774 – Top Gum Skydancer | Tale of the Tape
Kick off summer movie season with a dreamy gum chewing smile, the art of sky dance will carry across your dreams.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and friends beyond the binary and all my Patreon peeps, it's time for the podcaster who's creating a highway to the sleepy zone patrons. I'm going to have you flying off to dreamland. It's time for sleep with me, podcast to put you to sleep. What do you say we keep this show going? Or get on with the show. What is it I normally say? Normally I say hey are you up all night tossing, turning? Mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, welcome. This is Sleep with Me, the podcast to put you to sleep. We do a bedtime story. All you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights and press play. I'm going to do the rest.
What I'm going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you can set aside whatever's keeping you awake. Whether it's thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, changes in time or temperature, your routine, traveling, someone else could be traveling. It could be seasonal stuff, whatever's keeping you awake, I'd like to take your mind off of that. What I'm going to do, I got this nice safe place set aside, plenty of room, roomy but cozy at the same time. And I'm smoothing it, I'm patting it, I'm rubbing it down, I'm saying safe place.
And then I'm going to send my voice across the deep dark night, I'm going to use lulling, soothing, creaky dull set tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. A go off topic, believe me, holy I'll get distracted.
Just like those great, what are those called, fairy tales? Are there any famous fairy tales, because I was thinking of the one with Alice, Alice and Wonderland. Because she went down, maybe she didn't go down a rabbit hole. I mean she was chasing that hare around, but more she was trying to keep up with it I believe. For me, I have multiple hares who run around inside my head, bunnies, rabbits, cutie poos. I don't even know, what kind of mammal are you? Cutie poo. And I say really? And I say, “You mind if I stop and ask you a question?”. “Sure, but you're in the middle of a podcast intro”. “Okay cutie poo, maybe I'll come back to you. Because I was going to ask you a question about, nevermind you're right, it'll bring us way off topic”. “Well go ahead, ask me it anyway. It'll be a good example for the new listener of how you go off topic so early”.
“Well thanks cutie poo, maybe we could make this a meta thing where we talk and do the intro”. “Sounds great”. So I was thinking there's something, it was before my time, it was called a Kewpie doll and now that I say it I thought it was spelled like cutie poo. Hm, that's interesting. You think Kewpie and cutie poo are spelled the same way huh? Well now that I'm saying it out loud in front of a bunch of people, I can picture reading Kewpie and I can see it's like K-E-W or something. But I was just wondering if you knew what that was, because I don't actually know. I think it's something you would win at a state fair in the 1940s or 20s or 40s or 50s.
Okay well listen, the new listeners, the Scoot apologizes if you're a fan of Kewpie dolls. Also here's another question for you, I know we're supposed to get to the intro but do you know who Astro Boy is? Scooter I do because yes Scooter. Thanks cutie poo. Go ahead Scooter. Well I was just thinking, did Kewpie dolls and Astro Boy look the same? Because in my mind they do. Okay well anyway Scooter, what were you going to tell the new listeners? Oh what I was going to tell them is, so my voice across the deep dark, lulling, soothing, creaky dulcet tones, Kewpie doll like tones, but I don't know what the Kewpie doll sounds like.
Okay Scooter, keep going. I'm going to try to, I'm going to send my voice across the deep dark, lulling, soothing, creaky dulcet tones. Pointless meanders. And also what I'm going to do is try to keep you company as you drift off to dreamland. Okay great job Scooter. Thanks cutie poo, I think I'll take it from here. If I have any more questions I'll get back to you, but if you find anything out about Astro Boy or Kewpie dolls, get back to me, okay? Sure Scooter.
Okay sorry about that folks. If you're a new listener, I got distracted. If you're a regular listener, you're like, “Scoots, hardy har”, you're probably giggling or you're like me, I think I can see the spelling of Kewpie, it's like, you know when I had cutie poo here I should've ask if it was like a kiwi in cutie pie, or anyway. Sorry. So if you're a new listener, I'm here to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff as you fall asleep. A couple of things to know about the show, I go off topic pretty regularly. I have creaky dulcet tones and that's not for everybody. But give the show a few tries to see if it works for you.
Structurally what to expect is, the show starts off with a few minutes of business. That's how we keep it free, is all the wonderful regular listeners that support the sponsors. Then there's an intro, which is about 12-14 minutes of me rambling. Really what it is, ideally I would explain what, well I don't know what it is. It's like a ball of string that's all knotted up. If it was metaphor about the podcast it would be one that was like that. You see, I don't think, like every pair of headphones I've ever owned, there's a metaphor, you say, “Scootch, what's the intro?”. And I'm just holding up every pair of headphones with chords.
