The late eighties tended to be short on satires.
Satires were great, but people were getting sick of the same tired jokes that come with farces.
One thing the 80s were not short on were action movies; a lot of them were a block of sharp drizzled with Velveeta.
The target of this movie was “Top Gun.”
I am hesitant to admit, I watched “Top Gun” way more than I should’ve. It came out around the same time that we had finally purchased a VCR and no one had ever shot fighter jets in a movie like that before. The jet-fighting was pretty amazing! I was still a little naive to understand that between the jet-fighting scenes, the movie was just corny at best. Can someone please explain the volleyball on the beach? … Please?
You have to mention Charlie Sheen first at this point in his life. Outside of a #Great small role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Major League,” Charlie Sheen was more well known and praised for his work in his dramatic films (“Lucas,” “Platoon,” “Wall Street,” “Young Guns,” etc.). He had gone on to make a number of different flops, two of which I really enjoyed: “Men at Work” with his brother Emilio and “The Rookie” starring alongside Clint Eastwood. He needed a win and “Hot Shots!” provided it.
Charlie is at his best when he is able to deliver ridiculous dialogue with the expectation of making it sound dire:
“I’ve fallen for you like a blind roofer.”
“My heart is falling down around my ankles like a wet pair of pants. My whole life, all I’ve wanted to do is fly. Bomb stuff. Shoot people down.”
This movie is full of great actors. Cary Elwes plays the Iceman role to counter Charlie and the underrated and often forgotten comic genius of Lloyd Bridges is on full display. If you are skeptical about this movie because of the polarity that Charlie Sheen can bring, see it for the benefit of Bridges. He is right up there with Leslie Nielsen and Walter Brennan when it comes to stealing a scene and has grand comedic delivery/timing.
I always think of “Hot Shots!” as the movie that gave Charlie a career. He had a decent one before this one, but he found his true niche in farcical comedy. There is something about his delivery of dialogue period, that makes us believe everything that he says; whether it be a drama or a farce–we buy it. That is a rare gift and Charlie made a career out of farces over the next decade.
Like any farce, if you’re not in the mood or if you’re feeling pretentious, do us all a favor and avoid it. If you need a laugh, watch this and the sequel back-to-back. They’ll deliver.
“You can be my wingman any time.”
“Bullshit! You can be mine.”
Yes, “Hot Shots!” was able to make lines like that even funnier…and on purpose…