We only have so many days left in the year so I am trying to be selective about what films I choose for the challenge. For today’s film, I wanted to clean up my Netflix queue a little so I decided to watch the 1981 military drama Taps. Life at Bunker Hill Military Academy is business as usual with cadets coming in and cadets leaving to bigger and better things under the watchful eye of the acclaimed General Bache (George C. Scott). After being appointed the new Major, Cadet Major Moreland (Timothy Hutton) finds out that the school is going to be shut down in favor of condos. After an accidental shooting takes their beloved general away and speeds up the closing process, Moreland and the cadets take a stand and they take over the school. The film also stars Sean Penn (Mystic River) as Cadet Captain Dwyer, Tom Cruise (Top Gun) as Cadet Captain Shawn, Evan Handler (Sex And The City) as Edward West, Giancarlo Esposito (The Jungle Book) as Cadet Captain Pierce, Ronny Cox (RoboCop) as Colonel Kerby, Billy Van Zandt (Anything But Love) as Bug, Donald Kimmel (As Luck Would Have It) as Billy Harris, Wayne Tippit (Nurse Betty) as Master Sergeant Kevin Moreland, and the film was directed by Harold Becker (City Hall).
You know I often wonder if Tom Cruise and Sean Penn knew what kind of megastars they’d end up becoming during the 80’s. They are definitely two of my favorite actors to emerge from that decade along with some others. Timothy Hutton proves in this film that he can give some strong performances because he did in this one. They definitely captured the essence of what it means to be a kid who is forced to try and act like an adult in a world that when they step up for something, they are once again treated like children. That is definitely the eternal struggle for kids who were brainwashed that there are far worse things in life then death by a man who has known nothing other than that lifestyle. The great thing about this film is that it emulates war movies where in the beginning you are gung-ho about the battle at hand then when the film continues on, it starts showing scenes of war is hell as the soldiers begin to crack or in this case the cadets. I loved the cinematography in the film especially the final scene where you may be shocked by what happens or if you are like me you had an idea of what was about to happen. Sean Penn does such an amazing job in the film and I would consider it a stellar performance as well as Tom Cruise who plays that war monger character who is just inching to become Rambo. The film is available on Netflix like I said, but for right now I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.