Okay, so most of the hype is just about over…but have you seen Top Gun: Maverick yet? No?! With all the streaming possibilities available? Honestly, there is nothing like the big screen, though. Are you still too much in love with Top Gun and don’t feel like it can’t be replaced? Nothing will compare? I get that, I feel you, I do. Buuuut, really, its not quite the same. It’s different but still nostalgic and really shouldn’t be missed. I could lip sync to the first one withmy eyes closed. I also own it on laser disc (the second best way to watch over the theater) and watched it (uh-gen) before I went this past year to see Maverick.
Now, let me tell you about that one. It.was.fantastic. Tom Cruise does this little commentary on the big screen in the beginning and was about to burst my love bubble (No more talkin!! Start the movie!) but then it began. That wonderful, booming, draaaawn out music you can’t help but get excited about and recognize (sort of like the Law & Order ba-booms). Then the jets fly by...PHWOOSH…sigh. I loved piecing parts of the new Top Gun with the old, figuring out who was who and what happened, etc. Besides watching Maverick in the theater, I have since rented it digitally and watched it 24-7 for 2 days until my rental was up and then a TV channel streamed it for free after that. I was in heaven. NOW, it is also out on DVD. From the library. FOR FREE. So.many.ways. to watch! I may or (may not) be able to lip sync all the words to this movie as well.
Now, I bet you are thinking, what does Top Gun or Top Gun: Maverick have to do with Books and Movies? Both are definitely not books that were made into movies. But, as we waited for Maverick to come out, at the library we found there was an uptick in anything related to either movie in anticipation. Tom Cruise wanted the movie to be released in the theater, not a digital release, which had us scrambling to feed that fuel during the wait. While our library carries some terrific segues to the movie, thank goodness for the option of MeLCat to offer what we do not.
If you are feeling the need, the need for speed (and dog fighting), Dave Baranek’s memoir fills that void in Topgun days : dogfighting, cheating death, and Hollywood glory as one of America's best fighter jocks. He spent his career as a pilot and instructor at the elite Fighter Weapons School and was a consultant on the first Top Gun. Talk about an amazing career.
How about something more up close and personal? Try Top Guns: The Aces, a history channel documentary that gives you an inside look at the intense training that forges the world's best pilots. If either of those adds fuel to your fire and you want to learn more, below is a list of some other nonfiction titles that may just do that (please note, there are many, many more titles on the subject, this is just a little teaser to get you hyped up):
- Top Gun: American Story by Dan Pedersen
- Top Gun’s Top 10 Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit by Guy M. Snodgrass
- Strike: Beyond Top Gun by Rick Llinares
- Eye of the Viper: the Making of an F-16 Pilot by Peter Aleshire
- Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat by Dan Hampton (actually, ANY of his books)
- Jet Girl: My Life in War, Peace, and the Cockpit of the World's Most Lethal Aircraft, the F/A-18 Super Hornet by Caroline Johnson
- F-14 Tomcat by David F. Brown (available through traditional interlibrary loan--ask a librarian!)
- One Hundred Years of U.S Navy Air Power, edited by Douglas V. Smith
If you like fiction books and the comraderie you feel when watching Top Gun, try some of these authors that focus on military thrillers:
- Stephen Coontz (Jack Grafton or the Deep Black series)
- W.E.B. Griffin
- Joe Weber (lots more titles through MeLCat)
If you like something a little lighter and maybe love the romance of it all with some great flying action (with female pilots!), try these fiction titles by a former Navy helicopter pilot Anne A. Wilson:
But, if your attention span is a little shorter after the last couple of years, try looking at some fascinating dialogue with a few elite military pilots after watching Top Gun: Maverick in a private screening. It’s exciting to listen to them affirm the authenticity of the flying in the movie and stating it was some of the best on the big screen EV.ER. (Click on the picture to view)
Lastly, there is an interesting article by Jake Kring-Schreifels from The Ringer describing what training and classes the cast went through to make this sequel credible.
So, there you go…that is how Top Gun falls into the Fine Print category of Books to Movies. Not because the movies were books first but how we can correlate books to expand on movies and help enhance the full movie experience. Enjoy! Don't think, just do.
P.S. I truly recommend listening to the soundtracks to Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick while reading any of the above titles to fully appreciate them all.