What does getting older have to do with Top Gun?


Image courtesy Kalexander2010 via flickr.

I’ve known for a while that I’ve gotten old. I call it Old Age Awareness and there are obvious clues…

–When I go out, everything and everyone seems too loud. But at home the TV is never loud enough.

–Then there’s this scenario:

My husband: Do you want to watch a movie?

Me: Looks at the clock and realizes this must be a joke. It’s already 9:00 p.m.!

–And this happens more often than it should: Wait, how do you spell ‘hello’ again? No, that can’t be right.

At least one of these little reminders pops up on a daily or weekly basis.

Then there are other clues. The ones that crop up when you are in the presence of someone much younger than you, who by the way is very adept at pointing out how old you are.


Much younger cousin: We’re going to see Macklemore tonight.

Me: What’s a Macklemore?

Much younger cousin: He’s a singer.


Yep. This is him. I hear he likes to go thrift store shopping. (Image courtesy San Francisco Foghorn via Flickr CC 2.0)

Me: Oh. Never heard of him.

Much younger cousin: Yeah. *Giggles and points at me* It’s because you’re old.

Me: Sighs and decides to Google Mackelmore when I get home. A few minutes later I can’t remember what I was supposed to Google. An hour later I remember and decide to write it down, but I can’t find my quill and parchment.

Well, the latest clue that jumped up and smacked me in the face had to do with movies. Sure, I already knew I was out of touch with most of the new movies out there. The only reason I’ve seen Bridesmaids and The Hangover is because my younger cousin bought me a DVD player (Ha! I almost typed VCR) and then gave me her movies.

And I have a problem with most big budget action movies made today. Hold on, let me go get my cane so I can wave it in the air all angry like. This is what I’m thinking when I watch these movies: This movie relies too heavily on special effects. Where is the character development? I don’t even care about these characters. The computer animation is too much. It’s taking away from the story. Remember when the movie had a plot? It wasn’t just about the computer animated three-headed, mind reading, furry but also scaly, snail who types 80 words per minute. Ugh. How am I supposed to believe any of this is happening if the graphics are too real?

But this latest whack with the “you’re old stick” came from my much younger cousin’s failure to have seen, and subsequently fallen in love with, the movie Top Gun. Wait, what??

Nope, he’s never seen it. I know, I know. It’s like saying you’ve never seen Casa Blanca or Gone With the Wind. (They’re both on my to be watched list)

I was gutted. How can someone not have seen a movie that was so iconic? So brilliant? A movie that factored so significantly in my life. I don’t care that it was made almost a decade before he was born.

Top Gun

Image courtesy pculter via Flickr CC SA 2.0)

It’s the movie that gave us Maverick and Goose. Oh, Goose. I still weep for you.

The movie that gave us lines like:

“I feel the need… the need for speed.”

Sheer poetry, I say.


“You can be my wingman any time.”

“Bulls**t! You can be mine.”

Hold on, let me wipe the single tear from my eye.


“Talk to me Goose.”

The simplicity of the line is what gets me. It says so little, yet says so much.

The movie also gave us Kenny Loggins’s Danger Zone. A shiver runs up my spine when the opening sequence of the movie plays.

Yes, I’ve been known to act out the flight deck signals as the opening credits roll. Or when Danger Zone happens to find itself on my iTunes playlist. How can you not?

Navy shooter signals launch

The signal to launch. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Jennifer Windram recreating top gun

My re-enactment. It’s probably not regulation, but it’s the only yellow top I had.

US Navy

The signal to hold position. (Image courtesy the US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, we have a lot of hot sauce in the house. My husband loves the stuff.

Navy aircraft carrier

The signal it’s okay to launch. (Image courtesy US Navy via defense.gov)


This one just reminded me (again) how old I was.

But alas, my dear, sweet, much younger cousin has never experienced the cinematic wonder that is Top Gun. And I wonder how many other young people are out there, walking the city streets, with no understanding of what it truly means to be the best of the best.

I might be old, and unable to remember where I put my keys, but to me Top Gun will always be about more than fighter planes.

48 thoughts on “What does getting older have to do with Top Gun?

