My first inclination was to have this week's Vault Pick be "Purple Rain" since it was Prince's birthday yesterday and all. Then I did a little research and found that I already covered that selection here. It's just as well though. No need for a Prince overload even if he is the greatest solo artist still living. Especially since the guy is Jehovah Witness which means he doesn't even celebrate his own birthday. Instead, I came across something last night that gave me another idea for this week's choice.
It was the 2010 MTV Movie Awards which is always known for going as off the wall as possible. That's why I wasn't surprised when they had a guest appearance from Les Grossman as the so-called executive producer of the show. Who is Les Grossman, you ask? Do you really need to?! He was one of the best characters from the classic flick "Tropic Thunder". It was Tom Cruise as we have never seen him before and it paid off handsomely. He created one of new favorite Cruise characters of all-time.
I mentioned it on Facebook and someone else asked how I could leave out his character in "Risky Business". Truthfully, as good as that movie was, it is not even in my top 5 Cruise movies of all-time. He just had too many other great ones that would push that down the list. That's when "Top Gun" came to mind. That's also when I was reminded that as much as I love that flick and as much as I have referenced it, it has never gotten Vault Pick honors. That ends now.
The first time I saw "Top Gun" was with Dad. He has had an infatuation with jets for as long as I can remember. So much so that he had logged several hours in the simulator at the Iowa Air National Guard at one point. He even had his name on one of the A-7s when he worked the flight line. So when Cruise's latest film was released, he talked me into going with him to see it. Not that it took much persuasion because the trailers already made it look interesting.
Seeing the film with Dad was another chance for him to persuade me to fly jets. Who would have known later that I did not have perfect vision so I would not have been able to fly anyway. That and I can't swim. Oh...and I have a thing about heights. And I suck at science and not really the best at advanced math. Those small obstacles aside, I would have SO been a Naval Aviator. Although Goose (Anthony Edwards) biting the bullet in that bizarre accident sure wasn't having me lean in that direction anytime soon.
"Top Gun" made flying jets look like it was the coolest thing ever known to man. Each aerial dogfight kept you on the edge of your seat as these cats made the flying come across as though it was easier than riding a bike. Then to top it all off, they got to fly with some of the tightest call names (aka nicknames). Iceman....Maverick...Hollywood...Viper. The funny thing about that was if you ever watch the end of the movie, check out the call names of the stunt pilots that did the actual flying in the movie. Most of them had some of the plainest and even corniest nicknames imaginable. All that did was pound home the fact that the fiction made the reality look so much more fun.
As great as Cruise was as the cocky Maverick, he wasn't even my favorite character of the movie. That distinction would have to go to Val Kilmer as "Iceman". Maverick got to Mirimar (aka Top Gun) thinking he would be the hotshot kid on the block and he ran into the buzz-saw that was Iceman. Living up to the character's name, Kilmer was cooler than the other side of the pillow. He was the perfect villain and/or antagonist for Cruise because he wasn't afraid to go head to head with it to prove that he was the one with more testicular fortitude.
I really could have done without the homo-erogenous beach volleyball scene. It was meant to pit Iceman and Maverick against each other in a different format but ended up being about as gay as you can get. Complete with the Kenny Loggins song that played during the entire montage. Check it out again in case you don't remember the not so classic "Playing with the Boys".
"Top Gun" may have had a very simplistic plot and little character development. I'm also very certain that it was technically inaccurate as far as the jets and their capabilities. It didn't matter at all though. It was a pure adrenaline rush that did not disappoint from beginning to end. It gave us a Tom Cruise on the rise and an 80s film that would remain as timeless now as when it was first released.