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  • James Lord

Good things come to those who wait

Top Gun was my favorite movie of all time, not only as a kid growing up - but even throughout my 20’s and 30’s and into my 40’s. As a junior in high school, my dream was to become a mechanic on an aircraft carrier by joining the Navy. (Unfortunately, as a senior in High School, I learned that when you have screws in your knee, not even the Coast Guard will accept you.)

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one inspired to join the military because of this movie. In the years surrounding the original release of Top Gun in 1986, enlistment in the Armed Forces skyrocketed. The funny thing is, the Air Force benefitted the most. (Keep in mind, Maverick was in the Navy, not the Airforce!)

Here we are a few decades later, and FINALLY, we can experience the latest Top Gun, Maverick. Tom Cruise had been approached countless times about making a sequel to the original film. Each time he was approached, he said, “Only when the story is right.”

Well, it took 36 years for the story to be exactly right. Not so coincidentally, the technology has improved dramatically since the first Top Gun was filmed. 6K photography, drones, lenses, editing, and HD Audio are all technologies currently available that hadn’t even been thought of during the original film.

Then the unthinkable happened… a worldwide pandemic. Covid-19 forced Tom Cruise to decide, “Should we release the film on streaming services or wait in hopes that Covid eventually passes?” Tom stuck to his guns (no pun intended). Tom created a film intended to be viewed on the big screen in theaters. He waited decades and spent years working to create this masterpiece that could only be truly appreciated if viewed in theaters.

Tom’s decision to be patient and wait paid off. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ sails past ‘Titanic’ at the all-time domestic box office, raking in $662 million, while globally, it has raked in over $1.35 billion (as of August 2022). My family has seen the film no fewer than four times in theaters. Top Gun Maverick has since become my new fav movie of all time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Tom Cruise fan or not. You have to respect Tom's courage and leadership throughout the decisions and risks they took when making and releasing this film. If you own the film, I encourage you to watch the “extras” included. You’ll quickly realize that Tom Cruise is much more than an actor. He’s a leader and a mentor to the cast & crew. This film could not have been made without him and his leadership. As the adage goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” It took 36 years. I’m glad we waited.

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