The Return to the ’80s Podcast is back! We return in a big way, talking about one of the most iconic ’80s movies. Robert and Paul are joined once again by Marissa (who last appeared on the ’80s Crushes episode). So come cut loose with Return to the ’80s, where dancing IS allowed, and join in on the discussion of this classic movie, and enjoy some great music along the way!
Remember That Song We’ve always had time on our sides
But now it’s fading fast
We’ve got to, we’ve gotta make it last
On the show thirtysomething, what was the name of the company Michael and Elliot owned in the first season?
– Released February 17, 1984
– Made $80 million domestically with an $8 million budget
– Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack
– Lori Singer as Ariel Moore
– Chris Penn as Willard Hewitt
– Sarah Jessica Parker as Rusty
– John Lithgow as Reverend Shaw Moore
– Dianne Wiest as Vi Moore
– Jim Youngs as Chuck Cranston
– Directed by Herbert Ross
– Written by Dean Pitchford who also wrote or cowrote every song here
– The dancing feet in the opening credit sequence contained many of the cast and crew. Over 150 different pairs of feet were shot. The dancer with the gold shoes was actually Kenny Loggins.
– The scenes where Chris Penn learns to dance were purposely added to the script because he really didn’t know how to dance!
– With the Principal’s knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon attended the Payson Utah High School as “Ren McCormack”, a transfer student from Philadelphia to get into his role. With his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film. Bacon gratefully left with the location scouts on the afternoon of the first day.
– Pecking order: Wyoming < Nebraska < Illinois
– Opening scene
– Was that kid really sleeping? Reverend Shaw’s sermon
– Psycho? Rebel? You be the judge, while listening to Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around”
– What does Robert, who is an English teacher, think of book burning. We’ll give you 1 guess
– “Do you read much?” – Slaughterhouse Five discussion
– Drive-in diner dancing scene Dancing in the Sheets by Shalamar
– Ren pulls into school blaring Metal Health
– They sell men’s clothes where you got that? Ren meets Willard
– We find out dancing is banned
– Ren gets pulled over
– Ariel wants to go to college and get out of that town – “Somebody’s Eyes” by Karla Bonof
– Awesome tractor chicken scene – Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
– Angry dance – Never by Moving Pictures
– Dancing in Bomont is illegal. Underage drinking? Perfectly acceptable
– Look out Moving Pictures! Marissa and Robert perform “What About Me” for the first installment of Return to the ’80s Karaoke
– Ren and Ariel – train scene
– The gyrating in the seats from listening to music caused the car accident that killed Ariel’s brother. ALCOHOL HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!
– Willard can’t dance
– Creepy dude tries picking up high school student, Rusty
– ’80s Movie + Bar Scene = FIGHT!!!
– Shaw and Vi at church – You can lift a congregation up so high they have to look down to see heaven. But it’s the one to one where you need a little work.
– MONTAGE!!!!!! Let’s Hear It For the Boy by Deniece Williams
– Ren teaches Willard how to dance. In every possible place where they can be seen. In a town that does not allow dancing.
– “You’re so stupid!” – Cranston gives Ariel a beatdown
– Ariel gives Ren a bible with verses highlighted for him to use at the town council meeting
– They had it coming! Somebody throws a brick through the window of Ren’s little cousins who helped him teach Willard how to dance
– Town council scene
– There’s nothing like a good ole fashioned book burnin’!
– MONTAGE #2! Setup for the dance – ” I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” by Kenny Loggins
– Pick a winner! The dance begins – kinda. “Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
– Ninja Ren. The climactic fight scene
– Everybody cuts loose!
– Why?!?!? Footloose remake. Well, it’s not as horrible as the Dirty Dancing remake, so there’s that.
Runtime 110 minutes
Released May 16, 1986
Synopsis: As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom. – imdb
Last time I had seen this? Maybe 10-20 years? I had seen this many, many times throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
Tom Cruise currently has a smash hit out in theaters right now – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. But, he has been in blockbuster films for over 30 years, including this movie. Did this movie deserve to be a hit? Let’s find out.
The movie begins with Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) in one F-14A Tomcat, and Cougar and Merlin in the other, on a mission over the Indian Ocean. They come across a Russian jet. No shots were fired, but Maverick and Goose chased it off. Both Maverick’s and Cougar’s plane were low on fuel, so they headed back to their aircraft carrier. However, Cougar had a meltdown, and panicked. Against orders, Maverick headed back out and helped bring Cougar back in.
It turns out that Cougar was intended to be going to Top Gun – school for the best of the best pilots. But, Cougar gave it up because he has an unborn child he wants to see. Despite his recklessness, Maverick is sent in Cougar’s place.
