Once upon a time there was a little girl of maybe six or seven whose older relatives let her watch Top Gun and family legend has it she was entranced with the whole thing and especially Iceman.
Top Gun would be a favorite for years and always hold a special place in her heart so when Val debuted she was right in front of the television to watch.
That little girl was me and I got to tell you my favorite part of Val was when the Top Gun music cued up and we saw the hanger set. It’s visceral sometimes the old favorites something you once loved maybe more than you do now but can never really let it go.
Val Kilmer has a ton of footage of his life and his stated mission in this documentary is to talk about the journey of acting, the performance, his joy and love of it. And that certainly comes through.
It’s also fun if you love the behind the scenes stuff. We get the Top Gun stuff, baby Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon (like so young!) and even some Marlon Brando on a hammock. Although I must say there’s blank space pretty much from The Island of Dr. Moreau to his Mark Twain performance around 2012 so if you’re looking for more recent roles like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang you probably won’t get your fill.
It’s also a bit heavy on the family and the personal which I admired him for talking about everything in mass but it does feel a little scattered at times. You get the impression of a goofy (I mean in that in a good way) fun loving guy and I was impressed to learn about the artists studio he’s started up in recent years.
It’s a little hard to watch at some parts. Kilmer’s been fighting throat cancer and despite his relatively good spirits because of financial problems he’s had to do the autograph and con circuit (at least pre-COVID) and they show bits of him struggling with it both physically and mentally.
But overall I was glad I watched it. It gave me new and deeper knowledge of an actor that’s been around for most of my life really that I’ve always enjoyed. But that being said it might be a little more for people who enjoy personal documentaries or the behind the scenes Hollywood stuff.