In 2010, Polygon deputy entertainment editor Matt Patches tweeted: “If Top Gun 2 happens, I will eat a shoe.” Earlier this week, as you might have heard, Top Gun 2 was released under the name Top Gun: Maverick. While this seems to be a positive development for people who enjoy aerial action movies and celebrity cultists risking their lives for our amusement, it’s not great news for Patches, who has been forced to face up to promises made many years ago, in simpler times.
In an article from Vanity Fair about the tweet, we learn that Patches has made good on his youthful commitment—that he figured out a way to eat a shoe that he says has seen him go “to great heights” and return to land with “a very bad tummy ache that I have survived.”
Patches also released a video that documents the kind of thoughts and considerations that go into realizing that the you of more than a decade ago wrote checks that must now be cashed by an older, wiser version of yourself. In it, he ultimately finds a way to honor the spirit of the promise the best he can, looking not to Werner Herzog’s example (“I ... don’t think I’m German enough to eat a normal, off the shelf shoe”) but to Charlie Chaplin’s licorice shoe from The Gold Rush for guidance.
Hoping to avoid the insulin shock Chaplin experienced after his shoe-eating and wanting still to actually create an edible shoe that was worn on his feet rather than a cop-out, shoe-shaped cake, Patches cobbled together some footwear comprised of fruit leather, edible glue, and licorice laces. He walked around his street and lawn in the creation, brought it back inside, and ate the whole thing, managing to both fulfill his obligation and not die in the process.
Though all of this should be a good, long-lasting lesson, Patches still says in the Vanity Fair piece that he “can’t imagine they’ll make Top Gun 3.” Fortunately, though, he stops just short of betting another shoe meal on that statement.
Watch the shoe-eating documentary and read the Vanity Fair article for more on the stunt, Top Gun sequels, and Patches’ thoughts on why his tweet endured for long enough that he found himself in the unenviable position of being held to his word.
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