Thursday, February 24, 2011

TOP GUN (1986)

Possibly the most testosterone driven American film of the 1980’s was the 1986 Jet Navy pilot action thriller Top Gun. A beautiful blonde, the top male star of the decade and planes, trains and automobiles. (Okay, No trains, but a cool chopper and lots and lots of planes!) Yet there are some out there that don’t think this film dates too well. And there are even some out there that think there is even a homosexual subtext within this film. I am a little taken aback by these charges.
Fellow 1001 Movies blogger Movie Guy Steve (who I usually agree with) is just one of many advocating the gay subtext theory. Now, I admit it has been many years since I have actually seen Top Gun, but I still feel the need to refute these allegations.

Movie Guy Steve says: Top Gun is the most homoerotic film I have seen since I watched Satyricon last year…The most homoerotic moment of the film happens when Maverick, Goose, Iceman and Slider are playing beach volleyball shirtless while Kenny Loggins sings “Playing with the Boys.”

I say: Satyricon? I’m so sorry you brought up Satyricon. Going to see that film years ago was one of the most traumatic experiences of my film viewing life, which I have recounted in a previous blog. But I don’t remember any of that type of man love in Top Gun. You’re off base, mister!
Movie Guy Steve isn’t alone. Louis Fine Gold Nugget Reviews says: Kelly McGillis’s road to lesbianism can be traced neatly back to her less than stirring love scenes in Top Gun with one Tom Cruise.

I say: That is sheer speculation on your part!
Holly Martin’s Reviews for the Straight Guys…and Others says: Goose’s death, though not implicitly stated, is actually a suicide stemming from the fact that he is unable to face his real self-that self, being a man in love-a man in love-with his best friend, Maverick.

I say: Come on Holly! Sounds like wishful thinking on your part you…you…guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about! Goose is married to Meg Ryan and she’s a girl, right?
Nick and Nora’s Online Movie Review Bar and Grill agrees with the gay angle:
I can’t imagine this isn’t meant to be some kind of kind of covert Homosexual frolic with the gratuitous locker room scene AND the gratuitous volleyball scene!

And Nick and Nora continue with some dialogue examples:

I want some butt!

I want somebody’s butt now!

Whose wazoo do I have to kiss to get in this place!

Your tail is clear!.

Maverick has the ball…or so I’ve heard.

You can be my wingman anytime!
No! You can be MY wingman anytime!

My Johnson is long and distinguished, how about yours?

I can already hold my own, but can you?

And my favorite, “Show me your Top Gun, Maverick.” Iceman said eyeing Maverick’s lower regions.”

Even the name Top Gun. I mean, come on! Do I have to draw you a diagram to this movie’s hidden intent!

I say: Oh please, Nick or Nora, or whichever one you are! You can take anything out of context and make it sound suggestive. I'm not sure of your overuse of exclaimation marks either. Besides, I think you're making up the one about showing me your top gun, anyway.
Criticism from Elwood P. Dowd’s American Movie Blog doesn’t address the gay angle, but clearly Top Gun isn’t his favorite film.

Take a hackneyed plot, combine it with ineptly written dialogue, clichéd and obvious direction, either over-the-top (Meg Ryan) or uninspired (Val Kilmer) performances and action sequences that might be playable if not for their complete and total incomprehensibility, mix them all together and you get: Top Gun!

I say: Lighten up, Elwood! This isn’t supposed to be a Merchant-Ivory film!
Frank Booth’s 80’s! Music and Movie Watch had trouble with the soundtrack: The 80’s commercial radio overplayed Hall of Fame wouldn’t be complete without Top Gun’s ballad “Take My Breath Away” and Kenny Loggin’s faster paced “Danger Zone.” And if the songs aren’t drilled into your head sufficiently after the first playing during the movie-No worries-the songs are repeated over and over, on and on, forever and ever!

I say: He may have a point here. I did prefer Loggin’s “I’m Alright” from Caddyshack and other Berlin songs during the 80’s (like "The Metro") to the fare offered here. I’ll give this reviewer that one.
Fred C. Dobbs the movie spotter says: Wasn’t that Tim Robbins?

I say: Well, Tim had to use something as a stepping stone to his bigger role in Howard the Duck didn’t he? Full disclosure: I saw Howard the Duck the day it opened. I’m not proud of that fact; I’m just trying to be honest.

Enough with the critics. As I said, I’m just going to sit back now and enjoy the show. May the naysayers get a snootfull of jet exhaust fumes!
I’ll report back immediately after seeing Top Gun for the first time in over twenty years:

I say after my first viewing of Top Gun in over twenty years: At this moment I feel like Jessica Lange in The Music Box where she has just defended her father against allegations of Nazi war crimes only to find out he turns out to be…guilty. That’s all I wish to say on the subject.

For my penance, I’ll give Movie Guy Steve the final word.

“Don’t ask, Don’t tell, wink wink, nudge nudge”



  1. And this is why this blog is one of my two or three favorites on the Internet, and why I read every post.

  2. I went to see this movie with my ex-husband on our first date. So my memory is tainted! I have seen it since then and liked it, though.

  3. I always knew there was a reason why I've avoided watching this movie. Thanks for the heads up!