Top Gun Is Too Dumb for San Diego

A Thoughtless Film Sequel Reflects Today’s America, But Not America’s Finest City

Watching Top Gun: Maverick made me feel sad—for San Diego.

San Franciscans have Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a classic film of cinematic heights and existential falls, to define their city by the bay. Los Angeles explains its fundamental fatalism about corruption and power through Roman Polanski’s nasty noir Chinatown.

But San Diego—a beautiful place full of people who have thought and fought for their country—has long had to settle for 1986’s Top Gun, a dumb, jingoistic, and misogynistic Tom Cruise vehicle about Naval aviators, as its cinematic signature. Sure, San Diego played other …