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MSNBC pundit is slammed for branding Oscars favorite Top Gun: Maverick ‘insidious’ and ‘poisonous’ for showing ‘American war machine’ as a ‘beacon of virtue’

  • Zeeshan Aleem attempted to ideologically dismantle the crowd-pleasing Top Gun sequel by arguing it is pure US military propaganda 
  • His MSNBC opinion column was slammed online for its anti-American slant  
  • Top Gun: Maverick is up for six awards at Sunday night’s show, having grossed close to $1.5billion worldwide 

MSNBC opinion writer Zeeshan Aleem has been slammed after branding Top Gun: Maverick ‘insidious’ and ‘poisonous’ ahead of tonight’s Oscars

Aleem claimed the crowd-pleasing blockbuster is unworthy of an Academy Award because its positive portrayal of the United States military ‘beckons for a return to accepting the American war machine as a beacon of virtue and excitement.’ 

It is a war fantasy ‘that could actually play out in real life,’ he wrote. 

‘War is portrayed purely as a source of glory and camaraderie for Maverick and his colleagues, who are all attractive people and manage to pull off their daring mission with zero casualties. Their training involves speed, sport and glamour,’ he continued, developing his position as anti-US military.

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However, outraged critics were quick to jump to the movie’s defense online, slapping down his remarks as ‘pathetic’.  

US actor Tom Cruise arrives in a helicopter to the world premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick!" aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, California.

US actor Tom Cruise arrives in a helicopter to the world premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick!” aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, California.

Earlier during the awards show season, Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg credited Cruise's Top Gun with saving the movie and movie theater industry

Earlier during the awards show season, Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg credited Cruise’s Top Gun with saving the movie and movie theater industry

In his comment piece, Aleem wrote it is ‘remarkable’ that an action movie like Top Gun was nominated for Best Picture and said he hopes it ‘tanks’ at the big show Sunday night, as a symbolic rejection of the military industrial complex.

”Don’t think, just do,’ Maverick constantly counsels his protégé Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw, underscoring the movie’s plea for the audience to be mindless about combat,’ wrote Aleem.

‘Maverick means to refer to the value of a pilot’s instinct, but he’s also asking his students to suspend their ability to think critically about the purpose of the institution they’re in. (The mantra does lead Rooster to defy orders based on his moral instincts, but again, it does not jeopardize the mission.) 

‘More broadly, ‘Don’t think, just do’ is also a fitting slogan for the U.S. foreign policy establishment – consistently eager to intervene in other countries without thinking carefully about whether it’s right or if it will be effective.’ 

However, many online critics vehemently disagreed with his viewpoint.

One posted the article on her Twitter timeline with the comment: ‘Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.’ 

Another, Joe Krusl, weighed in, writing, ‘Thanks goodness we don’t have to rely on people like you to defend the country.’ 

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Casey Casal said: ‘Its [sic] ironic you write a negative article about a military whose sacrifices allow you to write this when the country of your roots would sensor such material. Like you, I come from an immigrant home (Filipino) but my father joined the Navy. This was a slap for his sacrifices.’

‘Liberals will never even be nice to those who protect us,’ wrote John, who according to his Twitter account calls himself a ‘MAGA patriot’ 

Someone else said: ‘What a wacky perspective and an overall sad article. Not surprised though unfortunately’. 

Eventually, Aleem linked to a negative article from Fox News that had been written about his column and wrote, ‘Lol this explains the wave of new nazis in my mentions,’ referring to the choir of dissent he was seeing against his opinion piece.

MSNBC opinion writer/editor Zeeshan Aleem blasted Top Gun: Maverick as pro-American military propaganda that positively promotes the possibility of bloodless wars fought  by attractive people

MSNBC opinion writer/editor Zeeshan Aleem blasted Top Gun: Maverick as pro-American military propaganda that positively promotes the possibility of bloodless wars fought  by attractive people

The film is up for six awards, including best picture on Sunday evening, and has grossed close to $1.5billion worldwide – nearly half of that from the domestic box office.

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It also attracted the praise of one of Hollywood’s most esteemed directors, Steven Spielberg, who said the movie essentially saved the film industry and theatrical experience as streaming services become dominant and COVID kept everyone out of theaters for years. 



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