Giancarlo Espositio is a briiliant character actor
Today I was flipping around the channels during a break in the football action and I came across Taps playing on WGN. There are some movies that I just always feel compelled to watch when I see it come on TV and Taps is one of those of movies. I saw it in the theaters when it first came out. It was then and is now a very powerful movie. The movie also launched some incredible acting careers.
It was the third feature for Sean Penn predating even Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Tom Cruise had only made one previous movie, something called Endless Love, before he landed the role of the mildly insane red beret David Shawn. Sadly, Timothy Hutton’s career went south shortly after playing the lead in Taps, which was probably his finest hour. What happened to you, Timothy Hutton? You were so great as Major Brian Moreland. Your career looked so promising. I blame Turk 182.
In all the times that I watched Taps, I never noticed a young Giancarlo Esposito playing the role of cadet J.C. Pierce. It was revelation when I saw him in the flick this afternoon.
Esposito has been a favorite of mine since his breakout role of Buggin Out in Do the Right Thing. He’s great in the whole movie, but he steals the film in the scene where the white guy in a Boston Celtics steps on his Air Jordans. It’s a seminal moment in the history of film. I wrote a paper about it in a cinema class that I took at the University of Melbourne, but sadly it went over the heads of my teachers and fellow students, but that’s not important.
What is important is that you recognize the greatness of Giancarlo Esposito from his role as the political journalist Bugs Raplin in Bob Roberts to his performance as FBI agent Jack Baer in The Usual Suspects. And if you still don’t think he’s cool, check out his bio on IMDB.
So the role of cadet J.C. Pierce in Taps was small, maybe even insignificant. And the young Esposito was deep in a dark shadow cast by some of more illustrious co-stars, but it marked the beginnings of a fantastic cinematic journey.