Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick

Will computer games one day be played exclusively by computers? That’s really the takeaway from the latest installment of the Top Gun franchise. It’s also “military kitsch” and perfect if you’re graduating from those model cars that used to be sold in the corner newspaper store. Of course Kasparov v Deep Blue set the stage, but most computers will beat even legendary Top Gunners like Maverick (Tom Cruise). The movie trumpets the human element in aerial "dog fights." The position averred by Ed Harris (Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain)  that elite fliers are a thing of the past—or movies—is more to the point. Why risk a life when you have drones that are getting smarter every day? The problem with automation is that it’s not Oedipal. You aren't going to have standoffs between surrogate fathers like Maverick and characters with names like "Hangman" (Glenn Powell) and "Sparrow" (Miles Teller). No computer is going to bed the barkeep "Penny" (Jennifer Connelly) though with the advent of  sophisticated "facial recognition," one is likely to come along who appreciates her eyes. There's  a wistfulness about the current Top Gun. It’s a little like John Ford making Stagecoach in 1939. By then everyone knew that the real story was told in the backseat of a car.

Read "Pet Buddha" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

and listen to "Hold My Hand" by Lady Gaga (from Top Gun: Maverick)

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