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” 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.