Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sawed Off Hot Shot Gun

I was flipping through the television channels yesterday and Top Gun was just starting. Normally, I would not take the time to watch a Tom Cruise movie. I really cannot bear most of the roles he plays with his smarmy, cocky, smirk--the little wiseass. He's always strutting around like a bantam rooster with a concrete block between his legs, and those kung fu arm thrusts make you want to give him a hard smack and send him flying. "Take off on this you little twerp." :::thwap::: I knew there would be plenty of Cruise mannerisms in Top Gun, but...I had to see the jets.

I know I run contradictory to every clich├ęd belief about my gender and chick flicks in that I will drop everything for a movie with submarines or jets in it. I blame this on my older brother. My parents would leave us at a movie complex with the instructions for my brother to "stay with her and don't let her out of your sight." He'd be nodding back responsibly at my mother (why on earth did she trust him?), knowing full well we weren't going to be seeing the latest Disney cartoon epic, but rather hauling me over into another theatre where some war movie would be playing. It was the same with the television at home. Sure, we would watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, but I was also held captive with my brother at the helm, and I'd have to sit through classics like Porkchop Hill, Bridge on the River Kwai, Kelley's Heroes (which I can just about quote verbatim), "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?" The Dirty Dozen (ditto), Patton, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book!", and so many others.

Even though I own a DVD copy of The Hunt Fo
r Red October, my brother will always call me when it is on t.v., and even before I check caller i.d., I know it's him telling me to turn it on. If the telephone rings as the film is beginning, I won't answer with "Hello?" I pick up and say, "I've already got it on." My friends know my passion for Red October, and their big tease is in saying to me, "Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only." Just recently, I accused my brother of warping my young mind, and I wanted to know why I didn't get to view all of those Disney films that my parents intended for me to see. He paused, then said, "Well. We saw good movies, didn't we?" I can't fault him on that score, but by the time I was eight, he had brainwashed me into conformation, more thoroughly than Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate. Ice Station Zebra, The Night of the Generals, and The Longest Day were my water torture. You'll never find me mooning with nostalgia over The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. Give me Run Silent, Run Deep, K-19: The Widowmaker, and Das Boot.

Watching Top Gun, I actually enjoyed the cheesy '80's music score, and it was nice to see shots of the flight training school, then in Miramar, California, just above San Diego. In 1996, after the film was made, the Naval Air Station in Miramar shifted to it's new base of operation at the Fallon Naval Air Station about 60 miles from Reno in Nevada.

I grasp that Tom Cruise (as his character, "Maverick") is playing a loose cannon, hot shot fighter pilot, but he kept falling back into those little Cruise controlled mannerisms of his, and it really annoyed me. I was far more taken with the acting of Val Kilmer, a classmate, and the instructors played by Michael Ironstone and Tom Skerritt: skilled, level-headed, masterful and part of a team. The truth is, you wouldn't want to go into battle with some wild card like Maverick, no matter how good of a pilot he was. Can you imagine going into an aerial dog fight, and your military leadership saying to you, "...but he's a star. You have to make allowances for him. And, oh yeah. When you're in the air? Don't look him in the eyes." Tom Cruise has it written into his movie contracts that film crews aren't allowed to make eye contact with him during the shooting of a movie. That shouldn't be hard to follow since he is such a dwarf. I got my jollies watching Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan stooping to play their scenes with him, and Anthony Edwards towered over him. I'm surprised there wasn't a clause in his contract that there would be no filming from the waist down, and that all of his co-stars had to stand in a lowered furrow. Call it "cinema trench warfare."

There is some interesting trivia attached to Top Gun:

The aircraft used are not MiG 28's, but disguised F-5 Tiger II's. MiG 28's are ficitional aircraft.

Charlie's "older man" date at the Oak Club was actually a teacher at Top Gun who was a consultant on the film. Also, in real life, it's not the Oak Club, but rather the "O" Club, short for Officer's Club.

The director, Tony Scott, had to write a quick check for $25,000 to the Commander of the aircraft carrier in order to capture one vital exterior shot.

Which reminds me. If a movie has an aircraft
carrier in it? I am so there. My brother has me well trained.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cruise-controlled mannerisms". I love that. L.Ron Hubbard-controlled life, I think.


11:02 AM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

I was in San Diego for a visit with my family, and while we were gazing over an elevated lookout point at Coronado Island, we saw a submarine coming into port. I just about jizzed. I watched it for the next half hour.

I can do the same at Gravelly Point, watching the planes land or take off from National. There's just something about complex machinery that mesmerizes me.

Boys - am I being a whiny bitch? Put me in a car and drive me to Gravelly Point. Problem solved.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

We are in accord, Cookie. I love Gravelly Point. I wrote a piece about it in my other blog, which I'm going to have to retrieve and enter on this one. A former coworker and I used to sneak over there during work hours, when things got super stressed, and we'd lay out in the grass at the end of the longest runway and watch the planes coming in over our heads, so close down you could count the rivets on the bottom of the plane.

Men? Take note. Girls love complex machinery.

12:06 PM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

Metal under tension, listen to her howl and groan.

Thanks alot, Cube. That's going to be stuck in my head for a month, now.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Do you realize how sexy it is to hear "metal under tension...listen to her howl and groan"? Men should add that to their pick-up lines. :) Problem is...how would they ever work it into the conversation?

12:37 PM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

"So, do you love Kenny Loggins as much as I do?"

By the way - - you made the Washington Post Express today :-) Page 29. (Warning: PDF.)

12:52 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I did???? Gosh a rooni.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Wrethcat said...

I am so a Val Kilmer woman in this movie. It is all about 'Iceman' with me.


10:01 PM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

I dunno - I sorta liked Goose. Goofy and lovey.

2:48 PM  

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