Movies everyone should see in their lifetime


Movies EVERYONE Should See In Their Lifetime: The Blog

Three years ago, I began, in the study hall of my middle school cafeteria, to draft a list. I titled it “Movies EVERYONE Should See In Their Lifetime.” I wanted everyone to fall in love with the movies I had, so I began to add all of my favorite movies to this small, half-a-google doc list. I started taking suggestions, and looking at today’s list, I could still tell which movies were suggested by whom. This list became somewhat of my legacy. My friends quiz me on my claims that I know quotes from “every movie on the list” (which is only somewhat true), people I’ve barely even met already know about my list, and my Instagram polls get pretty heated when I claim Ethan Hunt is way better than James Bond. The natural next step was to share it with everyone, right? Every week, I go through a different movie that managed to make a list that now strains to stay one one page. What I liked, what I didn’t, where you can watch: you have found the movie you’ve been looking for, and it won’t take you a lifetime to see it.

Top Gun
Year: 1986
Genre: Action
Rating: PG
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%

What this machismo cult classic doesn’t have in critical acclaim, it more than makes up for in audience approval. The story centers around Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), a Naval fighter pilot with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, the son of a star pilot who died on a mission years before. When he and his best friend/RIO Nick “Goose” Bradshaw are selected for elite training school Top Gun, Maverick is warned that his reckless flying habits will put him in danger as his raw talent continues to grow. He of course, doesn’t listen, and keeps pulling wild stunts and cowboy maneuvers, much to the chagrin of his by-the-book rival, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Maverick does his best to navigate the victories and defeats of high-level flying, all while trying to win the attention of Top Gun instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis) and prove himself in this high octane film.

What I liked: Top Gun is just such a classic. For the era it was shot in, the aerial effects are completely astounding, and the soundtrack is absolutely iconic. It’s perfect for the nostalgic viewer, since the whole movie shines of 1980s vintage filmmaking. Tom Cruise as Maverick brings just the perfect amount of charisma that will leave you rooting for even his most foolish decisions. Ultimately, it’s the kind of film that just exudes fun, like some slick and thrilling reminder of past joys.

What I didn’t like: There are very few people who will tell you that Top Gun is a “good” movie. While it’s fun and charming, it’s also the perfect stereotype blockbuster. All of the action scenes and interal struggles are all just a little bit cliché, and the writing borders on corny at some parts. I also wouldn’t be a responsible writer if I didn’t mention the underlying sexist elements surrounding Maverick and Charlie’s relationship. She has a PhD in astrophysics, and yet always cedes to Maverick’s flight “genius” in debates, even though she is his superior in piloting knowledge. Throughout the movie, she is solely a love interest, and a conquest for Maverick, which is lingering objectification from a movie that tried to have an intelligent female character.

Conclusion: Ultimately, despite its shortcomings, Top Gun is a pillar of popular culture. With songs like “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away,” and iconic lines such as “I feel the need…the need for speed,” the film represents a blockbuster just as well loved in 1986 as it is today. Does it have any hard-hitting themes about humanity? No (Well, actually, Claire Stone found some in this Vox article). Does it fit into today’s understanding of gender roles in movies? Definitely not. But does it continue to delight, thrill, and entertain audiences everywhere? Yes. Have I seen it upwards of thirty times? Of course! The truth is, it doesn’t really matter how typically “good” or critically acclaimed a movie is if you like it. And that, in the end, is why I picked Top Gun for my final post of this school year. It represents a film that rose to influence solely because people liked it, and continue to today. Also, beach volleyball. This film is available on Amazon Prime starting at $2.99.

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