Call it forgetfulness, or dereliction of duty or even just bad parenting, but my wife and I realized that we had deprived our children of an important part of being an American — “Top Gun.”
I’ve made sure my children are all well versed in Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman, but one piece of the pop culture lexicon I had neglected was “Top Gun.” The Reagan era ode to fighter jets and the men who fly them gave Tom Cruise the star power he needed to become an absolute weirdo while still being a box office draw and never aging beyond 33 years old.
Kelly McGillis on the other hand didn’t fare so well …
It had been years, so I had forgotten what the world was like when “Top Gun” came out.
So here are the things I learned from my recent re-watch —
• Back in the 1980s, they didn’t have computers, so they flew real jets to make movies. The result was footage that even my son said was, “pretty cool.”
• When encountering Soviet Union fighter jets, the best thing to do is fly upside down, within six inches of them and flip them off. This will cause no problems or ramifications. Also, all Navy aviators are equipped with Polaroid cameras.
• Apparently, the high school principal from “Back to the Future” had a second career as captain of an aircraft carrier.
• All you have to do is start singing that first verse of “You’ve Lost the Loving Feeling” and everyone in the bar will stop what they are doing and join in as long as you are trying to pick up a girl.
• When you break the rules of an elite flight training school while piloting a $30 million airplane, you may have to listen to someone else get yelled at. However, other than listening to the yelling, your consequences will be nonexistent.
• Young, hot dudes in shirtless, oiled up volleyball scenes captivate approximately 50 percent of the viewing audience.
• If you throw out enough confusing technical jargon, the audience won’t know the difference. However, when asked what it means to “perform a split S,” Dads everywhere will pretend to know and quote a line from earlier in the film, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
• Due to a design flaw they hadn’t figured out by 1986, jaunty rock songs automatically play anytime a Navy aircraft is in the air. If the songs stop, the airplane is in trouble.
• A film made in the 1980s with a PG rating can still have a sex scene suggestive enough to make you blush if your children/parents are in the room.
• In the 1980s were two types of songs — ballads like “Take My Breath Away,” and rockers like “Danger Zone.” If “Take My Breath Away” is playing, someone on screen is going to start kissing. If “Danger Zone” is playing, something exciting is happening.
• When your best friend dies, you should stand around in your underwear while the commanding officer gives you an inspirational pep talk. The core message of the pep talk will be, “don’t be a wuss, get over it.”
• An investigation into a plane crash and the resulting military tribunal can be resolved in an afternoon.
• Shooting down Soviet airplanes during the height of the Cold War won’t escalate tensions between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Instead, the only result is the person who shot down the most Russians will get a promotion.
• All you have to do to win over the guy who hates your guts is to literally save his life. Once you do that, he will begrudgingly acknowledge that you are not so bad after all.
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