great balls of CRAP

5/27/04

I would like to draw attention to something I believe is a benchmark of shittiness, a piece of entertainment so bad that it should have been exposed as culture-drubbing dreck long ago: of course, I’m talking about the movie “Top Gun.”

top-gun-poster02.jpg

“Top Gun” is where the ’80s began to get fucking awful; nothing entering 1986 survived intact, and that includes the Smiths. Chernobyl was bad in 1986, but I think the real cultural meltdown occurred on movie screens across America.

You’ve all seen it, so I don’t need to tell you the plot. However, some things need mentioning: the story of snotty-ass prick Tom Cruise becoming a man by breaking all the rules as a devil-may-care flyboy made me shudder with rage when I was 18 years old and supposed to be enjoying it. It’s sexist as hell, a script that has Kelly McGillis falling for Our Hero even though he is STUNNINGLY obtuse and rides a motorcycle.

When people talk about how hollow cheap the 1980s were, they’re really talking about “Top Gun.” People blame “Jaws” and “Star Wars” for the death of American movies, but “Top Gun” is the real reason. It celebrates cock, lauds a me-first machismo, and manages to be clumsily homoerotic without even being interesting. When they did that “I feel the need, the need for speed” line, I took the plastic spork out of my theater nachos and STUCK IT INTO MY BRAIN.

It also marked the nadir for two recording artists: say what you want about Kenny Loggins, but Loggins & Messina had some great songs in the ’70s, and “I’m Alright” from “Caddyshack” was awesome. “(Right Into) The Danger Zone,” however, is absolute bile. Also, Berlin – who previously gave us the moody, evocative “Sex (I’m A…)” and “Metro” absolutely destroyed their careers with “Take My Breath Away,” which is a fucking embarrassment.

Frankly, I was happy Goose (Anthony Edwards, with hair) gets killed, if only to relieve Tom Cruise – and, by extension, his long-suffering audience – from his turgid, onanistic self-involvement. I wanted Val Kilmer, only a year away from his brilliant “Real Genius,” to beat the shit out of him.

There, I’ve said it. Now I can sleep.

0 thoughts on “great balls of CRAP

  1. scvecc

    Now, hold on. One cannot disregard the effect the aestetics of volleyball scene had on millions of both pre-pubescent and “mature” females!

    Reply
  2. Tanya

    Ian Darling,
    What brought this on??
    Heh. For the record, I went to see Top Gun on my very first date – I was 15 and thought I was going to marry the guy. We broke up 2 months later. Ah, youth.

    Reply
  3. MoutonNoir

    Man, your expressive writing has me checking this blog every day. While there is nothing innately clever, standing alone, about the line: “When they did that “I feel the need, the need for speed” line, I took the plastic spork out of my theater nachos and STUCK IT INTO MY BRAIN”, the brilliant pace and timing prompted a Vesuvian coffee spew all over the keyboard. Merci, and bravo.

    Reply
  4. Bud

    Amen, brother.
    The present day reaches yet another new low with Jessica Simpson’s faithful, soulless, witless remake of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” It’s currently a top-twenty hit.
    Sure, 90% of everything is crap, but at least everyone recognizes and admits that “Porky’s” was a bad movie, no matter how much it may have titillated its hormonally-captive audience at the time. The thought that grown women still get juiced watching “Top Gun” just makes me sad.

    Reply
  5. Dexter

    Right On to that Ian, what spooge Top Gun is. I’m incredulous it is still being used as a benchmark sales tool to push 18 surround speaker systems and the “clarity” of compressed-all-to-hell-artifact-laden DVD’s
    “Oh, shit yeah! Top Gun rocks, what great picture and sound in the realistic flying scenes…
    Shit yeah! I’ll buy that $8K system, coz indeterminate low frequency rumbling is what it’s all about!”
    DANGER ZONE indeed

    Reply
  6. Rhonda

    I was 19, living in Southern CA for the summer and Top Gun was top of the charts – The volley ball scene was a good one, Meg Ryan “Take me to bed or lose me forever” was adorable – but it would have been good to see Val Kilmer beat the shit out of Tom… i’ve likely got the sound track to the movie somewhere – I recall some oldies but goodies on the soundtrack.

    Reply
  7. michelle

    Yeah, Christ, that movie was bad. The only redeeming quality was the spoof that Charlie Sheen did some time later… what was that movie called? Anyone?
    And Bud, Sean had me going too. And, I mean, I was there for the whole thing and didn’t for a second remember anyone named “Beth” freebasing out of a Pepsi-Free can.
    But I am duly impressed that you remember Maureen O’Malley’s full name.
    It wasn’t until I read the line, “And then I looked out the window and said, “I’m just not sure” that I knew he was 100% full of shit.

    Reply
  8. oliver

    I remember purposely avoiding that movie on the grounds that it was a jingoistic miltary recruitment commercial disguised as a movie. I was a good Berkeley boy–and I still haven’t seen it to this day. I also boycotted that Tom Cruise liquor ad “Cocktail” (c.1988, according to IMDB). Until “Magnolia,” just the thought of Tom Cruise made me cringe.

    Reply
  9. Sean

    One of my college professors actually wrote this “film”…along with other cinematic drivel such as:
    Legal Eagles
    Turner & Hooch
    Sister Act (the first one)
    Dick Tracy
    The Secret of My Success
    I think that’s all of them. Other than Secret of My Success, which I’ll admit to enjoying, a whole lotta crap. And the guy taught a FILM class of all things.

    Reply
  10. Just Andrew

    never saw it, no desire to.
    to my wife’s horror I’ve also never seen footloose or grease.
    we were talking tonight about our first R movie – I saw Stripes at a friend’s house on HBO (he actually wasn’t a friend, but had HBO, so I tolerated him) – my first R movie in a Theater was Spinal Tap – my mom drove and had to go up to the window to tell the ticket boy that I was allowed to go in.
    I stand by the notion that I was born with good taste.

    Reply
  11. CL

    My x-boyfriend had never seen Grease, on principle, so we watched it three years ago and he actually liked it. “It didn’t take itself too seriously” was his remark. So try it, Just Andrew – you may like it!

    Reply
  12. steph

    hi ian –
    entries like this one make me wish you went to my high school and sat at my table in the cafeteria. My cold cut-yellow mustard-white bread sandwich would have been so much more interesting with your opinion around to question what we didn’t question. Then maybe at Carolina I would have taken a Poly Sci class or two, so that I could truly say I have a liberal arts edcuation.
    I do challenge you to go a week without a “Fuck” in an entry. Though I know it feels good most of the time (and may be warranted for the president and his administration), it may feel better not to (and may not be warranted). God, I sound like my mother………..how’d that happen.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *