Can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Top Gun: Maverick deserves an Oscar for Best Picture

And, the Oscar for Best Picture goes to… (opens envelope) Top Gun: Maverick!” The crowd rises to its feet, applauding, as Tom Cruise flashes his famous Hollywood smile. Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski clutch the Oscar trophy on stage. Cruise looks at the camera and begins his acceptance speech by saying, “Talk to me, Goose…”

Make it so, Hollywood. Make it so.

My wife and I are surprised at how much we enjoyed the Top Gun sequel. We walked out of Flix Brewhouse Saturday night with our hearts pounding. Our bucket of popcorn barely touched because we were so focused on the movie. Just two hours before, we walked in bracing for disappointment. Sure, we had heard all the rave reviews. But, c’mon… how good could this sequel really be?

     If I could describe the “Top Gun: Maverick” in two words, it would be: It’s perfect. “Top Gun: Maverick” shattered a box office record for the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever – raking in more than $156 million in tickets sales in the United States alone. Movie fans waited 36 years for this sequel. It was supposed to be released in 2020 but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, Cruise said he refused to allow this movie to go direct-to-streaming. I thought it was arrogant when Cruise stated he makes films as an “experience” for movie theaters, not at home viewing. I get it now. There’s no way in the world “Top Gun: Maverick” translates to Netflix. It must be watched on the big screen.

This movie will be ranked as one of the greatest sequels of all-time. Very rarely is a sequel as good as the original. There have been some that pulled off this rare feat, including “The Godfather: Part II, “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Terminator 2: Judgement Day, “Toy Story 2” and “The Dark Knight.” Add “Top Gun: Maverick” to that distinguished list.

An hour after watching the movie, I talked with friends about recent attempts at sequels and reboots. “Cobra Kai” did an excellent job of rebooting “The Karate Kid” into a TV show format. I’m also impressed with how Sylvester Stallone spun “Rocky” into “Creed,” which is a fantastic franchise starring Michael B. Jordan. As much as I enjoyed those reboots and sequels, “Top Gun: Maverick” soared above them all. It seriously deserves Oscar buzz.

It has been a long while since an action movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Normally, the prize goes to an artsy film, like when “Parasite” defeated “Joker” in 2019. But, it has happened before: Russell Crowe’s “Gladiator” won in 2000… and Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” in 1995. The last time a sequel won Best Picture was back in 2003, when “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” took home the prize.

     Tom Cruise has never won an Academy Award but has been nominated three times – twice for Best Actor (“Jerry Maguire” and “Born on the 4th of July”) and once for Best Supporting Actor (“Magnolia”). Cruise is one of the greatest actors in Hollywood history. Like him or not, he’s a living legend. We can all rattle off several movies that we’ve loved over the years. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… “Top Gun: Maverick” is his best movie ever. It’s that good. It’s Oscars good.
– Michael Jimenez