Old School Blockbusting with 'Top Gun'

My review of Fast Five? Nothing spectacular. That's why I recommend you ring in summer blockbuster season with a throwback instead.

A “blockbuster,” by definition, is a work—usually a film—that is made at great expense and hopes to make a great deal of money. The first true blockbuster film was Jaws, and throughout the past 35 years, the traits of this sort of film have coalesced. There will be danger. There will be romance. There will be prominent Hollywood stars. There will be blood, but much of it will be off-screen.

Please note that There Will Be Blood was, by no definition, a blockbuster, though it was excellent.

Anyway, the established season for these flicks begins with May and more or less ends in mid-August (revolving pretty directly around summer vacation, by no small coincidence). If you’re near a calendar, you’ll note that May 1 is Sunday, meaning that this is the (tentative) beginning of blockbuster season. So, what do we have to bust our blocks this coming weekend?

According to an ad I heard on Pandora, “If you’ve been waiting for a reason to come to the movies, we’ve got FIVE.” This was followed by an unhealthy amount of tire screeching and bravado-soaked male voices: it was a spot for Fast Five, the latest effort in the still-enduring Fast and the Furious franchise. Five opens everywhere (literally everywhere, it’s probably playing in your basement) on Friday. Now, I’ll reserve my specific judgment for after I will have seen the film, but generally speaking: is this really what we’re down to with our tent-pole releases? Can’t we get a better early-May blockbuster than the fifth entry in a series about the exploits of bald men driving cars with lots of speed?

Thankfully, someone in the programming department at AMC Theatres recognized this dilemma. Furthermore, this kind soul knew two things: planes are better than cars, and the 1980’s were better than now. So you’ve got two chances this weekend to catch rare screenings of the 1986 classic Top Gun.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the film that sent all of us into the danger zone (and a great many into the recruitment office.) To celebrate, AMC is rolling out a digitally re-mastered print and throwing in a free poster to sweeten the deal.

As a relic of big, loud summer movies past, it remains an excellent example of the form. Whereas most current blockbusters either feature warmed-over stars of the past or force-fed young actors with little-to-no appeal (I’m looking at you, Shia LaBeouf), Top Gun featured a rising star who actually became a major star in a classically Hollywood performance. (Ignore any and all opinions you may have developed of Mr. Cruise in the intervening years, please.)

It’s also a great chance to show the kids what movies looked like when they were shooting the stunts for real. It’s hard to imagine the type of aerial daring exhibited in Top Gun in today’s movies when it can just be faked after the fact. Film is inherently illusion, but 25 years ago, the illusion was a lot riskier than it is today.

Most importantly, Top Gun is a ton of fun, and instantly the best bet going in local theaters this weekend; get there early and check out the surprisingly delicious sandwiches at the Loews Club Restaurant upstairs (the Buffalo Chicken is an over-filling delight.)

And if you see it Saturday, why not throw in a screening of Fast Five afterward? It’s dumb, but hey: The Rock is in this one!

Fast Five in wide release this weekend. Top Gun at AMC/Loews Waterfront 22, 300 Waterfront Drive W, Homestead. Sat., 12:30 p.m. and Mon., 7 p.m. Adults $7.50, children $5.00. Info: 412-462-6550, amctheatres.com/waterfront.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

The teen singing sensation from Mt. Lebanon’s tour concludes in Pittsburgh.
See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

See it Now: Trailer for Filmed-in-Pittsburgh “Fences”

Directed and starring Denzel Washington, the first big screen treatment of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.
2016 Athena Award Winners Announced

2016 Athena Award Winners Announced

Named for the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom, the ATHENA Awards are unique among regional honors for professional women because of the focus on developing the next generation of leaders through mentorship.
Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

The golf icon from Latrobe, Pa. died Sunday of complications from heart problems.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in October

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space for more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

Pittburgh’s Daya Dropping New Album, Headline Tour

The teen singing sensation from Mt. Lebanon’s tour concludes in Pittsburgh.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
e2 to Close in Highland Park

e2 to Close in Highland Park

Chef/owner Kate Romane will move on to a new project.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Halloween Hotlist: 10 Events That Prove Scaring is Caring

Pittsburgh is a wicked destination for spooky shenanigans. Here’s a sampling of what’s to come.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Pirates’ Ship Sunk But Salvageable

Of all that conspired to derail the Pirates after three consecutive trips to the playoffs, the unanticipated implosions of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano proved, in retrospect, to be more of a deal-breaker than anything else.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

Green Chic: The Boxcar Planter Set

The geometric set is available through the hip Ace Hotel shop.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

Reviews of the "Magnificent Seven" remake and "Storks," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

This Pittsburgh couple wanted their guests to be just as content as they were at their wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

Make Your Design Work for You: Mecox Opens In Pittsburgh

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Mecox will be opening its eighth location, but its first in Pittsburgh, in Shadyside.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education

Thiel College to Break Ground on New Science Facility

The project will cost $4.5 million and will connect two previously existing structures.

Comments