Top Gun: Maverick

Nearly everyone I know has seen Top Gun: Maverick already, or at least has plans to. Even the kids who didn’t see the original Top Gun are here for it. So I can’t waste too much time talking about how great of a movie experience it is – because you probably already know.

Predictable? Sure. But I wanted it to be. I wanted to cheer in the end, and I did.

Quick mentions on some stand out performers: Jennifer Connelly – her character lacked relevance, but good performance and wow, those eyes. My favorite of the assembled top fighter pilots is played by Monica Barbaro, callsign Phoenix. I love how they didn’t make a big deal of her being a woman.

Huge applause to Miles Teller, been loving on him since Whiplash and he freaking nails this role. And if I’m being totally honest, Tom Cruise has still got it – which is dang impressive.

When I was in high school, all of my friends and I saw Top Gun. We bought the soundtrack, we wore out the VHS tape, we suddenly loved beach volleyball and felt the need for speed. But it hit some of us different. I had a friend who was this this kind, intelligent (overachieving) football player who fell in love with Top Gun. He has said it was a big influence on him. He wanted to be a Naval Aviator. I remember I made him a model F-15 for his birthday (those things take forever). He performed a the scene from Top Gun at our Senior Assembly,”You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” with bomber jackets and all.

Long anecdote short – he went to Notre Dame undergrad before joining the service and becoming a naval aviator. Like literally landing on the boats kind of pilot. Just like he wanted. So amazing to watch someone manifest their future like this, and frankly it blows me away. He recently retired as commander of a base in Southern California AND he was able to meet Tom Cruise at the Top Gun Maverick premiere because they filmed on the base. How fun is that?

Sometimes a sequel hits that nostalgic note at the right time. It takes you back. It’s more than just a song or a catch phrase that we remember. We get the whole feeling again. That’s an experience that’s hard to achieve, and this elite team has done it.

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