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Top Gun: Maverick is just plane … er, plain … fun.  Even better than the original, this sequel  - coming more than three decades after the original - manages to be a thrilling and engaging piece of filmmaking.

Let's be clear - much of this is because of the star and producer, Tom Cruise, who manages to be both ageless and at least somewhat evolved in this new story, in which he is brought back to the Top Gun Navy aviator training school to teach a group of young pilots how to prepare for an impossible mission (not a phrase used in the movie, but we can't ignore the connection to another film franchise that Cruise energizes).

One of the extraordinary things about Top Gun: Maverick is the degree to which it appeals across generations, hitting home for both teens and aging Baby Boomer.  Pretty much everyone I've talked to has loved it, which explains why it is such a huge box office success.  I think the fact that we're watching real jets, not special effects, helps a lot, giving the film enormous verisimilitude.

I really recommend it … though I have to be honest about one thing - Mrs. Content Guy and I had what amounted to a private screening.  Last Friday, we lost power and internet … and so we went to the next town over and bought tickets to a noon show that we had almost to ourselves.  (Even as the pandemic recedes, it was sort of reassuring….)

I really like the Disney+ series, "Obi Wan Kenobi," a lot more than I expected to.  I pretty much hated "The Book of Boba Fett," and have liked, with reservations, "The Mandalorian" - all efforts to expand and deepen the "Star Wars" universe.  To me, they were sort of flat and uninspiring, but "Obi Wan Kenobi" manages to be both surprising and entertaining.  Ewan McGregor's strong performance in the title role, following up on his turns in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, is critical to making it all work, and he's amply supported by a variety of British and American character actors.  Maybe it is because the series is more connected to the Star Wars films, or maybe it is less predictable than its brethren, but either way, I like it.

The other day, I re-watched one of my favorite movies - Robin & Marian, Richard Lester's 1976 romantic adventure film about Robin Hood and Maid Marian in middle age.  Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn play the titular characters with movie star aplomb, and there are great supporting turns by Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Nicol Williamson as Little John, Richard Harris as Richard Lionheart, and Ian Holm as King John.  If you've never seen it, Robin & Marian is a lovely film about trying to achieve the heroics of youth at a time when those events are just a distant memory, and it combines drama, romance and comedy in a near-peerless way.  Check it out.

My wine of the week - the 2020 Pigoudet Rosé Premiere from Provence, which is a bright and lovely rosé that is perfect for those warming summer nights.

One other thing.  Twenty-eight years ago today, my daughter Allison was born.  Today, she is an elementary school special education teacher, and she is extraordinary.  I'm very proud.  Happy Birthday, Kiddo.

That's it for this week … have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.