Top Gun

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Like Quentin Tarantino says in Sleep With Me, Top Gun is a gay film. How gay? Put it this way, it's gayer than an oiled wrestler doing the worm in a bed of pink feathers with chocolate sauce smeared across his tanned buttocks. We're talking super gay.

One of the few enjoyable things about watching this horrendous film is listening to the dialogue and laughing at the double entendres. Virtually every line contains some sort of gayness. Just take the classic "He's on our tail, coming hard". Speaks for itself, doesn't it? But then there's, "Just stay on my wing and I'll take you all the way in". Ostensibly this line is about Maverick helping a rattled comrade land his plane, but really it's about Maverick helping a colleague make a different kind of landing – one that's just as delicate.

However, other lines aren't so subtle. One of Maverick's commanding officers (Strickland out of Back to the Future) says, "I want to bust your butt, but I can't." Obviously this individual is suffering from some sort of erectile dysfunction. But another officer doesn't suffer from this affliction because at one point the said individual roars, "I want some butts!" He says it loud and proud.

But then there are the simmering tensions between the pilots. They obviously all fancy one another. I mean, one pilot even confesses to his colleague that all this flying jazz gives him a hard-on. But rather than quietly moving away or laughing a polite laugh, the other bloke tells his pal not to tease him. You just know that as soon as they had some privacy they had their hands all over their joysticks.

But this is nothing compared to the unspoken longing between Iceman and Maverick. They start off by giving each other flirty glances and by exchanging catty comments (Iceman is such a bitch!), but soon they're talking about their privates and arguing while wearing nothing but towels. The obvious outlet, at best, would be sweet, hot sex, but since they're still struggling with their feelings – Maverick is loyal to the end to Goose (his wingman) – they engage in a game of volleyball. Needless to say there are ripped torsos aplenty and everywhere you look there are high fives and slapped bums. But on top of that you have Slider flexing his muscles to a song that's called 'Playing With The Boys'. I'm sure many confused young men (and quite a few that aren't confused) have worn out their old VHS copies of this film by endlessly rewinding and pausing that scene.

But this volleyball scene has other implications. Because of his homoerotic posturing on the beach, Maverick misses a date with Kelly McGillis (who actually plays a character who calls herself 'Charlie' – I bet Maverick would rather choke on Iceman's joystick than call her Charlotte). But it's unclear whether he genuinely has feelings for her. He seems sort of interested, curious even, but he leaves before they can have sex. And like Tarantino says in Sleep With Me, how does she get him interested again? By dressing up like a man. After that she finally becomes Maverick's beard. And they even have sex. But Maverick can't even have straight sex in a heterosexual manner. Rather than cock his missile and fire some bombs, he probes his target tenderly while curtains billow and 'Take My Breathe Away' plays. He's yearning for the boys.

And the music is another clue. Not only do you have 'Playing With the Boys' and 'Take My Breathe Away', but you have 'Danger Zone', a song that features the lyric 'Take you right into the danger zone'. On the surface the song is talking about the risks that are taken by jet pilots, but it's really an ode to anal sex.

And Maverick's true feelings are revealed further when Goose dies. He reacts like he's lost a lover. He even quits his job. But when McGillis tracks him down, she's disgusted at what he's become – a man that has finally lost that cocky smirk. Personally, I don't know what her problem is. Before the accident, Maverick is unbearably smug – the 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' scene is probably the most odious thing in cinema – but afterwards he's close to being something like a human being.

But alas the death of Goose has no emotional impact. It's just a cynical way of giving a very thin film a third act. After all, rampant gayness aside, the movie has no content. Maverick goes to Top Gun, meets a woman who resists him for about two seconds, and battles with a gay colleague in some nicely filmed but very uninvolving flying scenes. There's nothing to the film. It's as shallow as it gets.

And the final action scene is pure desperation. The filmmakers finally cotton on that in the absence of a well-written film with three-dimensional characters what we want to see are planes being blown to bits. And yeah a few planes get blown up and it's well filmed, but unfortunately the wrong people die. I wanted the Russians to win. And I wanted them to win for the same reason that I wanted the Japanese to win in Pearl Harbor. In both films the Americans are portrayed as oversexed jackasses that can barely utter a single sentence without hooting and hollering. They're obnoxious. The Russians, though, are completely professional. They don't talk; they just fly. Obviously this is meant to make them seem sub-human (and the black visors are meant to make them look evil), but give me a malevolent atheist who can fly his penis extension with skill and composure over a loud-mouthed, flag waving, god fearing, freedom loving, sexually confused American any day of the week.

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