‘I saw ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ last week,’ young Persephone revealed while helping to tidy up after dinner.
‘You and half the world’s population,’ responded her father. ‘I read that Tom Cruise has picked up an outrageous multi-million dollar bonus now that ‘Maverick’ is one of the biggest box office successes of all time. Imagine, if it’s not already bigger than ‘Gone With the Wind’ or ‘Mary Poppins’, then it will be before the end of the year. I can’t believe that it is better than the real classics.’
‘The real classics? You mean stuff that came out before 1970?’
‘I mean, dear girl, that it is hard to comprehend how this ‘Maverick’ could be rated more highly than ‘The Quiet Man’ or ‘The Magnificent Seven’ or just about anything with Humphrey Bogart in the cast.’
‘Well, do you intend to find out for yourself? Will you be checking it out, Da? I hear you and Ma have started going to the movies again, back where the love story began. I am doing my best not to imagine what you might be getting up to in the back row of the Our Town Roxy.’
‘We attend strictly out of love of film, my girl. No canoodling for us, if only because I can never figure out how to work the recliner button on those new-fangled seats. So while your mother’s practically flat on her back gazing up at the screen, I’m there sitting up ramrod straight. We don’t even get to hold hands in comfort.’
Medders paused in his drying of the dishes.
‘Actually, the last two movies we went to were the most extraordinary contrast in cinematography, one as homely as curranty soda bread and the other as over-the-top as Mount Everest.’
‘The homely one was ‘An Cailín Ciúin’ the Irish language film and the second one was ‘Elvis’ the Baz Luhrmann spectacular.’
‘The first was about a young girl sent by her family to spend a few months on a farm with relatives. The pace of the action was glacial slow and I found that I really needed the sub-titles because my primary school Irish has sadly faded. The second was an unrelenting explosion of quickfire, high octane images- like being force fed brightly coloured smarties, with Tom Hanks delivering his lines in a most peculiar Dutch accent.’
‘The music in ‘Elvis’ was great, of course, but the overall effect was like being trapped in a car going downhill and the brakes not working – and it was an exhausting hour too long. ‘Cailín’ may have been slow but the characters were so real that I cried at the end. I haven’t cried at a film since my late father brought me as a little chap to ‘Dumbo’. It was gently wonderful.’
‘I don’t think ‘Maverick’ would make you cry, Da, but maybe you should give it a go.’
‘I’m not worried about whether or not I might burst into tears. I am worried about laughing.’
‘But it’s not a comedy.’
‘Tom Cruise’s life away from his acting gives me the creeps,’ said Persephone. ‘That religion he espouses is weird but the man knows what to do in front of a camera. ‘Maverick’ really is a humdinger.’
‘I loved Cruise in ‘Rain Man’ but nevertheless you will not persuade me to catch his latest and I’ll tell you why. When the original ‘Top Gun’ came out in 1986 it caused almost as big a stir as the current effort. I duly followed the herd to the Roxy, bought my bale of popcorn, and settled in to enjoy the action.
‘And I enjoyed it too – for the 40 minutes or so I lasted before I had to leave the auditorium. You see I was the only person in the audience who thought it was a comedy while everyone else was taking it seriously. I’d be giggling and people around me were telling me to shush. If I had stayed any longer, then someone would have would have fetched me a clatter around the head.’
‘So I can’t convince you to give it a try.’
‘Not even if you promise to teach me how to use that recliner seat button.’