  1. Nicole Roder says:

    I had this conversation with a young barista at Starbucks just a few months ago. That movie is a classic. Love the whole thing, but it’s worth it just for the volleyball scene. 🙂

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Oh, funny. There’s just something about the movie. After writing the post, I had to watch a few clips of it on You Tube. Sadly, I don’t own it. Maybe one day…

      Yeah, the volleyball scene is one of the better ones. Pure movie magic 🙂

  2. Jim Lawlor says:

    ”This one reminded me (again) just how old I was.’
    Yes, and that was an easy one…. (Not even an attempt at re-enacting Tom’s motorbiking along the airstrip, or flying upside down taking a pic of the Russian MIG, or landing on an aircraft carrier, or….)

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Yeah. Those would have been just plain dangerous, especially at my old age. And they would require a slightly bigger investment in props, but they’d likely be priceless. Hmmm…. my coffee table might make a decent landing strip…

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    “but I can’t find my quill and parchment.”—Haha, loved that! What a funny post. I feel your pain. I often forget what I walked into the room for. But I still love action movies, even the ones today. Well, not so much the ones with the machines. I just watched Pacific Rim, and if it wasn’t for the fantastic Idris Elba, I would’ve given up. It’s not a bad movie; I just prefer humans battling it out rather than machines and aliens.

  4. Y. Zheng says:

    Ha ha, now I feel old. I still got my VCR stacked in the basement with a bunch of other boxes. Nice pics at the end but you’re so right about movies these days. They all seem to be competing for who has the coolest effects. I can’t even remember when was the last movie I watched.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      We finally got rid of ours, but I still have movies that I recorded on VHS tapes. I just can’t seem to let them go.

      The whole special effects thing tends to drive me crazy. I love the movies without all the fancy computer generated effects like Labyrinth, The Neverending Story and Star Wars. They just seemed more “real” to me.

  5. M. C. Dulac says:

    That made me laugh so hard I almost spilt my coffee! You’re not old – noooooooo! Writers never get old! You can create compelling young heroines well into your nineties 😉

    That said, I do believe these fancy wine bars are getting far too loud.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      That’s very true! I’ve already lived vicariously through my vampires (who will never get older), so who knows what’s next.

      Yeah, wine bars are notorious for having loud and rambunctious customers 🙂

  6. fudgeandpoppy says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how much I love your re-enactment photos – they took my breath away (did you see what I did there?). I feel super old when talking to my nieces (Moshi Monsters, strange breathing sleeping dog toys and their love of One Direction.) I am always aghast at anyone who has never watched any of the Star Wars films. I once spent a whole holiday in the US listening to two tapes on my Walkman – one was the Bodyguard Soundtrack and the other was the Top Gun soundtrack.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Oh, yeah. I saw it. Very nice!!

      Okay, I’ve heard of One Direction (I might even recognize a song or two), but I have no idea what a Moshi Monster is and what do you do with a breathing, sleeping dog toy? Is it like a pound puppy?

      I love the original Star Wars movies. Are you telling me there are people who haven’t seen them???

      Well, what else would you listen to on your Walkman? Hmmm… I did enjoy the mixed tapes that I exchanged with my friends…

      • fudgeandpoppy says:

        It is difficult to explain a Moshi Monster. Do you ever remember Monster in My Pocket? Little rubbery monster type toys. Moshi Monsters are a bit like that – only sort of Manga-ized. Big eyes, all colours and shapes. Just weird. They also have a website to play games and my niece (when she was 9 or younger) got my sister’s credit card and bought a subscription to the site. She got into a lot of trouble for that!

        The dog thing freaks me out. It’s like a toy dog, but it is all curled up in a bed and when you turn it on it breathes like it is sleeping. Scary.

        And ahhh – mix tapes! It was always a big thing when a guy you liked made you a mix tape. I must have made a zillion of those for boys. Hard to make a mix-playlist for someone now.

        • jennifer Windram says:

          Okay, I had to look both up online. They look like something I would have played with as a kid. The breathing thing is a little weird, but don’t that have dolls that go to the bathroom?

          I can’t believe she bought a subscription, although I think that happens more and more these days. Very sneaky!

          Oh, yes. A mixed tape was a big deal. You could sit and analyze the meaning of every song. And remember how long it took to make them? A sign of real dedication…

          It’s a little different now. There’s probably a way to make one, but I’m too old to know how 🙂

          • fudgeandpoppy says:

            Well yes, dolls that go to the bathroom are similarly creepy!

            I think most mix tapes I ever made for boys usually had the same songs on them!

            I do remember one I got from a guy and it had Faraway So Close by U2, Fields of Gold by Sting on it amongst others.

            Those were the days. In fact I’ve been inspired by the whole retro tape thing – keep your eye out for a new blog post soon!

