The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

WEEKENDER / Entertainment

February 8, 2013

Revisiting 1981’s ‘Taps’ best to watch George C. Scott


When you haven’t watched a movie for 30 years, you tend to forget a lot of the plot.

I revisited “Taps” the other day. Not really on purpose. The good folks at Netflix sent me the DVD. Maybe they made a mistake, maybe I put it in my queue and forgot about it. Netflix does offer the movie streaming, meaning the disc wasn’t really wasn’t necessary.

The streaming turned out to be a good thing, because 20 minutes into the disc, there was a crackle and the sound went out. So I pulled it up on streaming and continued watching without missing a beat.

This isn’t compelling cinema. It’s more of a curiosity because of who is in it. George C. Scott reprises his “Patton” demeanor as General Harlan Bache, the commander of this junior high West Point called Bunker Hill.

It’s 114 years old and at the film’s beginning, the students and staff are calling out the names of alumni who gave their lives to their country.

It’s the end of the term and the new cadet major is Brian Moreland, played by a youthful Timothy Hutton. Two other cadets are played by Sean Penn and Mr. Divorce himself, Tom Cruise, then a mere 19.

Now the Hutton character reveres the Scott character. They eat dinner. They retire to brandy and cigars. The Hutton character hates cigars, but who cares? It’s cigars with George C. Scott!

Now from the beginning, it appears the Scott character is, well, a bit off. Drinking brandy and talking the glories of war with a bunch kids? A civilian, he says, is someone who hits a little white ball around. The military has honor.

Hutton is in awe. He tells the other guys, some who are maybe 10 or 12, that it’s gonna be a great year.

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