(no spoilers, I promise)
We were visiting my folks and Mom and I were excited about going to see “Top Gun: Maverick”, a fact we all found a bit amusing since as a teen, I was banned from seeing the first one. Since I worked at a video store (Cinema I Video in Port Orchard, WA), I managed to sneak in a view anyway. Apparently, Mom found the VHS tape under my mattress.
Well, apparently MY FOLKS saw the first one too. 🙂
We dragged Dad and Bill to see it with us (it was Father’s Day, after all). Well OK, they were willing but as mentioned above, found it a bit ironic.
Pre-movie found us in a conversation with the folk’s neighbor, L. He’s a chatty fellow and we enjoy checking in with him. He told us that they’d seen the movie, and that all the women/girls rated it a 10, but the men rated it only a 5 or 6. “Interesting.” I noted this, wondering if it was the Tom Cruise factor or another shirtless beach scene. I found that a bit hard to believe as Tom (like me) is in his 50’s, although several years older than I and to be honest, the shirtless scene in the first movie was never one that I was drawn to.
Only seeing it would tell.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I’m not going to spoil it for you, in case you haven’t, but the movie indeed was jaw-dropping, and not because of the beach, shirtless scene. And certainly not due to Cruise, who with makeup and lights in the movie looks about forty-ish at the most but shows his true self in a quick “thanks for coming and sorry it’s been so long” at the beginning of the movie.
Part of the magic was the incredible flying, of course. The flying and the maneuvers were much improved. I was happy to see a female Top Gun pilot in this class (although I was hoping she’d play more of a role in a victorious ending) and I could hugely relate to Mav’s frustration about aging, having the younger crowd look down on him (until they learned who he actually was) and fighting to have his wisdom validated by both those below and those above him. But then again, being OK with it if they didn’t. Or couldn’t. As we get older, we learn the importance of that too.
The story was well-written and the casting, excellent. Cruise’s drive for excellence really shined throughout. And part of the movie, of course, dealt with the past – and what to do with the repercussions of it.
What touched me most was the secret he kept (and never let go) and the reasons he felt he had to keep it. I don’t think I could have been the better “man” in this situation. I think I might have folded. I always have to work on this. People don’t always have to know who asked you to do something and why, or the behind-the-scenes take on why it’s best for them, or even what you feel their next step should be and why. This is especially true in parenthood and it is also true when we mentor others. Our true job on both occasions is to guide, not force. To walk alongside, not spout out all the experience we’ve had and how it works and may turn out for them.
Now granted, Mav in the classroom differed a bit, whether that was in the seats or in the planes. He built the plan that would take the mission to success and taught them. But when it came down to it, he once again was right beside them encouraging and mentoring during the practice sessions…and later for the real mission. He guided his class to success. And he never stood in front of them and said “Do you know who I am? Do you know what I’ve accomplished?”
True men (and women) never have to say it. It shows as they mentor others and guide them to success.
After the movie (which Mom rated a 12, btw), Bill and I took a walk and passed by L once again. I shared with him Mom’s score, and that I would give it a 8-9. Bill agreed that his was a little lower for him. L shook his head. “I don’t get it.”
I smiled. “I do. The movie was about healing. That’s what the true story was all about. THAT’S why we women are drawn to it.”
Ahhhh. OK. Both men nodded, and mused.
Healing is my calling. Guiding people to where they can live abundant lives. Mav couldn’t live his abundant life, and neither could some of the other characters, until the past was dealt with, forgiven and healed from.
That’s the true message within the movie.