But even then, I bought a pair of blue tooth headphones that you're supposed to stick in your ears. Not the expensive one, of course, because I said, “Well I'm not going to pay that much”. And even though those don't have a chord, they only attach to my phone for like four minutes and then they go boo boob. And I say what and I Google and I say, “How do you Google boop boo?”. And every time I've tried to Google this kind of headphone, makes a boo boo sound and then disconnects from blue tooth? It's the same thing, re power it over.
So where was I? Oh if you're a new listener, I tend to go off topic. The intro, oh structurally. Business, then there's an intro and intros around twelve minutes, we're probably like six or seven minutes into it now. It's just a friendly wind down to start the show off. Exactly the opposite of warming up, but it's warm. It's warm hearted, I'm glad you're here. Hardy har, I'm here to keep you company. But like a cool breeze of senselessness, kind of like, this is actually one of the times advertising is actually correct. Is when you get the right mint, breath mint I mean and then you suck on it and then you breathe in, you say, “Holy cow, that is like a mountain breeze”. Mountain breeze breath mints, the newest breath mint from whatever company wants to invent those and pay me company. Mountain breeze, like mountain breeze in your mouth but it smells better. You know because a lot of mountain breeze would have yak dung and stuff in there.
Okay so, oh the intro is a long explanation of the podcast. A few percentage of listeners skip over it, but most listeners use it as a wind down. And then a few percentage of listeners fall asleep during the intro. I think most of those are people who support the show on Patreon though. But there's really no wrong way to use the podcast, but most people use it to wind down. And then there'll be a story, so now it'll be me trying to remember the plot of the movie Top Gum, that famous Anthony Edwards movie with Tom Cruise in it. Val Kilmer and a couple other people, oh Michael Ironside of course.
So that'll be and then there'll be some thank yous and the good nights. Between the intro and the story is business. And that's the structure of the show. Now what else to expect if you're new? Well I'm glad you're here, like I said it doesn't work for everybody, give it a few tries. And I'm not saying that because it benefits me at all, I just really want you to get a good night's sleep and that's what most listeners say. And you getting a good night's sleep really, on a spiritual level, does benefit me. I say that's great if the podcast puts you to sleep or you find something else.
If you're looking for other options, other then this podcast or you loathe this podcast, you're listening you say, “I loathe this podcast”, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou, there'd be some other options there. That's because I'm really here to help. So that's what structurally to expect, you don't need to listen to me and I think you probably figured that part out. And there's also no pressure to fall asleep, I'm here for an hour, but with other episodes I could be here for ten hours if you need me. Back to back to back to keep you company, if you can't fall asleep. I'm your bore friend, I'm your bore bae, I'm your bore buzz, bore bus it sounds like. They could be another super, bore bus, it's like my sidekick, like Astro Boy. Kewpie, oh you're not Kewpie? I don't know.
I've lost contact with cutie poo, ran off with the rest of the rabbits in my brain and the bunnies. Oh thanks for rubbing your ears on me, that was great. It made me forget what I was talking about. Oh bore bud, bore sib, your bore cuz, your bore bestie. I'm here to keep you company as you drift off, because I truly believe you deserve a good night's sleep. You deserve a life where you can flourish and you can treat yourself and other people with kindness, dignity and respect.
So I'm here to do my little part, which is just rambling and keeping you company. And I think that's it. So no pressure to fall asleep, no pressure to listen. Structurally show is a bit of a headphone jumble and I think that's it. Cutie poo can I just grab you for one second? “Sure Scooter, what can I help you with?” “Here's something I had a question for, is there, I don't know how your vocabulary is compared to mine, but long floppy ears is a nice term. But is it a better term for your ears? Because they're magnificent is a word I would use, or luxurious because they're not just long and flobby doesn't do it. Do you agree with me?”. “Well thanks Scooter, we found over the years that there's a mythos behind saying long flobby ears and most bunny owners or bunny fans or bunny appreciators like yourself, you get it. The words have become, is there a word for when the words become more then their own meaning Scooter?”.
