“You Talkin’ to Me?”

Movie night – Taxi Driver.

“You talkin’ to me?”

The first time I watched the film Taxi Driver I don’t believe my eyes ever closed…not one blink…until DeNiro’s big payoff scene near the end of the flick. At least, that’s how it felt to me.

“There’s no one else here…….you talkin’ to me??”

The soundtrack was seductive, narcotic, and relentless.

“I do not believe one should spend one‘s life in morbid self-pity.”

Robert DeNiro’s character was a walking time-bomb that you feared and rooted for at the same time. It’s hard to watch this performance now and realize this is the same actor that years later peeled an egg in Angel Heart as if he was peeling a man’s soul from his body. Same madness…completely different level of intelligence and power. And, frankly, better hair.

“One day a real rain’s gonna come.”

Jody Foster, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepard, Albert Brooks, and a remarkable turn by Harvey Keitel; whatta cast!

Put vague but potent outrage in a human receptacle of limited mental and social capacity but possessing finely honed skills of violence, massaged and stoked in repeated street scenes and repeated desperate messages day by day, night after night. Then tease that gentleman with glimpses of an unobtainable woman and a visible but distant and only partially understood political lifestyle and then…slam that door. Then show him a teenage runaway in need of a white knight to rescue her from a sterling piece of slime like Harvey Keitel’s character.

What could possibly go wrong?

When I saw this movie at a first-run house, the general buzz about the film was; “How terrible. What can we do about this anger?”

Today I fear the reaction is more like; “How can we exploit this anger for profit and/or votes?”

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