In TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) lives a life of military obscurity. But when an upcoming special mission requires his unique knowledge, Maverick is called back to TOPGUN as a teacher and mentor to the next generation of pilots. As the past meets the present, Maverick must overcome his deepest fears and pain while training these youthful rookies what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice. This week, Richard Crouse (host of CTV’s #PopLife) and Dave Voigt (In The Seats) step into the danger zone to talk about the magic of Tom Cruise, legacy sequels, and the inevitability of age.
Honestly, I have no idea how he does it.
Thirty years after Top Gun made Tom Cruise a household name, the character has been revived for one more mission. It may seem impossible, but somehow, Top Gun: Maverick is not only as good as the original film, it’s actually better.
In Top Gun: Maverick, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Cruise) lives a life of military obscurity. Still holding the rank of captain after more than thirty years in the service, Maverick spends his days as a test pilot as he still feels that need for speed. But when an upcoming special mission requires his unique knowledge, Maverick is called back to TOPGUN as a teacher and mentor to the next generation of pilots. It’s here that he encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s late co-pilot Lt. Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw. As the past meets the present, Maverick must overcome his deepest fears and pain while training these youthful rookies what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice.
After 40 years in the business, Tom Cruise seems to be an ageless wonder. Even in his mid-50s, the man maintains a boyish enthusiasm that truly makes you believe that he can do anything. In fact, he may even be the last of a dying breed of movie star. Known for the death-defying risks that he’s willing to take, the actor has continued to set the standard for action films.
But, of course, one has to wonder how long he can keep this up? While Cruise has given no indication of slowing down, no man lives forever. Eventually, age catches up with us all, right? Maverick acknowledges this certainty but still wants us to know that he’s going to make the use of every onscreen moment. For instance, there’s a moment early on in the film where Maverick faces off with a superior officer about his antics. “The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.” he growls. Turning back to the camera, Cruise glares with self-awareness and retorts, “Maybe so, sir. But not today.”
For both Maverick and Cruise, the mission isn’t over… not yet…
Simply put, Top Gun: Maverick has some of the most stunning aerial effects ever put on screen. Featuring unbelievable stunts and gravity-defying maneuvers, Maverick makes the viewer’s jaw drop from start to finish. This is not a film which attempts to trick the viewer into believing some CGI trickery. Instead, Cruise demanded that these stunts be authentic and amazing. (In fact, rumours persist that the film even shut down production for several months due to Cruise’s dissatisfaction with the film’s direction and his insistence that the cast be trained in the F-18s.)
He understood the assignment. This film needed to take your breath away.
In terms of the story, the film manages to find a balance between honouring the legacy of the original while continuing to move the story forward. Quite simply, this film is a throwback film with a modern edge. One of the great challenges of course is the film’s tone. Released in 1985, the original Top Gun is considered a classic but definitely feels as though it’s from another era. For instance, glistening volleyball games and a pre-dominantly white male cast would not be seen as modern takes on heroism. However, Maverick successfully maintains the action and sentimentality of the original while having a better sense of gender and racial inclusion. (Although, it’s worth noting that somehow the film also manages to substitute beach football for volleyball… and it works.)
At its heart, Maverick is a film about letting go and moving forward. Still haunted by Goose’s death, Maverick carries the events of his past like an open wound. He wants to move one but he simply has no idea how as he feels that more penance still must be endured for his role in what happened over thirty years ago. As a result, Maverick is determined to prevent the sorts of dangerous behaviour that defined his career from ruining the lives of the next generation. (This even includes his apprehension about allowing Goose’s son to step into the danger zone on his own.)
Even so, Maverick also recognizes that good character and a humble heart may be able to restore the relationships that have been broken by the past. Although he still has the rebelliousness of heart, there’s a humility to this version Maverick that he has gained with experience. Older and wiser, this old dog still has some new tricks that he wants to teach… so long as the next generation are willing to listen.
So yes, Top Gun: Maverick is worth the price of admission. See it with friends on the biggest screen that you can and simply enjoy the moment. And, somehow, Cruise remains in a league of his own. There will become come a time when we he will not be able to offer us films of this nature. Age is simply something that even Tom Cruise cannot out run. But, in the case of Top Gun: Maverick, we still have something special to see.
So, while there will be a moment where Cruise must hang up his stunt gear, thankfully that time is not today.