“You'd have to ask Helen that question”. “Yeah, I always get nervous asking her questions. I just listen to her podcast and forget. Is it genasaqua?” “Scooter I don't think it is”. I know it's not zeitgeist, but that one I feel like just makes me, Scooter zeitgeist sounds nice when you say it. “What about long floppy ears that I want to rub my cheeks against?”. “Scooter that's different then what the meaning of the word is”. Okay anyway that's cutie poo, some sort of bunny like being that lives within my imagination. “Thanks Scooter, I'm going to be hopping around”. “Hold on cutie poo, is that a unicycle you're hopping around on?”. “Scooter it is, it is. I'll see you later”.
Okay so that was cutie poo, we didn't really get any questions answered about Kewpie's or Astro Boy. But I'm pretty sure those two look pretty similar or that at some point there was a Kewpie pie, Astro Boy doll in my life. I think it's Suzuki, is that correct? But anyway, get him off topic. So anyway, I'm glad you're here. I really want to help you fall asleep, this podcast unfortunately doesn't work for everyone. So I said check out sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou, but give it a few tries. I work very hard, I yearn and I strive because I want to help you fall asleep. And thanks for coming by.
And here's a couple of ways we keep the show going. All right everybody, it's time for a tale of the tape, which is a style of episode, usually because it could be anytime, but mostly movies I saw in the 80s as a child, where I saw them a bunch of times, maybe even more recently then th 80s. And then I try to remember the plot of the movie because usually I can barely remember anything. So just tends to be very sleepy because they say, “Hey what was that and what happened there?”.
So just a fun premise, plus this particular movie I think is getting rebooted or something, because the name of the movie is Top Gum Chewer, so Top Gum for short. And if you want to know why it's called Top Gun, all you have to do is picture Tom Cruise chewing gum, with that big smile of his. Now we're talking 1980s Tom Cruise, so I don't know, his hair was shorter I think in the 80s. This particular movie, either he was sweating a lot or his character, his hard had a sheen to it. A good sheen, I mean for him a good sheen. And he wore aviator sunglasses a lot, because he was a jet pilot for the navy. And he chewed gum, that was just one of his things. That's one of his things in a lot of movies, but he chews gum in this movie. He's a top gum.
And it's also a thing they use there to say, and this is a different part of the navy, you might not have heard of it except for this movie, acrobatics. Aerial acrobatics. And so this movie starts off, so I think that's everything we need to know about the setup. But I know it's getting remade, rebooted. I think Tom Cruise and maybe Val Kilmer, okay so the stars of the movie are, oh boy. Anthony Edwards, Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Tom Scarret, Michael Ironside, after that the dude that was in Legend of Billy Jean, Hughbie something. Who else? Kelly McGillis, was it John Stock? We'll get to really quick and even Tim Robbins was in this one.
So very 80s cast. And it takes place in San Diego I believe, parts of the movie do. It's about being the top gum, which is shorthand for the most, the person who has the most aerial aerobatic, whatever I meant to say. So the movie starts off, okay this also all took place during the 80s during the cold war. And I think that, I've never read an article about it, but I'm sure there's been plenty of great ones about how story telling, the cold war actually offered an easy stakes for storytelling back then, because you had, in the movies at least in the simplest excursion, like a good side, good ol USA and a not good side, which would be the USSR.
And again I'm not taking sides, I'm just talking about the storytelling. And then it had stakes, because you were raised in the 80s to believe that our way of life was dependent on, again a lot of, you can see how we got here today. They say well faraways not the best and we don't have, so this movie took place with that, through that lens, through that cultural window. And I mean just from a storytelling perspective, it's a very simple based movie and they use that in a very basic way, but did it very effectively. And it was a blockbuster film, though people might really say, “I've never heard of that movie. Heard of another one”, I say, “Well I'm sorry”.
So the movie starts off, with who's that John Stockwell? Now here's a couple things about John Stockwell, he was in a couple movies I liked and he was someone that never became a gigantic star, which was baffling. I also always thought George Thoroughgood, who's like a classic 80s rocker or more of, maybe not a rocker, but I always thought those two people were the same person. So John Stockwell was George Thoroughgood. But John Stockwell was in this one cool movie that I cannot remember the name of, I think it was called My Science Experiment or something. Where someone has a science experiment that bends kind of time, space continuum and he's the hero that goes back into his high school to shut the experiment down or something.
