Tag Archives: combat pilot

Top Gun

If you haven’t seen Top Gun, you have not lived. Tom Cruise stars as Maverick, a renegade Navy pilot who gets recruited to the elusive Top Gun program, where the best of the best compete to be the best. Ridley Scott’s younger brother Tony Scott directs this classic action film. Ridley Scott may be a genius, but Tony has some pretty good action films under his belt. Top Gun is probably his best.

Maverick (Tom Cruise) is a natural pilot, but is impulsive and has some daddy issues. His dad was also a pilot, but his plane went down under some shady circumstances, and Maverick has to deal with his father’s tainted legacy. Maverick and his wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards) fly recklessly, but get the job done. Despite some reservations, Maverick gets a chance to prove himself as one of the best Naval Aviators.

Maverick and Goose face some fierce competition, but their main rivals are soon revealed to be Iceman (Val Kilmer) and his wingman Slider. Iceman is the best pilot, not because he is naturally gifted, but because he works hard to be the best. He doesn’t like the way Maverick flies, because Maverick doesn’t fly safe, and he doesn’t want to work as a team. Iceman is made out to be the villain. Iceman should be the hero. He trains and studies and strives to do well, he does the right thing, and he looks out for the team. He calls Maverick out for being a maverick and he gets shat on. You can’t look out for yourself in the military, you endanger everyone else.

No matter how arrogant Maverick is, no matter how brash and stuck up, he is still a gifted pilot, and so everyone bends over backwards for him. Even though Charlie (Kelly McGillis) repeatedly stresses that she can’t date him because it wouldn’t be professional, she ends up spreading her legs. Even though Maverick kills his best friend and wingman Goose, he still gets more chances to prove himself.

He struggles a bit, and then regains his confidence, just in time to shoot down some real enemy MiGs and save the day. And then gets the girl at the end. Hurray for cliché Hollywood endings.

Top Gun was made in a different time. Back then there was no CG… if you saw a couple of jets doing some crazy cool maneuvers, you knew that shit was real. I know Tom Cruise isn’t flying an F-14, but some guy is, and that guy is a bad ass.

Every ‘80s movie needs a hit soundtrack. And the Top Gun soundtrack is epic. Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins is one of the cheesiest macho songs ever. Berlin’s Take My Breath Away is an awesome and awkward love song. There might have been a few more songs on the soundtrack. None of them matter.

No movie about military life is complete without a homoerotic beach volleyball scene. Maverick knows that he has a date that night, with a really hot instructor nonetheless, but playing shirtless volleyball with the boys is a little more important apparently.

Top Gun is one of those action films that defines a decade. It’s like Star Wars, if you haven’t seen it, you are weird. Real planes doing real stunts means real excitement. Is anyone else slightly distracted by Tom Cruise’s unibrow?

Critically Rated at 14/17

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Independence Day (film, not the day)

Before Roland Emmerich went crazy and started spewing out ridiculous disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, he made an awesome disaster movie called Independence Day. This was one of the best summer movies of the ‘90s. It had it all: a sweet cast, amazing special effects, and good action scenes. Plus Vivica A. Fox plays a stripper.

The movie stars out with a bang. It starts on the moon and a giant shadow creeps across its surface, steadily heading for Earth. Before long, giant spaceships are hovering over 36 major cities across the world. As we learn about the threat, we are introduced to the main characters. Jeff Goldblum plays David Levinson, a genius who discovers a hidden code that indicates the aliens are going to attack. He goes to Washington, D.C. to warn his ex-wife who works for the President of the United States. Bill Pullman plays the President, a former combat pilot.

Will Smith plays Captain Steve Hiller, a pilot for the Marines. He wants to become an astronaut, and he has a stripper girlfriend named Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox). Randy Quaid plays Russell Casse, he’s a pilot too. Seriously, the whole world gets destroyed, but half the survivors are pilots. If you wanna survive Independence Day, you should start taking flying lessons.

The hidden code that David finds turns out to be valid, and the ships attack simultaneously across the world. Millions of people die, but if you jump into a storage closet in a tunnel, you’ll be fine. That’s how Vivica A. Fox survived. She plays a stripper in the movie by the way.

So the world’s been half destroyed, and we have no idea how to stop them. Will Smith flies around and gets one to crash and then he punches it in the face and welcomes it to Earth. And then he and the alien body get a ride from Russell Casse and his family to Area 51. And the President is there, along with David and all the other people who haven’t died yet. The alien turns out not to be dead, and we find out that they want to take over the world and they want us to die. So we decide to nuke them. And it doesn’t work, and we don’t know what to do. And we seem pretty fucked.

Then David gets an idea. He’ll simply use his Apple laptop to upload a virus to the mother ship to disable all the other ships, while simultaneously the survivors across the world will launch a global attack on the alien ships. Will Smith and David fly to the mother ship, and the President and Russell Casse and all the other survivor pilots take to the skies in a desperate attempt to save mankind.

Not to spoil anything, but we won. We beat the aliens. And David takes up smoking. He probably stops recycling too.

This movie came out when I was ten years old. It was the movie of the summer. It was like my Star Wars. It was an event. And when we went back to school we shunned the ones who didn’t see it.

There are a lot of funny moments and lots of great one-liners. There are also some touching moments, like when the President has to tell his daughter that mama ain’t coming back. Some of the actors do a great job, like Judd Hirsch as Julius, David’s father. Some of the actors do a terrible job, like James Duval as Miguel Casse, Russell’s son. He looks like he went to the Keanu Reeves School of Wooden Acting. I think Bill Pullman’s speech with the bullhorn is one of the best fake president speeches of all time. Oh, and Vivica A. Fox plays a stripper.

Of course there are lots of plot holes (like where’s the Secret Service?) and poorly written characters, but the movie is exciting and fun and entertaining. I like being entertained, it’s fun. I think it’s weird how everyone laughs at Russell whenever he mentions being abducted by aliens ten years earlier. They know that aliens exist now. They should be apologizing for having doubted him.

Independence Day is a cool movie. It was the first time Will Smith saved the world. He does that every other summer now. This was back when it was still special. Seriously if you haven’t seen this movie you missed the ‘90s and I feel bad for you.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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