I am almost embarrassed to tell you the last time I went to a movie theater. And no, I don’t have Netflix (I’m not even sure what it is to be frank with you; that’s how much I watch movies).
This has nothing to do with me avoiding or not enjoying movies – tho today’s offerings rely too much on computer graphics that are so obviously unrealistic they are impossible to watch with a straight face – but I live along the coast in Southern California where it’s always sunny and 75 degrees and going to sit inside a dark theater on a nice day to watch a flick never enters my mind. At night, well, it’s PubClub.com party time!
But I had heard a lot of good things about the new Top Gun movie, Top Gun: Maverick and I was curious about it. After all, the TOPGUN school was located right here where I live in Fighter Town U.S.A., (it’s now in the Nevada desert) and the first one featured several scenes that were filmed throughout San Diego. Even tho the majority of the new one was filmed at the North Island Coronado Naval Air Station – off limits to us civilians – the positive feedback from friends was tugging at me to see it.
So when I noticed the theater a block from PubClub.com’s World Headquarters offered movies for five bucks on Tuesdays, I figured well, why not. (Apparently this is the case with all TCL Chinese Theaters in San Diego and maybe across the country for all I know.)
And man, was I impressed with today’s movie theaters! I went to the Theater Box, which is part of Sugar Factory in the Gaslamp Quarter and was blown away by it. Every seat was a big leather one, the kind you find at a rich guy’s house who plops down to watch sports on a gigantic TV. It reclined almost to bed level, like a seat in the first-class section of an airplane. It even had a call button to order food and drinks (and the Sugar Factory has a couple of bars that serve cocktails).
“I get all this for five bucks!?,” I said to myself. “Sweet!”
A friend later told me not all theaters are like this but since Kim Kardashian has some part ownership in Sugar Factory, it’s not surprising this would be one with that super-nice amenity.
I eased the recliner back to a cozy position and watched the movie in a totally relaxed state of mind. The seat even vibrated when the jets fired up their engines. It was an awesome experience and one I’ll do again. Tho I must say that even tho the movie was just five bucks, they do get you on concessions. My large soda was $10 and that’s more than the crazy concession prices at ballparks and concerts. Plus the sound was at a level that rattled my eardrums. That part going to movies has not changed through the years.
Still, I couldn’t really complain. Well, I did anyway but no one would care to listen considering I watched a popular first-run movie which to date has grossed $690 million (Tom Cruise got $100 million for it, $99 million more than he made for the original) for a total price of around 15 bucks.
Reviewing Top Gun: Maverick
So what did I think of the movie? Here are my remarks and review of Top Gun: Maverick.
Top Gun: Maverick is a combination of the original Top Gun, the original Star Wars with traces of Behind Enemy Lines.
There were, as everyone had told me, thrilling action scenes. When the jets were not flying around, I found it a pretty slow-moving movie, especially at the beginning. It copied the original in many ways with one notable difference: the leading lady not only had a child in the movie but she has one in real life. No single babe in Kelly McGillis here. There is, tho, a modern-day Ice, an easily dislikeable and arrogant character whose call sign I choose not to remember.
One familiar part was thrown in specifically for the girls and that is the shirtless pilots – er, “naval aviators” – taking part in a sporting event on the beach. Except instead of being volleyball, this time it was tackle football. That all was filmed at the North Island beach, by the way.
It was also – to me, at least – very predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen next. Anyone could, too. Even armed with that knowledge, tho, the ending was thrilling. While I could easily predict the outcome, how the characters were going to get there was exciting and dramatic to watch. There was also real action of the planes in the air and very few computer graphics.
They could have left out one part, tho, and that was Cruise’s insistence on bringing back Val Kilmer. In Top Gun: Maverick, Ice is the Pacific Fleet’s naval commander. The problem was Kilmer’s unfortunate health issues with throat cancer. He looked terrible, like Darth Vadar without the helmet. It was difficult to see such a powerful actor – and a key component in Top Gun – in that condition.
Overall, it was well worth my five bucks!