  7. April says:

    I loved your comment about it being so loud when going out. That’s why we don’t eat out much. It may mean popcorn for dinner, but it’s quiet. Love the reenactment shots. You have something going there. Top Gun is my husband’s favorite, played REALLY loud. In fact, our last cat we got we debated whether to call him Goose or Maverick. Even though we misnamed him because I didn’t think Goose fit him at the time. So, Maverick it was. Goose fits him much better now.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      The re-enactment shots were fun and my husband is a good sport about helping me take them. He doesn’t even flinch now when I ask, “Where are my bike helmet and snowboarding gloves? Oh and do we have earmuffs? No wait you have ear protection. I need to borrow those.” He just knows we’re doing some sort of blog picture.

      Top Gun’s been one of my favorite movies and Netflix had it in their online streaming queue for the longest time. I watched it a couple of months ago and now it’s gone. They took it away! And now, after writing this post, all I want to do is watch it…

      Makes sense, as he got older he became more of a Goose?

  8. Lindsay Pate says:

    Amazing post and seriously amazing pictures to accompany it. Your words made me giggle and I nearly fell over with the pics. You’re not so old cousin 🙂 Glad you could expand his world with such an important piece of movie history. I’m sure I have some more movies for you to borrow.

    • jennifer Windram says:


      Yeah, well, he still has to WATCH the movie. How will he ever know what it means to be “the best of the best”?

      I’m sure you do. Of course, I have the tendency just to re-watch all my old favorites 🙂

  9. Marcy says:

    You are not too old, cousin Chris is just very young! Adorable pictures. Husband Jim has never seen Top Gear. Great movie.

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    Yes, everything out in the world is too darn noisy. On the rare occasions when my husband and I go to movies, I dread the previews of coming attractions because they are SO LOUD. My ears will hurt while they’re playing. But here’s something you might have a hard time believing—I’ve never seen Top Gun, even though I was only in my 20s when it came out.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      What?!?!?!?! NO!! You must see it. Of course, I’m not sure if it’s one of the those things you had to see when you were younger or when it first came out to really love. For example, I love the movie Overboard, but if I watched it for the first time today, I’d probably be like: meh.

      So, I think you should get a copy of it immediately and then watch it like a good 10 or 15 times to really let the magic sink in. So, you really get a good understanding of its cinematic brilliance. It’ll be a great excuse to put off that WIP another few days 🙂

  11. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    I don’t feel old. It probably isn’t true, but I feel just as strong, smart and fast as when I was 20. However, my niece is now 3 inches taller than me and turns 16 in a few days. That makes me feel old. My little sister, who I still regard as a kid, is now 30 and has two kids. That makes me feel old. And realizing that Top Gun is 28 years old! That makes me feel ancient!

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I don’t really feel that old, but then my cousin will go and say something that makes me realize there are really huge generational gaps and I feel like I’ve become my mom rambling on about the good ole days.

      28! Thanks for bringing that to my attention…

  12. gpeynon says:

    In almost an antithesis to this, I showed my two girls Ghostbusters and the Goonies recently and they loved them. I was also surprised that they liked A Hard Day’s Night so much too. I think they may be a little too young for Top Gun yet though.

    Great post… great pics too.

  13. Marcy says:

    The whole world too loud, indeed it is! So quiet when we get to the land in Westcliffe. Voice seems to carry for miles. As for watching Overboard, do not forget another favorite, Splash!

  14. Travelling Macs says:

    I must be (denial lol) getting old. Just today I asked my son to ‘tape’ me a TV show. Who ‘tapes now? Its all on a computer box. Lucky he is (just) old enough at 24 to remember the VCR. Enjoyed reading your post

  15. librarylady says:

    Hah, you make me laugh. You cane waving angry old lady you – we should hang out at the movies together. See that person standing in the middle of the movie and stomping out because it’s way too loud and filled with too many carwrecks and scenes of mass desturction? that’s me. I’ve had it with things being so in my face and I can’t take it anymore.
    On the lighter side, I tried for years to get my daughter and daughter in law to watch Gone with the wind with me, but it’s never happened. I picture a GWTW party where we all were period comstumes and sip . . . oh whatever that drink is that they sip in the south as they sit on their porches . . . You want to come? You can wear the hat you have on in your gravatar picture.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Oh, the GWTW party sounds fabulous. I love dressing in costume, especially if I get to wear a hat. People don’t wear hats enough anymore. I mean, what’s happened with the world? There’s too many car crash scenes and not nearly enough hat-wearing 🙂

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