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Punch Drunk

Jack's Sacred Number Twos



An oft-quoted Salvador Dali saying on the limits of humanity — which you've probably seen on one of your more banal friends' Facebook pages — goes, "Have no fear of perfection — you'll never reach it." No doubt the surrealist master was spot-on. Man wasn't made to attain such heights. But in extremely rare instances, man's creations, his output, objectively can be called flawless.

I bring this up because I recently learned about the making of a "Top Gun" sequel. Now mind you, the film apparently will have its original cast and not be some shitty remake with D-list actors. But still, this is a travesty of the first order. A gob of spit in the face of the Hollywood gods. A knife in the "Mona Lisa." Why don't we go urinate on Goose's grave while we're at it?

(It was announced a few days later that they're making a Goonies 2, which really pisses me off, but I'll save that for another day.)

Look, I get it, it's all about gettin' paid, and people will pay to see what their favorite naval aviators have been up to. Admittedly, I'll go to see a Top Gun 2. I'm only human. I'll even break out the flight suit and Ray-Bans for the premiere.

After all, advanced technology definitely will make the dogfights and supposed "drone versus human" story line visually appealing — spectacularly so, you'd think. But "Top Gun" was never about fancy flying and inverted 4-G dives and greasy, stylized, beach volleyball games. It was deeper than that. So much deeper.

So if this thing's going to happen, let's at least shoot for the kind of success achieved with "The Godfather: Part II," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "Rocky II," "Lethal Weapon 2" and of course the criminally underrated "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights."

Plenty of actors have reinvented themselves to start part two of their careers. Take Downey, Rourke, Travolta, Affleck, Stallone — and who could forget Jackie Earle Haley, who originally stole our hearts as a streetwise, nicotine-addicted, baseball prodigy with a soft spot for blondes and other misfit children as Kelly Leak in "Bad News Bears." He was the coolest, right?

Perhaps great part twos in literature would be of assistance.

There's Edmond Dantès, a young merchant sailor framed for being a traitor and forced to spend 14 long years in the Chateau d'If, only to mature, eventually escape and then return as the fabulously wealthy Count of Monte Cristo. And Dantès part two came to this party only for two things: to drink some beer and exact some sweet, brutal revenge — and he's so out of beer.

The old blowhard Ernest Hemingway's part two was quite impressive. Far removed from his literary peak, late in life and considered a washed up drunk (he was), "Hem" managed to produce "The Old Man and the Sea" — his last major work of fiction — which won him the Pulitzer and immense international fame on a level that even Hemingway's first famous novelist incarnation never could have imagined.

Historical part twos?

Gen. Douglas MacArthur's return to the Philippines after being defeated by the Japanese in 1942. Napoleon escaping Elba, rallying troops and marching back to Paris. A guy named Jesus? Yeah, he came back real strong.

Of course some part twos are tragic. Take "Weekend at Bernies II." I mean seriously, unlike Bernies I, the entire premise is just over-the-top absurd.

But it doesn't matter what I say. If Hollywood thinks there are enough sheep out there who will pony up 12 bucks because they loved the original "Top Gun" and "Goonies," then it's green-lit. Boom. Done. This game isn't about artistic integrity or morals. It isn't about preserving the past or all that some people hold dear. Nope.

It's about killing your idols for a buck.

It's about putting a bullet in your mother's head for the right price.


So yeah, I'll go watch "Top Gun 2," but I won't be excited about it. I'm numb at this point. You might even say that I've lost that loving feeling.

Camera pans to Jack standing on an aircraft carrier holding the first DVD edition of "Top Gun." He chuckles to himself and then launches the DVD into the ocean. Taps plays.

I mean, next you're going to tell me that they're making a sequel to "Roadhouse."

Wait, no. They did? Really?

Close-up on Jack's cheek, where a solo tear slides down. He is distraught, confused, in pain. Fade to black. Roll credits.


Connect with Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback at bartender@styleweekly.com. Lauterback also is co-host of "Mornings with Melissa and Jack" on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.

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