I can tell you the first film I saw Val Kilmer in was 1984’s Top Secret. A blast of a movie where Kilmer portrays an American singer, Nick Rivers, on tour in Germany. He falls in love with Hillary Flammond, whose father is captured by the Germans to build a new naval mine. Nick decides to help save her father and to do so he joins an underground resistance movement to make it happen. There is nothing like Top Secret and never will be again.
Yes, there are other parody movies that have come out like it. Prior to Top Secret, we had the Air Plane movies, then just before and after the Naked Gun movies, and finally two Hot Shot movies.
Each captured a piece of Top Secret without copying it. The next movie I would see him in is Top Gun, then I saw Real Genuis. (I saw his third film before the second) I admit I saw Top Gun primarily because of Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis falling in love and, of course, the jets. And I think it is the only time I thought Kenny Loggins rocked! No, I did not see the other movie, Footloose, that has Kenny Loggins’s other cool song.
Other films I saw Kilmer in include The Doors, Thunderheart, Tombstone, Heat, The Ghost and the Darkness, At First Sight, Pollock, Salton Sea and Alexander. Sadly, I stopped paying attention until one day I learned about Kilmer’s throat cancer, surviving it, then getting a new career as an artist.
I would not decide to learn more about Kilmer until Christmas Eve 2022, when I sat down on my couch to take in Amazon Prime’s documentary film Val. After seeing it, I think the character closest to Kilmer in real life is Nick Rivers. The coolest and most immersive character hands down is when he became Jim Morrison of the Doors, and finally, the best Doc Holiday in the movie Tombstone.
The documentary does honor Kilmer’s film career, tells us about his childhood, his immediate family, his family with Joanne Whalley, and what he has done as an artist. I would say the one thing I wanted to see more of is his art and the gallery Kilmer has. Otherwise, I feel the documentary is complete.