Not long into this, we already get the “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” serenade scene, where Maverick tries to woo Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis). He gets shot down. It turns out that Charlie is a civilian Top Gun instructor. In a combat game, Maverick beat the Lieutenant Commander of the school, Jester (Michael Ironside). However, he broke a rule to do it. Then he topped it off by doing a flyby really close to the control tower. Maverick and Goose get in trouble with the commander, Viper (Tom Skerritt). Maverick also finds a rival in Iceman (Val Kilmer), who doesn’t care for Maverick’s methods. We find out that Maverick’s recklessness comes from compensating for his father. His father, Duke Mitchell, was shot down and killed in the Vietnam War.
Then we have the beach volleyball scene. Yeah, that was critical to move the plot along. Actually, that scene was probably in the movie to draw in the female demographic. Poor Anthony Edwards was the only one to leave his shirt on. I wonder if he started taking his shirt off, then saw the other guys, and said, “Aw, forget it!”
Then we have a blooming romance between Maverick and Charlie. Charlie is conflicted, because she doesn’t date her students. But, this is Tom freakin’ Cruise! Decisions, decisions. In class, she used one of Maverick’s missions as an example of what not to do. Maverick doesn’t take to kindly to the criticism. The have a confrontation, which leads to Maverick’s bedroom.
Maverick get’s humbled by his commander, as Viper and Jester use teamwork to defeat him in a training exercise. Next there is a party where we meet Goose’s family, which includes Meg Ryan as his wife. Since we meet his family, we know something not good is going to happen.
In the next training mission, Maverick and Iceman are taking on Viper. Iceman is having a hard time getting a lock on Viper. Maverick keeps trying to tell Iceman to move, and let him take the shot. Iceman finally had enough of the nagging, so he moved. But in the process, the jetwash of Iceman’s plane causes Maverick’s engines to flameout. So, he and Goose are spinning out of control, and Maverick can’t regain control. They eject, but Goose hits the glass canopy of their jet, and dies instantly.
Although the formal board of inquiry clears Maverick of responsibility, he feels guilt for Goose’s death, and loses his confidence. Maverick considers retiring. Then he spoke with Viper, and Viper told him that he served with Maverick’s father in Vietnam, and tells him classified details that show that Duke Mitchell died heroically. He tells Maverick that he can graduate tomorrow, if he chooses. Maverick chooses to graduate, but Iceman wins the award for top pilot.
Oh, but the movie is not over yet! During the graduation party, a few of the pilots, including Iceman and Maverick, are ordered to report to the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise. There is a crises situation where a communications ship drifted into hostile waters. There is an awesome air battle. Maverick learned from his mistakes, and even used one old trick. Celebration time! Maverick decides to become an instructor at the Top Gun school. At the bar near the school, Maverick has the place to himself. He plays “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” on the jukebox. Then Charlie walks in, and they are reunited. The end.
Does the movie stand the test of time?
Pretty much. The theme of personal growth is still appropriate. I don’t think movies, these days, have many music montages. Instead, I think there is a full movie about the beach volleyball scene. I believe the movie was called Magic Mike. Some other things don’t stand the test of time, although they were way better back then. First, the music is incredible. With Kenny Loggins, king of the ’80s movies soundtracks, performing a couple of songs, you know that this is an ’80s movie. They don’t have good music like that in movies these days. And second, no CGI was used. They used actual jets in the flight sequences. According to Wikipedia, “Paramount paid as much as $7,800 per hour for fuel and other operating costs whenever aircraft were flown outside their normal duties.” I’m sure some kind of CGI would be used in most movies. One major exception is the aforementioned Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which stars…Tom Cruise. Over the past month, all we have been hearing about, is that Tom Cruise actually did that stunt himself, on a real plane.
So, the final verdict is that this movie does stand the test of time, and more movies would do well these days if they took some notes from this movie.
Worth the Return?
It’s worth checking out again, if you haven’t seen it in a while. I felt that some parts were boring, but the action sequences were amazing. One funny thing I noticed was that I used to think Val Kilmer’s Iceman was an asshole in this movie. After just watching it again, I feel like I was on his side this time. But, I think him snapping his jaw at Maverick when Maverick said, “That’s right. I’m dangerous,” was one of the dumbest moments in movie history. So, I’m actually kind of mixed on this. Some parts were great, and other parts prevent this from being a perfect movie. One other note: Apparently, this movie caused a spike in Naval recruitment. I joined the Navy almost 3 years after this was released, and my decision definitely was NOT based on this movie.
Rating: 3 Dead Geese
What? Too soon?
You may have noticed that I did not really touch on the great music too much here. There is a reason for that. Tomorrow, Robert is going to take us on an in-depth journey of Top Gun‘s music. So, be sure to check back in tomorrow!