And I think he was the lead in one or two other movies. But in this movie he's just the teaser, the opening what do they call that? They call it not a throughpoint, set piece. That's what they call it in movies. And I don't know if this was just a Tony Scott film, I think it was just a Tony Scott film, but so it opens with this set piece of, it was the Olympics and I guess it would've been, it took place in the past. No, no, no. It was the Olympic, I guess it was more of an Olympic buildup, so it would've been not Olympic qualifying, because the US was competing against the USSR in aerial, whatever that's called. And you say, “Scootch, what is that and why is the navy involved in it?”. And I say, “Well there's a version you hear of jet planes, but most of this takes place just like in, what's that group called? The circus group, cirque Soleil”. And again this is stuff that history's just glossed over, because it's not as flashy as jet planes.
But most of the stuff, you've seen it, you've got a person ideally in a ballet type uniform and they're flying around on ribbons. It can involve trapeze and all of that, but a lot of it's artistic, you know gymnastics and dance and I guess whatever that other one is, combined. Now the reason the navy's important is because the navy would use this, again just added to the stakes that it was this is the navy's team. The navy specialized in, what do they call it? What do you call it when there's two people working together, I don't know what it's called. I'm thinking of synchronized, so this is, it was a little bit different then synchronized because they're not synchronized. But it was a team sport, with two person team sport.
This was again, the 80s so they were more into the male stories, which I think well this seems like a softer art. You have to have a hard body to do this soft art. So we just should be clear, this is Tom Cruise's body and Anthony Edwards, holy cow. So it opens up with this big, whatever the international, whatever the most important thing is, in the Olympics for men's aerial dancing. Oh acrobatics, why was I calling it aerobatics? I think that's the short hand for it. Not to be top gun, okay so I think you're with me so far.
So John Stockwell's character, who's name I forget. Everyone had a nickname, his was something like jaguar. For some reason I remember Tim Robbins nickname first was Merlin, because that was just cool. I said, “I wish I was Merlin”. But so, there's another dude, Barry Tub, is that who it is? Okay just thought of one other, the sidekick to Ice Man was in a lot of movies. I don't know if his name's Barry Tub, I think Barry Tub might be the dude from Billy Jean. There's one other character who's an actor who's name I should probably know.
But anyway, jaguar, whatever John Stockwell's character's name is, I don't know who his partner was. The partner didn't get a lot of screen time that I remember. He goes out there, he's the top dog. They say okay, you're up against, just like in these Rocky movies, Evandrago and McKell Baryshnikov were on a team together. This is just imaginary, that's not really who they were against, because the Soviet team had these, a little bit like figure skating. And they had outfits that were also part of the show, so they also obscured their faces. Which is a message of, that the 80s is trying to push.
I think right now I'm covering the movie in slower then real time. But so, basically John Stockwell and John Stockwell's partner are up against two faceless Russians and it's a big moment. And John Stockwell's the best of the best, as far as the US teams concerned. And he gets up there, on the ribbons, on the swings and starts doing his thing. And it's also done at the same time, you have to see the movie to understand. But it's like a dance off in some sense, but it's, I'm not doing that on purpose, it's just like a brain trip. So he gets up there and he decides, he's built it up too much. He has performance ANX, AX, performance concerns. And he's never had this trouble, he's been the top dog and he says, “I can't do it. This is it, I'm off the team”, right in the middle of the routine.
I think it was a little bit of the Russians kind of, they swung real close together or something and he said, “You know what, this just isn't for me”. Which you've gotta respect, it was a very, he said this is it and everybody was in disbelief. All the coaches, all the other athletes. But it also serves to show this theme of the movie, which is one of the themes of the movie, which I think is like mind over matter in some sense, or mind over even ego. That there's this loose focus, if you want to be top air dancer, that's a good way, top gum, you need to, it's a matter of not just a physical ability, not just technical ability, but ability to push over the edge. Or right up against the edge and that he lost his edge. I think that was it, he lost his edge.
And so that's how the movie starts. And then we get next is Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards, who forward will be known as Maverick and Goose, we see that they're in the amateur circuit. They haven't been in the Olympic circuit, they've been in the amateur circuit. They're very flashy and Tom Cruise is extremely confident. I mean you've seen him smile and chew gum, imagine him in his 20s doing that. I mean it's actually enjoyable either way.
So, he does that, so we just see them and they're so flashy. Not Goose, Anthony Edwards character's a little bit more of the soul, at least initially. Or the heart and soul. But Tom Cruise, he even shows up to coach the other athletes a little bit. And he's always got a catch phrase, I forget, turn burn or something. And then they get back to finish their performance and they kind of upset, not the coaches but one of the referees or something, or whatever, judges, by doing something comparable, where they're supposed to do a double lindy and they did a quad.
