Sep 15, 2006

DVD review: Taps 25th anniversary edtion.

Taps 25th anniversary edtion
Fox Home Entertainment

Timothy Hutton
George C. Scott
Ronny Cox
Sean Penn
Tom Cruise
Evan Handler

"Sean Penn and Tom Cruise in the same movie?!" That's like saying "Tom Cruise and Leif Garrett in the same movie?!" or "Tom Cruise and C. Thomas Howell in the same movie?!" or "Tom Cruise and Diane Lane in the same movie?!" or "Tom Cruise in a Francis Ford Coppala movie?!" (all of the above you can see in The Outsiders). It was the 80's, things were "different." In Taps Tom and Sean didn't even make it on the beginning credits. Timothy Hutton had just won an Oscar for Ordinary People. George C. Scott had won in 1970 for Patton. Sean was many years away from winning and Tom had many years to go just to be nominated (which I hear is the REAL honor).

I had never watched Taps until now, but had heard of it of course. I had never been a real big fan of Timothy Hutton, I had nothing against him, I had just not seen him in anything. But then I saw him in Nero Wolf on A&E and said, “Huh, I like him. He’s cool. What the hell was I thinking?” Now watching Taps I can see what the big deal was. He is a damn good actor, highly underrated. I want to now go back and watch Ordinary People. If you don’t know the premise of Taps it is as follows:

Timothy Hutton, Tom Cruise, and Sean Penn are cadets in a military school that is being run by George C. Scott, who they think is God, come to Earth. When the “powers that be” decide to close the facility to put up condos. At that Tim and the rest of the school decide they are going to take over the school and demand it not be closed. George C. Scott is not there, for reasons I will not get into, and it falls to Ronny Cox to try and talk them out. I have always like Ronny Cox, whether he is playing a good guy (The Beverly Hills Cop series) or a bad guy (Total Recall, Robocop). Here he is playing a good guy.

As a movie it was good, engaging. The only problem I had was, unfortunately, with Tim himself. When it came to the dramatic parts he nailed it and I could see no one else in the role. But at the time he still looked like he was 14, and I didn’t believe he could command enough respect to get ALL those kids to take over a school, with live ammo. But like I said in all other respects he was perfect for the role.

Something my old pappy used to say to me sums it up, quite nicely. He'd say, "Johnny, never scratch an itch, until you knowed what time the chicken's done!" (Actually to be truthful, I am not sure what that meant, or who Johnny was).

The DVD special's include a commentary on the making of the movie. Timithy Hutton, Ronny Cox, and several behind the scenesers are interviewed. The is also a Origin of the Song Taps documentary that is really boring...unless you are interested in history and love Useless Information, like me.

- Randy Otteson

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