Maverick: [spots Charlie for the first time] She’s lost that loving feeling. Goose: She’s lo… No she hasn’t. Maverick: Yes, she has. Goose: She’s not lost that lo… Maverick: Goose, she’s lost it, man. Goose: Come on! Goose: [to himself] Aw sh… I hate it when she does that.
Question: What song do the townspeople sing just prior to being shot by the Russian and Cuban soldiers?
A. “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
B. “The Star-Spangled Banner”
C. “America the Beautiful”
D. “God Bless America”
Last Question: What is the name of the aircraft carrier that we see in both the beginning and ending of “Top Gun”?
A. USS Missouri
B. USS Intrepid
C. USS Enterprise
D. USS Alabama
Answer: C. USS Enterprise
The USS Alabama and USS Missouri were both Battleships in WWII. The USS Intrepid was decommissioned in 1974. In 1982 the Intrepid became the foundation of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. You can still do tours on the ship.
The original USS Enterprise was an Aircraft Carrier in WWII and was decommissioned in 1947. There have been more aircraft carriers that bear the name, including the one in Top Gun. It is the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The Enterprise Commissioned November 25, 1961, Enterprise was originally designed for a 25-year service life, but due to maintenance and upkeep, it has served for nearly 50 years and has been engaged in every major combat operation over the past five decades.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 Sailors and Marines have served aboard the Enterprise.
This is another repost from last 4th of July. On this great day, I present to you, once again, the top 5 patriotic movies of the ’80s:
5. The Right Stuff
This movie, released in 1983, was based on Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program. It begins with Chuck Yaeger (Sam Shepard) breaking the sound barrier, and then tells the story of the pioneers of the space program known as the Mercury Seven. This had a great cast including Scott Glenn as Alan B. Shepard, Ed Harris as John Glenn, Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper, and Fred Ward as Gus Grissom. The story told about the Space Race between the U.S. and Russia, and showed the courage and strength of the astronauts despite their flaws.
Released in 1989, Glory told the story of Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), during the Civil War as he volunteered to lead the first company of black soldiers. deal with the prejudices of both the enemy (who had orders to kill commanding officers of blacks), and of his own fellow officers. This is another movie that showed Americans’ resolve and strength. Denzel Washington (fresh off of St. Elsewhere) was incredible in this movie, and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Not too shabby considering he played alongside Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) also starred. This is one of my favorite Civil War movies alongside Gettysburg. The acting is outstanding, and the battle scenes are outstanding.
3. Top Gun
Remember when Tom Cruise could actually draw in an audience? He was at the top of his game when this movie was released in 1986. Tom Cruise played a navy pilot called “Maverick” who gets an opportunity to train at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School along with his partner “Goose” (ER‘s Anthony Edwards). “Maverick” has a rivalry with Val Kilmer’s “Iceman”, and falls for an instructor Kelly McGillis played called Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood.
Cruise basically plays the same character that he played in The Color of Money, Cocktail, Days of Thunder, and A Few Good Men – the arrogant, cocky jerk who erally has a good heatr, but needs a wake-up call. But this was a fun movie. Especially towards the end, when the pilots need to go into battle for real. And, you can’t go wrong with a Righteous Brothers song (“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”), as well as a couple of great Kenny Loggins songs – “Danger Zone”, and “Playing With the Boys”. I could have done without that volleyball scene, and Val Kilmer’s reaction when Cruise says “That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.”
2. Red Dawn (’84) This 1984 film showed what we never thought could happen, the U.S. gets invaded by Russia. This movie had a great cast including Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey.
It was freaky to see the Russians parachute in a field outside a high school. And then they open fire on a teacher when he goes out to confront them. The main characters escaped, and equipped themselves, then returned and began an armed resistance against the occupation forces—calling themselves “Wolverines” after their high school mascot. They defy the odds, and become a thorn in the Russians side. With their numbers dwindling, the Wolverines decide to escape the area and try to get more help. It seems that brothers Jed (Patrick Swayze) and Matt (Charlie Sheen) sacrifice themselves to get the rest of the gang free. It doesn’t show them being killed, but in the epilogue of the movie, it mentions that the U.S. successfully repelled the invading forces. And it says “… In the early days of World War 3, guerrillas – mostly children – placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation should not perish from the earth.”
1. Rocky IV
It seems kind of silly, but if you think about it, this 1985 movie, had underdog Americans against steroid pumped Russians (There’s no truth to the rumor that Ivan Drago went on to become a Major League Baseball star). It had a patriotic song – “Living in America” by James Brown. Not to mention, it had Rocky himself – who was from Philadelphia, home of Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell, and cheese steaks! The fact that the boxers don’t know how to block punches in the Rocky movies makes them more exciting. And it is funny how Rocky, through his strength and perseverance, eventually gets the Russian fans on his side.