Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland November 1, 2013 - 4:05pm

Voodoo_Em picked this great classic for this weeks discussion. I don't know many who haven't seen it. This one should be interesting. Can't wait to here what you guys think.

Here's a litte something we've all heard even if we didn't know where it came from. An appetite wetter.

big_old_dave's picture
big_old_dave from Watford, about 20 miles outside London, Uk November 2, 2013 - 6:40am

I think this is my favorite part, the camera pans away. As if it's just too painful to watch. After this moment it's all downhill for Travis.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne November 2, 2013 - 10:25am

Such an interesting movie. Awkward, sad, almost too painful for me to watch unless I'm in the right mood (though I suppose I'm often in the right mood). Haven't seen it in a while. Might be due for another viewing, especially since I can't think of what my favorite parts might be.

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On November 2, 2013 - 11:49am

I love how much of a kick-in-the-ass this movie is. It still feels relevant; substitute New York for Detroit, and I wonder if many will be able to tell the difference. Travis today would probably be an Iraq veteran trolling Facebook and overdosing on free porn, but the simmer underneath would be the same. Probably worse so. They don't make these like this anymore. Somehow I don't think alienation, loneliness, disenfranchisement, indignation, and displacement has disappeared from America in the last forty years. I'd say it's worse.

sean of the dead's picture
sean of the dead from Madisonville, KY is reading Peckerwood, by Jed Ayres November 2, 2013 - 12:22pm

Another good one. I feel like this movie is one in a long line of films dealing with the alienation and loneliness of a solitary individual (see also anything from Falling Down to Noe's I Stand Alone to Troma's Combat Shock to Forced Entry, which is Travis Bickle if he was a rapist), but a more optimistic one. Because while Travis may not know how to do things the "right" way (taking a date to a porn theater is not a good idea, no matter what you may think), he does have a good heart, for the most part. Sure, there's the part where he is looking to kill the Senator, but he doesn't, does he? And he treats little Jodie Foster with nothing but respect.

I think this movie hold up pretty well over the years, mainly because DeNiro used to be a great actor (I'll be skipping the film club discussions of Last Vegas and the Fockers movies when they come around) and because, as Big Old Dave alluded to, there are some amazing shots in the movie. The cast is great, Harvey Keitel and Jodie Foster and Robert DeNiro and Cybill Shepherd and even the small part of The Wizard played by Peter Boyle (r.i.p.), but it's the bleak and gritty shots of a dirty, stinking city that make it stand out above the rest.

I can't find it on youtube, and it would be a huge spoiler, but the scene near the end, after the shootout, where the camera lifts overhead to show us the entire scene from above...amazing. So good, and so often attempted to be replicated (the best homage to that scene that I can think of is in House of 1,000 Corpses, when Otis stands over the cop with a gun to his head, and the camera zooms way out and just sits for an agonizingly long time before we get the payoff).

Taxi Driver was so good it inspired John Hinckley Jr to attempt to kill President Reagan in an effort to get the attention of Jodie Foster, which then inspired the Phoenix, AZ punk band called JFA (Jodie Foster's Army), which then inspired skate punk on the West Coast. So its influence is widespread.

And the end is awesome. The very end. Because is it a dying dream? Or is it more of a warning that it could all happen again? Of course, you could go look up the answer, but when I bought the movie on VHS in high school, there was no damn internet and so those questions got to be whirled inside my head as opposed to relying on my newest favorite instant gratification/OCD symptom: IMDB.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life November 2, 2013 - 7:36pm

I love TAXI DRIVER like I love cake. DeNiro, and fucking Harvey Keitel! This movie is just flat-out one of the most intense films in history.

I don't know if there are any Rob Ager fans in Lit, but I recommend his TD analysis, especially for Scorsese fans. Used to be able to see them on Youtube, but looks like they've been removed for copyright infringement. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 2, 2013 - 7:53pm

This was one of the first films from before my time I can remember seeking out when I started viewing movies more intentionally than trips to the theater or renting new releases. I bought a used VHS for maybe $3 and it blew me away. Watched it again maybe a year ago; still good, but a totally different experience. More humor than I originally thought (or maybe I'm just weirder). Not saying it's a 'funny' movie, but there's definitely some humor I didn't catch when I was nineteen--twenty: some of the stuff in the campaign office and the gun dealer come to mind.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Ira Levin November 4, 2013 - 2:48am

I love this film. DeNiro's so damn cool. 

Ever notice how with the really good old films you don't even notice the era. Never once do you think to turn to your film-buddy/hubby/friend/perfect stranger and say: "oh yeah, nice haircut..." or whatever.

I really want to watch it again now, just to check out all the cinematography you guys have mentioned.

But yeah, totally one of my favorite films :)


(^and this was a really shittily-short review of the film. Apologies for that.

I must try harder

I must try harder

I must try harder)  

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 5, 2013 - 1:36pm

classic. so good. probably makes my top ten all time.