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 ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.
Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

Joe Manganiello Plays the Good Guy for Children’s Hospital

The actor, director and Mt. Lebanon native is joining the board of trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Pittsburgh Man Sets World Record By Lifting 1 Million Pounds

Matt Scoletti accomplishes the feat in just under nine hours.
Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

Why Thanksgiving Comes Every Day for 3 Pittsburgh-Area Men

They owe their lives to one man who lives on in each of them.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in December

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

50+ Things That Will Make You Enjoy Winter in Pittsburgh

Love it or hate it, winter is upon us. Because some of us may think there's a lot not to like, we bring you 50+ things to eat, drink and do –– and some helpful tips –– that'll keep the blues at bay.
Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

Pittsburgh Magazine presents the honorees from its inaugural Excellence in Nursing awards. Meet our judges' choices and learn what makes them remarkable in their field.
Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

Choreographed Style: Winter Fashion with The Pittsburgh Ballet

A regal ruggedness characterizes the season's menswear looks.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

The Mosaic Stairway: You've Never Seen Steps Like These

When viewed from the foot of the South Side Slopes of Pittsburgh, the stairs ascending Josephine Street form a massive image that consists of more than 7,500 individual mosaic tiles.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

The Café Carnegie Now Open in Oakland

Chefs Sonja Finn and Becca Hegarty helm the refurbished restaurant at the Carnegie Museums.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

Best of the Burgh: Pumpkin Patches in the Pittsburgh Area

We’ve compiled the best pumpkin patches for fall family fun.

Comments


Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

Why Wait For Summer? Head to Kennywood's Holiday Lights

The park's winter celebration is great for families and a fine choice for anyone who loves Christmas (and/or funnel cake).

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

Big Ten-Champion Nittany Lions More Worthy Than Buckeyes

For some reason Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in the latest playoff rankings and Penn State is No. 7. That has to change if Penn State beats Wisconsin on Saturday night.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Locket Full of Joy

Locket Full of Joy

The handcrafted piece opens to hidden treasures.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

Ten Upcoming Flicks Every Oscar-Watcher Should See

PM film critic Sean Collier picks ten forthcoming flicks likely to rake in nominations for the 89th Academy Awards.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Thinking Small: Pittsburgh Weddings That Are Intimate Affairs

Bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to these couples’ wedding ceremonies.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

Seasonal Shopping: CMOA Store Holiday House, J.Crew Mercantile Opens Doors

The Carnegie Museum of Art is full of Christmas cheer — and great deals. Plus, get the scoop on The Block Northway’s latest retail offering.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

Classic Christmas Tale Gets a Twist at Slippery Rock University

An adapted version of “A Christmas Carol” will be presented during a seven-show run.

Comments