Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Winning Sequel

So TigerBlog saw "Top Gun Maverick" the other day, and here's his one-word review: Awesome.

Maybe TB would be a good reviewer. He never considered trying it before. 

That would be his style. One word to describe the movie. After that, a few paragraphs that go into a bit more depth.

In this case, he'd include this: "If you loved the original, you'll really, really love the sequel. In a lot of ways, this one is ever better than the first one. Unlike many sequels, this one isn't simply a run-it-back of the original. It has some of the same elements of course, like the great fighter jet sequences, but it's a completely different story with a main character who has clearly evolved with the times while staying true to himself."

See? Now you want to go see it, right? Chances are, actually, that you already have, since with more than $800 million in ticket sales already, it's Tom Cruise's highest-grossing movie, which is saying something.

TigerBlog also finished "The Offer," which is absolutely required viewing for any fan of "The Godfather." It's a 10-part series that tells the story of Albert Ruddy, the producer of the movie, and how the movie came to be. 

The person who plays Ruddy in the series is Miles Teller, who also plays one of the young pilots in "Top Gun Maverick." It's been a big few months for him, apparently.

The original "Top Gun" movie was also excellent, with the famous line of "talk to me Goose" and the great fighter jet scenes of its own. How did they film those? 

Speaking of things that TB has watched recently, he also watched the Val Kilmer documentary. Kilmer, who plays Iceman in the "Top Gun" movies, is battling throat cancer. This documentary is funny and inspiring.

The gap between the two "Top Gun" movies is a long one, a total of 36 years to be exact. "Top Gun" was released on May 12, 1986. TB saw that in the movies when it came out as well.

He went back through the Daily Princetonian archives to see if there was a review of the original. While he didn't find one, he found something better. 

The big sports story that day was about how the men's track and field won the Ivy League Heptagonal championship the weekend before. Back then, the Heps also included Army and Navy, as well as the eight Ivy League schools.  

What really leaped out at TB as he read the story was that Fred Samara was the coach back then (actually, he was almost 10 years into his tenure by then). TB knew that, but still. That's a long time ago, and Samara was already winning championships.

If you went to yesterday, you saw THIS story. It's about how Samara has been named the Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, while Robert Abdullah has been named the Mid-Atlantic Assistant Coach of the Year.

There was also THIS story, which mentions how Princeton finished fifth in the U.S. Track and Cross Country Coaches' Association points standings. That's fifth in all of Division I, by the way.

TB has written about Samara many times before. Each year, though, it seems like he does something else that makes you shake your hand and marvel once again.

This year has been no different. Princeton rolled to Heps titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track by wide margins, winning a 10th "Triple Crown." Princeton had eight indoor All-Americans while finishing fifth and then six more All-Americans while finishing seventh outdoors.

As for Samara, it's really hard to say what the most important stat of his coaching career at Princeton has been, but maybe it's this one: He's coached 452 Ivy League individual or relay champions.

That's an insane number. 

What's most amazing is that Samara has lost none of his competitiveness. He's the same as he's always been, which is a big part of the reason why he keeps churning out champions.

As you watch him, you know he's been doing this for a while. It's when you consider the gap between the two "Top Gun" movies and see the story about the 1986 Heps title in the Daily Princetonian that you really get a sense of just what he's done here.

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