Miles Montgomery Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
I have a confession to make. Top Gun is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have posted this confession on a blog, which means I will probably never be able to take it back, and still, I am completely unapologetic.
The craziest part is that I am a true movie buff and not of mediocre movies, but of those that clean up at awards season or at least should. Pre-pandemic, on average, I would see 75 movies a year in the theater. Going to the movies, with friends or alone, was one of my favorite things to do.
So you might be asking why someone who considers herself to be a cognoscente of well-made movies would admit to being a mega-fan of Top Gun (which by the way, only got 54% on the Tomato-meter, but in its defense, a respectable 83% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes)? Read on.
First, there is the timing. Top Gun was released in my senior year of college and not just my senior year, but graduation week (May 1987). That's a great time in life, by anyone's standards. So there is a lot of nostalgia surrounding my first experience of seeing it. I saw it in Northampton, Massachusetts, at a local arthouse theatre with a group of friends from Smith College. I can still remember walking back to campus from the theatre on a warm May night, all us aglow (or at least I was).
Putting personal nostalgia aside, if that's possible, I still think Top Gun holds up on its own merits. To start, how can you not be swept up by a bunch of hunky military guys in aviator glasses, donning naval fighter pilot uniforms (both naval whites and flight suits)? It's impossible. Of course, I fell for Maverick (Tom Cruise), but bad boy Iceman (Val Kilmer) was a close second. The sizzling romance between Maverick and Charlotte (cosign "Charlie" ) Blackwood, his instructor, was pretty steamy too. I love all the adrenaline (and testosterone) filled flying sequences too. And what about the sweaty, shirtless, beach volleyball scenes? Come on, does it get any better? The music is great too. I even love all the cheesy lines, which I have committed to memory. When I am 100 and watching it for the umpteenth time, I will still know every line by heart, which undoubtedly will impress my fellow centurions greatly. I couldn't forget those lines if I tried. "Son, your ego is writing checks that your body can't cash." or " "I feel the need...the need for speed!"
So what got me thinking of Top Gun, you might ask? Miles' bomber jacket, of course! Given to Garin by Joan when Garin was just 4, it was passed down from him to Graham and now to Miles. Passing down clothes is one of my favorite aspects of having three boys. I love seeing each of them wear clothes that were worn previously by their elder siblings. Each looks so different in the same shirt, jacket, or hat. Whatever the article of clothing is, it takes on its own character, depending on who is wearing it.
In the case of this bomber jacket, I don't mean to play favorites, but I think Miles wears it best. I think it's his thick, dark hair that pushes him into the number one spot. He's really got that Top Gun, Maverick thing going on when he dons that pint-sized bomber jacket. And when I look at him wearing it, I think I may have lost that loving feeling (watch the movie if that line went over your head).
Top Gun: Maverick, the reboot of the original Top Gun, is slated to open in theaters July 4th weekend, 2021 (pushed forward from 2020 due to COVID, sadly). God-willing we have all been vaccinated by then, Coranivirus is in the rearview mirror, and movie theaters still exist, I will be the first in line to see it. I wouldn't' miss it for the world. Just watching the trailer tonight as I prepared to write this blog suddenly gave me a new lease on life and something to look forward to.
Perhaps if there is ever a Top Gun 3 and Tom Cruise decides he has finally aged out of the role of Maverick, he can pass the baton to the logical choice, Miles. The transition would be seamless. I am convinced of it.