4. Top Gun

4. Top Gun

4. Top Gun

Top Gun was the 1986 movie that tried to take our breath away as “Maverick” Mitchell (played by pipsqueak Scientologist Tom Cruise) got with “Charlie” Blackwood (Kelly McGillis, complete with mandatory Eighties perm). It was also the movie that taught us that male bonding was possible at altitudes of 30,000 feet and velocities of Mach 2. Yet, while dogfights in F-14s, chicks on motorcycles and quotes like “I feel the need… the need for speed!” got our young hearts racing in this somewhat over-hyped action flick, a less-memorable scene, its beach volleyball montage, worked — like all good such sequences should — as a kind of microcosm of what the movie was all about.

With tops off and bodies glistening in the sun, Maverick and his buddy “Goose” Bradshaw go up against rivals “Iceman” Kazansky (the permanently sneering Val Kilmer) and friend in a high-fiving, whooping excuse for homoeroticism dressed up as healthy male competition. “Let’s go!” shouts Maverick, and before you can say “butt slap!” we’re treated to cut after cut of grimaces, grunts, smashes, slow-motion dives in the sand, and macho embraces. Who wins the game? Who cares? After this testosterone-fueled romp of fighter pilot brotherhood, and music so tuneless it made you queasy, the audience was too out of breath to notice.