MovieChat Forums > Taps (1981) Discussion > Why is it that 'Taps' seems such a weak ...

Why is it that 'Taps' seems such a weak film?



Just watched Taps last night after many years. I expected to rediscover it and enjoy it, but instead, I still realized what a weak and boring film it was. Without really pointing a finger at just one thing, I think rather it's the many elements put together that just makes the film lifeless. First off the performances of all involved are quite dull. Hutton's character is just looks too vunerable and mixed up to pull off believing he's capable of leading anything. I think Hutton was totally wrong in the role, but I know at the time was THE hot actor(Falcon & Snowman is great). Sean Penn is pointless and exudes none of the genius that would dominate his roles in the future. The rest of the students just come across as uninteresting and driveless. The bottom line is you just start feeling as though you don't care what happens to the school or the students. Everyone in the film, including all the bit players, look out of place and unbelieveable. What stands out in the film though(forget the anti cruise petitions)is Tom Cruise's manic performance. It's he who steals the show and your totally drawn in. Perhaps he should have taken the Hutton role.

Technically the film just doesn't look or feel good. I really can't explain it, but I think it looks terrible. ( it it the sets?, photography?, editing??)

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I thought this movie was lame too. The thought of a bunch of kids taking over a school and using military weapons to defend it was just a bit too much. I don't know what message the movie is trying to send, but it is pretty unrealistic, the 10 year olds in their little uniforms with M16's...come on. Stuff like that just doesn't happen.

They were all like "we're obeying orders from our superior officer" and I thought " well surely the national guard is freaking superior to you? Why don't you follow their orders?"

It was just lame. Hyprocrical, unrealistic, and lame. I just couldn't take it seriously and found myself laughing at some parts.

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"the 10 year olds in their little uniforms with M16's...come on. Stuff like that just doesn't happen"

Maybe not here, but seen any pics from Africa or the mid-east.

I agree, I too thought the film was lame.

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I have to agree, very lame. Incredibly unrealistic and dull.

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Aren't all movies unrealistic? Man, if stuff that happened in the movies happened in everyday life, no one would go to the movies! I recently re-watched it for the first time in a long time, and I really enjoyed it. Given the circumstances set up in the film, it is quite possible. Remember the kids who shot up Columbine weren't that much older than the youngest guys in the film. Hitler was training young kids as soldiers as well. And there were a couple of 12 year old warlords in Africa a few years back. Age is no deterent to violence these days.

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Good post and thought. Just let me add to my original post that you are absolutely correct that "Taps" is a story that is much more feasible in today's world. Actually I thought the story was great, but the filmakers just could not pull it off at the time. Perhaps now the way things are , a remake would definately be in order. Whoever does, a brave remake would have to be done that would brutally bring home this story up front.

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Actually, they were the same age as Penn, Hutton and Cruise...

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I think at the time the premise seemed ludicrous. It still in general probably is that the ENTIRE academy would go along with it, but it's not so ridiculous anymore that something on a smaller scale could happen (maybe a few rebellious cadets). The acting is actually pretty good given the convoluted nature of the film itself and the ending is very powerful. I actually think the film speaks a lot about military life and the fine line between patriotism and lunacy. If you accept the premise, it's a darn good movie!

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Does anyone here belong to the Armed Forces? I think it's implausible that the public wouldn't side with the kids and put OVERWHELMING pressure on the authorities to back off and let them keep the school. The government would have to really make up some tall tales and convince everyone that the kids were not only completely insane, but dangerous to civilians. Certainly not above our government, but in this era of the internet and 24/7 reporting, could they really pull it off and not get the President impeached? I would love to hear some feedback from anyone with knowledge of SOP in these situations and knowledge of the military's attitude toward patriotic mutiny. My girl is a Marine and agrees with me, but she might just be playing sympathetic so as to be supportive of my screwy ideas at 4 am. Post!

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Yes the premise was implausible. I remember watching this in the theater when I was a kid - I always saw the film as a cautionary tale aimed at young men. It was extremely upsetting to watch, and I saw it several times because I thought it was the best movie I'd ever seen. It takes an idea - violence only leads to more violence - and plays it out to the logical conclusion. (I've re-watched it as an adult and only saw the film's shortcomings that have been pointed out elsewhere - for that reason I probably won't watch it again.) I'm not saying this is an after-school special or anything, but I think it was an effective film for its time. The actors are all excellent.

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I think the weakness comes from the lack of examination of the characters. We're allowed into Hutton's Morlan, but that's it. Everyone else is just a pawn to be moved throughout the movie.

But most importantly is the message of idol worship and how easily children can be led (misled) by an ideology- especially when combined with peer pressure. The younger kids will die trying to emulate the older kids despite their fear. The older kids will indulge themselves with a casual disregard of morality in favor of some new ideology that fosters acceptance and a sense of being special in an otherwise un-special existence.



I don't need you to tell me how good my coffee is. .

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Well,we have to consider that Taps was done 30 years ago.Normally,a film done 30 years earlier will have a lesser impact and would normally be less appreciated at present UNLESS it was a classic or legendary film.

Besidse,Taps did not fall into that category.But to fair,I think that it was still a good film the year it was released.

With regards to the theme,I presented it well with regards to how cadets can fall into the so-called military ideologies and false sense of idealism especially when they have yet to realize what the real world is all about.

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It's not so much the actors or even the probability of such an event, but that there wasn't much from media, reactions from townies, visits from politicians, the willingness by the board members to just talk with the cadets, etc.

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What a plot hole! A simple sit down with the Board members could have contained this situation, or at least given us some real villains and reasons for the ultimate escalation.

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I think the film is weak because the whole premise seems to imply that the General was the only adult to oversee the situation. Even if the other teachers and officers had left, by golly they WOULD HAVE COME BACK!! So the general's influence would not have been the only adult influence over the boys. So all of this action never should have happened.

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Any movie with "townies" gets at least a 5 out of 10.

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Except Breaking Away, which is the ultimate townie film.

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Honorable mention to An Officer and a Gentleman

Karate moves on those townies!

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Oh yeah, that was a good scene. The guys that weren’t good enough for Lynette and Paula being beat up by their dream dates, or at least the one with mad skills.

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It contradicts itself. It presents the kids as being in the right while simultaneously presenting them as being in the wrong. You make sense of it.

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When I first saw this film...years and years ago...I did nothing but laugh through it. And I was the target audience...pre-teen/teen. It was so over the top and the performances so corny, I just laughed. To the annoyance of my friends who were crushing big time on Hutton.

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Why is it that you have the face of the elephant man

"I fought your kind in the great war and we kicked the living *beep* out of you"

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