Like many of you, we miss going to the movies, and we also miss having new movies to think, write and argue about. But there is still a lot to say about a lot of the older movies out there, including some that not all of us have seen. Your Weekend Watch is a chance for us to crowd into the (virtual) theater together and then meet up afterward to enthuse, complain and (politely or not) talk about what we just saw. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at classics and curiosities, misunderstood masterpieces and movies we somehow missed.
First up: “Top Gun.”
Misunderstood masterpiece or jingoistic dreck? In spite of the fact that he shares the director’s name, A.O. Scott (you can call him Tony) has never seen it, which appalls Manohla Dargis (you can call her Mistress Manohla). Released in 1986 and starring Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer and some other guy, the movie is a prime specimen of its era’s high-concept entertainment, full of movie-star bravado and flyboy bluster.
Reviewing it in The New York Times, Walter Goodman declared that “‘Top Gun’ fires off as spectacular a show of state-of-the-art jet battle as the movies have given us.” It also put Tom Cruise’s career into orbit, spawning indelible pop-culture catchphrases.
Do we still feel the need, the need … for speed? How does the movie’s military machismo hold up after all these years? Does its vision of a peacetime fighting force instructed to “act as though we’re at war” resonate in an era of forever wars and our epidemiological equivalent of war? The sequel scheduled for release this summer may or may not have answered those questions, but in the meantime let’s turn and burn, baby.
The movie is available on several platforms (here’s a guide). After watching it, tell us what you think in the comments section below and be sure to do so by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Monday. We’ll return with our reactions to your comments on Tuesday.