Top Gun: Maverick Can Count Quentin Tarantino Among Its Biggest Fans

Everyone loves "Top Gun: Maverick," including filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. It's only natural that people should wonder what Tarantino thinks of the billion-dollar Tom Cruise vehicle, since he famously appeared in the 1994 dramedy "Sleep with Me" to riff about how the original '80s "Top Gun" is "about a man's struggle with his own homosexuality." The three-minute scene sees Tarantino sharing screen time with fellow director, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and actor Todd Field ("In the Bedroom"), and it helped popularize the notion that Cruise's character, the titular Maverick, is in denial about the real love of his life: his wingman Goose, played by Anthony Edwards.

Tarantino was recently a guest on the ReelBlend Podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter), where he offered his two cents on "Top Gun: Maverick." In the past, Tarantino has spoken out about other new movies when they were out like "It Follows," but it seems he's been making an effort to curb any talk about the work of his contemporaries "because then I'm only forced to say good things, or else I'm 'slamming' someone," as he put it. With "Top Gun: Maverick," however, he was willing to make an exception, saying:

"I f****** love Top Gun: Maverick. I thought it was fantastic. I saw it at the theaters. ... That and [Steven] Spielberg's 'West Side Story' both provided a true cinematic spectacle, the kind that I'd almost thought that I wasn't going to see anymore. It was fantastic."

Tarantino and Tony Scott

Tarantino has never been shy about praising even the lesser work of his collaborators, such as when he put the much-derided Christoph Waltz version of "The Three Musketeers" at #11 on his list of favorite 2011 movies. In this case, Tarantino wrote the script for "True Romance," which Tony Scott, the director of the first "Top Gun," helmed, and he also did an uncredited dialogue touch-up on Scott's "Crimson Tide."

Scott died in 2012, and much of Tarantino's love of "Top Gun: Maverick" seems to stem from how respectful it is to the late filmmaker's style and vision. As he put it:

"There was just this lovely, lovely aspect because I love both Tony Scott's cinema so much, and I love Tony so much that that's as close as we're ever going to get to seeing one more Tony Scott movie. [Director Joseph Koskinski] did a great job. The respect and the love of Tony was in every frame. It was almost in every decision. It was consciously right there, but in this really cool way that was really respectful. And I think it was in every decision Tom [Cruise] made on the film. It's the closest we're ever going [to] get to seeing one more Tony Scott movie, and it was a f****** terrific one."

Part of me thinks the reason people are so ecstatic about "Top Gun: Maverick" this year is just that they're so starved for old-school movies with real stunts and practical effects and a tangible human element, as opposed to the usual glut of weightless superhero CGI. Personally, I was much more wowed by Spielberg's "West Side Story," which Tarantino also mentioned, but with his affinity for Scott, you can see how Tarantino might be especially enamored of "Top Gun: Maverick."