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American excellence and Top Gun theme return to Top Gun: Maverick

The return of old school American excellence and exceptionalism

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What is old is new again, and as the current trends would dictate, still much better. An ageless Tom Cruise returns to helm Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 classic. The long awaited sequel sees Cruise return as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, 34 years after the original. Now a flight instructor, Maverick is tasked to train and teach the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards in the original). Goose’s son is played by Miles Teller in the sequel, and rounds out a cast that features a Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and a returning Val Kilmer.

The official blurb details the plot;

“Top Gun: Maverick takes place 34 years after the events of the original film and pits legendary Captain Peter “Maverick” Mitchell as the new flight instructor of Top Gun, in which he guides Bradley, Goose’s son, who seeks to become an aviator much as his father was.”

Top Gun: Maverick is directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) and is being released by Paramount Pictures. It is set to hit cinemas June 26th, 2020.

What’s got me excited? The return of Maverick and Iceman, the return of old school American excellence and exceptionalism, the return of that Top Gun anthem (“Danger Zone” is nice and all, but that anthem…), and the return of fighter jets. Give us all the fighter jets. (After seeing the original, I remember visiting my nearest bookstore to find any book they had about fighter jets. I found one, it just had pictures and stats. But what more could a 7-year-old want?)

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The Making of Motown, the Making of Hitsville

Motown Records was the soul of a city, the rhythm of a nation

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Few cities are as American as Detroit, be it for their rich automotive history or for their unique place in America’s music lore. There are few record labels as enshrined in American history and culture as Motown Records, the famed Detroit soul label famous for releasing a string of Top 10 hits by The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and Marvin Gaye through the 60s. Founded by Berry Gordy, Motown is more than just the incredible records they released in the 60s, it was the immense cultural impact the label had on America.

Famed songwriter Smokey Robinson, who was the founder and frontman of Motown artists The Miracles, once said of the label’s impact;

“Into the 1960s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.”

A new documentary detailing the history and legacy of Motown Records is being released on Showtime titled Hitsville: The Making of Motown. Featuring a host of historical footage as well as interviews with label founder Berry Gordy, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Smokey Robinson and more, the documentary will tell the story of the label, its formation, and its continued impact and influence on American music and culture. Directed by Benjamin Turner and Gabe Turner (The Class of 92), the documentary will air August 24th on Showtime.

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Anarchy in the desert in Desolation Center trailer

An old kind of lawlessness in the desert

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Long before music in the desert meant Instagram models, hipsters, and shitty pop music, it was about something more transgressive. During Reagan America, music was thrust into action as a voice for frustration and disappointment at the state of the union and was the catalyst for many social movements within music. Desolation Center is a documentary detailing part of that 80s rebellion, telling the story of music and performance art that took place in the (at the time) lawless confines of the desert.

Featuring interviews with an array of musicians from punk, rock, alternative, and industrial music, Desolation Center hopes to shed light on a little known movement that paved the way for countless music festivals like Lollapalooza. Interviewees include Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Minutemen’s Mike Watt, while rare live performance footage features the likes of Meat Puppets, Red Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Sonic Youth.

The documentary was written and directed by Stuart Swezey and has been hitting the festival circuit this year. Desolation Center will open in US cinemas September 13th.

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