And then they find out, when they got back, they say, “You guys got called up to the, normally you'd be in trouble, but the Olympic team has an opening and the Olympics are coming. Obviously Uncle Sam doesn't want us to be embarrassed and not be the best air dancers in the world. Our ability to consume things could be at risk, so we gotta be the best. And instead of the best, I guess they want you two”. And then things get fuzzy for me, eventually so they go to San Diego, which is like top gum school. So I think initially we get, and there's probably some other new classmates maybe, maybe there's not.
Then we get an overview, top gum and I think this is narrated by Michael Ironside and they say the history of the school. Like a little backstory, top gum was designed in the 1950s when, who's going to be, the whole Olympic buildup of the cold war and US, air dancing dominance. That's a term he uses. And say is this just to teach you? Well everything. Even stuff, we're combining techniques across the globe in this one place. But the question is can you do it, can you graduate? So it's not only Olympic training program, but it's you gotta get through the training to be top gum and then make the Olympic team, I think even though they are the Olympics.
I don't know, some of it's a little confusing. Oh that's what it is, eventually you would want to go pro I think is what it is. So then it gets set up very, a couple themes get set up. One theme is, and this will probably be out over, but we see Tom Cruise's relationship with Tom Skeret, who's I don't know what his nickname is in there, but he's the big, the principle. But for Tom Cruise he's this father figure, which Tom Cruise is like, we kind of learn Tom Cruise's edge is related to his relationship with his father a little bit and his need to prove himself. And Tom Skeret kind of tries to take on this role of I care about you, but you're kind of a D-I-C-K for the most part, is what he kind of says to Maverick. Like your ego's too big and I know you think you're the best and maybe we can make you the best, but we'll see.
So there's that theme running through it. Then there's the theme of, well there's Tom Cruise and Maverick and Goose's relationship, which is one of friendship and love. But also of different stakes, like Tom Cruise's ego constantly impacts Goose because Goose has different stakes. He has a family and he really needs to make it eventually to pro league, because if he doesn't then he wouldn't, you know what I mean? He needs the money. I mean that's a good way to make a living is pro air dancer. I mean come on, nowadays we see it everywhere. I mean all the constant air dancer interviews.
So, that's another theme. Then there's the fact of what Tom Skeret said, with his other classmates, Tom Cruise definitely has, and he's able to carry it out in a likable way, which is probably not, there's not many people capable of pulling that off. Where he's kind of superior to his classmates and a bit of a jerk or whatever. But he also is almost the best. So I don't know, there's kind of a little tension within the class and then there's also the actually top student, the top performer who is played by Val Kilmer. His name is Ice Man and his partner is Gordo or something like that.
And Ice Man is known for being super cool and chill and precision oriented and very detached and emotionless, but also plays within the rules. And he doesn't like Maverick's, not just his attitude, but that he pushes things over the edge. Like Ice Man says, “I can be the best within this creative constraint and that's what we're here to do”. Also this is an Olympic sport, so we don't want anybody spraining anything, it's just ridiculous. And he says, “Eventually you're going to sprain an elbow or something. Or what if Goose does?”.
So there's this competition, which actually makes it more, because you say well I don't think I like Ice Man, he doesn't chew gum like Tom Cruise, he chews it in this more chomping tense way where Tom Cruise chews gum like a handsome chill dude. And again, I think just an example of this form of movie storytelling. So then what happens, I was talking about themes I guess. What other themes? Then there's Tom Cruise verse the system I guess, or Maverick verse the system. So we see over a series of scenes, in class and outside of class, where Tom Cruise is like, “I know better then even the instructors”. And I understand things better and the whole purpose of the school, in the military context, is to kind of break your ego and remold you. So it does make it for another interesting small source of conflict.
Then there's the love story. So Kelly McGillis is, and this is one of the more famous scenes in the movie, one of the first nights in town they go off and they all go out, a bunch of the classmates go out. So we see them outside of their class and their dancing roles. And Tom Cruise fancies himself quite the charmer, I mean who are we kidding? So he sets forth to charm this person he sees there and he sings her an Everly Brothers song. Maybe he sings it with Goose for a little while and then takes over and we see a romantic connection. And I don't know if it immediately translates, I think it's just a romantic connection and flirting, where Tom Cruise says, “Look at me chew gum. Come on now”. And I believe Kelly McGillis's character says, “I got work to do” or, “I gotta leave, I'm going home to go to bed”.
