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Tom Cruise is 60 and kicking Father Time’s butt. Why his birthday is a win for ‘Top Gun’ fans.

  • July 04, 2022

Tom Cruise. The big 6-0 this July 3. I can’t believe we made it. 

Yes, Tom Cruise, “we” made it. There have been many of us going along for this ride since you made the maverick decision to bring a second chapter of “Top Gun” to the screen 36 years after the 1986 original.

Sequels of beloved movies can be treacherous. We all want to recapture that thrill of the original, and, if you really think about it, recapture that moment in our lives. But time and time again, it’s just not possible to catch that same lightning in the sequel bottle. 

Even scarier, of course, was the 36 years later part. For those of us who were very alive in 1986, this was a visceral reminder that we are all dangerously close to four decades older.

‘Let’s light the fires’:Tom Cruise arrives by helicopter for world premiere of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

“Top Gun: Maverick”Sure enough, that first “Maverick” trailer dropped and Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell looked like he rode that Kawasaki Ninja straight out of the Reagan administration, with the wind running through his hair and big teeth gleaming.

maybe even a superior film to the original. And Cruise represented. He whipped off the shirt and played dogfight football with his decades-younger co-stars. Cruise obviously didn’t have the washboard abs of his “Top Gun” volleyball game. But there were abs. And dang, he looked good, especially turbo-sprinting down the beach at the end. In blue jeans. Bravo.

Secrets to ‘Top Gun: Maverick’s epic football scene:Spray tans, protein bars and panic workouts

I asked Cruise how he prepared for that scene, and he shrugged it off, “I just did it,” he said with his studied nonchalance. Nice. I generally reserve that line to explain how I ate all the doughnuts.

Onscreen, Maverick has lived the life none of us can live in those 36 years. Not just ignoring but thumbing his nose at his bosses, joyriding supersonic jets, buzzing the bleeping tower on Jon Hamm’s Vice Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson. Yet Cyclone still gives that “I respect you” nod at the end, before Maverick goes off to sunset smooch with Jennifer Connelly. You go, Maverick! He doesn’t care about car payments, mortgages or inflation. He just flies.

Ed Harris stood up to ‘Maverick’: He held steady as jet ‘blew the roof off guard station’

Here on Earth, I grimace comedically every time I stand up following any exercise and I’m prone to shouts of agony when my shoulder just locks. I turned the big 55 in April, and happened to be in a Ross Dress for Less, which is hard enough to admit. Turns out Ross has a very liberal senior discount for their Every Tuesday Club, which to my horror, I was suddenly eligible for. Getting 10% off ceramic planters (total savings: $2) should not induce tears. But, gulp. It was my first senior discount. 

From ‘Great Balls of Fire’ to that ‘Maverick’ ending

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