9. But this is one of Meg Ryan's best performances
She convincingly plays a woman happy with her life and the good man she's found, despite whatever strains his other allegiances have put on their marriage. A lesser actress would have come across as naïve, or barely there; Ryan comes across as a force of nature, a wave of joy that recognizes the circumstances but refuses to be diminished by them.
After Goose dies, she tells a shell-shocked Pete Mitchell: "God, he loved flying with you, Maverick. He would have flown anyway... without you. He'd have hated it, but he would have done it." Her delivery is overflowing with empathy, anguish, reproach, and the sense that she already knows that if she's going to put her life back together, she'll never be able to see Maverick again. That scene was a hell of a lot harder to pull off than a fake orgasm.
10. Is it a gay epic?
You can't settle the debate by taking a courtroom approach. For every additional piece of evidence that screams, "Yes! God, yes!" (how did Tom Skerritt stroking Tom Cruise's back while Cruise wears nothing but tight white briefs not even make Tarantino's rant?), another surfaces to undermine the theory (the erotically charged elevator scene was a reshoot, and Kelly McGillis wore a hat because she'd already changed her hair for another movie, not to appear more boyish). Unless you know the director's intent, it's all a little silly, anyway: you can't call a bunch of guys gay just because they're young, shirtless, and un-self-conscious; and you can't deny the possibility either, because probability-wise, some of them are definitely gay. The only certainty here is that no man should ever play beach volleyball in jeans.