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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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Jerry Maguire

When Tom Cruise isn’t making a fool of himself in interviews he makes movies. A few years back Tom Cruise starred as Jerry Maguire in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. It’s the best movie about a sports agent of all time, hands down. Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renée Zellweger turn in supporting roles, and little Jonathon Lipnicki taught the world that the human head weighs eight pounds.

Jerry Maguire is a successful sports agent who feels that the business is getting out of hand. He writes a memo about how honesty and personal relationships are more important than money. His bosses think that money is important and Jerry gets fired.

Jerry decides to start his own sports agency. His only employee is Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger), a single mother who is inspired by Jerry’s memo. Jerry’s main investment is in Frank Cushman, the potential NFL #1 Draft Pick. His only other client is Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. On the night of the draft, Jerry finds out that his rival now represents Cushman, and Jerry is fucked.

Jerry hits a bit of a rut, breaks up with his fiancée and turns to Dorothy for comfort. He starts a relationship with her, but it’s complicated because she loves him, he doesn’t know if he loves her back, and she’s got a cute little kid that Jerry starts to love like a son.

Jerry invests all his time into helping Rod get a big contract. The two of them form a friendship, with Rod giving Jerry advice on marriage and love, and Jerry giving Rod advice on how to become a superstar.

By the end of the movie, Jerry is a happy and content family man. Rod gets his big contract. And you, the viewer, are happy for everyone.

Tom Cruise does a great job as Jerry Maguire. He’s a complex character; he’s incomplete but acts whole. He has good intentions but can’t always act on them. Cuba Gooding, Jr. elevates the film. Every scene with him interacting with Jerry is memorable. I have a feeling that Terrell Owens spent his career trying to be Rod Tidwell. Cuba won the Oscar for his performance and he celebrated by never making a decent movie again.

This was Renée Zellweger’s breakout role. And she actually looks good. In a lot of her movies she looks weird. She’s pretty, but she’s not Hollywood pretty. Jonathan Lipnicki plays Ray, Dorothy’s son. He’s a little scene-stealer. I want to punch him in the face though. Just to see what would happen.

Kelly Preston has a small role as Jerry’s fiancé. It’s a little bit of a stretch to pretend like she’s attracted to a homosexual scientologist, but she was able to pull it off. That’s acting (This is a very clever joke, because in real life she’s married to John Travolta, a scientologist who many believe to be a homosexual).

This movie came out in 1996 and people are still yelling, “Show me the money!” Shut the fuck up. This movie had a bunch of corny lines that people are still quoting: “You complete me” and “You had me at hello” are among the worst offenders. It’s a sign of a good movie when people constantly quote it.

Jerry Maguire is a good movie. It might be Tom Cruise’s best film. I don’t like Tom Cruise, so that’s a big compliment. There’s no denying that he’s a movie star. Jonathon Lipnicki might have been the cutest kid on the planet for a few short years. I still want to punch him in the face. This is a good movie, there’s sports for the guys and a love story for the girls, everyone wins.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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