' ' Cinema Romantico: What Song Will They Sing Along to in Top Gun: Maverick?

Friday, April 01, 2022

What Song Will They Sing Along to in Top Gun: Maverick?

The latest trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick”, which was originally scheduled for release in 2019 before being pushed to 2020, at which point it was pushed again to 2021 for reasons you damn well know, before being pushed again to 2022 because even if Tom Cruise believed the movies were back when he went to see “Tenet” in a theater during a raging Pandemic he didn’t want to test out that idea on his own movie, man, and have the box office gods smite him. So, instead the studio has kept putting out “Top Gun: Maverick” trailers, trying to tide us over as the Thanksgiving meal, in a manner of speaking, gets pushed back to Friday, and then Saturday, and then Sunday, teasing new bits of information with each new two-minute spot, like the latest version dropped a couple days ago that revealed 1986 winner of the TOPGUN Trophy Tom Kazansky is now an Admiral and Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Iceman, holding down the same position as Husband E. Kimmel, what a time to be alive.

The rest of the trailer, well, I don’t know. I admit to being weirded out at how young all these pilots looked assembled around a pool table. “Did Cruise and Kilmer and Rossovich and Edwards look that young?” I honestly thought to myself. And then I thought, “Of course they did. Of course, they looked that young. They looked that young because I’m this old. I saw that movie at the Southridge 3 with my dad. The Southridge 3, for God’s sake!” That doesn’t mean anything to you, non-central Iowans, but trust me, we’re going back to the Radio Shack newspaper ad age. Cruise, meanwhile, seems to be doing this thing, as I tried to explain it in an emergency “Top Gun: Maverick” trailer text thread with Friends of the Blog Rory and Daryl, where he seems to be playing in the register of twenty-tens Tom Cruise, the twenty-tens “Mission: Impossible” Tom Cruise, rather than the 1980s Tom Cruise as Maverick imagining what Maverick would be like in the twenty-tens, if that makes any sense. (Except for maybe that “manage expectations” line where I detected a faint glimmer of Pete Mitchell in Cruise’s eyes.) 

What am I doing? I’m trying to aesthetically appraise a trailer? A trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick?” Who wants that? Besides, there is a more pressing question. We have seen glimpses in each trailer of all the young pilots gathered together and singing – you know, like Maverick and Goose singing The Righteous Brothers to Kelly McGillis in the original. I imagine they are singing The Righteous Brothers in the sequel, too, just as I imagine we will see another volleyball duel in the sand, because movies now have no imagination, they just bring what they already brung ya before. But still, it’s a fun exercise, to dream of a little soundtrack creativity and what the “Top Gun” sequel might sonically serve up.

“Top Gun” was released in the mid-80s and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” was released in the mid-60s which means our “Top Gun: Maverick” singalong would come from the 90s, which is proper, of course, evoking both our longing for the past and how the past becomes trendy again. This provides tantalizing possibilities like Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” (which you can just hear all these pilots poorly but sincerely belting out in unison), Sugar Ray’s “Fly” (a pun which also would allow for Goose’s Son to play the part of Super Cat), Wycleaf Jean’s “Gone till November” (strong singalong potential, if we’re not afraid to repurpose a romanticized ode to drug running for Naval Weapon Fighters School), and, of course, Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” [editor, plz change this one b4 publish]. 

I like Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply” if only because it sounds like the smooth sheen that afflicts all cinematography now and appears ready to afflict this cinematography too. But I also don’t know why we need to be so gender specific? This is 2019 (theoretically)! What if our “Top Gun: Maverick” singalong was Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In a Bottle” with all these dogfighters performing Xtina’s genie-ish dance moves as they belted it out? Hmmmmmm, perhaps. But ultimately I’m inclined to go with Aerosmith’s “Cryin.’” 

You can hear it in a raggedy a cappella, for one thing, but it also contains the kind of wistful longing (in a 90s, Steven Tyler sort of way) present in “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’” and contains a totally incidental yet no less apropos “take my breath away” lyric. Also, and this is crucial, you can hear that aggressive intro coming up on a jukebox, really making a person look up and around, then the downshift leaving space for a conversation, before ratcheting back up to the chorus which is when you can cut to the closing credits as each character is flashed up on the screen. Yup, “Cryin’” is the one, let’s see if we can get it to chart again in 2022. 

Additional Notes: Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire”, of course, which Goose plays on the piano in the original, was released in the 50s meaning we’d have to go back to the 80s to find the corollary for “Top Gun: Maverick.” So, why not go back to the moment of the movie’s release and select Van Halen’s “Why Can’t This Be Love?” It would work on the piano and then could segue right into Cruise and Jennifer Connelly taking the moonlit motorcycle ride. 

The era-appropriate “Lead Me On” by Teena Marie of the original, meanwhile, will become the era-appropriate “Señorita” by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes.

Lady Gaga’s “Boys Boys Boys” will take the place of Kenny Loggins’s “Playing With the Boys,” but that goes without saying. And as for Berlin’s all-important “Take My Breath Away”, hey, no need to sweat it. Rumor is, Gaga’s that one covered too. 

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