Top Gun: Maverick is available in theatres on Friday, May 27th, 2022.
We’re feeling the need… to give tickets away!
Top Gun: Maverick will take your breath away… and we want to send you and a guest to see it before it’s released in theatres! Thanks to our friends at TARO PR, we’re giving away double passes to see Top Gun: Maverick in Toronto, Montreal (French and English), Edmonton, and Vancouver on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022!
Saturday, May 24th, 2022
Toronto – 7:00pm @ Cineplex Cinemas Yonge & Dundas
Vancouver – 7:00pm @ Scotiabank Theatre Vancouver
Montreal ENG – 7:00pm @ Cineplex Cinemas Forum IMAX
Montreal FRE – 7:00pm @ Cinémas Guzzo Méga-Plex Marché Central IMAX
Edmonton – 7:00pm @ Scotiabank Theatre Edmonton
Top Gun: Maverick takes place more than thirty years after the original film. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of TOP GUN graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”
In order to enter, simply tell us your city, like/share this post on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram and tell us the name of Tom Cruise’s character!
Winners will receive a double pass to the pre-screening of Top Gun: Maverick on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022
All entries must be received by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 22nd, 2022.
Hey SF’ers! Trying something new so here goes:
- Marshall w/Chadwick Boseman & Josh Gad: They say that the opposite of the White Savior trope in film is the Magical Negro trope. Marshall clearly went full Magical Negro with Josh Gad’s character being the only lawyer allowed to try the case the film centers on. A more compelling movie would have been watching Marshall defy the sea of racist White venom and beat a case against the odds. Way too much focus on the Josh Gad subplot to me.
- BOO 2 was BAD, even by Madea/Tyler Perry standards. 20 minutes into it, I was half watching and half looking at my phone. (Calm down movie theatre police – I was at a drive-in!) No faith-filled or redeeming messages. Honestly…the thing felt like a lame live action episode of Scooby Doo. By the way, the audio overdubs that were supposed to drown out the cursing in this flick were HORRIBLE! All those hecks, darns and friggins tells me that the uncut unedited version would have gotten a hard R. I say to TP, don’t screw around with it next time. Let those F-bombs fly and let the church folks go up in arms! Most of the ones who’d protest are avid Scandal watchers anyway where Cursing: Bad and Adultery: Good.
- Shame Only The Brave didn’t find an audience. Very good telling of the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots with themes of brotherhood, sacrifice – both at home and in the fire path – and redemption. No Oscar prospects but this’ll find it’s proper audience in Redbox and streaming platforms.
- Glad to have celebrated my 45th bday on Saturday. I look and feel 35! But I’m thankful to God for my wife and kids, my ScreenFish family for enduring me & my love for movies!
Well, that’s it. Hopefully y’all will enjoy this. If so, there will be more to come! ✌🏿
This isn’t about being pro-war. The war is happening. This is about being pro-money.–Efraim
In his latest film, The Hangover trilogy director Todd Philips dramatizes the unlikely rise of Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) and David Packouz (Miles Teller), who found loopholes in the military’s use of privately-owned weapons to build a gun-running empire. As international arms dealers, the two high school friends are highly successful financially, but the ethical (or unethical) decisions they make, and the secrets they keep, threaten to undo them.
Packouz longs to be successful after failing at his various career attempts, and feels pressure when his girlfriend, Iz (Ana de Armas), ends up pregnant. When his slick friend rolls back into town, he ends up being sucked into the casual violence Diveroli inhabits regularly. They deceive Iz, who is specifically anti-war, and make deals with the U.S. government that make them richer, Still, their plans are complicated when a deal is jammed up by new legislature. Flying to the Middle East, the two end up delivering the guns on their own, leading them deeper and deeper into the arms race. When they end up teaming with legendary dealer Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper), their company’s downward spiral begins.
When does telling the truth ever help anybody? — Efraim
In this Warner Bros.’ release, the ‘based-on-a-true-story’ film gets a few special features on the home media Blu-ray/DVD, with Phillips’ “General Phillips: Boots on the Ground”, “War Dogs: Access Granted,” and “Pentagon Pie.” Fans of the film may find these helpful in seeing how the film came together, and may consider doing a bit of research on their own in breaking down how the strange story came to be – and how Hollywood made it even wilder.