So I think there's, then we learn the next day that she's one of the instructors. So we say, “Oh boy”. It builds on the theme that Maverick just can't play by the rules, he's a Maverick, I mean come on. And I guess Goose is a Goose. We also see training sequences where they get up and the dancing and they're dancing against the best, like they dance against Michael Ironside, they dance against Tom Skeret, who they have nicknames, I can't remember. Who's Jester? Did I already say, maybe one of them is Jester. Merlin is, but somebody's, so yeah I think maybe Tom Skeret is Jester.
And we learn that those two, Michael, if you've never seen Michael Ironside air dance, holy mackerel, look it up on YouTube or something, because you'll be changed forever. So we learn that Tom Cruise still has a way to go and that he's willing to bend the rules. This kind of has played out already but, so there's one time where they have to do a dance off against Michael Ironside and Tom Skeret. Tom Cruise and Goose, Maverick and Goose do their dance, but they do this move that's not sanctioned by the US Olympic committee. So they bend a rule or break a rule to win, but technically they don't win but they say, “Well we won because we outperformed the two of you”. And they say, “No, but that last swing you did, where you put your hip out, that's not allowed within the constraints of the Olympic system”.
And so then they go back and everyone is in the locker room and they say, “Oh boy, we all got beat by a Jester and the Sloth”, or whatever. And Ice Man says, “Not us man, we beat them fair and square”. And Tom Cruise says, “We beat them too”. And he goes, “No you didn't, you technically lost. And there's a reason you can't kick your hip out at that moment”, he pulls out his Olympic air dancing manual and says, “Look here”. So we have all this rising tension, then eventually tension and the first piece of tension to break I think is Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis, they end up in a romantic situation. Which I think somehow they end up, maybe I don't know somehow they end up in a romantic situation, which was probably the first time in my life I ever saw french kissing with an actor and an actress against a silhouette, so that's burned in my mind.
So they do kiss, I mean I'll be honest with you. Also there's a scene where, and I think this was just popular because all the dudes were shirtless and they were all in jacked up shape, but this is before he goes on the date with Kelly McGillis. Which I think the date was at the principal's house, so we also have these scenes again where Tom Skeret kind of says, “Listen man, your dad was the best but you can't keep chasing memories”, or something like that. “Your dad was the best air dancer I've ever seen, you might be better. But you gotta get your mind right”.
But Tom Cruise just still isn't having it. Then, okay there's a great volleyball scene which is basically Ice Man and Gordo or whatever decide, “Hey we want to play you Goose and Maverick, shirtless with beach volleyball”. And I don't think anything happened, I don't know who won. But it was just a popular sequence, it gave me something never to attain. I said, “Well if I could have one of those four bodies, everything would be great”. So I don't think I could play volleyball either and it's another point, there's like a point with the stakes for Goose, because Meg Ryan is Goose's wife, she comes for a visit. I don't know if they had kids and the kids came or they just talk about their kids, or they're planning on having kids. But at that moment, she's also close with Maverick, it comes out I think Meg Ryan says something and then later Goose says something like, “Listen man. You're going to get us kicked out of school if you keep messing around”, which is like he's gotten so many demerits or something like that.
And Goose is like, “Seriously, if it's your verse the system, I'm caught up with you in all these outside activities and you being a hot shot”, it all culminates and it's slow building again to, I guess it is the Olympics, like building to the graduation and the Olympics. I don't know, I guess I get a little hazy in there. But I think yeah, so I don't know what happens first, if they graduate or there's a graduation finale or it's before the graduation, there's one of the last big performances. I do think actually there is, yeah I think what happens is once or twice as they're studying they do have these, at least once they have maybe a non sanctioned air dance off with the USSR team. And I think that's it, so they have, maybe they have two of them.
So they have one and Tom Cruise and Goose just show boat and I think again that maybe that was, I don't know was that in the movie at the beginning or was it later? I don't know. But at some point they have one competition and Tom Cruise and Goose are really good. And I think I don't know, there's one or two scenes throughout the movie where they're again going up against the USSR team. And at some point and I don't know if it was, I guess it was probably one with the USSR team, because that would make sense as far as stakes go. But Tom Cruise and Goose are pushing the limits and Tom Cruise just pushes things so much that Goose overstretches something and that's it. Like they say, “This overstretch, you can't possibly perform or graduate. You'll never air dance again”, it's a freak stretch.
