Top Gun is a ’80s classic, full of killer tunes, cocky pilots and hair so big Tom Cruise had to stand on a box to act next to it. Walk up to anyone on the street and asks for a quote, and they’ll blurt out “I’ve got a need for speed!” so quick, you’ll think they’re asking for drugs. But just because we love this ode to Reagan’s America, it doesn’t mean we don’t recognize how ridiculous it is. By any reasonable estimation, millions of dollars were spent on aviator glasses and baby oil alone. There’s a lot to make fun of here, and pop culture has never been shy about doing it. Before you catch a special 30th anniversary airing of Top Gun on IFC this Friday, Feb. 26th, at 10:30P, check out a few of the spoofs that can be our wingman anytime.
10. How Top Gun Should Have Ended
Let’s be honest. Top Gun is a lot of things, from a love letter to American exceptionalism to a homoerotic volleyball movie just itching to break free, but it isn’t the most coherent of movies at times. Internet nitpickers have long wondered why Maverick was willing to be Iceman’s wingman, even though the blonde hunk basically killed his best friend, Goose. Sure, a cheese ball of summer blockbuster action like this needs to wrap things up in a nice bow, but what the what was that all about? How It Should Have Ended, an animated web series exploring the plot holes in our favorite movies, hits the nail on the head here.
9. Honest Trailers Takes On Top Gun
Where How It Should Have Ended likes to hone in on one odd plot hole, the good folks at Honest Trailers show no such restraint. Their jobs are to break down every weird detail they can find, and boy does Top Gun prove fertile ground. This movie, “from the guy who made Alien and Blade Runner…’s brother,” starring “devout Catholic Tom Cruise” is already as close to parody as a film can get, without even knowing it. All the Honest Trailer folks had to do was show up.
8. Iceman – The Later Years From SNL
Top Gun is about a group of taut and tanned pilots, at that moment in their lives when blue-lit sex scenes set to Berlin songs and homoerotic volleyball help turn them from boys into men. It’s pretty hard to picture Maverick and Iceman as honest-to-God grown ups, although if reports are accurate, we may finally be subjected to it with an upcoming sequel. But back in 2000, SNL took their turn at speculating what Iceman’s later years would look like. It wasn’t pretty.
7. Liz And Jack High Five Like True Top Guns
Top Gun is full of iconic moments, from Tom Cruise’s need for speed to Val Kilmer’s teeth chomping skills. There are so many details to pick apart, and pop culture has been doing it pretty much since the movie was released. Here we see Liz and Jack exchange Maverick and Goose’s iconic high five, right down to the fist pump. Knowing Liz Lemon, Jack probably caught her on the highway to the sandwich-zone.
6. Peter Imagines He’s Maverick On Family Guy
If you were a little boy in the ’80s, you’ve had a Top Gun fantasy or two. When you shut your eyes, you can still feel yourself strapped into the cockpit, punking on the other pilots, and taking home the girl. It goes without saying that this dream is scored to some sweet Kenny Loggins tunes. Just ask Peter Griffin, who makes his fantasy about American as you can get, by adding a pickup truck into the mix.
5. Archer Takes The Highway To The Dangerzone
Outside of Burt Reynolds, few heroes have coattails Sterling Archer wants to ride more than Maverick. That’s why when Archer goes to his happy place, which often involves a lot of booze and pills, his delusions include shot-for-shot remakes of the “Highway to the Dangerzone” video, with him in the lead. Hey, we’ve all been there.
4. Quentin Tarantino Breaks Down Something Suspicious About Top Gun (NSFW)
Okay, this isn’t a spoof as much as a conversation, but Quentin Tarantino’s monologue in the movie Sleep With Me, breaking down the homosexual undercurrents of Top Gun, helped the world finally come to terms with what they’d thought all along. There’s something a little off about that movie, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
3. SNL Wonders Who Else Auditioned For Top Gun
It’s hard to picture Top Gun starring anyone but the chiseled, prototypical ’80s cast producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott assembled, but for the movie’s 25th anniversary, SNL took a swing at imagining who else could have been up for a part. And we have to admit, we’d love to see the version starring Sinbad and Tony Danza.
2. The Kroll Show Shows How Times Have Changed
Warfare has come a long way since the heady days of the Cold War. Today, hellfire is unleashed with the click of a button, and the greatest pilots in the military do their jobs from cubicles. Or at least, that’s what Nick Kroll would have us believe, in this sketch that shows us how drone pilots lives are more like The Office than Top Gun.
1. Hot Shots! Finds A Whole Movie By Making Fun of Top Gun
This movie has it all. Charlie Sheen before the tiger blood. Director Jim Abrahams, hot off of The Naked Gun. And source material so ridiculous, they squeezed out 84 minutes of jokes, and still had some left over for the sequel. Sure, this wasn’t the greatest comedy ever made, but it’s definitely the best one based on Top Gun.