Whether you approve of the Hollywood ‘take’ on the film or not, it’s clear that dishonesty catches up with our two antiheroes. It’s also abundantly clear that Diveroli’s influence leads Packouz down a dark and dangerous path (he does cameo in the elderly home concert scene). While the cover might make one think of Scarface, it may be more appropriate to consider this The Devil’s Advocate. Where we focus our time and attention tends to lead us – even when we say our heartfelt conviction believes otherwise.
“My childhood room is filled with trophies like these but I haven’t won a thing in my life!”–Charlie (Nicholas Braun)
Boasting a lineup that includes Bryan Cranston, Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Cho, and John C. McGinley, Get a Job must be a rocking good time, right? Director Dylan Kidd’s film can be summed up in Cranston’s father figure tirade halfway through the film: “You are spoiled brat!” from one perspective. I think I may have seen another though: the genius in the script is how dead-on it is in describing the current job market – and the generation applying for available jobs with irony and wit.
Will (Teller) and his roommates (including Brandon T. Jackson), his girlfriend (Kendrick), and his father (Cranston) are all searching for jobs. One of the roommates ends up in sales and one of them ends up teaching (and coaching). But Will’s path… is ironic and ridiculous, as he fails to fit into the mold that the job market desires and yet, his skills are desired.
Some of the moments are funny – and insightful. Ethan’s (Mintz-Plasse) app that lets the unwanted dating partners find out where their desired partners are … yes, it’s a stalk app. As Will tries to get a job, he realizes he needs clean urine to pass a drug test, so he goes to his dad, who can’t get service from the same company; Will then can’t lay off of his cell phone to focus on the actual interview. When Will needs some extra juice to get his work done, he’s hooked up with some meds by Fernando (Jorge Garcia), not the other Fernando, who is a VP where Will is trying to get a job. Who dreams this stuff up?
In the end, it’s an ironic/non-ironic look at the highs and lows of the job market with critical insights into the ridiculous way that generational issues separate people from the jobs they want to get. There’s a desperation there that anyone who has searched for the job of the dreams can understand, a quiet desperation born of panic, loss, and desire all blended together. It’s brutally uncomfortable to see play out on screen at times, and actually funny, too. But it serves as a grim reminder that unconventional thinking is one thing, and sheer laziness is completely another.
And there might be a thing or two about gaining the whole world… but forgetting your soul.
“I’m 22 yearsold and I have no idea what to do with my life. And I’m okay with that.”
Fresh out of college and full of dreams, a group of young adults face the daunting task of finding work in Get a Job. Will (Miles Teller) and Jillian (Anna Kendrick) are ready to get on with life, except Will doesn’t have a job yet—in fact, he’s not really sure what he should be doing. He’s got a roommate who is trying to develop a cell phone app to get rich, another who is trying to parlay his business degree into a place at a stock trading firm, and one who is going to teach chemistry to middle schoolers. They spend most of their time, however, sitting around doing video games and getting high. When Will’s father (Bryan Cranston) loses his job of thirty years, he too is looking for work. When Will does find a job, it is less than satisfying—it may even be the kind of job that might ask him to sell his soul, especially under the influence of his wicked boss (Marcia Gay Harden).
It’s not so much a story of looking for work as it is a story that seeks to consider what makes work valuable in our lives. That ties it into the way our culture has adopted the Protestant work ethic. I find it interesting the way this slacker comedy is really an affirmation of that work ethic, although from a very modern perspective. Will and his father have a different understanding of work and different approaches to their job search, but at a basic level, they both are looking for something that will give their lives meaning. The very act of working and being productive is enough for Will’s father. Will (and his cohort) are still searching for meaning and each, in his or her own way, stumbles into finding value in the work they find.
A key foil in the film is the idea that many of the generation portrayed in the film experienced: the idea that feeling special comes from even the most modest achievement. Should everyone get a trophy for being in sports, or does it lose its value if it is not earned? That is the kind of question that the Protestant work ethic deals with by placing work into the fabric of life’s meaning. (It should be noted that while, as the name suggests, the Protestant work ethic has a religious component and background, it is so incorporated into our culture that it can be considered a secular phenomenon as well.) As the characters in this film discover as they search formeaning for their lives, a key element of happiness is finding your mission and living it out. In a comedy such as this, however, that mission may be a bit vulgar and crude—but a mission all the same.
Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Premiere