Top Gun. Exhilarating for the first 80 minutes or so. Intoxicating. Is there any other movie where people are this cool? So many blinding, aggressive smiles. I remember when I was a kid I thought Iceman was a punk. Now he seems so chill and reasonable. “It’s not your flying, it’s your attitude.”
Man on Fire. This is the beginning of my Denzel Washington self-education program, as I’ve seen embarrassingly few of his movies, and they were all a long time ago. A guilt-ridden drunk on a revenge mission. Young Dakota Fanning is impossible not to like. And her on-screen friendship with Denzel is fantastic. I really liked the lively, kind of spazzy directing. A rush of colors and cuts, zooms in and out, accelerating and coming to a halt, and how that ties in with characterization and mood. I like the work with the occasional subtitles, too. Interesting that the bullet and the St. Jude medallion come along with sobriety (like AA tokens). Also note the recurring theme of “I’m just a professional” or “I’m just doing my job.” It’s not enough. Cf. Taken, of course.
There is no such thing as tough. There is trained and untrained.
For a film that worships the military, and is in turn worshipped by the military, Top Gun seems perversely uninterested in the military—or foreign policy, or warfare—as anything other than a crucible that sweaty, shirtless, constantly showering men must endure on the route to über-awesomeness. The enemy is deliberately shadowy because the real enemy is self-doubt and moral weakness.
In Top Gun, it’s always magic hour for the best of the best
Days of Thunder. It’s not very good. But is Robert Duvall the most likable actor of all time? Also, I didn’t realize that director Tony Scott is Ridley Scott’s little brother.