I seem to recall Cruise's character Maverick launched a million teenage crushes when Top Gun was made in 1986 with the clear remit of shoving as many cliches into a single movie - fast planes, powerful motorcycles, arrogant fighter pilots, high altitude tensions etc. In fact there are so many cliches in Top Gun that the movie becomes the source of many cliches. Ask yourself how many times you have seen a fighter pilot referred to as a "Top Gun Pilot?"
What a difference a quarter of a century makes. The motif of Tom Cruise that follows him circa 2012 is that of a vertically challenged control freak whose every utterance is from the mumbo jumbo book of the Church of Scientology.
And his love interest in Top Gun, Kelly McGillis is more likely to be cast in the role of someone's grandmother on Lifetime than as a love interest.
Still the Take my Breath Away soundtrack by Berlin and love scenes from Top Gun are still powerful in their own way a quarter of a century later even though the high power motorbike, testosterone driven fighter pilot stuff borders on the ridiculous. Still they twang at something inside me, the memory of those idealistic and anguished teenage years.
There's also a curious irony in that Top Gun's macho posturing has clear homosexual undertones according to some commentators. It makes me wonder if the writer was having the last laugh in spawning a million crushes in the hearts of teenage girls for pilots in bomber jackets whose only real love interest was for fellow pilots in bomber jackets.
When you see Quentin Tarantino's hilarious take on the issue you have to ask yourself the pertinent questions at the heart of an issue which will surely loom large in the marginal states during Tuesday's election. Those volley ball scenes and Tom in his tighty whities. What the heck do they have to do with the development of the movie's plot unless it's intended to be a gay flick?
Needless to say this never even occurred to me in 1986. Not many things did.