' ' Cinema Romantico: What You Need to Know Before Seeing Top Gun: Maverick

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

What You Need to Know Before Seeing Top Gun: Maverick

In the run-up to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” there were not only myriad articles explaining the litany of references and easter eggs In “Doctor Strange 2” like the one proffered by The AV Club’s husk, but plenty of primers for what a viewer, perhaps a viewer who has not yet screened all 222 movies of the Marvel Multiverse, needed to know before seeing “Doctor Strange 2” lest having failed to see all previous 222 movies of the Marvel Multiverse left them in the dark about certain characters and plot points, as if movies are now just history tests rather than a set of moving images. But I’m not here to whine (again) about Marvel. No, all these pieces got me to thinking about the forthcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” and how so many youths all set to see it (or testily see it against their will, noisily condemning its Reagan-era politics which they, of course, are the first ones to have ever noticed), might need a preparatory post on specific characters and terms from the original “Top Gun” lest they be left their scratching their heads. Fear not, the blog’s got your back. Here’s a handy pre-viewing reference guide. 

What You Need to Know Before Seeing Top Gun: Maverick

Call Sign: a unique military identifier.

Maverick: call sign of our main character to symbolically denote his Naval nonconformity. 

Mailman: father of Maverick, tragically killed in a case of hunting mistaken identity.

Slider: a very small hamburger. 

Goose: Maverick’s best friend who exists to tragically die to help Maverick summit the emotional mountain. 

Carol Bradshaw: Goose’s wife, played by Meg Ryan in the original, who will not be in “Top Gun: Maverick” because she’s 60 years old and as such past the Hollywood Blockbuster Age Cutoff Line.

Penny Benjamin: the woman in the white dress with the white parasol of the original who now needs to exist as an actual character on the screen because present-day society is firmly incapable of letting the mystery be. 

Flying a Cargo Plane Full of Rubber Dog Shit Outta Hong Kong: a synonym for Worst.

I’m Not Leaving My Wingman: John 3:16 of the BroBible. 

Ray-Bans®: that shining city on a hill was so bright you had to wear shades. 

Budweiser: King of Beers.

The Edge: where you need to be. 

Danger Zone: where Kenny Loggins lives.

Kenny Loggins: a “harmless case study in contemporary pop” to quote the Dean of Rock Critics Robert Christgau.

Jukebox: a coin-operated automated-music playing device.

Buzz the Tower: Ickey Shuffle of Naval Fighter Weapons School.

The Bird: international greeting custom. 

Target Rich Environment: social safety net. 

Music Video: videotaped performance of a song, a staple of 80s MTV, and principal aesthetic of Top Gun. 

Beach Volleyball: now an Olympic sport, then a form of male ritual bonding.

Quentin Tarantino’s Top Gun Theory: early example of the Klosterman-ization of pop culture.

Hard Deck: a metaphysical plane suggesting none of us are really grounded to anything at all. 

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