Should have posted this yesterday: Last Saturday (2.11) I posted a “go, Maverick!” piece called “Lightning Can Strike Again.” The first four paragraphs read as follows:

“A while back I tried to sell my Paramount homies on a special Top Gun: Maverick HE advertorial. The idea had already been written and posted on 1.13.23 — I just wanted to repeat it with a little Paramount dough behind me. The piece was titled ‘A Film That Saved Hollywood Could Also Save The Oscars.”

“It seemed like the right pitch, and if you ask me this was underlined by the fact that Paramount recently launched a billboard ad campaign that echoed what my piece said.

“At a time when the old energy current between Hollywood and mainstream audiences seemed to be dropping left and right, Top Gun: Maverick had pumped new life into the spirit of things, and should be roundly celebrated for reaching out and connecting…for making something actually happen in theatres at a time when too many films seemed to be limping along.

A Best Picture Oscar for a movie that had not only restored faith in exhibition but in Hollywood itself.”

Yesterday afternoon The Hollywood Reporter‘s James Hibberd reported about an overheard conversation between Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise during Monday’s Academy luncheon, and a highly significant one at that. Spielberg told Cruise that Top Gun: Maverick had “saved Hollywood’s ass” and might, in fact, have “saved the entire theatrical industry.”

I’m certainly not claiming authorship of this sentiment (a lot of people feel grateful about what Maverick accomplished) but it’s fair to say that I posted it first.

Five years ago Hollywood and especially exhibition struck a slow-moving iceberg (Covid, streaming, older audiences forsaking the cineplex habit) and began to sink. The freezing sea water was almost up to the main-deck railing, and then along came the RMS Carpathia…I’m sorry, Top Gun: Maverick to at least temporarily save the day. “The industry doesn’t have to die!”, said Maverick. “All we have to do is stop churning out castor oil woke movies and give Joe and Jane Popcorn what they want…films that actually engage and entertain.”

This is why Top Gun: Maverick deserves the Best Picture Oscar — not because it’s better than Tar or Banshees of the hellish and godforsaken EEAAO, but because it stood up and pumped new life into the spirit of moviemaking and movie-exhibiting.