Showtime is 5pm. I’ve dreamed of seeing Top Gun: Maverick for probably 32 years. As the hours count down, I’m not sure that I want to wake up anymore.
I saw Top Gun for the first time at a friend’s house in 3rd grade, shortly after moving to a new city. It would’ve been early 1990. Soon after, I then sat in a tv/video store in the mall where they had a laser disc of Top Gun playing just the first half, basically until Goose died on repeat. My mom was off shopping and was perfectly content to leave me perfectly content as she did. Then, somewhere along the way I got the soundtrack on cassette tape and listened endlessly.
That opening. It’s like the reason surround sound was invented for home theaters. A laser disc copy was at another friend’s house and we fired it up too, mostly for the bass of the opening scene.
Top Gun. It has been the movie that never was going to have a sequel, and yet was so beloved that everyone wanted a sequel—assuming it could be done right.
I told the squadron commander at my first unit post-pilot training, “I am the guy who saw Top Gun and said, ‘I have to at least try to do that.’ That’s about all I know.”
He respected my honesty, even as he probably wished I knew a little bit more about what I had gotten myself into.
So many memories of that movie are woven into the memories of my actual life. There’s no separating the two. Art influencing life, life influencing art.
It all ends in a few hours. Above all, one dream has been searchingly saturating my life for three decades: Top Gun 2.
When the credits roll, I will still be a pilot. But when the credits roll, there will not be a boy’s dream of becoming a pilot; there will not be a boy’s dream of Top Gun 3.
So this is it.
The end of dreams is bittersweet.