July 14, 2022 Editor

Right into the political danger zone

Marc Tracy, who regularly covers the intersection of culture and politics, writes about Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster.

Author HeadshotBy Marc Tracy

July 14, 2022

image above: In “Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise trains a group of young pilots for a dangerous mission against an unidentified hostile country. Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

WN: If “woke” signifies that I’m a follower of Jesus who taught we gain by losing; we overcome by loving our enemies; we see “the poor” as especially blessed by God, one whom we at least try to imitate–then I’m all in. Even if such imitation for me falls short in its aspiration, let alone actions . . .

See for instance my post:

Gustavo Gutiérrez and the preferential option for the poor
November 14, 2020.

I also like the direction of this post:

Am I Woke? Perhaps I am Awakening
August 1, 2021.


Top Gun: Maverick,” the inescapable Tom Cruise blockbuster sequel, has been hailed as a cinematic throwback.

Many critics have interpreted its story of an increasingly obsolete pilot being called back to teach today’s young people a thing or two for one last mission as a not-so-subtle allegory for the film itself. The movie uses relatively few computer-generated effects, stars the now-60-year-old Cruise and still managed to rake in more than $1 billion globally.

But amid praise from filmgoers who enjoyed the realistic dogfights, filmed with real planes that the real actors rode in, another community has embraced the movie for representing its values and vindicating its outlook: conservatives.

In a recent essay that discussed movies including “Top Gun: Maverick,” A.O. Scott, The Times’s co-chief film critic, argued that one notable aspect of the conservative movement is its antagonism toward the entertainment industry.

“The modern right,” Scott wrote, “defines itself against the cultural elites who supposedly cluster on the coasts and conspire to impose their values on an unsuspecting public. In this account, Hollywood acts in functional cahoots with academia and the news media.”

And conservative activists’ enmity toward Hollywood and other cultural tastemakers has perhaps never been more conspicuous.

An All-American hit

Box-office information does not contradict conservatives’ case. About 55 percent of the opening weekend sales, an unusually high proportion, came from ticket-buyers over 35, according to Paramount.

And — atypically for big box-office hits in this era — “Top Gun: Maverick” has made more money in the United States and Canada than in the rest of the world, according to Box Office Mojo.

Which is itself a point of pride for some of the film’s conservative backers: “‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Reaches $1 Billion Worldwide — Without China,” read a Breitbart headline last month. (The film was not released in China; earlier, a Chinese company withdrew its share of financing for the film because of its pro-American message, according to a Wall Street Journal report.)

Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative pundit who co-founded the website The Daily Wire, had predicted in his rave review that the movie would do better domestically than abroad. “The film itself is pretty red, white and blue,” he said. “That’s just assumed as the backdrop. Which is the way movies used to be.”

Please click on: Right into the political danger zone

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.