Top Gun is one of those classic ’80s films that is renowned for its endlessly quotable one-liners, high-octane action, and cheesy soundtrack by the master of the movie theme song, Kenny Loggins. It features beautiful people doing impossible stunts, promising melodrama and thrills that it delivers at Mach 10. Watching Top Gun makes you feel like you just got a thumbs up from Maverick himself.
While it’s been accused of being one long military recruitment ad, there’s a certain sentimentality and charm floating in its tangerine sunsets. The franchise about elite pilots gunning for the distinction of ‘Top Gun” isn’t in the “danger zone” either, it’s going to continue in 2020 with a follow-up film for a new era. Here are 10 memes that true Top Gun fans will find hilarious.
10 ODDS OF MAVERICK BUZZING THE CONTROL TOWER
When it comes to Maverick, one of the most reliable things about him is his unpredictability. What makes him a flight risk also makes him a hero. Often times if it weren’t for Maverick’s ability to think outside the box and fly in the danger zoneonce in a while, situations would be more than just inverted.
You’d think Maverick’s antics would result in some fatal accidents, but he was cleared of any direct involvement in Goose’s death. His recklessness in Top Gun appeared when he was bucking authority or trying to prove he belonged in an elite class of pilots.
9 I FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED
If there was one character from another highly successful franchise that evoked the same hot-shot mentality as the naval aviators in Top Gun, it’s Poe Dameron from Episode VII: The Force Awakens. From his carefree bravado to his constant clashes with authority figures, he’s the sci-fi version of Maverick.
Unfortunately, Poe’s need for speed caused the Resistance to lose almost their entire bomber fleet just to take out one of the First Order’s Dreadnoughts, which caused Poe’s immediate demotion. Like Maverick, he wouldn’t have made Top Gun either.
8 BECAUSE I WAS INVERTED
It turns out that George Washington and Maverick have a lot in common. Washington wasn’t afraid to trust his gut and take a risk simply because the path to victory was dangerous. He wasn’t going to be deterred by things like frigid temperatures, ice rifts, or the threat of British troops firing from across the river bank when it came to organizing the Delaware crossing.
On Christmas Day, Washington organized his secret mission, hoping it would result in a surprise attack of the Hessian and British troops across the river. It worked despite all odds, and Washington became recognized for the badass he is today. Viper would approve.
7 TOP GUN WAS SO UNREALISTIC
Top Gun has been cited as unrealistic for several reasons, much of which boils down to style being favored over substance, and the authenticity of a real military experience being sacrificed to make the storyline more exciting. Then there’s the little matter of Tom Cruise’s height.
Tom Cruise has been a leading man in Hollywood for decades, but like Robert Downey Jr. or Alan Ladd, he doesn’t exactly have the leading man height. It’s an aspect of his career that’s fueled many a meme before, and a particularly memorable episode of Family Guy involving a Tom Cruise the size of Stewie.
6 NOT EVERYONE GETS TO BE TOP GUN
Top Gun is one of the most elite schools with some of the most elite pilot training programs in the entire world. The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program doesn’t have the same ring to it, but don’t let the colloquial name fool you.
Only select naval flight officers and naval aviators get selected to attend Top Gun, and after they go through a rigorous series of tests and simulations involving strike tactics and techniques, they’re released to become instructors. Not even Maverick was awarded “Top Gun”, but he did stick around to teach.
5 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ICE MAN
We’ve all heard by now the names of the actors returning for Top Gun 2, and while everyone knew Tom Cruise was reprising his role as Maverick, it was less certain if Val Kilmer would return as Ice Man. He’d had a string of health issues in the last decade that implied even if he did return, he’d look extremely different than the image he used to cut in a pair of dress whites.
While this meme alludes to when Kilmer gained an alarming amount of weight, his recent battle with throat cancer left him anything but large. The last few years have seen Kilmer appear in public looking exceedingly thin, but he made sure to confirm that he was healthy enough to do the film.
4 WHO IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT AGAIN?
It might be hard to remember after being blinded so many times by Tom Cruise’s megawatt smile and mirror shades, but the movie is called Top Gun and he didn’t win it. His storyline was the focus of the film, and the distinction of being “Top Gun” was his objective, but that honor went to Ice Man.
Ice Man gets a bad rep in the film for being a hardass, who takes an instant dislike to Maverick because his tactics put people in potential danger. Ice Man is painted in some ways as the bully and the villain of the narrative, when he’s really anything but.
Few people may realize that the actor that plays Wilson, Tom Hank’s only companion in Cast Away when he’s stranded on the island, actually got his big break back in the ’80s. Catch him in the beach volleyball scene in Top Gun being passed around by Maverick, Ice Man, Goose and the rest of the gang.
Known for his stamina performing physical stunts and a consistently upbeat attitude, no one’s ever heard him complain about his treatment even when he’s getting hit in the face by the biggest names in Hollywood. He’s just happy to be on camera and get his moment in the sun.
2 IT’S TOO CLOSE FOR MISSILES
Anyone that’s watched Top Gun or been to flight school will get this reference immediately, but the subtext beneath may fly over fans’ heads. It makes perfect sense if you grasp the fact that in recent years, the film has been lampooned for its gratuitous scenes involving young, half-naked men in locker rooms and on the beach.
Top Gun is now remembered for two things; it’s extremely pro-military agenda and its blatant homoeroticism. Filmmakers can’t exactly deny that it wasn’t a giant recruitment ad for the military, but the other implication seems to be something they’d prefer died with Goose.
1 TOP BUN
If you talk to anyone in the military, there was already a lot of non-regulation haircuts and styles going on in Top Gun. Yes, most of the actors’ hair was appropriately short (it had to be off the color), but it definitely wasn’t the typical flat top high and tight enforced by most branches of the armed forces.
These days, all sorts of interesting adjustments have been made for enlisted service members, from beards being allowed if they’re part of your religion, to certain headscarves, and even longer hair on women. But Maverick with a man bun? Definitely not.
NEXT: Top Gun: 10 Questions We’ve Waited Over 30 Years For A Sequel To Answer
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