In 2010, then-culture-journalist Matt Patches wrote a benign tweet: “If Top Gun 2 happens, I will eat a shoe.” In hindsight, he should have considered that dumb things said on the internet will haunt you forever. The tweet got traction, and friends, peers, followers, and Paramount’s publicists spent the past decade and change converting this dash of social-media snark into a binding agreement.
For a while, Patches’ tummy appeared to be pardoned. Development delays, the tragic passing of director Tony Scott, and the rise of superhero films, along with Cruise’s fluctuating public perception, suggested Top Gun 2 would be indefinitely grounded. When production finally began, Paramount slotted the film for a summer 2019 release, only to bump the premiere to 2020, allowing for additional shooting. Then came the pandemic.
Twelve years after this all began, against all odds, Top Gun: Maverick is playing in theaters around the world. And Patches is eating a shoe on YouTube.
Patches himself went through a journey during this decade and change. He worked across the media industry at outlets like Hollywood.com, Esquire, and Thrillist, before arriving at the greatest entertainment publication on the planet: Polygon. Today, he serves as our deputy entertainment editor, preventing other writers and editors from agreeing to eat clothing in exchange for tentpole releases. Patches also got married and had two children, which is why he can’t just eat any normal shoe.
In the words of his wife: “No. Fuck off. You are not eating a shoe. You can’t die right now.” As someone who relies on Patches on a daily basis, I have to agree. And yet Patches found a way to make and eat a usable shoe nonetheless. Bless him.
Most folks won’t be able to feast on Tom Cruise’s latest cinematic death wish until this weekend, so I recommend Patches’ shoe video as an appetizer, something to really whet your appetite.
Patches is currently on parental leave, but I contacted him for comment:
“I remain skeptical that even if Top Gun 2 does well that Top Gun 3 will happen — doesn’t feel possible. But I won’t be eating anything if it does. I hope the video is a reminder that we can all be wrong on the internet and admit it. Also, there’s still room to be dumb online.”