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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

‘Top Gun – Maverick’ and cognitive dissonance

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

Top Gun – Maverick

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Seriously. It took me half the film to forget that I can’t bear Tom Cruise.

And I do feel guilty. I’m reading reviews that are saying things like “(Cruise) is the last true movie star” and I am thinking ‘eeeeeeeek!!!!’.

Please bear this in mind as you read my experience of ‘Top Gun – Maverick’ as it is a tad biased against this action-hero actor :)

But really, how could you star the creepiest man on Earth in a movie that is so American hero. The sort of hero who (continually) risks his own life to save everyone else’s, who puts his career on line (numerous times) to prove that the supersonic war machine can fly at ludicrous speed and therefore the world can be saved from a seriously bad agent who has an impenetrable (not to Tom) fortress that is producing nuclear weapons …. and so on and so forth.

OK. I know Picasso and Sartre were misogynist pigs and I can still appreciate their respective arts. Drilling down to a more equitable level, I get that Johnny Depp is a truly damaged human being but this wouldn’t stop me chuckling through ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ (nor finding joy in anything starring Amber Heard, for that matter).

But Cruise? The seriously creepy weirdo who thinks he is a demi-God and who is a leading member of the Church of Scientology, which has been described as “a huge pyramid scheme cult” that has destroyed families, brainwashed individuals and preyed of the vulnerable (more here) …

Is Cruise so different from other stars with deeply embedded religious convictions? I’ve never reacted in a visceral way to deeply committed Catholic Mel Gibson and his anti-social behaviours (a little bit like Johnny and Amber) but I just can’t dissociate 'actor' Tom, from 'Scientologist' Tom? He is just too, too weird.

I can appreciate that the rest of the movie-going world who are raving about this film have cognitive dissonance, but I just can’t get there …. and actress Jennifer Connelly has to kiss Cruise in 'Top Gun: Maverick’. Again, ‘eeeek!’, I hope she got paid a lot.

(*A little accolade. The special effects in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ are excellent.)

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