is fierce Michelle Obama lady-boss energy with a 1980s twist.

The egos. The most consistent story line throughout the whole film is a complex interweaving of feuding male egos (primarily Iceman vs. Maverick). Inverted f*ck-yous, locker room reckonings, and classroom debates galore. Val Kilmer’s aggressive teeth chomp haunts me to this day.

The hair. Tom Cruise’s flawless coif, Kelly McGillis’ just-right frizz, Val Kilmer’s GI JOE flat-top, Meg Ryan’s signature lady mullet, and Tom Skerritt’s full-blown face broom; what more could you ask for?

The karaoke. “Goose, she’s lost it.” “I hate it when she does that.” *Cue an adorable a cappella troop of uniformed Navy-men singing “She’s Lost that Loving Feeling” (many of which are wearing aviator sunglasses… indoors… at night)!*

FYI: some version of this is every woman’s dream.

The sand volleyball. A topless, dog-tagged Cruise sports his tightest jeans and challenges the bronzest, blondest Batman to a beach volleyball tournament. After evening-up the score, he dips out early to tend to his lady-biz. Good man, Mav.

The moody motorcycle rides. Down the coast of Miramar, Maverick is ‘riding the highway to the danger zoooone’. He’s elusive, reactive, and dammit he’s immature. Charlie often has to chase him down, explain herself, and try to calm his temper. Mav has the classic bad boy appeal, and she’s hooked!

The undying friendship. Goose and Maverick’s friendship is #goals. Goose defends Maverick’s seemingly irresponsible and impulsive decisions, even when it puts him at risk (R.I.P). They both honorably supported each other’s relationships, careers, and reputations; and that is no small feat.

The undying love. No matter the strain of their competing power dynamics, the nature of their high-stakes work, or their seemingly ill-fated knack for sass, these two are inseparable. They balance their passion (phew!) with an eye towards the future, never blind to the wonder of their love.

The solidification of the Tom Cruise saga. From the Outsiders’ Steve Randle, to Risky Business’ Joel, to Top Gun’s Maverick; Cruise was subsequently catapulted to become: Cocktails’ Brian, Rain Man’s Charlie, The Firm’s Mitch, Mission: Impossible’s Ethan, Vanilla Sky’s David, Minority Report’s Chief John, etc, etc, etc.

Scientology is a helluva drug.

We may have been benched the first few innings of 2020, but: summer is coming.

This means the return of careless laughter, never-ending nights under the stars, and the long-awaited unveiling of Top Gun 2.

Almost… there…

P.S. Click here for a mach 2 playlist that will set your hair on fire!


Maverick: “I can see it’s dangerous for you, but if the government trusts me, maybe you could too.”

Charlie: “It takes a lot more than fancy flying.”

Top Gun, 1986.