It wasn't Tom Cruise's fault exactly, but he feels bad for it and Goose says, “This is it. I bet my whole life on being a professional air dancer”, well he can't even speak to Tom Cruise, he just leaves. And Tom Cruise has to face Meg Ryan, his wife, who's just devastated. She says, “This is it. Our dreams were built on air dancing and now they're gone. Thanks a lot”. And Tom Cruise is like, “Well I loved Goose and I love you”, and she goes, “Well this is the cost, maybe it's time for you to reflect on everything, especially the deeper message of mind over matter, dance beyond the ego”.
And there's also a movie, I don't know how many big songs there are. Who's it, Kenny Loggins I think, famous song for the movie is Highway to the Danger Zone, riding, dancing through the danger zone. And I don't know if there's any other, once you get ahold of that ribbon, you get a taste for the air dance. You get to chewing up some gum and you put on those tight air dancing pants, so that's kind of the lyrics to the song. It's about danger zone, which is what they call it when they're up there dancing on those, swinging on those ribbons. There may have been one or two other ones, but that one, you still hear it on classic radio.
So, okay where are we? So Goose is gone, Goose is no longer a student. And actually all the air dancers, they know that it wasn't really 100% Tom Cruise's fault that it was just this ribbon slipped and maybe it was because Tom Cruise pushes things too hard or maybe not, but they know the emotional impact that Goose leaving the team and it kind of being that Tom Cruise was taking the feelings at least for Goose's career being gone. And so he feels, even Ice Man says, “Listen man, sorry. That's rough”. And I think that's right before the Olympic try out, I think it's right before the Olympics because then they still have to have who's going to qualify. It was based on points for graduation. So the top gum, that team is the top US team, then the second place team would've been on the Olympic team. Maybe the top three teams get on the Olympic team and then maybe there's an alternate.
But then Tom Cruise goes back, he has to work with another dancer and he's lost his mental edge. And Tom Skeret tries to be like, “You just gotta get your edge back kid. You gotta be able to focus on the dance. Maybe this was the deflation your ego needed”, I don't know that he says it that on the nose, but basically it comes down to Tom Cruise can't get it out of his mind. Then he's also like, “What if I slip? What if I never air dance again?”. He's overthinking everything. And a lot of times he says, “Talk to me Goose”.
Now there is something I left out that's important for the whole movie and it's the idea of the wing man in this movie, which is so you already have these pairs, Tom Cruise and Goose, Ice Man and Gordo, or whatever his name was, I don't know. But then there is also this open floor competition, that's why they pick three teams, which is like three teams versus three teams. So that's kind of like when in Olympic gymnastics, there's also the team competition but they don't have that, this would be like if the Olympic's gymnastics, they had a floor competition where everybody was on the floor at the same time.
And the wing man in this case is like a team, kind of like spotters basically. So it's a secondary role, like for the lead team, in this case Ice Man and Gordo. You're supposed to, while they're doing a move, you're supposed to run interference so that no one would interrupt their line of sight and throw off their move. And so, at some point in the movie Tom Cruise and Maverick and Goose are supposed to be Ice Man and Gordo's wing people, but at the same time everybody's accumulating points for the team. They're not on the floor, they're up in the air but very similar, just easier metaphor to think about Olympic floor exercise in this case.
So they're getting ready to do their biggest point number, Ice Man and Gordo and Tom Cruise they say, “We need our monitor”, or whatever because we're going to do our quad lindy. And Tom Cruise says, “Okay okay, we're watching. We're watching”. And then Tom Cruise sees an opening where they could do something like a triple so cal or whatever. And he says, “Listen I'm not going to lie. You guys can handle it on your own, we're going to do, so then we can get more points for the team, we're going to do the so cal because there's just an opening right now”. And Ice Man says, “That's not how it works, that's not how protocol and Olympic team work. There's no I in team Maverick”. But Maverick can't hear, that's in the middle of the show.
But you never forget that, that's important. And at some point, I don't know if it's at the end of the movie, I guess it's at the very end of the movie, it pays off. Which I think we're like near to, it's basically like, it ends up at the end of the movie, the movie climaxes with, I mean unless you consider that a climax with the Goose stuff. Tom Cruise and Goose, they had so many points that they either came in second or third. Ice Man and Gordo came in first, I think they were top gum or maybe not, maybe Maverick and Goose were so far ahead. It doesn't really matter because Goose was off the team.
