So my goal for next year is to watch more movies. A SHITTON more movies.
Which makes me think: what was the best movie I saw in 2022? And unfortunately, I have an answer (and you’re gonna hate me for it):
Top Gun: Maverick 😔
Other than bangin Kenny Loggins soundtrack, I don’t remember shit about the Tony Scott original. Was it about fighter pilots? I don’t know, nor do I care. The important thing is that Maverick was WAY better than it had any business being and I think that took everyone off guard.
Part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much is because it told to me how far I’ve come along. If I saw this three years ago, I would have been railing against the military-industrial complex and Scientology and how evil American public is for enjoying such a glorification of aggressive US foreign policy.
But those days are over.
After watching Maverick, I am more than happy to suit up for the Navy and firebomb Dresden all over again. And that’s thanks to Tom Cruise and the power of filmmaking.
Now I’m not gonna write another thesis on the importance of Cruise and his impact on Hollywood. There’s plenty of that shit on the Internet already, although it is nice to be reminded that he can still put on a performance. Instead, I want to talk about how dialed back Maverick feels.
Remember, this movie could have easily been a piece of shit. But it wasn’t.
Cruise was smart. This was his film and audiences desired to see him return to one of his most iconic characters. There was no need for an overly complicated plot or contrived villain or actors needlessly wondering in front of a green screen for two hours. The filmmakers kept it simple: do what made the original so beloved and add emotional depth.
I think that’s why Maverick feels so oddly refreshing: it’s a reminder to audiences that mainstream films can still be good and it tells Hollywood that “hey, sometimes all you have to do is tap the ball into the hole. You don’t have to overreach.”
So for whatever reasons, Maverick feels like it’s a turning point in mainstream film OR it’s the last hurrah for old Hollywood. OR our expectations have gotten so low that we cheer anything that modestly hurdles it.