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Top Gun is a motion picture. Say what you will about it: it’s a film, and that’s undeniable. When Tony Scott settled into the director’s chair on the set of Top Gun and shouted “action” into a cartoony metal bullhorn, there’s no doubt that he knew he was about to do some cinema at American audiences. There’s also no doubt that he knew exactly what kind of movie he was about to produce: a cautionary tale of heterosexual tragedy.
(Michael Bay was 21 years old when Top Gun came out in theaters. His directorial debut came just nine years later, with the movie Bad Boys, which was also a Bruckheimer/Simpson picture. In the interim, Bay had time for over 42,000 screenings of Top Gun. It explains a lot. It explains Armageddon, which usually defies understanding. I’m not here today to talk about Michael Bay, but it was important ...