And Maverick's just trying to, he's just hanging on and they say, so they say you're graduating and they say they moved up the Olympics or something, or they moved up the date of when our competition is. And I don't know if Maverick found a rhythm with his new partner, and so what happens is they say, “Well we've gotta go”, and they say, “Maverick are you even going to go to the Olympics? Can you even focus?”. And I don't know what the debate is there and that leads to the Olympic finals, which they kind of skip over and they just kind of go into. And they say, “All the points are tied”, and this is the floor competition. And they kind of really do it in a very slow deliberate way.
So there's the three teams for the US, I think it's Ice Man and Gordo and another team, I don't know which team it was. And then Tom Cruise and his new partner versus the Russians. So again in there, artistic garb but again it makes them kind of faceless, you know the whole, like we said and what happens is the group four starts and Maverick gets started and then he goes cold. He says, “I can't even compete. I don't think I can even climb up my ribbons”. And they say, they need all the points but they also need, it's like the floor spacings all off, I guess the air floor in a sense.
And Ice Man says, “We need you”, then he says, “Nevermind”. But it ends up Ice Man and Gordo are doing really good and the other two teammates, who are still competitive, but then they get to the point where they have to do, there's also just an ice skating, figure skating you have required, you have to complete these different things, especially if you're asked to be judged on them or whatever. So they need this floor space to be able to complete these last things, they need their wing man. And they end up, because the other teams are using blocking, almost like picks in basketball to rack up points.
And they say again, “This is it. If we lose this symbolically we'll have lost it all for the US of A”. And so, Tom Cruise is like, “I can't get it, talk to me Goose”. And then something rings true to him, he says, “Wait a second, it's about mind over matter. It's just about focusing, I loose focus in the joy of air dancing, chewing gum”. And then he starts to chew gum and his teeth are like chicklets almost anyway, he smiles and he gets up there with his partner and he starts, they start to air dance. And then it changes the floor spacing and actually find more floor spacing available because two of the three Soviet teams were using blocking techniques and I think it's hard for them, after they've wrapped the ribbons around themselves, to get out of these blocking techniques.
So then Maverick and his partner and Ice Man and Gordo really start to shine and it ends up that, I think I don't know who ends up having to do the big quadruple combo, those ones where it's like two twists in a row. But they do and they win the gold. And they're so good that they say, “This is the first time in [inaudible 00:55:30] history that your performance out shined the other performances so much that we can't even give them a silver or a bronze”.
And then that dude who sings that song that they play on the fourth of July picnics, forgot his name, but proud to be an air dancer he sings. I think maybe I imagined that part but I'm proud to dance in the air for the US of A. That type of song. And that ends with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, or Ice Man saying, “You could be my wing man”, “No, you could be my wing man every time”. And I think that's it, I don't know if there was any other, other then them getting a gold medal and chewing gum, if that's it, yeah I don't know if there's an epilogue or anything like that after.
But that's basically the movie and I believe it was a summer blockbuster, I have no idea what year it came out. I would guess the later 80s, maybe '88, but I don't have any idea. And it'll be interesting when it comes out again, it will just be interesting to see. So I don't know, if that's this summer or next summer. Also, this was another reason I've been thinking about Top Gun is because I've been seeing the trailers for Mrs.Marvel, or Ms.Marvel and it looks like the start of that kind of has this Top Gun feel. And that's just a movie I think is going to be cool, so I'm looking forward to seeing that with my daughter.
But yeah that's a little bit about the movie Top Gum and you say, “Well I thought it was like”, yeah a lot of people did think it was about chewing gum or making gum. But then you saw it and you said, “No it's about air dancing”. And that was also the big air dancing peaked in the 80s where people actually thought it was cool and started getting into it in droves. And that created the foundation for Cirque Soleil, I mean I don't think anybody's ever told that story. That without Top Gum there wouldn't be Cirque Soleil. They'll say, “Oh no Scootch, you don't know what you're talking about. Totally unrelated”. And it's really really like, just picture Tom Cruise or Anthony Edwards or Tom Skeret, yeah I prefer to think of Michael Ironside up there swinging among the stars, chewing gum.
Also probably was Olympic regulations, you couldn't air dance and chew gum at the same time. So I don't know how, I think air dancer, maybe there was already a movie called air dancer, that's why they didn't do it, they had to come up with another thing. But yeah, just another movie that was part of my life that I kind of barely remember, Top Gum.