[ALICE and BOB are in a crowded movie theater, watching "Top Gun: Maverick"]

BOB: Whoa!

[Suddenly, CAMERON bursts into the theater, shouting.]

CAMERON: You fools!

[The projection stops, and the lights come up.]

CAMERON: It's not real! It's a movie! It's all made up!

BOB: Is this part of --

ALICE: Not sure.

CAMERON: Why are you all acting like this is real?

BOB: What the --

ALICE [raises hand, speaks loudly]: I know this one! We're suspending our disbelief.

CAMERON: Pitiful! This is so dangerous. If you understood how moving-picture technology works, you wouldn't surrender your basic common sense.

ALICE: I think it works like, well, a screenwriter types some dialog, the studio hires a director and some CGI people, plus a big-name --

CAMERON: Actor?! These actors are just parroting back the words they're trained on!

ALICE: Tom Cruise got 13 million dollars for parroting back words?

CAMERON: Utterly ridiculous, I agree, the inevitable result of a bubble economy built on unrealistic expectations put out by an aggressively-expanding moving-picture industry.

BOB: Maybe it's his good looks.

CAMERON: Tom Cruise is 5 foot 7!

BOB: Really?

ALICE: Bob, everybody knows that.

CAMERON: But you're all sitting here acting like Tom Cruise is a real Navy fighter pilot. He's not!

ALICE: I realize that.

CAMERON: Because I reminded you.

BOB [standing up]: I'm going for some popcorn.

CAMERON: People who understand the details of moving-picture technology have an obligation to inform the public about its dangers.

ALICE: I hate to say this, and I'm not sure, but I heard --


ALICE: That Tom Cruise has a pilot's license. Not to fly fighter jets, obviously.

CAMERON: He's an actor! He's pretending!

ALICE: But I also heard, well, that he studied with fighter pilots while making the movie.

CAMERON: Look, is he in the Navy?

ALICE: What?

CAMERON: Is Tom Cruise a member of the United States naval forces?


CAMERON: Is he simulating a member of the US Navy?


CAMERON: Right, he's an actor. It's fake.

[BOB returns with two bags of popcorn.]

BOB: Is the intermission over yet?

ALICE: Probably not?

BOB: I can't wait to tell my grandkids that movies used to have intermissions.

CAMERON: We are not restarting this dangerous moving picture until the public understands the implications of this technology. Did you click a box saying you were willing to suspend your disbelief today?

[BOB fishes for his ticket stub]

CAMERON: You did not. Young people like you are especially at risk. If young people think "Top Gun: Maverick" is real, they are more likely to enlist in the US Navy, a murderous organization responsible for millions of deaths. This is not hypothetical. It already happened --

ALICE: With the original "Top Gun" movie!

CAMERON: Exactly. So we are going to need federal regulations, but we can't expect the government to come up with what those regulations should be.

ALICE: Because politicians are in the back pocket of the military-industrial-entertainment complex.

CAMERON: Yes, and more importantly, politicians don't understand moving-picture technology at an expert level. Frankly, they don't know what's needed to fix the problem.

BOB: They just parrot back words based on the constitutency-reinforcement algorithm, and the baby-kissing protocol.

ALICE: Bob...

BOB: And Tom Cruise's so-called brain is just performing synaptic matrix-multiplications that transform written words into auditory signals.

CAMERON: What? Where was I?

ALICE: The regulations.

CAMERON: Right. Since industy self-regulation has failed, it's time for action.

ALICE: I get it. Put Hollywood on a tight leash. But in that case, won't American movies fall behind Bollywood?

BOB: What? The US will never succumb to even more manipulative, invasive foreign technology!

[The projection resumes, the song "Danger Zone" playing in surround-sound.]

CAMERON: It's not real!